Go Back   British Expats / Living & Moving Abroad / USA / Marriage Based Visas

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old May 20th 2003, 2:17 am   #1
ScarlettHill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default AOS interview, Dallas, Texas, May 19 2003 - looooong!

Well I promised to tell the tale same-day so here it is. NO PEEKING down at the bottom to see how we fared - travel the story the way we did! Only try not to get lost, spill coffee on yourselves or forget your shopping. That would be taking entering into the spirit of things a little too far!

Our appointment was for 7.15 but we were organised, we were ready. I cooked hot biscuits for breakfast to fill the girls up as we'd been told we could have a very long wait and no food or drink is allowed in the BCIS building. I had all my files in order. We don't have a car so we had ordered a taxi the night before. It came early and we gave him the exact address.

A naturalised citizen just the year before, the taxi driver was appalled we hadn't been queuing since 4am and expressed doubts on our behalf. But I was able to confidently tell him we didn't have to queue because of our letter. Oh yes! We knew what we were doing!

We waved him off $30 dollars lighter in pocket (ouch!) and walked sympathetically past the crowd who had been waiting to be seen since the wee small hours. I flourished our letters, smiling, at the security guard... who flourished a map right back at us. We were in the wrong place! There are (at least) two BCIS buildings on Stemmons Freeway. And they are only near each other if you have wheels. We had given the driver the right address but he had assumed he knew where we were going and hadn't read it carefully. Nor had we. The place looked right. It was on Stemmons Freeway and it was the place where I'd got my EAD two months earlier. Unfortunately it was NOT the place they were conducting AOS interviews that day.

We called the cab company and fortunately our driver was not too far away, and got us to the right address on time - without having the cheek to ask for more money. The office at 3010 N. Stemmons Freeway opens at 7am and we were there with 5 minutes to spare. Only one person was ahead of us. The taxi driver joked - this must be where the British people come!

In through the doors, showing passports and letters of invitation. Bags and files through an X-Ray machine. We were first to the door where we were told to post our letters through a small mail box. A little later another family arrived and posted their letter. They got called first and we reasoned it was because their letter was on top of ours in the mailbox. Never mind, we would be next. Then another family arrived and dropped their letters in the box. We got that sinking feeling... All day people would be trickling in and dropping their letters just on top of ours. We were in for a long wait...

I had brought notebooks and fancy pens and post-it notes to keep the girls occupied. Lizzy made fluorescent yellow labels for everyone - 'mommy', daddy', and two 'sister' labels. I'm sure that helped

As it turned out we didn't have long to wait. I had only made three trips to the bathroom (what nerves do to your stomach contents - yeach!) when we were called through a door. It was 7.30am.

Halfway down the corridor we were stopped and myself and the girls had to sign cards and do index fingerprints. Then it was into the interview room where we stayed for the next hour and a half.

Before we sat we all - including the girls - had to swear that everything we told the interviewer would be the truth. (Do they go to special classes for that eye-lock they fix you with?) We swore. We told the truth.

Among the things I didn't get asked for were: the notice of approval, birth certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, name-change evidence. It seemed it was enough that we had sent all that with the original I-485. He didn't ask to see the originals but I had them with me. Don't take this account as a reason not to take stuff - interviews vary. Take everything.

We were asked for ID. The passports were enough for the girls. I showed my EAD and Garth his ID card. Then he started to go through my file. At various times he asked questions. All four of us at different times were asked our date of birth - not each others which we had been expecting. He asked the date of the marriage and was amused when we explained we'd been married twice - once legally and once a ceremony. He asked how many attended and we showed him a photo of us at the front of the full church, which seemed to satisfy him. He asked me where I was born and my mum's name. He asked Garth where he was born. He was serious but friendly and made an effort to make the girls at ease.

He asked me had I ever claimed benefits in the US, been arrested for anything or ever committed any crime. Ever entered the country fraudulently or been turned back at the Port of Entry or deported. No, no, no and no.

When he got to the finances I explained I'd prepared new Affidavits of Support. I had done three lots, one for each of us but the girls' files were just photocopies of mine. He left the girls till later. As a family of four, Garth has to make $23,000 a year to put us 125% over the poverty line. Our tax return for 2002 showed just over $21,000 but I had added a note on the affidavit to say that additional evidence proved Garth was now earning above $23,000. The additional evidence consisted of an employer letter confirming his salary, a tax shelter statement that showed Garth made one dollar and 56 cents over the 23,000 barrier (phew!) in the calendar year 2002 and a computer printout from human resources that confirmed that figure. We had also included 1040s and W2s for 2002, 2001 and 2000. I had made up the bundle by double hole punching the tops of the documents and clipping them together. It exactly matched the way his file was made out and he lifted the whole thing straight into his own file, seemed to give some thought to our additional evidence, which I explained again to him saying we really hoped it would be enough, then he said he was going to go ahead and approve it. Wahaaaaay!!! First hurdle over and thanks to the newsgroup who told us it was possible. We had prepared co-sponsor affidavits (from Garth's lovely dad) but I had decided not to even mention them unless he decided not to approve Garth's affidavit. Garth's dad was completely happy to help us but we didn't want to put something as heavy as that affidavit on anyone but ourselves unless we had no choice.

Next he asked about the medical. He told us because we came in on a fiancee visa we didn't need the full medical again but we would have to get evidence of vaccinations. He seemed really surprised when I produced the sealed vaccination supplement I had got from the civil surgeon - told us he was sure he was going to have to ask us to come back with it. Seems like the message hasn't got out to everyone yet that that's needed. The medical form was the only piece of evidence we brought that he had to hole-punch himself. I hadn't been able to prepare that because you're not allowed to open the envelope.

....go to part 2

Last edited by ScarlettHill; May 20th 2003 at 2:23 am.
 
Sponsored Links
Old May 20th 2003, 2:18 am   #2
ScarlettHill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default part 2

...part 2


Then we were asked what additional proof we had brought of a valid marriage. I handed him another file, done up like the financial one, which included an index of contents, 3 affidavits from friends, copies of our visa cards showing the same number, a printout showing we were all on Garth's health plan, photocopies of envelopes sent to us together at the same address, apartment leases naming us all and wedding photos. Again he lifted the whole bundle, already hole-punched, straight into his file. Then he told me I was approved!!!! And he stamped my passport with the magical I-551 stamp that I was sure I was going to have to wait for and gave us a copy of a notice, which we both had to sign, telling us when to apply for removal of conditions.

Next it was the children's turn: 'These look like real shady characters,' he joked. Joy, 8, stepped up to the plate. He rifled through the file and looked up to ask her, 'What's your favorite subject at school?' That was easy peasy - math. 'It says here you're married with two children!' he said, shocked. She looked uncertain and then realised he was kidding. NO! she told him. He asked her when and where she was born and whether she'd ever been arrested. We all decided that Officer Joe visiting the school didn't count. Phew! He took the copied financial docs and and lifted them, with her medical supplement, into his file.
'Now', he said, seriously, 'what do you think we should do with you?'
She wasn't sure and looked at him quizzically. I stage-whispered, 'approve, say approve.' So she told him to approve her. And out came the red stamp.

'Right then,' he said to Lizzy, who's just turned 7 and was wearing the number proudly on her T-shirt, 'YOUR turn!'

By this time Lizzy had been feeling left out and was hovering in front of his desk anyway. She wanted the chance to feel important. He asked her was Hannah her middle name? Yes. When was she born - she knew the day and the month but not the year. 'Well,' said the interviewer, 'you got the important bits. The important bits are knowing when to expect your presents, right?' Lizzy grinned. Where was she born. She had no idea. 'You weren't looking?' Joy helped her sister out and told him.

He took the med supplement and the third copy of the financial docs and lifted them into his file.

He did some more flicking through.... 'It says here,' he said in a suspicious sounding undertone, 'that you have a BOYFRIEND!' "NOOOOO,' said Lizzy, shaking her head. 'Have you ever been arrested?' Lizzy wasn't sure. 'Well, have you ever been sent to the principal's office?' he asked. She was on safer ground here and shook her head - out came the rubber stamp again.

That was it. We were conditional residents. We were celebrating on the way out enough for the guards to realise we'd been approved and shout congratulations.

And so it was out through the doors - at which point we realised we were in the middle of nowhere with no wheels, no prospect of wheels and no phone. Lady luck smiled and a bus turned up nearby. We had to go right around its route to get downtown. To celebrate we went to Starbucks, where I accidentally doused myself in coffee - I was in shock even before I was coffee-flavored - and then on to our favorite Greasy Spoon. Next stop Target to buy a new game to play with the girls. Waiting for the train we realised we'd left the game in the store and by the time we got it back we decided we might as well go to the cinema too. And now I'm typing quickly because the kids have fallen into bed and Garth has ordered Thai food.... Mmmmmm

I wouldn't say the day was easy-peasy. A lot of preparation - and a lot more stress - went into it. It wasn't a cake-walk. The guy scrutinised everything we showed him and was obviously taking his job seriously. But he didn't give us a hard time and he was friendly and helpful and careful to make the girls feel at ease, which made the day a whole lot nicer than it could have been.

I feel like we've finally arrived....

hugs to you guys
-=-
Scarlett

Last edited by ScarlettHill; May 20th 2003 at 4:08 am.
 
Old May 20th 2003, 2:31 am   #3
BE Enthusiast
 
BeachBunny's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2003
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 398
BeachBunny is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

Congrats on your green card!! Thanks for the amusing and detailed report.
__________________
It's been a long jouney, but worth it!
BeachBunny is offline  
Old May 20th 2003, 3:13 am   #4
BE Forum Addict
 
Caro's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,041
Caro is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

Congratulations Scarlett+family!

Caroline
Caro is offline  
Old May 20th 2003, 4:09 am   #5
ScarlettHill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Also, I forgot to mention - the interviewer told me we should get our green cards within two months!!!! He said one case recently got theirs within 3 weeks! Here's hoping....

still celebrating
-=-
Scarlett
 
Old May 20th 2003, 4:15 am   #6
thingluvthing2ringfingIdo
 
thing1's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon USA
Posts: 342
thing1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nice
Default

A very warm and heart felt congratulations to you and your family, Scarlett. It just goes to show you that sometimes good things ( i don't mean we things ) *do* happen to good people.

Hugs!
__________________
Thing1

UK/US Couples Yahoo! Group
thing1 is offline  
Old May 20th 2003, 4:22 am   #7
Barry
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: AOS interview, Dallas, Texas, May 19 2003 - looooong!

Way to go Dear, thats what people like to hear from TSC.
 
Old May 20th 2003, 4:28 am   #8
ScarlettHill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally posted by thing1
A very warm and heart felt congratulations to you and your family, Scarlett. It just goes to show you that sometimes good things ( i don't mean we things ) *do* happen to good people.

Hugs!
Congratulations to YOU! Ner!

Heeee!

I just read your signature and I'm so excited for you!

6 days - almost 5 really now - and thing 2 and thing1 have a thingFling. Fling the flags out! Ring the bellThings! Get the ringThings on your thingers and thingk happy thoughts! Not long NOW!!!!

Wheeeee!

-=-
Scarlett
 
Old May 20th 2003, 4:41 am   #9
BE Forum Addict
 
Dekka's Angel's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,350
Dekka's Angel is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

Congratulations to you and your family! It sounds like a wonderful day! =)
__________________
I-129F Sent (CSC): 12/16/02
NOA-1: 12/20/02
RFE - 3/25/03 (95 days - phone status)
RFE Evidence Rec'vd (Per call to CSC): 4/9/03
I-129F APPROVED: 4/16/03 (118 days)
------------------------------------------------
NVC Rec'vd I-129F: 4/21/03 (per call to NVC)
Sydney Rec'vd I-129F: 5/6/03
Interview Date: 7/01/03
K-1 Visa Issued: 7/01/03 (193 days)
Dekka's Arrival: 7/17/03
SSN Issued: 7/29/03
Social Security Card: 8/6/03
Dekka and Angel become Mr. and Mrs: 9/4/03
AOS Paperwork Sent: 9/15/03
AOS Checks Cashed: 9/19/03
AOS Receipts: 10/21/03 (36 Days)
EAD/AP Issued: 10/31/03 (46 days)
Fingerprints Taken: 10/31/03
AOS Interview: 4/19/04
AOS Approved: 4/19/04
Permanent Resident Card: 5/21/04
Dekka's Angel is offline  
Old May 20th 2003, 4:42 am   #10
thingluvthing2ringfingIdo
 
thing1's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon USA
Posts: 342
thing1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nicething1 is just really nice
Default *thud*

ROFLMAO

You are so funny!

Thanks for your congrats. Thing2 and I just ordered our thing-rings today. Yay!

Your AOS interview story is encouraging. It doesn't make me dread the idea of ours quite so much. Thanks ever so much for sharing your day with us. You are a dear.
__________________
Thing1

UK/US Couples Yahoo! Group
thing1 is offline  
Old May 20th 2003, 5:51 am   #11
BE Forum Addict
 
Caro's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,041
Caro is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: *thud*

Quote:
Originally posted by thing1
Your AOS interview story is encouraging. It doesn't make me dread the idea of ours quite so much. Thanks ever so much for sharing your day with us. You are a dear.
And I have found Detroit to be a pretty nice office (not the building that is not so good-looking ). People were always very helpful and trying to be arranging.

Caroline
Caro is offline  
Old May 20th 2003, 7:47 am   #12
Just around the next bend
 
dbark's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2002
Location: Missouri
Posts: 2,276
dbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond reputedbark has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Congratulations Scarlett, Garth and the girls! You can sit back and relax for a bit now, then

Debbie
__________________
Debbie
Oct 2003 Married on K-1 visa;
Dec 2010 US citizen!!
dbark is offline  
Old May 20th 2003, 12:48 pm   #13
BE Forum Addict
Premium Member
 
Jan Alaska's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2002
Location: Harbor Springs, Michigan *again*
Posts: 2,327
Jan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond reputeJan Alaska has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Congrats Scarlett and family !!! sooo happy to hear everything went well for you

Jan
Jan Alaska is offline  
Old May 20th 2003, 1:01 pm   #14
Annie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: AOS interview, Dallas, Texas, May 19 2003 - looooong!

Congrats!!!
 
Old May 20th 2003, 1:11 pm   #15
Forum Regular
 
kitty-uk's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Hondo Tx
Posts: 264
kitty-uk is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

Ok I hold up my hand blushing I did peek

though the out come I felt sure would be you passed with flying colours, other stepping stone over and done with.

Wishing you and your family a more stress free, relaxing life all the best Kit
__________________
1-129F sent to Tcs sat 7thsep
1st noa Tes 10th sep
2nd noa thus 10th oct
London interview 27-01-03
K-1 visa given on Jan - 27th - 03
Flight date 3rd April 03 to Houston, recived red employment stamp in passport.
Ss number forms filed Mon-7th april-03 = recived number on Wed-30-april 03
wedding date 18 May 03
0-27-03 OAS posted
O.A.S interview Jan.21-04 passport stamped...
kitty-uk is offline  
Closed Thread

Go Back   British Expats / Living & Moving Abroad / USA / Marriage Based Visas

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

All times are GMT. The time now is 10:43 pm.


Powered by vBulletin: ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1999-2010 BritishExpats.com