Javier’s Green Card Has Arrived

Javier’s green card has arrived!! I was anticipating it may take much longer to come, as it felt the whole immigration process took a long time. Reading online that it took some people 6 months to a year to receive their green card did have me scared a little. We have been checking the mail with anticipation daily and yesterday, it finally arrived.

GreenCardArrival

What does this mean? This means that Javier can now work in the United States and for those unfamiliar with a green card, it allows legal permanent residents to be able to work. He must carry the card with him at all times. The card came with a paper envelope to prevent WiFi interference, or so it says.

Green Card

This has been a week of joys and sorrows. Our 3rd nephew was born on September 21, 2015. We still have not been able to see them, as they live in a different area, but thanks to technology, we have been able to see him. We cannot wait to meet him and to hold him. Yesterday, September 22, 2015, Javier’s Aunt Lydia passed away. She had been sick, but we were able to spend some time with her before leaving Argentina. Please pray for his family and for us, as we mourn her loss from afar. You may wonder, why we will not travel for a funeral. In Argentine culture, the funeral happens in the hours following the death.

We are only in the middle of the week, but with all of the excitement and sadness, we are glad that the green card has arrived and it is one more step in us starting our new life in the United States. What has been something exciting or sad to happen in your life this week?

Our First Month In The United States

We have been in the United States a month. This whole month has seriously flown by and I feel like I have been running since we arrived. If you have followed our journey, you may notice that some information is missing. Information such as when and how Javier’s immigrant visa arrived, how we finished everything we needed to do to our house in Argentina, how our flights went, etc. There is just so much to share. I will be filling in all of that information in the next few posts, in case you are someone to hopefully do the same journey we have with immigration.

First Month in US

Our first full day (mostly in the airport) in the United States was Wednesday, August 19, 2015,  and we already had something scheduled. Our oldest would be starting school on August 24, 2015, and his school was having an open house on Thursday, August 20. We had new, or new to us, clothes/shoes already in the closets at my parents’ house. Some of these were from my parents (glad they like to shop like I do), some from cousins, and other clothes from family friends. They knew we could not bring much with us when coming from Argentina and met our needs. One friend from high school gave us tons of school uniform clothes for Noah and shoes. Everything went smoothly at the open house, although our son was jet lagged and crying as we exited the car and went into the school. We knew this was to be expected as Argentina was an hour ahead of time and the total layout of the day is different.

Our son started school on his 6th birthday, August 24, 2015. This began a new schedule for our family. He is in a dual immersion school and the only one in our county. This was important to us, so that he may retain the Spanish he already knows. He seems to have adjusted really well.

Kindergarten

Javier’s social security card arrived a few days after we got here, but his green card still has not arrived. The green card is what all immigrants need to have to work, but the social security office let me know that his immigrant visa can be used as a temporary green card until his actual card arrives. This was good to know! My grandfather told us when we got married, he would give him all of his carpentry tools when we moved here. When my uncle was here, he, Javier, and my dad got all of the tools and brought them here where we are residing.

Since arriving, I have celebrated my birthday. I am continuing to do some social media work. It is helpful to be able to contribute some to our household, especially in this time of transition. My driver’s license was about to expire, so I have gotten a new one, sort of! I am finally having my married name put on a license after being married over seven years and have to wait for it to arrive in the mail.

My Birthday

Our twins, along with their brother, are missing their friends in Argentina. I wonder if they realize how far away we are from their Argentina friends when I hear them mention their name. But they are loving living so close to their cousins and they all giggle in delight when they are together.

We have highly enjoyed getting to celebrate families birthdays (our niece and mine) and Labor Day. All of these special events were spent together with family and such a nice change after not being able to do so. It has been nice to run into old friends and to see family in the short amount of time that we have been here. Many of you were the ones praying for us through this whole journey and what an encouragement to see many of you when we went to my home church. This has been such a blessing to us!

Cousins

We have to admit we have had moments of frustration. This is just part of the journey and will make great stories for our future generations. We have gone from having a house and a vehicle to nothing. I remind myself of the early settlers who came to the US, with just the clothes on their back or with one small bag containing a change of clothes. My family is graciously letting us stay with them until we find a place and letting us use their vehicles.

To those friends we have seen and talked to on the phone, and family who have done the same, thank you for re-welcoming us into the United States and helping us as we are transitioning! Our journey continues…

The Immigration Interview

Monday, July 21, 2015, I woke up nervous, but ready to go to Javier’s immigration interview. All of our outfits had been laid out the night before, along with the shoes set to the side. The place we rented was only 4 blocks away from the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires and we planned to walk there at 8:3o A.M. to arrive a few minutes before our 9:00 A.M. appointment. The directions we had received from the embassy stated that we should not arrive more than 15 minutes early. Once we got all of our jackets on, we grabbed our information and off we went. Each step had me praying and I felt more nervous the closer we got. There was a van set up on the side of the street with a sign stating they could take passport pictures and hold your phone during the interview. The van was a make-shift sort of business, but I remember thinking there is no way I would leave my cell phone with them and I was glad I had Javier’s pictures and had saved us money by doing it ourselves. The embassy is surrounded by a big iron fence and on one side people had begun to line up, essentially awaiting their turn for a chance at a tourist visa. The email told us to pass all of the people and to go to the window at the front. We walked right up and told them we were there for an immigration visa. The girl behind the counter asked for a few things and then she told us to wait to the side until our name was called. Within minutes, our name was called and we were directed inside to the security scanner.

Immigration Interview

We took our jackets off and placed our documents in the bins to go through the scanner, just as you would at the airport. The machine went off and I assumed it was from my insulin pump, but it was because of the keys. We had to leave them there and could pick them up when we were finished. We were told to pass the line and to go to the following window outside. This is where Javier had his picture taken and fingerprints scanned. There was a huge line, but I am assuming we were able to pass because ours was for immigration rather than a tourist visa. We were then told to go inside and we passed many people in line, but told the security guy what we were there for and took a seat. Many people were waiting inside and they had a section for Americans for services they may need. We sat down in that section and about 15 minutes later our name was called and we went to Window 5 (this was for immigration). Praying as I walked, we entered into the booth and the lady told us that the kids and I could wait outside the booth if we wanted, but I said it was fine and the children and I waited. She started to ask for forms and I had everything organized by page dividers and almost every form was in a sheet protector. She began to mark items off the list that stated we had them. We had to show the originals and then we realized that we had not made copies of the legalized birth certificate and of the legalized marriage certificate. I had copies made prior to that part. It was no big deal because I had read that we could pay $1 US for any copies. That is a lot to pay for one sheet, but if we had to, then fine. She asked for the medical and this is where it got bad. We did not have the medical portion and we had been hoping we could bring it the next day since we knew we’d be getting it that afternoon. No, she states that we could not proceed and it was inferred that it was out fault. I spoke up and stated we had made several attempts (phone, email, and FB page) to contact the embassy to no avail. She stated they only worked through email. I think she began to get confused as Javier would speak in Spanish and I would speak back in English. After I told her the FB page had replied to me that they were expecting my email she went to check. Yes, she found out that our appointment had been moved to Thursday, July 30, 2015, and she said it was most likely sent to us when we were walking to our appointment. We found out they had sent the email at 8:35 A.M. and we had left at 8:30 A.M. to walk to the embassy. Missed the message by five minutes! She then insisted we needed one other form from our sponsors. This was the first time we had heard this and it was not sent to us in the initial email of items to bring to the embassy. She then flippantly said that maybe you would need it and then added that you need it and it has to be signed. Fine, we would do what we had to do. We left the embassy and walked back quietly to the apartment to try and figure out what to do with the one item we “might” need and what were we going to do about lodging since we were only reserved through July 28.

Walking to the Embassy

We immediately called our sponsors and said we needed that form and fast. They worked on getting that to us and we made arrangements for a hotel. The place we were currently in was getting new floors the next day so we could no longer be there. Once we got a hotel reserved for the next two nights, we got our stuff ready to go to Javier’s final medical appointment.

The medical appointment seemed pretty fast. We spoke with another couple, who were there with their young son. Once Javier had his medical packet, we headed back to our place. It was nice that there was a washing machine because we were going to be spending more days than previously planned in Buenos Aires.

The next day, we left around noon to go visit some old friends before heading to the hotel. Our friend was glad to see us and we made arrangements to meet up the next day with her and her daughter for lunch. We typed in the direction of the hotel and off we went. We had been in Palermo, but the hotel was in Palermo Hollywood. It was a very nice hotel and once we got in the room with the kids, Javier went to the do parking. He quickly called me and stated there was a problem because of the kids. When we made the reservation, it did not let me choose an option for them. They wanted us to pay more than we had for us for two nights. It had taken us so long to find a place with the rush and aggravation of the problems at the embassy. The owner then came by and realized that our children were small and said we could add them on for half of the price initially stated. Perfect! We did that and were then able to breathe easier.

We were tourists the next two days and made sure to take time to print off the documents that were missing or potentially needed, plus got copies of the legalized documents.

Palermo Hollywood

Thursday, July 30, 2015, we got up earlier and got dressed. I had the clothes all set aside for the children and the two days leading up to this we took time to make sure all of the documents were there and in the right place. It states that there can be delay if items are out of order. We walked 15-20 blocks to the embassy and I felt like I prayed more this walk than I had a few days before with the first appointment. The kids pointed at the place where we previously stayed as it was on the way. We repeated the same steps as before about going to the window at the embassy and once inside. After several minutes of waiting, we turned our papers in and the same lady was there. She was not who I was hoping to see, but she did not even ask for the one form that she insisted we needed , but had slightly said we “might” need. She could see we had everything and then told us to go sit back down and wait. It was almost an hour and a half later that we were called. The children were a bit restless by this point, but great considering the amount of time we were there. The same lady looked at us from behind the glass window and asked if we had Form I-130, but if we did not have it, it was okay because they did not ask for it. I had brought some extra stuff with us, so I quickly scanned through the document book flipping the pages. Unfortunately, I did not and she said their system was being very slow loading it and that was the delay. She was starting to tell us to go wait back in the waiting area and the consulate walked right by her and said she could go ahead and do the interview.

The interview was fast and what we have been waiting for, for months. The consulate was a female and she asked when we planned to travel, when we were married, and how did we meet. It was smooth and she smiled at the kids. She then looked at Javier and said,” Felicidades!” That means congratulations in Spanish. When I spoke up about how you do not hear a lot about people meeting at weddings, she told me her parents had met that way. Within five to seven days we should have the visa, according to her.

Thank you so much for all of the prayers for us! We still have a way to go as we begin a new life in the United States.

The Process Leading Up To The Immigration Visa

Our interview has been completed at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina! Instead of making you read all the way to the bottom, I will let you know now that Javier was granted an immigration visa. This is what we have been waiting and praying for. I will now share how the interview and how the “nerve-racking” process went.

Proces Leading Up To Immigration Visa

We left our home at almost 4 A.M. on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Our drive to Buenos Aires was an estimated 13-14 hours. With three small children, we had calculated several stops for the bathroom, to refill with gas for the car, and to get food. The drive was long, but the kids did great! They slept for a while, due to us leaving so early. We saw some beautiful sites of Argentina. The only place we hit traffic was in Buenos Aires, but that was to be expected. On the drive we passed many toll roads and the most expensive was in Buenos Aires. The last one, before getting to our “home” for the week, had so many cars backed up that everyone was honking their horns. This meant they opened the toll and we got go through that one for free!

Driving To Buenos Aires

Airbnb.com is where we found our rental for the week. We had never used this service before and decided to take a chance with it. There are good reviews and it is a legit company. You can see pictures of the home beforehand, as well as reviews of the host. We had initially thought about renting for only four days, but opted for the weekly price because it was only a little bit more. So glad, we did this! I will explain more later… If someone signs up via the link, we get credit for future stays in Argentina. We will be leaving very soon, but nice to know about the service that is international.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015, we headed out to get some documents legalized, since they were not considered as so. This was strange to me, since here where we live, they are the legal documents. We took a taxi because we had chosen to pay for our car to be safely parked in a parking garage for the week. The first place said that we had to have a signature from an office representing our state. Instead of walking, the man suggested we take the subway, and that is what we did. It was exciting for the kids, but we were very careful with our belongings and kept our hands firmly on the kids. One thing about Argentina is that they give priority to the elderly, disabled, pregnant, and to the mothers with young children. Seats were given up for the kids and for me to sit down almost every time we rode the subway while in Buenos Aires. At the state of Chaco building, we were in and out within five minutes, thanks to the kids. I would like to say thanks to the kids. Then it was back to the subway and to the first building to get the legalization done. We were now able to check off the marriage certificate and birth certificate being legalized. The email from the embassy stated that we needed a different police report. This is very good that we did not ignore it, because the police report we had was only good for 30 days and Javier had the report done in May. Off to the police station with the children and they gave several options of how to get the report back fast. Javier opted for the 24 hour option and this meant we did not have to go back to that building, because the report could be printed online. Our youngest son was worn out from all of the walking and excitement of the day and fell asleep while we were still waiting for everything to be finished there.

Outings in Buenos Aires

Thursday, July 23, 2015, was the medical portion of the interview process. All of us slept later that day since the appointment was not until the afternoon. A subway took us close to where we needed to be and we walked the rest of the way. I began to feel like I was already back in the United States, because there seemed like there was a McDonald’s every two blocks, plus Starbucks, Burger King, and Subway. We even saw a TGIFriday’s and a Staples store. The medical part was in a small office that would not seat many, but the kids and I took a seat and waited. It did not end well. The doctor gave my husband orders for his X-ray, blood test, and to get one more vaccination that he lacked. That was not the bad part. The bad part was being told that he could not complete his medical until Monday, July 27, 2015, in the afternoon. Our embassy appointment was for that morning. The doctor said it was our fault and when the embassy emailed us our appointment we scheduled the medical right away stating when our appointment was. The only thing we could do was try and contact the embassy. I tried to call the embassy twice and could never get past an automated message and I also emailed them.

Friday, July 24, 2015 we got up extra early as to try and get past the rush hour on the subway. The rush hour is much earlier in Buenos Aires. We only had to make two stops. The X-ray and blood test were in the same building (one upstairs and then the other downstairs). This was very fast and then we headed for the vaccination. I am not sure why, but that seemed to take longer, but I sat the whole time with the children in a lobby that was comfortable. By this time, we were all getting hungry because we had not eaten any breakfast. The day before we had explored the area close by, that consisted of a mall with several McDonald’s.

McDonald’s was our choice for breakfast and while Javier stood at the counter waiting for food, our twins were running and our son tripped over our daughter’s legs landing very hard into the middle of two glass walls. Yes, there was blood and lots of it. The McDonald’s employees at the Recoletta Mall location were great. They played with the other two children, while we went to the paramedic station they had for the mall. Gluing the cut shut was an option they mentioned, but then they said no because the cut was too deep and too much blood. Our son screamed so much about putting a bandage on his head to try and stop the blood. It was decided I should go to the hospital with our son, because he always wants to be with me and may do better. He did not want to ride in the wheelchair to the ambulance so I held him and also held him in the back of the ambulance. The sirens were blaring the whole time and they kept announcing that is was a pediatric emergency. The hospital staff were all great and our son ended up with three stitches. He screamed and screamed, but it may have been that I had to hold him down with two other nurses. That was our excitement for that day! I finally reached out to the embassy’s facebook page when we got to our place and they messaged back that they would be waiting for my email concerning what we should do about lacking the medical portion.

StitchesThe rest of the weekend was spent by us going to the zoo, having a cookout with some friends, and celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary.

Buenos Aires ZooTomorrow, I will update all about our interview….

 

Our Interview Date Has Been Set

We have our appointment!! We have our appointment!! I feel like it has taken us forever to get to this point, but I am so thankful for those of you who have encouraged and prayed for us.

Interview Date
We received an email this afternoon stating our interview date in Buenos Aires. It stated that we needed to bring some items that were missing from our case. They should already have all of the items listed as missing since these were sent in with the other required documents, but, either way, we will be sure to have them with us.

Before we can have the appointment, a medical appointment must be done. The only issue is that there are two approved doctors for the appointment and they are both in Buenos Aires, just 13-14 hours away. One of the first things we did after receiving the email was to contact both of the listed doctors. Javier stated where we will be coming from (in distance and how we needed an appointment before our interview date). We have heard back from one. There have been a few back and forth emails and the last one Javier sent asked if the appointment he gave for a week from today, July 21, 2015, could be changed to later in the week. I was about to post this, but we just got an email stating the medical appointment has been moved to July 23, 2015. This date is much better for us.

We are so excited to finally get this email, but at the same time, I am beginning to feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off. Lots of things for us to consider, in a short amount of time:

  • Appointment date-This has been set.
  • Medical-This has been set, but hoping to change.
  • Transportation-This is still up in the air. Do we drive or do we take one of the public transportation services there?
  • Hotel-This will be set after dates are set for sure with the medical.
  • Other decisions-Javier can go for his medical and to get another form legalized (I will share more in the next paragraph) by public transportation and come back afterwards and we drive as a family a few days later to Buenos Aires.

I must add, it is also vacation time here for the schools. This also means that prices seem to be slightly higher on hotels.

The email stated that we needed to have our marriage certificate and Javier’s birth certificate legalized. We thought they were legalized. Javier was born here and we were married here. Apparently, it must be legalized in Buenos Aires. If Javier goes for the medical before us, he can probably also get this done.

3rdTimeline

The interview date has been set for July 27, 2015, at 9:00 A.M. Our 7th wedding anniversary is on the 26th, so I guess that it will be fitting to say this is our anniversary gift this year. Continue to pray though that all goes well with the appointment and we have all the documents they ask for. It personally always makes me nervous, because your fate and that of your loved one is in the hands of someone else. We will continue to update, but wanted to share this wonderful news with you all!

The Time You Wished You Got One More Email

If you have an email account, then you know how fast your inbox can fill up. Majority of the time, a very small percentage is personal email. If you are not careful, your inbox will become overloaded and each new mail, means another one to delete. I will tell you about the time I wished I got another email.

The Time You Wished You Got One More Email

On Thursday, our congressman suggested that we call the U.S. Embassy in Argentina. By that time, all of our communication had taken place (via email and on the phone with our sponsors), and it was too late to call. Friday morning, I called around the time they opened. I listened to a series of options and after correctly choosing the right one, I was able to converse with someone at the embassy. As much as I would love to say that our questions, about when we will have our interview, etc., were answered—I can’t! The lady politely told me that all the communication must be done over email. I had sent an email earlier in the week and still have not received a response.

Once I got off the phone, I called our sponsors and told them and emailed our congressman. The congressman responded by thanking me for the follow up and let me know that they had sent an email Thursday night and on Friday morning to the embassy. I have checked my email countless times since then hoping that I would receive something from the embassy. This is the time when I wished I got one more email in my inbox that contains over 23,000 emails.

The good thing was that we were finally able to complete the DS-260. This is a form that you can only complete online and we have been trying and trying to be able to complete it. The technical error/hack that they had on their system really delayed people from completing the DS-260. I can happily say as of Friday, July 10, 2015, our DS-260 was completed!

After conversing with our sponsors, we have wondered if this is what has been holding the embassy up, in regards to contacting us. The embassy should have everything they need now, besides the medical. They are supposed to send us the proper forms for all of that, along with the interview date.

We appreciate all the prayers and know they make a difference. My prayer, as I sign off for the day, is to receive an email from the embassy stating our next steps in the case.

A Call To Our Congressman

Each passing day has us anticipating a letter, an email, or a phone call from the embassy. Our case was approved to be expedited on June 23, 2015. Since then, we have heard nothing.

A Call To Our Congressman

Our oldest son, Noah, has to start school on August 24, 2015, in the United States. We really desire to travel as a family and it should be that way. I am not one who worries about tons, but each passing day has me more nervous. Per suggestion, from someone who works in immigration in the United States, our agents contacted their congressman today.

A message had to be left with the congressman, who quickly responded, and I had to give them written permission to reveal any information to the agents. Our agent had called us to tell us this and I opened my email to see the email had just arrived. I quickly sent back all the information needed. The congressman let me know that the U.S. Embassy of Argentina, has had our information since July 1, 2015. We knew they already had it, because the National Visa Center (NVC) has given us this information the few times we have called them since June 23, 2015. They have suggested we call them to schedule an appointment, as soon as possible. That makes it sound so easy and I hope it is, but truthfully, nothing has been easy with this process.

We tried to call the other day, and the number stated on the website, was no longer working or would not connect. I called another number, but it was only for tourist visas and we need the one for an immigration visa. I hope and pray the number the NVC has given me, will work tomorrow. We sent an email off on Monday, July 6, 2015, asking about our interview date and how we still lack the DS-260 (due to technical errors), but have not had a response. I know they were closed today for Argentina’s Independence Day and the embassy also celebrate the United States holidays, as well as of the country they are in. The congressman did let me know that he sent an email to the embassy.

Please pray I am able to get some information from the embassy tomorrow. It would put some ease in our minds and help us have a date in mind for when we will be able to leave, hopefully, as a family. Thank you!

Expedited

We have some good news to share!! Before, I delve into revealing the good news, I will go back and tell you how we have been able to receive this good news.

Expedited

Back on June 11, 2015, I sent an email to the National Visa Center (NVC) expedite department. I stated the facts that our oldest son will have to start school on August 24, 2015, in the United States and that we would really prefer to travel as a family. The information was given that we only need Javier to immigrate since the children and I are all US born citizens. When I initially asked the NVC how to expedite, I was told it could take up to two months. Hearing two months was a disappointment since we are hoping to be in the states for the children transitioning and having to buy school clothes/school supplies for our son’s school year.

On June 16, 2015, we received an email stating that our request for expedition was being reviewed. The whole time we have been praying it would be approved and even asked friends and family that we would receive a “yes” to a request our family has made.

Today, June 23, 2015, I opened my email to see the return address of where I had initially sent the email staring back at me. I said a prayer and nervously opened the email to read our case has been approved to be expedited!! After many stressful days of this whole process, this was a fresh breath of air, restoring hope where some has been lost along the way.

Expedited Email

Since the time I first sent the request, we have continued to fix items in our home and also have gotten rid of items. We had a yard sale that was pretty good and left us happy that a few more items had left our house. Several different people have contacted us that are interested in renting our house when the time comes.

We also received an email on Sunday, June 21, 2015, with our receipt for our IV fee. The only bad thing is that we are still unable to fill out the DS-260 (I may have previously stated the DS-261 and was confused , since we did that a long time ago). With the news that our case is expedited, maybe we will be able to do that form soon, but the issue is with the technical errors with their website, that are being worked on, “24, 7”. We shall see…

If you have had your case expedited before, what was the process after receiving notification?

A Hack Or A Glitch?

Whenever you come across technical issues online, it is assumed most of the time that it is due to a glitch within the website. I pretty much always believe this, then find out if may have been the job of a hacker.

A Hack Or A Glitch

We are still experiencing some sort of technical difficulties accessing all the forms we need to immigrate to the United States. Turns out it is a major issue, affecting all of the U.S. immigration across the world.

On Sunday, June 14, 2015, our sponsor and I both received an invoice to pay IV fee (part of the DS-260). There was no surprise that we still could not pay it online. Our sponsor took time off from their vacation, to go to the post office, on Monday morning to do the money order. Anything to keep the long immigration process flowing. They shared with me how they got the money order tracked, so we might know for sure when it has been delivered to the specific office.

The only thing left for us to do now, before the interview process, is the DS-260 form. This form also cannot be accessed due to technical issues. Once we receive our receipt for the IV form, I will call the National Visa Center and ask about this needed form.

Current Issues

The so called technical issues, whether due to a hack or a glitch in the system have been such a huge aggravation. None of us would have ever imagined this whole immigration process would have taken this long.

A few weeks ago I read about a China hack on U.S. government websites. I then sent it to our sponsor and commented that maybe this was part of our problem. Unfortunately, I can no longer find the exact link. Our sponsor actually saw it come across the news screen over the weekend. It says this affects current and former government employees. The issue is that our personal information has already been submitted to the government. I have continued to be a part of VisaJourney, and have found much helpful information on the site. It was mentioned on the site that the technical issues were due to a glitch in the U.S government site and that it has happened before, but at the same time, the China hack was mentioned.

Who do we believe? You cannot always believe everything you read on the internet or hear on the news. At least this “so called” information, explains why there have been so many technical issues.

Elevator Music Can Drive You Crazy

Imagine stepping onto an elevator and hearing the soft melodies played overhead, it is soothing, calming the nerves as the elevator inches to the next floor. Since some people have fear of elevators, I am assuming this is why the music is played, to calm the fear and put the people at ease.

Elevator Music Can Drive You Crazy

Let me tell you, elevator music, after a couple of minutes can drive you crazy! This specific genre of music is not only used on elevators, but for when you are put on hold, during a phone call. I will share with you, my current experience.

We are still waiting to pay the DS-260 fee to be able to access the required document. I was told on May 28, 2015 that we should hear something within a week. On Friday, June 5, 2015, we (our sponsor and myself) were told by another agent that Monday or Tuesday we should be able to pay and “it is working for some people and to just keep trying”. Yesterday, I spent lots of time trying to call the National Visa Center (NVC) to ask why we still had not been able to pay the fee and to ask another question related to documents a NVC agent had told our sponsor I needed to fill out. Once the phone connects to the NVC, you are stuck waiting, listening to elevator music anywhere from 20 minutes to almost an hour. It will drive you crazy! Every few minutes, a voice over of a man repeating a message comes on. Since, it takes so long to speak to an actual person, your mind normally wonders onto other things. By the way, it takes many calls before you can actually talk to someone. It normally plays an automatic message stating they are receiving high call volume and to try back later, where the phone will then disconnect. Frustrating all around!

After many unsuccessful attempts on my part to get someone on the phone, yesterday, our sponsor was able to get through. Our sponsor said the agent was helpful and could see what was lacking. She stated she was going to send everything to her supervisor for us to get an invoice for the bill and the DS-261 document needing to be completed. An agent, named Sandy, had told me the same thing on May 28, 2015, but we shall see.

Once our sponsor relayed the correct information to us, we prepared the lacking documents. I had high hopes of emailing them off yesterday evening, but ran out of printer paper for one document. We emailed our documents, but this was a checklist that was required to be with everything. It was probably for the best because we were actually into the wee hours of the morning (between 1 and 2 A.M.). Probably 85% of the documents the NVC already had, from where it required, but to be safe, I sent the information again. Our marriage certificate, translated copy, birth certificates, etc.

I scanned the documents, but failed to scan them to save to PDF and PDF format is required. The documents needed to be named with our case number, name of the person intending to immigrate, plus what the document was(for example: birth certificate, affidavit of support, etc). Last night, I had done part of this, only I did not have the name. Since it was late, it did cross my mind about the PDF format, since I had to send the  tax letter that way, but I kept plugging along scanning the documents.

Activities for June 9, 2015

Before sending off the email this morning, I checked to make sure I was doing it exactly right or else the case may be delayed. I feel like it already has been to something out of our control (their website issue). The files needed to be named a specific way and all need to be PDF format. Oh great! I had spent lots of time scanning the documents when our children were asleep last night and now had to change the format. The option to easily change the format was not coming up and I anxiously, wanted to get the documents emailed. A quick Google search brought me to a website, named Convert JPG to PDF. Perfect, it was what I needed and ended up being super easy, even if it did take time I had not planned on using in this way. For future reference, make sure when you are scanning, scan to PDF (if required). If not, you can always use this website I used and they have a thing where after 5000 documents have been converted to PDF, they donate a vaccine to children in need. Each document I converted, the numbers went down showing how many more they needed until a vaccine could be given.

All of the required documents, besides what we cannot access, are now in their hands, as of this morning. It was random, but my sponsor and I, both received emails this afternoon stating documents that were missing. The one for my sponsor was an automatic message they send out and I knew this from when an NVC agent told me and the other was for the documents, I had sent out this morning. We pray it does not take 30 days to review, as stated. If we do not receive something in the next few days, we may have to call NVC again and be put on hold with the awful elevator music. What do you do in cases like this, where you are placed on hold?