Friday, May 24, 2013

Coming Down the Home Stretch.

Finally, after almost a month of the National Visa Center(NVC) holding our documents hostage while they "processed" our documents, they informed me that they forwarded the documents to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Unfortunately though, I can't say the same for the Russian Customs. Anna checked the tracking number of the package I sent her and it still indicated that Customs still had the package. I hope they release it soon because Anna will need it for her interview.
But at least we have made another step forward and now Anna can communicate directly with the U.S. Embassy and schedule her interview. Hopefully it won't take her too long to get an interview. We both are very excited to know that we can finally start to make preparations for her to come here.
In fact Anna has even mentioned purchasing some suitcases for the trip. But she is not certain of the color she wants to buy. She has not decided yet. Maybe you can help her decide. Just post a comment suggesting a color and I will pass the suggestion on to her.
This is the very last step of the process and we are very much looking forward to this process ending. After her interview she will finally be able to purchase the 3 visas and make reservations for her flight home. I can't begin to say how much we are both looking forward to that day. It has been almost 10 months since she kissed me goodbye at the airport in Moscow and I can't wait to see her again.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

From one government bureaucracy to another.

After waiting 6 Months at the California Center of the USCIS our paperwork was transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) which is a division of the Department of state. The NVC is supposed to "Process" our paperwork which includes putting it on someone's desk and waiting for 2 weeks to a month to transfer the documents to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
They seem to serve no other purpose than to make us wait longer. In fact, I called the NVC last week asking them if they did any actual processing of the documentation there. They told me "No, we just wait.". Here seems to be another good use of taxpayer money, NOT!!!
We hope that within the next week all our documents will be transferred to the US Embassy in Moscow so that at least some type of processing can happen. At least after that Anna can call the embassy and schedule her interview.
We are also waiting on the Postal Service to deliver all of the documentation that I was required to send Anna for her interview. I mailed it on May 2nd and the U.S. Postal Service processed it through the sort facility in Los Angeles, California on the 6th. Today I called the USPS and they told me they cannot provide tracking information for the package. Even with a tracking number they provided, they are unable to track it now for some reason.
But fortunately Anna is very resourceful and she managed to track the package down in Russia. It is currently in Russian Customs. Hopefully it will not remain there as long as Anna's letter to me. It was tied up in US Customs for over 10 days.
We hope all of this waiting will end soon and Anna can purchase the visas and plane tickets and finally come here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The package is in the mail.

After our petition was approved, I had to prepare many documents to send to Anna.
The U.S. Government required me to sign an I-134 Affidavit of support and I had to send a copy of the entire package I submitted with our initial request.
They also required bank account information and my last year tax returns. I don't know why they require all this information but the U.S. government requires this information for some reason. Fortunately, I was able to redact any personal information because I don't have a lot of faith in the U.S. Postal Service.
Anna and I discussed the options we had to send her the papers. I had 3 options available. The first option was to send the papers using the normal postal service. $20.00 to send the entire packet to her regular mail. No tracking number and we don't know if it will even arrive. $45.00 would have given us delivery confirmation. But the U.S.P.S. would still not guarantee delivery.
For $145.00, I could have sent the package containing 20 pages of documents to her with the ability to track the location of the package but they are still unable to guarantee delivery..
After discussing it with Anna, she told me we will choose the cheaper option. Hopefully the package won't get lost in the mail and she will get it in time for her interview with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
In fact, Anna and I have wagered a bet. I told her she will receive the package from me before the Department of State (National Visa Center) transfers the documents to the embassy in Moscow.
I hope my package arrives first because I don't want to lose this bet.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Finally our NOA2 Arrived

Yesterday I finally received our official NOA2 in the mail. It was called:

I-797, Notice of Action
Notice Type: Approval Notice 
Valid from 04/23/2013 to 08/22/2013
Consulate: KIEV (Are you kidding me? She lives in Russia not Ukraine)

The Letter said 
The above petition has been approved, and forwarded to the listed consulate. Please contact the consulate with any questions about visa issuance, or if you would now like them to forward the petition to a different consulate. The petitioner can also file a Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, to request that we notify another consulate of the petition approval for visa processing purposes. THIS FORM IS NOT A VISA AND MAY NOT BE USED IN PLACE OF A VISA.
When the person this petition is for enters the U.S. based on this visa, he or she will be admitted for ninety (90) days in order to marry the petitioner, and based on that marriage file for adjustment to permanent resident status on form I-485. The form to apply for adjustment can be obtained at any local USCIS office or USCIS forms center. Please attach a copy of this notice to the adjustment application when you file it.
 If the petitioner and the fiancé(e) do not marry within these 90 days, status will expire, and he or she will be in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Action if he or she does not depart. An extension cannot be granted. It is requested that the petitioner inform his or her local USCIS office if he or she determines that the marriage will not take place within the 90 day period. Please attach a copy of this notice to any correspondence about this case.
Notice: Although this application/petition has been approved, USCIS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reserve the right to verify the information submitted in this application, petition and/or supporting documentation to ensure conformity with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and other authorities. Methods used for verifying information may include, but are not limited to, the review of public information and records, contact by correspondence, the internet, or telephone, and site inspections of businesses and residence. Information obtained during the course of verification will be used to determine whether revocation, rescission, and/or removal proceedings are appropriate. Applicants, petitioners, and representatives will be provide an opportunity to address derogatory information before any formal proceeding is initiated.
Anna and I were pleased when we finally received the notice. Both of us have been collecting documents and preparing for Anna's interview at the US Embassy in Moscow (Oh wait, they are sending it to KIEV Ukraine. The Federal Government at it's best!). 
We hope she will have her interview within the next few months. After that, she can purchase the Visas and plane tickets and finally come here. We will finally be together again, but this time neither of us will have to leave again. Here is a photo we took on my last day in Russia.