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Removing Conditions of Permanent Residency: Filing [Jan. 13th, 2009|08:19 pm]
On January 8th, 2009, I mailed off David's application to remove the conditions of his permanent residency -- less than 20 days before his Permanent Residency expires. Cutting it close to the deadline? Absolutely, and it was something that left me awake in bed on many nights, terrified. We sent the package overnight -- it arrived and was signed for the next day, at noon. We have confirmation of this.

The problem is moving. We found out we were getting a new apartment shortly after we'd filled out all of our application information, but prior to sending it in. And that's a good thing -- I've read more than my fill of horror stories on VisaJourney about people sending in their application to lift conditions or get the green card initially, moving, and then filling out all the forms for the address change only to have requests for further evidence (RFEs), interview notices, and eventually deportation hearing notices due to the lack of response sent to the prior address. One person even filled out the paperwork both online and through the mail -- the paperwork was still sent to the old address.

This wouldn't be a problem if the USPS would forward these -- assuming the notices were mailed within the timeframe of the mail forwarding -- but they won't. They are sent back, RTS, and USCIS doesn't have the time or man power or the human compassion to realize this means you didn't get your notice to appear and have no idea what's going on. You don't get your notice, they don't give you the permanent permanent residency, you go back to your home country.

So we waited until we moved in on December 1st, but then the issue became proving that we both lived at the address. Yes, we had a jointly signed lease, but they want more evidence than that of cohabitation. So we waited until our bank accounts reflected our address, until we received our first utility bill -- and meanwhile the clock was tick-tick-ticking. And then there was the lack of money, which I covered in my first entry over at my personal finance blog that set the filing back even further.

So, it's sent and received.

Until the check is cashed, I'm nervous that it'll be rejected because it's a starter check - we didn't have any with the new address on it. I'm nervous that even with 200 pages, we'll get a RFE and interview request because we didn't have signed affidavits from people who've known us, as a couple, for three or more years -- we just don't know that many people in that way, and since we've only been married for just over two years and a half years (and David entered the country only slightly before that) and he hasn't even had his green card (which means ability to work and go to school and make friends) for two years, I don't know how we're supposed to have friends who know us as a couple for three years and will certify to that fact.

Whatever. It's sent. And received. Now we just cross our fingers and wait.

This part of the process is worse than the original application.
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Update [Nov. 6th, 2006|10:59 pm]
I totally forgot to mention this, but David got his Employment Authorization approval on 10/24 -- just in time for my birthday! The employment authorization document (EAD) arrived five days later, so today we registered him for classes at the local college (2 year university) and got him an official State ID so he won't have to carry his passport to prove his age at bars! :D

Still no movement on his "Green Card" (perminant residency) which is driving me up a wall, though David seems less than stressed about it. Me personally, I want him to have his Green Card as soon as possible, so he can have all the nice privilages and so on that it brings, such as getting federal financial aid for school tuition, going to regular Universities at the reduced rate, a social security number that is free of restrictions, etc. Sure, with the EAD, he has some of that now, but he still cannot travel outside of the US, and I'd really like to see his family for the holidays or their birthdays in January (Yes, all of his immediate family have birthdays in January, which is very convenient for traveling to be with them! :D ) I don't like that we've spent the last two Christmases with my family and it looks like this will be the third one in a row now because the government cannot get off their lazy butts and approve his Green Card!

(Not that I don't like my family, mind you. I do like them! But I like David's family too, and I miss England, and it'd be nice for David to get to spend time with his family and friends that he left behind back before we got married!)

His green card application hasn't been worked on by the government since 9/27, though before that it was worked on like crazy (we can track it online!) so I'm guessing it's held up in FBI name check limbo because it's such a common name. :( Hopefully, it'll speed up soon!
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Things Going Fast Now [Sep. 22nd, 2006|11:14 pm]
Received RFE 2006-08-29
Sent RFE Package 2006-08-31
Touched: 2006-08-31
USPS Site - Pkg Refused: 2006-09-05
RFE Package - Take Two 2006-09-12
RFE Package Signed For - 2006-09-14
Email from USCIS/Touched - 2006-9-15
Email from USCIS -TRANSFERED TO CSC, BABY! - 2006-09-19
Email from CSC - Case Received - 2006-09-21
Letter from USCIS Confirming CSC Transfer / Touched - 2006-09-22
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Medical Exam for AOS and more [Aug. 28th, 2006|10:34 pm]
[Tags|, , , ]
[Current Location |New Jersey]
[mood |accomplished]
[music |none]

David arrived at the courthouse at around 4PM, at which point I walked him back to the office and we sat around talking to my co-workers while waiting for the clock to hit the magic 4:30, signaling another day at an end, and time to fight rush hour traffic to David's medical exam.

The office, if you can call it that, of the USCIS-approved Civil Surgeon is inside a shed parked just off a lovely medical complex in the nice, wooded suburbs of South Jersey. It's not the sort of place I'd imagine someone who's a USCIS-certified Civil Surgeon would work -- more like the sort of place Dr. Nick Riviera would pull bullets and other projectile weapons out of bodies that "just happened to fall on them." Think SNL's Appalachian Emergency room sketch. Think ash-gray wood paneling and a flickering television tuned to the WB. Think twenty-year old "The More You Know" posters and a "sign in" sheet, an office that takes walk-ins and doesn't require shirt or shoes. Think Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel.

We'd been warned on communities such as VisaJourney that Civil Surgeons are unscrupulous, money-grubbing fiends that force you to take full medical exams when all you really need to adjust status from a K1 visa to a green card is a vaccination suppliment, and seeing that the medical exam form and vaccination suppliment were both 28th generation photocopies that were barely legible and that no one knew what we were talking about other than "Immigration? Yes, you need an exam," did nothing to allay our fears. Still, this was the only choice we had, other than an office in Mount Holly where the receptionist didn't even understand what immigration meant.

Still, the people were friendly, and even though we waited an hour just to be seen, eventually our doctor arrived in the examining room -- a sixty-something, tiny, little Jewish man with a wife from Liverpool that was friendly and jovial and put us right at ease. He was impressed with how we had the vaccination form from David's G.P. ready and available, impressed that we met online. He sang to call his nurses in and he yelled out, "I need BLOOD!" in his best The Count from Sesame Street impression to call the nurse in to draw a blood sample for the exam the entire staff insisted we needed done, though the USCIS website suggested otherwise.

Then came the nasty surprise: the bill.

What was meant to be a $60 exam came to $160 -- $60 for the exam, $80 for a vaccination, and $20 for David's TB test. Luckily, the doctor is going to try and bill the bloodwork to my health insurance as a "annual physical" for his new patient, but still. Damn!

I've heard of people being charged $200-$300 for this same service, and with much less by way of customer service, so I cannot complain, but it has put a dent in our finances. However, finally, after long last, PayPal has straightened out a name change glitch from THREE YEARS AGO and is supposed to be cutting me a check for the remander of fees in my account.

Of course, because the account has been inactive for so long, it's in "limited access that cannot be appealed" status, so now that the account is drained, it still cannot be closed, and it will just remain there, like that, forever. Gayness.

Of course, having that money off the internet and in my hot little hand once the check is here is one step in the right direction -- I've got a huge financial mess that I want to consolidate before jumping in and adding David to any of my bills or accounts -- we need to show comingled assets to the USCIS for our AOS interview sometime in the near uncertain future, but my credit is still a mess, and I don't know exactly how much debt I have or how many assets, but I'm trying to get everything together and worked out with a budget to essentially have a simple list:

Savings
Incoming Funds
Debts

From there, I can work out what my best plan of attack is to increase my Savings and decrease my Debts, an when S is greater than D, I can open an IRA and make David my beneficiary, as he is on my pension and life insurance.

Stupid finances and stupid USCIS for making me actually organize my life! Damn them!
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Request for Evidence [Aug. 27th, 2006|01:44 pm]
We were sent a Request for Evidence on Thursday, or so the emails tell us. I'm not sure if the two simultaneous emails sent are for two different letters for two different things, or if a single letter will be sent for two different issues. If it runs anything like NJSC:CC, I'm guessing it's the former.

I'm also starting to get annoyed at the VisaJourney site for having a lot of frustrated people constantly bashing government workers. I'm really tempted to post a long rant-icle here, or there, going on about how much this sort of ignorance sucks. Yes, it feels like *forever* when you're waiting, but calling gov. workers incompetent just because YOU are impatient and don't understand how the system works? Really?

Yes, some government workers -- the man in the position of President, for example -- aren't the brightest bulbs in the box, but you can't blame the drones for following the orders of the Queen Bee, now can you? More over, at least at the state-level, the court system works with its own internal logic which, when explained by a knowledgable person, makes sense in a very narrow sort of way.
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Biometrics Appointment scheduled [Aug. 21st, 2006|10:11 pm]
We got our Biometrics appointment date today: 29th August 2006!

We seem to be on some sort of fast track. *fingers crossed*
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Notice of Action [Aug. 19th, 2006|04:18 pm]
Finally we received a confirmation of our application being received and accepted for both David's green card and his work permit.

About damned time, if you as me.
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USPS: Sure Know How To Keep A Girl Waiting [Aug. 4th, 2006|11:13 pm]
[Tags|]
[mood |pissed offpissed off]

I am so ridiculously glad I used delivery confirmation on this!



That was a week ago that I sent those off, and as of today, it's *just* reached Illinois at 4:45 PM tonight, which means they'll probably attempt delivery tomorrow. This was after they promised me four days for delivery.

I'm so glad I have delivery confirmation for David's AOS Package, otherwise starting about next Thursday, I'd be wondering why I hadn't received my NOA (Notice of Action: Proof that my packet was received) yet. Damn it, don't they understand that some people have their entire lives riding on mail being received by a certain date? (Admittedly, David's had to be received by August 29th, which is why we sent it *exactly* one month ahead of time.)

It reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Babu gets deported to Pakistan because Jerry and Co. don't give him his mail and he never receives his green card renewal application, and then the immigration attorney they have for him falls through because Jerry is pretending to be dark and depressed so that George can be the funny one and hit on her. Only the attorney likes dark and depressed, falls for Jerry so George plays dark and depressed, blows the whole thing, and she decides to not help them out after all.

And something happens and do do do do do.

We sent the packet, btw, missing one document: the I-693A vaccination suppliment. We are still trying to find a USCIS-approved civil surgeon to transfer David's vaccination records to the I-693A sheet, and it was better to send in the packet and have them send a request for information than to hold off and have it not arrive until after David's visa expired. Sure, this may delay his green card a few more months (and really, what's two or three months when *our* local processing center is taking TWELVE to do Adjustment of Status applications where the other three in our area that we're not assigned to are doing them in 90 to 180 days!) but it's better than having him overstay his K-1 and technically be illegal.
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Updates on Random Things [Jul. 23rd, 2006|10:40 pm]
I'm sorry I haven't updated this journal more recently. David and I have been waiting for the certified copies of the marriage certificate to come back from Nevada before we could move on this any more -- and the certified copies arrived yesterday.

Finally.

I spent most of the weekend filling out our various forms, getting the passport photos we had taken immediately after the wedding put together, putting together the instructions for the application, and all the other stupid, niggling paperwork details that get forgotten along the way. I also began working on my name change, and my first document with my married name -- my very important voter registration card -- came through on Friday, followed by my pension and life insurance beneficiary change on Saturday which, much to my amusement, seems to have listed my husband as R. W. David instead of David R. W.

Geniuses that run the state government, I swear. So now I have to call the pension people *again* and probably fill out the same form *again* and see if I can get somewhere with that.

I also got my name changed ID badge at work over the last week, thanks mostly to me losing the original badge and putting in a name change application the day before it was lost and in need of replacement, thus cutting in front of people who've been waiting 6 months to get their badges changed. See, you can cheat the system.

Now, we're just waiting for David's passport, my dad to fill out the Affidavit of Sponsorship, and for me to scare up $325 for the application, $70 for the biometric fee, and $180 for the application for work authorization (which we could always apply for after the fact, I suppose) and we'll be good to go.

In the meantime, I just sealed up and am about to send off my passport name change application, which means I'll have only my Driver's License as ID for a while, which I'm none too thrilled about, but hey, it's what needs to be done.
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SSN [Jun. 29th, 2006|06:50 pm]
David's SSN arrived today. It was marked as not eligable to work without prior approval / EAD, but at least we can get him into college and onto my insurance now.
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