The journey of getting a visa for your spouse is an exercise in patience and discipline and you must be able to be extremely thorough in your preparation if you want to eliminate pitfalls.
My method to apply visa for fiance has been to consider it a college course wherein I know there are tests and quizzes with a midterm and a final exam. The process is also broken down into parts where the timeframes seem to be the same length as a college semester.The first order of business is to gather your materials and prepare for success by collecting evidence of your involvement in your spouse’s life. This could mean plane ticket stubs, souvenirs, cocktail napkins and endless photographs of the two of you together. This is essential when you proceed further because you will need to prove the validity of your marriage to the satisfaction of the review board.
If you send or receive an email, save it because you will archive absolutely everything relevant to your case and you need to realize that their premise is to assume the worst and subsequently be proven wrong. You must also make individual email folders to keep the sorted mail organized because later you will make a screen capture of your communication with your wife. If you have a Skype account you should include that too.The first step is to get familiar with USCIS (Citizenship/ Immigration)and their website because that is where you learn about requirements to begin your case. The I-130 is one of many forms you will need and the website will provide directions for completing your documents.
What the website doesn’t tell you is how to make a presentation, which is crucial to your advancing through the system.
Splurge and buy office supplies because this is your big chance to plead your case and the more you can provide them with evidence and appropriate labels the more they can follow the chain of documents.
Buy protective sleeves for all the original documents and have at least 3 photocopies of every original, and learn how to clearly print and describe every document on a post it. Do not make any assumptions about the importance (or lack of) of your documents; if you legibly print the description and relevance of every photo and label it you will eliminate costly time delays as a result of “request for evidence”
Avoid unnecessary delays by having 2” x 2” passport photos and plenty of pre-signed documents to eliminate the excessive waiting times of international mailing.
The waiting period can exceed 5 months and you will collect the I-797 (Notice of Action) you receive but it is essential you have a fully functioning email address because hard copies are fewer than emails.
It is best to have all of your wife’s family and background information available because you will need it on an ongoing basis as well as multiple blank documents with her signature because you will need a template to work from but you should have backup documents ready to go instead of mailing internationally which can add extra weeks to your processing time.
Use a plastic presentation binder with pockets and carefully compile your evidence and insert your relevant forms and mail it to the lockbox facility using priority mail with signature confirmation.
Homeland Security/ Citizenship Immigration is only the first phase before they forward it to the National Visa Center for further processing.
Keep your case numbers in a safe place and provide as much detail as possible when calling about your status, you will be surprised how efficient the system works when you don’t resist it and simply cooperate with all the pertinent information requested!
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