Wednesday, April 24, 2013

And now the moment we've been waiting for....

Finally, after over a year and a half of since the day we met and over 3000 pages of written correspondence between us. We waited 6 months and 2 days from the day our petition was received by the USCIS for any information from them. The letter I sent to my senator and congressman seemed to work and our voices were finally heard.
Today, as I spent my lunch hour talking with Anna, my Senator's office called me and told me they had good news regarding our petition. They informed me they received an email from the USCIS informing them that our petition was approved yesterday.
It is interesting that my Senator's office called me with the good news long before I heard the good news from the USCIS. Today after I returned home from work I waited for nearly 2 hours, At precisely 6:30 P.M. I finally received the official notification from the USCIS in an email message.
I cannot begin to describe how happy both Anna and I were to hear the news. Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we can begin to plan our lives together.
Perhaps it takes an act of Congress and a fax from a Senator to finally get action from this organization or perhaps we were just getting impatient and if we waited they would have approved it anyway. I don't know which is true. I have my theory, but you can be the judge.
This is the email I received today:


The last processing action taken on your case

Receipt Number: ************

Application Type: I129F , PETITION FOR FIANCE(E)

Your Case Status: Post Decision Activity

On April 24, 2013, we mailed you a notice that we have approved this I129F PETITION FOR FIANCE(E). Please follow any instructions on the notice. If you move before you receive the notice, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283.

For approved applications/petitions, post-decision activity may include USCIS sending notification of the approved application/petition to the National Visa Center or the Department of State.  For denied applications/petitions, post-decision activity may include the processing of an appeal and/or motions to reopen or reconsider and revocations.

If you have questions or concerns about your application or the case status results listed above, or if you have not received a decision from USCIS within the current processing time listed*, please contact USCIS Customer Service at (800) 375-5283.

*Current processing times can be found on the USCIS website at under Check Processing Times.

*** Please do not respond to this e-mail message.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

While Anna and I are pleased to hear the good news, we feel sorry for the many other couples continue to wait for any information pertaining to the case. In fact there are people still waiting after filing their petition in July of last year.
I hope the investigation continues into this organization because I think it needs to become more organized and make some improvements. Today I read a message on a forum by someone saying that they never thought they would ever find a government organization that was even worse than the DMV. I tend to agree.
Immigration reform is long overdue.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A letter to my congressman and senator.

Both Anna and I have been very frustrated with this process that seems to go on indefinitely for us while many other people who filed after us are getting approved. I tried calling the USCIS and was unable to get anywhere with them. So tonight, I decided to write letters to one of my state congressman and my state senator.
Here is the letter I sent to them.
Dear ______________,
I am writing you today because I am among thousands of other frustrated U.S. Citizens who are customers of The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Among the many other U.S. Citizens, I submitted a petition I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé) along with the $340.00 fee they charge for this "service".  My petition was received by the USCIS on October 22, 2012 and was subsequently transferred to the California Service Center (CSC).  At that time the USCIS advertised a 5 month average decision on petitions of this nature.
After waiting for a period of 5 months, I decided to call the USCIS to determine the status of our petition. They were unable or unwilling to give me any information on the status of our specific case and I was informed that the expected processing time had increased to 7.5 months.  Meanwhile  the CSC has advertised on its website for over four months that it has been processing petitions that it received on July 18, 2012(It is still the date they advertise today).
At the same time the Vermont Service Center (VSC) is processing these applications within 5 months. In fact many people are indicating that their petition that was filed after ours has already been approved. This is frustrating to say the least. We had no choice as to which center processed our petition.
My fiancé and I have spent many hours on the internet researching this issue and have discovered many forums that may indicate that the CSC has ceased processing I-129F petitions to focus on the "Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process(DACA)" which was implemented due to an executive order given by President Barrack Obama. You can read more information here regarding this issue
Today I checked the average processing time for the I-821D (DACA) petition and it appears to be 6 months for CSC to reach a decision on this petition. Keep in mind this petition has existed for less than a year.
This could explain why the California Service Center has slowed down, if not ceased processing the I-129F petitions. While I have no problems with the DACA program in particular, I do have a problem with it taking precedence over other petitions. It appears that the CSC has been overwhelmed with these new applications for the I-821D petition (Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and has been unable to process the I-129F petitions.
While that may be a problem, it appears the agency has another problem. Today my Fiancé showed me a forum entry that was posted yesterday by someone that claimed their I-129F petition that was submitted in December was approved yesterday by the CSC after only 4 months and 1 day. Here is a link to the forum topic she showed me The forum is written in Russian, but the message was translated as  “We received our NOA2 yesterday! I cannot believe we ended up waiting for only 4 months and 1 day!” “Be patient everyone and GOOD LUCK!! California worked well last week”
Today, I decided to contact the USCIS to ask them why someone who filed in December was approved before someone who filed in October. They could not answer the question and told me the average time has increased to 9 months for the CSC. So, it seems the CSC of the USCIS is not only favoring the I-821D petition. It may also be favoring people that may have deeper pockets than me or I need to find someone out there that can expedite the process, which I believe is a crime. Honestly, I don't know what is causing this delay but I am afraid I will call in 30 days and learn the average time has increased to 12 months.
I am not the only one who is frustrated with this situation. It appears that someone has even submitted a petition to the white house to intervene in this apparent rogue government organization.  You can view the petition at
I know you are very busy but I hope you will find some time in your schedule to research this problem.
If necessary, I can provide you with my case number.
Thank you so much for your consideration.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Immigration reform is here. U.S. citizens to the back of the line and Illegal Aliens to the Front!

According to various sources it seems that USCIS has intentionally placed all I-129F petitions for K-1 Fiancé Visas on hold in the California Service Center("CSC") to comply with an executive order that was given by King-President Obama. This order resulted in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) and was implemented by the Secretary of the Department Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.
You can read more information at Essentially the DACA was created as a method for children of Illegal Aliens to apply for visas and give them a pathway to citizenship.
This resulted in the CSC’s acceptance of a new type of application called the I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (herein after “DACA” applications).
After the California Service Center(CSC) was given the responsibility to process these new petitions, they chose to cease all processing of the I-129F petitions for not only the K-1 Visas which are Fiance visas. They also had to cease processing of the I-129F Petitions for the K-2 Visa which is for a spouse living abroad to devote all their resources to I-821D petitions.
In turn thousands of couples, including married couples have been put to the back of the line since July 18 applications which the USCIS has proudly advertised on their website for 4 months as the current processing date for K-1 and K-2 petitions. But while we are still waiting for them to process applications from July 19th of 2012, the CSC is processing August and Septembers applications for DACA.
It seems petitions requested by a U.S. Citizen are of lower priority than those requested by non-citizens of the U.S.. You can read more on this subject at
It is of my understanding that according to U.S. Law, all petitions for Visas are supposed to be processed in the order they are received but unfortunately this is not the reality. While Anna and I, among thousands of other couples wait for an indefinite period of time, the USCIS processes thousands of visas that were received after ours was received.
Fortunately there are others that are getting very frustrated with this process and they have started to petition the White House on this matter.
While I am not against children who were brought here illegally to have an opportunity to apply for citizenship, I cannot understand why our government gives them priority over United States Citizens who have been patiently waiting in line.

You can find the petition here
Please sign the petition and help get the process moving again.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How long can this process continue? Forever?!

It seems like this process will last forever with the California Processing center that we were unfortunately forced to go with.
When I first heard that our petition was being processed by the USCIS California Service Center, I was rather excited because it was supposedly the quickest in processing I-129F petitions. It was advertised that they completed the process within less than 6 months.
Our petition was received on October 22, 2012.
Unfortunately, now it does not seems that the California is the fastest. After almost six months of waiting, the Vermont Service Center is advertising that they are currently working on October 2012 Petitions. I checked nearly two months ago that the California Center was still processing petitions that were submitted on July 18 2012. I checked last month and they had updated the information and they were processing July 18th applications. In fact this is the same day they told me they were processing when I called them two weeks ago.
Today, I checked again and they updated their website again yesterday for the 2nd month, indicating that they are still processing pettions that were submitted on July 18th.
How can it take 30 days to process petitions submitted on July 18th of last year while Vermont is processing October Petitions?  At this rate, Anna and I can look forward to our application being approved by this time next year. You do the math. If it takes them 30 days to process petitions filed on any given day, we can expect they will process 1 day of received petitions every 30 days. So in the next month we can "hopefully" expect them to process the July 19th date.
As the vermont Center processes October petitions currently, the California Center will process ours in (92 days until October 22nd) * (30 days it takes to process a single date of received petitions) days? I think that may be another year give or take a few days.
Oh, and to make matters worse, Anna sent me a link to a forum that indicated the California Service Center may have lost or severely destroyed 48,000 petition requests due to a "plumbing problem". Click here to read it for yourself.
I used to be optimistic, but I am guessing ours is one of those that were lost or damaged. I think Anna's original estimate of 120 years is closer to my estimate.
Needless to say, we are both extremely disappointed and frustrated (among many other couples waiting). But neither one of us will give up. In fact we have considered having me apply for a visa to Russia again and we could get married while I was there and then we both would live in Russia together. Both of us agree, it does not matter where we live. The only thing that matters is that we are together in the end.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A radio conversation on Immigration with Nate Shelman

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I tuned into AM 670 KBOI as I often do to listen to one of my favorite commentators, Nate Shelman. His topic of conversation was Immigration Reform which seems to be a very popular topic these days.
He was asking for people to call in to voice their opinion and as most of you know this is a very frustrating issue with me and Anna after almost six months of waiting for an approval of our I-129F petition for an Alien Fiance.
I must say I rather enjoyed the conversation even though he was rather skeptical and very pessimistic about my relationship with Anna. Unfortunately there is a stereotype that exists regarding foreign brides that come to marry someone here in the United States. This stereotype comes with good reason. Many foreigners in the past have come to America only to disappear shortly after the wedding. They were only motivated by the opportunity to come here to the United States. Nate addressed this point very well.
After a year and a half and nearly 3000 pages of correspondence through Skype, I know Anna quite well and I will never question her motivation. She trusts me and I trust her.
I think by the end of my conversation with Nate, he realized Anna and I may not fit into this category. In fact in closing to our conversation "Let me know when the wedding is. I might DJ it. If she sticks around long enough."
I am sure we will have an excellent DJ for our wedding! Thanks Nate!
I was able to download a copy of his podcast at Feel free to listen to his commentaries. As I said before he  is one of my favorite commentators.
I was also able to create an edited copy of the 5 minute conversation we had. You can download it and listen to it here
I can't say I like the sound of my voice on the radio but I enjoyed the conversation.