A66tee- () • 01/05/2009 11:48:14 AM
Just a few helpful tips for my fellow immigrants who are struggling with this path to remain/become legal in this Country.
Start early. Just beccause you have a company that says they will sponser you does not mean that every thing will go according to schedule--it NEVER will.
I wil share some helpful tips with you based on marriage as that is the path that I am currently on for a Green Card.
Also, just become you might be engaged to an American and planning a ceremony start selecting an attorney. Do your homework here...ask friends...you dont want to be scammed by an attorney for 20K and go through that headache before ever having to tackle the headache of the immigration dept. Even before you get married--have a consultation with an attorney...exchanges paperwork with them and have them start on preparing your case before you even get married.
Oh, let me pause and give a quick bit of advice on the use of an attorney I did not even mention this earlier but just in case you are thinking about it...don't try to do this thing without the help of an attorney. While it might seem easy (just filling out some paperwork) and you hear stories of sucess having filed it yourself--dont do it. I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV (too much American culture humor here...I'm sorry) but take it from someone who is very educated (but can't spell :))you need the assistance of an attorney. You will pay between $2,500-$3,000 in total for this application (medical test, pictures (walgreens is expensive when you need 8 pictues)attorney fees, filing fees, etc). If you go to an attorney and they charge you more---you can get a cheaper option--again $2,500-$3,000 is what you should pay in total. It is well worth it b/c as I stated earlier you dont want to make a simple error on the forms and have that delay your application even further.
Ok where was I before I went on that kick? Oh, yes you will need a copy of the official marriage certificate but with the time that the attorney will take...it will come in at the right time. The official Marriage certificate can take 6 weeks in some cases depending on the county and state.
Next as best as possible establish a time line for yourself. A grid of sorts with what you imagine will be the "time-certain" dates you will get appropriate paperwork processed and approved. Run it by the Attorney and ask for his/her feedback. For example, when will I make first contact with a attorney that I want to represent me; when will I get married; when will I have the official marriage certificate; when will my paperwork be filled with USCIS; when will I receive a receipt notice; when will I received a Biometrics apptointment; EAD card; AP document; etc. Atleast with that you can prepare you and your family for the inability to travel (until you receive your AP, etc), inability to work, etc.
Start looking for a number of documents early incase you have to spend additional time on getting them. The attorney will ask for things like copies of every page of your passport (you and your spouse), copies of birth certificates, copies of all EAD cards previously held, copies of I-20's previous held, copies of 3 of the most recent tax returns, etc. These are things that you will need to send to the attorney right away. Again, spend time before hand putting this stuff together--in the technology age the attorney wants every thing scanned. So while you have some time, even before marriage--start scanning the doucments into a file--believe me it will take a while to find everything and then to scan it all back and front.
Ok--I am searcing my mind for an other bit of advice but as I now I can't think of anything. This is a very long post but as you can see I got off on a rabbit trail of sorts.
I will update this post with my progress so you can tract how long it might take you to complete this process should you choose. If yo ufell like you have a question that I might be able to answer I will do my best to do so if you reply to this post.
My last bit of imformation will include my current time line and where I am in the process...I will post updates as I get word back from USCIS on progress or God forbid regression to my case.
Happy New Year to all...may God be with us all as we await word.
Had an Interview with my Attorney with my spouse on September 10th and I share with her that we would be asking her company to represent us on our case. 12 days later they sent me a detail contract in which I needed to sign (Sep 22nd). I signed it and sent it back to them on October 2. I got married on October 15. I called the attorney (A very large firm I might add) every day starting October 21 and finally received a call back on October 31--Happy Halloween! Because I had started gathering the document I needed early almost all the documents the attorney asked for I had already scanned and I sent them on to her. There was one exception on a form for my spouse that delayed my case significantly but apart from that within 5 days of receiving all the paperwork I received all copies back to proof it, print and sign it and overnight it back to her. All in all my case took 6 weeks to file (again, take into count the delay with the missing paperwork my spouse could not find---it probably delayed my case by 10 days) from Oct 31 to when I filed. For the average person it would probably take 4 weeks.
I received the "Receipt Notices" for the I765, I131 and my wife received the "Receipt Notice" for the I130 on Saturday January 3rd 2009. The notices had the following dates. Received December 21st; Receipt Notice December 26th. They were mailed on December 29, 2009. Keep in mind I applied at the MSC office.
Now I am awaiting the biometrics appointment letter, etc. I will post more when I receive more information.