Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sleepless in Russia

Anna had a difficult time sleeping last night while she anticipated the busy day today.
After getting very little sleep she had to go to work a full day before she could return home to prepare the children for the long bus ride to Moscow. She only had about 5 minutes in the evening to talk on Skype. She had to be on the bus at 6:00 PM.
It is approximately a 12 hour bus ride from where she lives to Moscow. In fact while I make the blog post she has probably already arrived to Moscow. Then she will need to be at her appointment for a medical examination at 8:00 AM Moscow time and that is 9:00 PM Mountain time here. Her and the 2 children need a medical exam prior to the interview. They will need to bring the results in a sealed envelope to the interview with them.
Due to the fact that it is Friday, she will have to wait until early next week to have her interview. So she will have to stay in Moscow over the weekend with the 2 children (God Help Her). Fortunately she was able to find a good hotel at an affordable price and it is at a central location.
After her interview she should receive the visas. I am not sure how long she will have to wait but I hope she gets them on the Fourth of July. It will give me another reason to celebrate the upcoming holiday.
But unfortunately I will not be able talk to her on Skype while she is in Moscow. I may be able to send some text messages to her but she was certain her phone would not work. She will try to find a new sim card that will allow it to work temporarily while she is in Moscow. But at this time I have not received a reply from her yet. I could call her on the phone but we still have difficulty understanding each other even after I have been learning to speak Russian and Anna is learning English.
Hopefully I hear from her soon. I want to hear she arrived or I may start to worry. It saddens me that I was unable to be there with her to help her but I was could not afford to fly there to be with her at this time. I have been trying to save a little bit of money so that we can cover the extra expenses when she gets here. But I am sad I couldn't be there with her. She should not have to do this alone. At least her mother agreed to meet her in Moscow during the weekend so she will have someone to talk to.
Fortunately it will all be over soon. In fact she may be able to catch a flight out of Russia as early as the 18th of July. This is the day Anna chose so she could have plenty of time to tie up all the loose ends and give her employer two weeks notice. I know she will be here very soon but patience has never been my strong point so I want her here yesterday. Until she is here, I am "Sleepless in Idaho".


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finally good news from Moscow!!!

Today Anna told me she was finally able to call the Embassy in Moscow to schedule her interview. She has it scheduled for the first week in July. Who knows, she may even get the visas on the Fourth of July.
We are both very excited to get the news but there is still much to do. Anna still has to fill out numerous forms and gather many documents that she will need for her interview. She also needs to get a complete medical examination for her and the children. She will need to bring the results of the examination with her to the interview.
She is also getting prices for the plane tickets here. She is hoping to make reservations for the third week in July, but she still needs to wait until after the interview to make any reservations. But we are trying to plan everything as much as we can. I am trying to make arrangements to meet her in Seattle, Washington so that she does not need to try to navigate that huge airport to find a connecting flight to Boise. I plan to drive there and pick her and the children up at the airport and take her home from there.
Now we will just need to wait for her interview and it is all downhill from there. Hopefully she will be on her way here within the next month. I can't wait to see her again.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Mountain of Paperwork.

Anna has been very busy working on gathering all the necessary documentation as well as paying all the necessary fees for the visa. In fact Anna had to pay nearly 25,000 rubles ($740.00) for 3 visas. Now she is waiting for the official receipt of payment from the U.S. Embassy so she can call to finally schedule her interview.
We are hoping she will get it scheduled this week and hopefully she can get in early this next month. But until she has her interview there are mountains of paperwork she needs to fill out and sign so she can bring them to the interview with her.
One of these forms is the Form DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration. It consists of two parts. Part one is Biographical Information. They need to know everything about her, her parents, her children, her second cousin's best friend's sister's pet gerbil and the number of hairs on everyone's head. But seriously, she has to provide a lot of information.
The second part of the form is a sworn statement. I could not help but laugh as I read through the questions. They are 12 simple yes and no questions and of course all applicants are warned if they answer yes to any of the questions they will be denied the visa. Many of the questions are quite laughable so I am posting the questions here on the blog for everyone to get a laugh out of them.
United States laws governing the issuance of visas require each applicant to state whether or not he or she is a member of any class of individuals excluded from admission into the United States. The excludable classes are described below in general terms. You should read carefully the following list and answer Yes or No to each category. The answers you give will assist the consular officer to reach a decision on your eligibility to
receive a visa.

Except as Otherwise Provided by Law, Aliens Within the Following Classifications are Ineligible to Receive a Visa.
Do Any of the Following Classes Apply to You?

  1. An alien who has a communicable disease of public health significance; who has failed to present documentation of having received vaccinations in accordance with U.S. law; who has or has had a physical or mental disorder that poses or is likely to pose a threat to the safety or welfare of the alien or others; or who is a drug abuser or addict.
  2. An alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, a crime involving moral turpitude or violation of any law relating to a controlled substance or who is the spouse, son or daughter of such a trafficker who knowingly has benefited from the trafficking activities in the past five years; who has been convicted of 2 or more offenses for which the aggregate sentences were 5 years or more; who is coming to the United States to engage in prostitution or commercialized vice or who has
    engaged in prostitution or procuring within the past 10 years; who is or has been an illicit trafficker in any controlled substance; who has committed a serious criminal offense in the United States and who has asserted immunity from prosecution; who, while serving as a foreign government official, was responsible for or directly carried out particularly severe violations of religious freedom; or whom the President has identified as a person who plays a significant role in a severe form of trafficking in persons, who otherwise has knowingly aided, abetted, assisted or colluded with such a trafficker in severe forms of trafficking in persons, or who is the spouse, son or daughter of such a trafficker who knowingly has benefited from the trafficking activities within the past five years.
  3. An alien who seeks to enter the United States to engage in espionage, sabotage, export control violations, terrorist activities, the overthrow of the Government of the United States or other unlawful activity; who is a member of or affiliated with the Communist or other totalitarian party; who participated, engaged or ordered genocide, torture, or extrajudicial killings; or who is a member or representative of a terrorist organization as currently designated by the U.S. Secretary of State.
  4. An alien who is likely to become a public charge.
  5.  An alien who seeks to enter for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor who has not been certified by the Secretary of Labor; who is a graduate of a foreign medical school seeking to perform medical services who has not passed the NBME exam or its equivalent; or who is a health care worker seeking to perform such work without a certificate from the CGFNS or from an equivalent approved independent credentialing organization.
  6. An alien who failed to attend a hearing on deportation or inadmissibility within the last 5 years; who seeks or has sought a visa, entry into the United States, or any immigration benefit by fraud or misrepresentation; who knowingly assisted any other alien to enter or try to enter the United States in violation of law; who, after November 30, 1996, attended in student (F) visa status a U.S. public elementary school or who attended a U.S. public secondary school without reimbursing the school; or who is subject to a civil penalty under INA 274C.
  7. An alien who is permanently ineligible for U.S. citizenship; or who departed the United States to evade military service in time of war.
  8. An alien who was previously ordered removed within the last 5 years or ordered removed a second time within the last 20 years; who was previously unlawfully present and ordered removed within the last 10 years or ordered removed a second time within the last 20 years; who was convicted of an aggravated felony and ordered removed; who was previously unlawfully present in the United States for more than 180 days but less than one year who voluntarily departed within the last 3 years; or who was unlawfully present for more than one year or an aggregate of one year within the last
    10 years.
  9. An alien who is coming to the United States to practice polygamy; who withholds custody of a U.S. citizen child outside the United States from a person granted legal custody by a U.S. court or intentionally assists another person to do so; who has voted in the United States in violation of any law or regulation; or who renounced U.S. citizenship to avoid taxation.
  10. An alien who is a former exchange visitor who has not fulfilled the 2-year foreign residence requirement.
  11. An alien determined by the Attorney General to have knowingly made a frivolous application for asylum.
  12. An alien who has ordered, carried out or materially assisted in extrajudicial and political killings and other acts of violence against the Haitian people; who has directly or indirectly assisted or supported any of the groups in Colombia known as FARC, ELN, or AUC; who through abuse of a governmental or political position has converted for personal gain, confiscated or expropriated property in Cuba, a claim to which is owned by a national of the United States, has trafficked in such property or has been complicit in such conversion, has committed similar acts in another country, or is the spouse, minor child or agent of an alien who has committed such acts; who has been directly involved in the establishment or enforcement of population controls forcing a woman to undergo an abortion against her free choice or a man or a woman to undergo sterilization against his or her free choice; or who has disclosed or trafficked in confidential U.S. business information obtained in connection with U.S. participation in the Chemical Weapons Convention or is the spouse, minor child or agent of such a person; or who has ever engaged in the recruitment of or the use of child solders.
I found many of the questions quite amusing. I am curious as to how many people would honestly answer yes to any of those questions, especially knowing it will disqualify them from getting a visa.
I am confident that Anna can answer no to all those questions so I am sure she will not have a problem.
Anna will call the embassy tomorrow and try to schedule the interview.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The End is in Sight

Yesterday, Anna informed me that she finally received the package I mailed her over 1 month ago. Soon after she received the package, I was sent an email from the US Embassy in Moscow acknowledging that they received our documents from the Department of State. Within the email they gave us instructions on how to proceed.
Here is the email I received from them:

Dear Petitioner:

Please resend the letter to your fiancé(e).

Dear Applicant:

We are pleased to inform you that the Immigrant Visa Unit of U.S. Embassy Moscow has received your approved visa petition and that your case is ready for processing.

You should now visit to complete the following steps: 1) arrange payment of the $240 visa fee; 2) enter an address to which the visa will be delivered; and 3) schedule your interview appointment.  Once you pay the fee and specify the delivery address, you may schedule your interview for any available appointment slot.  Please ensure that the date you select falls within four months of the date on which the visa petition was approved.  Failure to do so may impact the validity of your visa petition.

All applicants for fiancé(e) visas must comply with the processing requirements detailed at This page provides the most accurate and complete information needed to prepare for your interview including a list of required documents.  Thank you.

Immigrant Visa Unit
U.S. Embassy Moscow

Dear Petitioner:

Please resend the letter to your fiancé(e).

Уважаемый заявитель!

Мы рады сообщить, что Отдел иммиграционных виз Посольства США в Москве получил Вашу одобренную петицию и готов продолжить рассмотрение Вашего дела.

Пожалуйста, зайдите на сайт ,  чтобы узнать как: 1) оплатить визовый сбор $240; 2) указать адрес, по которому будут доставлены Ваши визовые документы и 3) назначить собеседование. После оплаты и регистрации адреса доставки Вы сможете выбрать любую доступную дату собеседования в течение четырех месяцев  со дня одобрения петиции.

Заявители, назначенные на собеседование, должны придерживаться правил и инструкций, которые можно найти на сайте Эта страница содержит наиболее полную и точную информацию, включая список требуемых документов.

С уважением,

Отдел иммиграционных виз
Посольство США в Москве
Anna and I are both very excited to get the news. In fact today Anna logged into the US Embassy's website and paid the fee for the visa. Next week she will call to schedule her interview. Hopefully she can have the interview soon and she can finally buy the airplane tickets and I hope she will be here before the end of the summer. She has a few other things she needs to wrap up in Russia before she can finally come here but she still has plenty of time to get everything done.
It is nice to finally be down to the step of our journey. It has been a long arduous process that I would not wish on anyone. But fortunately we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The wait will soon be over and Anna and I will finally be together soon.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another obstacle tries to come between us!

After the entire ordeal with the USCIS and the time we waited for the National visa center to transfer our documents to the US Embassy in Moscow we thought we were home free. But if it wasn't for bad luck, we would have no luck at all.
It seems that anything that can go wrong will always go wrong in our situation.
Anna sent me a link to a news release about a mail embargo imposed on international mail coming into Russia. It seems our letter is among 500 tons of mail that has been put on hold. The site is in Russian so you can use google translator to translate it. Or you can read a similar article on this site
This embargo occured shortly after I mailed a package to Anna. She needs the documents in the package I sent to her for her interview at the embassy. Now it seems that package is buried at the bottom of a 500 ton pile of mail.
I only hope she gets the package soon or I will have to send the package again using another carrier. And of course it will cost an arm an a leg. We will give it until the end of this next week until I get another package ready to send her. Hopefully we won't have to resort to that option.
Once again we have to wait for things that are beyond our control. We hope this whole ordeal will be over soon so we can finally begin our lives together.