Friday, April 18, 2014

Becoming an Alien Spouse, IR-1, step #2

After 11 months of waiting, we have reached the second part of our immigration journey. Not a whole lot has happened in almost a year, but now begins the most complicated part of the process.

Step # 1 was sending the  I-130 Packet to USCIS, which was approved (NOA2) after 10 months of waiting.
Step #2 consists of dealing with the National Visa Center (NVC), where USCIS sent our case. This part of the process consists of multiple phases.

1) After receiving NOA2 we began calling NVC about once a week to inquire if they had received our case. They received the case from USCIS two weeks after NOA2.

2) After NVC had received our case we continued calling NVC about once a week to find out whether a case  number and invoice identification number had been given. It took them a month to get us the case number. Once we got the numbers, we also gave NVC our email addresses, so that they will email us if they need something (checklists).

3) Here's where we are now: waiting for the online form DS-261 (choosing an agent, filled by beneficiary/future immigrant, in other words me) to be available. Once I've filled it out, I have to print the confirmation page in the end to bring it to the future interview.

4) Next up is paying the AOS (Affidavit of Support) and IV (Immigrant Visa) bills through an online portal. You need to have a U.S bank account to do this and have to just keep checking the portal for the bills to show up there.

5) After AOS bill shows paid, the petitioner (husband) can print a bar coded cover sheet for the AOS package and can go ahead and send the said package. The AOS package consists of

-the cover sheet with bar code
-cover letter (where the petitioner lists and explains all the documents included)
-Filled out, signed, and dated form I-864 (filled by the petitioner) 
-Tax information of the petitioner (last three years of IRS transcripts). Since husband is missing one transcript, he will substitute this with a letter explaining that he wasn't required to file that year, since he didn't make enough money.
-Petitioner's letter of employment or a couple pay stubs. Since husband's job in Finland is not likely to continue in the U.S, he will add a letter here explaining that his employment won't continue in the U.S. Because of this, we are required to have a joint sponsor (mother-in-law), who will add the following documents to the AOS package:

-Filled out, signed, and dated I-864 form by the joint sponsor
-Tax information of the joint sponsor (last three years of IRS transcripts)
- Proof of US citizenship/residency of joint sponsor, a copy of birth certificate or copy of passport bio-data page
- Joint sponsor's letter of employment and a couple pay stubs
- letter of intent to re-establish domicile in the U.S, written by the petitioner (husband), since he is currently residing abroad, and evidence to support the intent. Evidence will consist of the following documents: U.S bank account information showing an U.S address, copy of a current U.S driver's license showing the same address, letter proving that housing arraignments have been made, quote from a cargo company to ship our stuff to the U.S, quote from a local U.S car dealership about purchasing a car and copy of a temporary Finnish residence permit, showing that the residency in Finland was temporary.

6) After the IV bill shows paid, the beneficiary (me!) can print a bar coded cover sheet for the IV package and can go ahead and send the said package. The IV package consists of:
-Bar-coded cover sheet from payment portal
-Cover letter listing and explaining the attached documents
-Two U.S sized passport photos (2" x 2") of beneficiary with beneficiary's full name, date of birth, and case number written on the back
-Copy of bio-data page of beneficiary's current passport
-Beneficiary's birth certificate (long form Vaestorekisteriote from Maistraatti, which has parents names in English) and a photocopy of that
-Marriage certificate (also from Maistraatti in English) and a photocopy of that 
-Original police certificate (Rikosrekisteriote, can be ordered by email from Oikeusrekisterikeskus). The beneficiary will need one from every country they have lived for at least a year in.

7) After the IV bill shows paid, the beneficiary (me!) will also have to fill an online form DS-260. Once I've filled it out, I have to print the confirmation page in the end to bring it to the future interview.

8) Once both packages have been sent and online form filled, we start calling NVC again to hear if  they've received the packages and if we've gotten checklists (if there's been mistakes, we forgot something) or have completed the case.

9) We wait for NVC to email us a interview date.

Step #3 will be preparing for the interview and the actual interview itself, I'll write more about that when we get to that point. It should take us a couple of more months to get to that point. They sure don't make this immigration process fast or easy!

Ellis Island, NY in 2012. 
My great-great-grandparents immigrated before the Immigrant Inspection Station
was opened, so they never went through it.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter time! :)

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