Immigration to US based on marriage process and timeline

#1
I'm married to a Tunisian and am going through the immigration process so I just thought it would be helpful to post our experience and time line so far:


May 11th 2014- Married! As soon as we returned from our honeymoon we began collecting our documents. We wanted to do all of this before we were married but there was little we could do without the marriage cert. We signed a joint lease with our landlord, opened a joint bank account, collected 20 photos from our time together (before wedding, wedding, honeymoon, outings, with family etc). We had to wait several weeks for the marriage to be registered and for his new birth cert to reflect being married. Once we were able to get a copy of the marriage act and his updated birth certificate, we took everything to a sworn translator and translated everything. I had collected my documents from the US ahead of time so that made it easier on us. Trying to get all of them from here would have been a nightmare. Once we had all documents collected, photocopied, translated, etc, We put in a package and sent via FedEx to our attorney in the US. We also made our final payment to the attorney and paid for the USCIS i-130 processing fee.

June 25th 2014- Attorney sends I-130, processing fee and supporting documents to USICS (homeland security) We were told that processing time for this step would be 5 months.

July 11th 2014- Attorney receives "notice of action" from USICS. This is basically just a receipt of your fee being paid and acknowledgement that your application has been received by homeland security.

July 31st 2014- Attorney receives approval notice for the Alien petition. This means that my husband cleared the homeland security investigation and that our case will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). This step was supposed to take 5 months but only took 5 weeks. AWESOME.

Now we wait for the NVC to receive the case and send us a bill for their fees. We cannot proceed until the NVC generates file numbers and sends us the bill. During this time we began collecting the additional documents and answering the questions from the DS230 and emailed the answers to our attorney. My husband ordered the required police report which can take up to a month to receive. You can't order this too early though because it must be current.

We also used this time to secure a co-sponsor for my husband. Because I am with him in Tunisia, I am not working and therefore not able to be the only sponsor on the Affidavit of Support. We reached out to a family member who agreed to to co-sponsor him.

August 18th 2014- Received notification from NVC with NVC case number and and their invoice number.

August 19th 2014- Made payment for IV fee (immigrant visa processing fee) and AOS fee (affidavit of support fee) Payed these online for faster processing. sending a check/money order takes 30 days. Doing it online, you only have to wait for the ACH to clear.

August 22nd 2014- Received notification that ACH has cleared and that the DS230, and I 864 can now be sumitted and supporting documents mailed.

August 25th 2014- Police report FINALLY ready. Turns out it was ready for a while, but lost on someone's desk...Shocking, I know.

August 26th 2014- Had police report translated by a sworn translator and made copies of all supporting documents then sent originals via DHL to our attorney.

August 29th 2014- Attorney received documents.

Edited to update:

September 23rd 2014 NVC receives all supporting documents

November 24th 2014 NVC confirms that their case review has been completed.

Next the case will be forwarded to the embassy in Tunisia and my husband is assigned an interview date. Could be one to four months from the time the NVC approves the application until the interview takes place. It just depends on how busy the embassy is.

Edited to update:
December 5th 2014: NVC confirms that interview has been scheduled with the US embassy in Tunis for January 8th 2014

December 8th Doctor's appointment for blood testing, vaccinations, etc. The doctor gave him a sealed envelope to bring to interview

December 8 Interview- The embassy can't find the case Rescheduled to Dec 18

December 15th Interview- APPROVED! Five minute interview with basic questions.

once he has his interview and is approved, he gets the visa, the $165 USCIS immigrant fee will need to be paid online via credit card or US bank account.

Travel to US

Green card arrives in mail at US address within 30 days of arrival at port of entry.


Receiving a green card based on marriage is never a guarantee. Prior to marriage we discussed at length the possibility that for whatever reason the US could choose to deny immigration to my husband. Contrary to popular believe Green Cards are NOT automatic when marrying a US citizen. I hope this post demystifies the process a bit. I'll continue to post as we progress through our case. The following official government websites are VERY helpful:

http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-through-family/green-card-immediate-relative-us-citizen
http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/immigrant-process/petition.html

Also, the site www.visajourney.com has everything you ever wanted to know about immigration to the united states. There is enough on this site to keep you occupied for DAYS just reading and learning about the process.
 
Last edited:

Essem

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Really helpful TY, we're very often asked the US process.
 

Mezoo

VIP Member
#3
would have been much better AND quicker AND safer for you AND those others WHO follow to do the fiance visa. FACT.. Don't let your LUST get in the way ladies!
 

Essem

Moderator
Staff member
#4
How very dare you Mezoo!
 
#5
would have been much better AND quicker AND safer for you AND those others WHO follow to do the fiance visa. FACT.. Don't let your LUST get in the way ladies!
I think that it's great to talk more about the option for fiance visa... It can definitely be a better option for many. ESPECIALLY if unlike me, you are not willing or able to live in Tunisia with your new spouse indefinitely.The K1 visa is not always that much faster though and it really depends on current processing times for each visa type. Also it costs more money to do adjustment of status from within the US than to enter the country on an immigrant visa. We did consider all of our options prior to our marriage and discussed our options and potential timelines with our attorney and we chose the one that worked best for us and for our families. I appreciate you bringing up the K1 visa because the possibility of the K1 visa is something that every couple should consider. Knowledge is power after all.. BUT, for you to come with your blanket statement and presume to know what is BETTER for me and state it as FACT is flat out ridiculous.

Also I think it's a bit presumptuous of you to say that LUST is a factor. We chose for my husband to enter the USA on an immigrant visa rather than the K1 and we had several reasons for this but the inability to control our carnal desires was not one of them. I also don't appreciate your assumption that I am in some way unsafe here with my husband.
 

Jellycat

Well-Known Member
#6
Sounds more complicated than the Brit system but the visa fee at 165 dollars is way cheaper although I bet you are spending a small fortune on your attorney and courier fees. Anyway you can obviously afford it so not a problem in that case. no English language test?

Good luck for your future together. I hope I talk works out.
 

Jane BM

Well-Known Member
#7
Whole process sounds exhausting....lol...as JC, thought the UK one was bad enough!! I do know many couples who've done the same route as you and it's taken them the best part of a year to get a conclusion, as opposed to roughly 3/4 months here in the UK.

People will always make assumptions....lol....just ignore!!
 
#8
Sounds more complicated than the Brit system but the visa fee at 165 dollars is way cheaper although I bet you are spending a small fortune on your attorney and courier fees. Anyway you can obviously afford it so not a problem in that case. no English language test?

Good luck for your future together. I hope I talk works out.
The $165 is only one of many fees...There is also a $420.00 USICS processing fee, then an $88.00 affidavit of support filing fee. and a $230.00 fee for filing the DS260. I don't even know what the medical exam fee is going to be yet. Also if you choose to enter the US on the K1 visa, you have to pay the adjustment of status fee of over a thousand dollars! CRAZY! Fortunately my husband planned ahead for these fees and lawyer bills and made arrangements to get some money out of Tunisia in order to pay for them.

There is no English test. That wouldn't be a hurdle though- his English is better than mine!

My husband's sister immigrated to the UK several years ago to live with her husband there and they had a really hard time getting through the process. Their petition was rejected and they had to hire an attorney. They hadn't even done anything wrong to warrant the rejection. It was just rejected arbitrarily. Once they hired the attorney it was approved right away with no changes or additional documents required. That's why my husband and I decided to go with an attorney right from the start. We didn't want to take any chances.
 
#9
I'm married to a Tunisian and am going through the immigration process so I just thought it would be helpful to post our experience and time line so far:


May 11th 2014- Married! As soon as we returned from our honeymoon we began collecting our documents. We wanted to do all of this before we were married but there was little we could do without the marriage cert. We signed a joint lease with our landlord, opened a joint bank account, collected 20 photos from our time together (before wedding, wedding, honeymoon, outings, with family etc). We had to wait several weeks for the marriage to be registered and for his new birth cert to reflect being married. Once we were able to get a copy of the marriage act and his updated birth certificate, we took everything to a sworn translator and translated everything. I had collected my documents from the US ahead of time so that made it easier on us. Trying to get all of them from here would have been a nightmare. Once we had all documents collected, photocopied, translated, etc, We put in a package and sent via FedEx to our attorney in the US. We also made our final payment to the attorney and paid for the USCIS i-130 processing fee.

June 25th 2014- Attorney sends I-130, processing fee and supporting documents to USICS (homeland security) We were told that processing time for this step would be 5 months.

July 11th 2014- Attorney receives "notice of action" from USICS. This is basically just a receipt of your fee being paid and acknowledgement that your application has been received by homeland security.

July 31st 2014- Attorney receives approval notice for the Alien petition. This means that my husband cleared the homeland security investigation and that our case will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). This step was supposed to take 5 months but only took 5 weeks. AWESOME.

Now we wait for the NVC to receive the case and send us a bill for their fees. We cannot proceed until the NVC generates file numbers and sends us the bill. During this time we began collecting the additional documents and answering the questions from the DS230 and emailed the answers to our attorney. My husband ordered the required police report which can take up to a month to receive. You can't order this too early though because it must be current.

We also used this time to secure a co-sponsor for my husband. Because I am with him in Tunisia, I am not working and therefore not able to be the only sponsor on the Affidavit of Support. We reached out to a family member who agreed to to co-sponsor him.

August 18th 2014- Received notification from NVC with NVC case number and and their invoice number.

August 19th 2014- Made payment for IV fee (immigrant visa processing fee) and AOS fee (affidavit of support fee) Payed these online for faster processing. sending a check/money order takes 30 days. Doing it online, you only have to wait for the ACH to clear.

August 22nd 2014- Received notification that ACH has cleared and that the DS230, and I 864 can now be sumitted and supporting documents mailed.

August 25th 2014- Police report FINALLY ready. Turns out it was ready for a while, but lost on someone's desk...Shocking, I know.

August 26th 2014- Had police report translated by a sworn translator and made copies of all supporting documents then sent originals via DHL to our attorney.

August 29th 2014- Attorney received documents.

NEXT STEPS:

Attorney will review all documents for completeness and submit the DS230 online and send the supporting documents to the NVC. Attorney will send the I864 for review. Attorney is still waiting on supporting documents to be received in her office from our cosponsor (tax record, letter from employer, birth certificate) All of this should be ready sometime during the first week in September

Once the the NVC receives the required documentation and application, it is around a two month processing time. So we wait.

Once the NVC approves the application the case is sent to the embassy in Tunisia and my husband is assigned an interview date. Could be one to four months from the time the NVC approves the application until the interview takes place. It just depends on how busy the embassy is.

Once he receives his interview date, he must schedule a doctor's appointment for blood testing, vaccinations, etc. The doctor will either give him a sealed envelope to bring with him to his appointment or send the results directly to the embassy.

Interview- once he has his interview and is approved, he gets the visa, the $165 USCIS immigrant fee will need to be paid online via credit card or US bank account.

Travel to US

Green card arrives in mail at US address within 30 days of arrival at port of entry.


Receiving a green card based on marriage is never a guarantee. Prior to marriage we discussed at length the possibility that for whatever reason the US could choose to deny immigration to my husband. Contrary to popular believe Green Cards are NOT automatic when marrying a US citizen. I hope this post demystifies the process a bit. I'll continue to post as we progress through our case. The following official government websites are VERY helpful:

http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-through-family/green-card-immediate-relative-us-citizen
http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/immigrant-process/petition.html
Can you tell me how current the police report must be?
 
#11
Can you tell me how current the police report must be?
Our at attorney warned us NOT to obtain the police report until after USCIS had forwarded the case on to the NVC so that the report would be less than 30 days old at the time the document package is forwarded to NVC. She said it's best to have the report be as recent as possible. On our documents list that she gave us when we first started our case, the police report has star next to it with a note saying not to obtain the report until directed to do so by the attorney. The NVC didn't list any age the police report had to be though so I think that the 30 days thing may just be my attorney being extra cautious.
 

Jane BM

Well-Known Member
#12
If it's the Bulletin 3 you're talking about, it's valid for 3 months.
 
#13
Our at attorney warned us NOT to obtain the police report until after USCIS had forwarded the case on to the NVC so that the report would be less than 30 days old at the time the document package is forwarded to NVC. She said it's best to have the report be as recent as possible. On our documents list that she gave us when we first started our case, the police report has star next to it with a note saying not to obtain the report until directed to do so by the attorney. The NVC didn't list any age the police report had to be though so I think that the 30 days thing may just be my attorney being extra cautious.
Ok thank you :) My husband has his, but does not have the interview appt yet. We are still waiting for approval of the affidavit of support. Sounds like he may need to get a more recent police report...
 
#16
The police form saying that he has not been in any trouble, right?
Yes. He needs one from every country he's lived in since he was 16. My husband's is empty but even if someone had some small offenses it wouldn't necessarily prohibit immigration.

You were married exactly a year to the day before me! Where are you in the immigration process? Has your case been forwarded to the NVC yet?
 
#17
Yes. He needs one from every country he's lived in since he was 16. My husband's is empty but even if someone had some small offenses it wouldn't necessarily prohibit immigration.

You were married exactly a year to the day before me! Where are you in the immigration process? Has your case been forwarded to the NVC yet?
Lol yes I noticed that too :) May 11th must be a magical day ;) Our progress has been a lot slower than yours though. We could not afford a lawyer, so I've been doing everything myself. (I live in AZ, he lives in Tunisia) If I could do it all over again, I would rob a bank or blackmail for the money to hire a lawyer LOL. It's been very difficult, but we're slowly getting through it. Our case was received by the USCIS on June 21, 2013. It was forwarded to the NVC sometime in November I think. The government shut down was fantastic! Thanks guys! Our case was moved around from office to office because so and so was backed up with cases. Gotta love the government. Right now, we are waiting for approval of the affidavit of support, then his interview date. We've had a few set backs, so here we are, over a year later, still waiting to be together. We've seen eachother once after my original trip to get married. I try not to get bitter about it, but reading this back - I think I've failed! :D I do know though that this was a battle we knew we'd have to fight and it will be worth it in the long run. I'm very happy that your case has moved along so quickly and that you were able to stay with him. Thank you for starting this post. It's nice to hear from someone that is in the same stages of the process, and American too! :)
 
#18
You're in the final stretch now! This whole process is very overwhelming even WITH an attorney so I think you're making great progress on your own! Our AOS documents will be going out this week and the DS260 supporting documents will be mailed as well. I hear the AOS approval is the hardest and they verify and scrutinize those documents the most because they've had a high incidence of fraud with them. I hope you can hear very soon and be reunited with your husband before the New Year!
 
#19
Thank you, we're trying! :) The AOS seems like it moves pretty fast (compared to other parts of the whole process). It didn't take them too long to tell me I missed some info and needed to re-submit LOL. After submitting the new info they were supposed to contact me within 20 business days. It's been a little over that so I called yesterday to check on the status, but the NVC number was a constant busy signal. So I emailed, and now I wait. I'm just praying I did everything right and they approve us. I'm worried it will take forever to get the interview appt set up...Here's a question - does he need to have all of his documents translated to English for the interview or is it ok that they are in Arabic since that is the national language in the country he is interviewing in?

I hope your AOS moves fast and everything goes smoothly. Sounds like everything has been going great so far! :)
 
#20
Thank you, we're trying! :) The AOS seems like it moves pretty fast (compared to other parts of the whole process). It didn't take them too long to tell me I missed some info and needed to re-submit LOL. After submitting the new info they were supposed to contact me within 20 business days. It's been a little over that so I called yesterday to check on the status, but the NVC number was a constant busy signal. So I emailed, and now I wait. I'm just praying I did everything right and they approve us. I'm worried it will take forever to get the interview appt set up...Here's a question - does he need to have all of his documents translated to English for the interview or is it ok that they are in Arabic since that is the national language in the country he is interviewing in?

I hope your AOS moves fast and everything goes smoothly. Sounds like everything has been going great so far! :)
We had everything translated because we are submitting all documents to the NVC first and they are forwarding to the embassy. I know some people bring documents with them though but I don't know how that works. Here's a link to the official government site that might be helpful.

http://travel.state.gov/content/vis...interview-preparation-required-documents.html
 
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