toto09's US Immigration Timeline

blank avatar   Petitioner's Name: Katy
Beneficiary's Name: William
VJ Member: toto09
Country: Philippines

Last Updated: 2011-09-15
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Immigration Checklist for Katy & William:

USCIS I-130 Petition:      
Dept of State IR-1/CR-1 Visa:    
USCIS I-751 Petition:  
USCIS N-400 Petition:  

IR-1/CR-1 Visa
Event Date
Service Center : California Service Center
Transferred? No
Consulate : Manila, Philippines
Marriage (if applicable):
I-130 Sent : 2011-01-08
I-130 NOA1 : 2011-01-10
I-130 RFE :
I-130 RFE Sent :
I-130 Approved : 2011-05-09
NVC Received : 2011-05-24
Received DS-261 / AOS Bill : 2011-05-31
Pay AOS Bill : 2011-05-31
Receive I-864 Package : 2011-06-03
Send AOS Package : 2011-06-18
Submit DS-261 : 2011-05-27
Receive IV Bill : 2011-05-31
Pay IV Bill : 2011-05-31
Send IV Package :
Receive Instruction and Interview appointment letter : 2011-06-29
Case Completed at NVC : 2011-07-12
NVC Left : 2011-08-03
Consulate Received : 2011-08-08
Packet 3 Received :
Packet 3 Sent :
Packet 4 Received : 2011-08-02
Interview Date : 2011-09-07
Interview Result : Approved
Second Interview
(If Required):
Second Interview Result:
Visa Received : 2011-09-14
US Entry : 2011-09-23
Comments : 2011-07-12 @ 1:26pm/CT Sign In Failed?!

Whoa! I was expecting the interview would be on the last week of a date 3 weeks earlier!
Estimates/Stats :
Your I-130 was approved in 119 days from your NOA1 date.

Your interview took 240 days from your I-130 NOA1 date.

Member Reviews:

Consulate Review: Manila, Philippines
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
Event Description
Review Date : September 13, 2011
Embassy Review : I arrived at the USEM around 6:30am. Not that much applicant on the immigrant visa queue outside the embassy. I probably just waited about 10 minutes until the security guard looked at my passport and appointment letter. He put a bar coded sticker at the back of my passport and on my appointment letter, and then gave me the 2Go courier form.

Entered the building for the first security check, I decided to leave my mobile phone at the hotel which was a good thing. They really don’t allow electronics/gadgets inside the embassy. I felt bad for the applicant ahead of me on the security check line. He has his phone and and old female security guard started to get cranky on him. She was screaming in Filipino “Don’t you see this sign?!”, while pointing to the cardboard that shows mobile phone is prohibited inside. “We’re going to send you out to make an example out of you!” she continued. She even said “What kind of visa are you applying for?!” In my mind I was saying “What the heck is that suppose to mean?! Is there a certain visa to apply for that one can bring his phone in?!” True to her words he sent the guy out. I know that the applicant was at fault (knowingly or not) I just hoped the security guard dealt with him in a civilized manner. Anyways, I didn’t have any problems with the first security check. I just told the guard who did a little frisk search that those are gum in my pocket.

Got in for the number booth line. Three windows were working that time. Showed my appointment letter to the middle window, and they clipped a number to my letter and gave me my stub, I got #6131. I looked at the time printed on my number stub, it’s 6:53am.

I passed through the next security check in the main building hassle free. The waiting area is already packed. I dropped my appointment letter at Window 39, I saw the queue at Window 40 for the biometrics. I filled out the 2Go form and sat down to start the waiting game. They were announcing the stub numbers for applicants to line up at Window 40. I recognized a fellow VJ member and his fiance seating next to me and we talked a little bit. Then I saw they started flashing numbers for Window 40 instead of using the PA. My number showed up around 8:30am to queue at Window 40. I was asked for my name and date of birth and then got my fingers scanned. I was told to take a seat and wait for my number to be called.

I just barely sat down when I saw my number flashed again. I rushed to Window 42 for my preliminary interview with a Filipino CO. He asked the following:

-My name and date of birth

-My petitioner’s name

-My age and my petitioner’s

-Other countries I’ve been to

-How many times I’ve been to the US

-The last time I’ve been in the US

-The longest time I stayed in the US

-If we already have kids

-He asked if I have a joint sponsor filed for AOS since my wife’s 2010 income did not meet the required income above poverty guidelines. I told him none and he started making face as if I will not have any chance of getting my application approved. I told him my wife’s current job is earning her way more than the required income. He even saw my wife’s certificate from her current employer for her present income. He’s still making the uneasy face while jotting down on a paper about my wife’s 2010 income being less. That changed my mood and started to worry a lot. I asked him if he can also note about my wife’s current income which is more than sufficient to file a petition for me. He insisted that I will really need a joint sponsor and as a consolation he told me that the process won’t take too long to file the joint sponsor’s AOS.

-He asked for our pictures together and showed him some trips and wedding pics. He only looked at the wedding pics.

He told me to go back to the waiting area for my next turn. I sat down and continued worrying about the Filipino CO’s comment on my wife’s 2010 income. I looked at all the documents I have and see what else I could show to prove my wife’s financial capacity. I looked at the copy of I-864 that my wife filed, saw on item 24c of the AOS that my wife’s current annual income which will be compared to the Poverty Guidelines. Unless our interpretation on item 24 was wrong, that gave me a relief that my wife is really well off to file a petition. I was annoyed at the Filipino CO trying to be knowledgeable and saying stuff he’s not sure of. I thought he just gave me an unnecessary thing to worry about.

Hours passed of waiting, 9am, 10am. Windows 58, 59, 63, 64 & 65 are conducting final interviews, though Windows 63, 64, & 65 seemed to have a better turnover. Switching my attention between the numbers flashing, the big flat screen tv showing Disney channel below it, and the American COs in Window 64 and 65 (they’re the only American COs that I could see from where I sat). I was getting agitated whenever I see a number flashed but not mine. It’s a female Caucasian CO in Window 64, she seems nice since I saw her smiling a lot to the applicants while doing her interview. The CO at Window 65 looks like an American-Asian guy and looked so dead serious the whole time.

It’s almost 12 noon and just when I thought number will flash soon, they announced for a lunch break and told us to come back by 1pm. I haven’t seen yet any review here in VJ if there’s any of an applicant going back in the afternoon at the USEM. Having no choice but to leave the embassy, I walked back to the hotel, grabbed a quick lunch, freshened up myself a little, and checked out of the hotel. I left my bags deposited to the hotel\'s bell services though.

I was back at the USEM at 12:50pm. It didn’t take long for the American COs to start doing interviews again. Not that much applicants left though for the interview. I seated and chat with other spouse applicants while waiting for our numbers to show up. My number flashed on the screen around 1:30pm for Window 64! I was glad it’s the female American CO who’s going to do the interview. We exchanged pleasant greetings as soon as I reached her window. She asked me if I prefer to have my interview in English or Filipino, then swore me in. She asked me the following:

-Who is your petitioner?

-How many times you’ve been to the US?

-What’s the longest time you stayed in the US?

-Did you visit your wife on all those trips to the US?

-Did you live in other foreign countries?

-Do you speak Spanish? (she found out I worked in a Spanish-speaking country before)

-Do you have a joint sponsor? (she’s looking at the Filipino CO’s note, so I told her the same thing I said to the Filipino CO. What a relief when she said “ok” when she saw my wife’s employment certificate)

-Do you have any pictures with your wife?

We talked some other stuff a little bit until she finally said my visa is already approved. I asked her if I can get an earlier visa date, she said I can use the visa as soon as I receive my passport. I thanked her and she told me to wait to be called to Window 67. My stub number was called after 3 minutes for final verification of details at Window 67, and then proceeded to Window 68, gave my 2Go form for the courier processing, and finally I was all done. It was almost 2pm great when I left the USEM.

Some tips:

-Be there at the embassy as early as possible, they will let you in whether you have a later appointment time.

-Leave your mobile phone/other electronic gadgets home (your x-ray cd is fine though), they are really not allowed in the USEM. Unless you have someone waiting outside to leave them behind or you want to pay a fixer who you don’t know and entrust your stuff.

-If the Filipino CO got some comments/notes on your case from the preliminary interview, try not to worry about it too much. Prepare for the answers that you think the American CO might asked based on the Filipino CO’s notes (yes, they’re reading the notes from the prelim interview). You can state your case to the American CO on the final interview, they got the better and final judgement on your case.

-Lots of patience. You don’t know how long you need to stay in the embassy.

Good luck and all the best on your big day folks.

(updated on September 16, 2011)
Rating : Moderate

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*Notice about estimates: The estimates are based off averages of other members recent experiences
(documented in their timelines) for the same benefit/petition/application at the same filing location.
Individual results may vary as every case is not always 'average'. Past performance does not necessarily
predict future results. The 'as early as date' may change over time based on current reported processing
times from members. There have historically been cases where a benefit/petition/application processing
briefly slows down or stops and this can not be predicted. Use these dates as reference only and do not
rely on them for planning. As always you should check the USCIS processing times to see if your application
is past due.

** Not all cases are transfered

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