Friday, July 5, 2013

Filing Our Visa



Hubby and I filed for a K-1 Visa a long time ago. Like over 75% of these visas, ours did not get approved. Of course, ours wasn't just denied, the consular officer (CO) misbehaved so badly with my then fiance that another CO came and removed him from the interview (the officer) and we wound up with an apology letter from the embassy. This incident left my husband traumatized to say the least.

Part of my intention for moving to India was to stay long enough to get a visa for him. I never wanted to spend all of my life in India but staying a while wasn't a big deal. I wanted to live with my husband, work on my health, save up money and then come back here. I didn't know how long it would take but I was going to give it my best shot.

While in India, after being sick for far too long, hubby and I attempted to file via Direct Consular Filing (DCF). We went into American Citizen Services at the New Delhi Embassy and spoke to the Indian woman behind the counter. She took our papers, told me they were perfect and asked for our supporting evidence of a bonafide relationship. I handed her several items and she took them and looked over them and then asked for my wedding photos.

I handed her the wedding photos, she looked at them and then told me she would be right back. She walked out through a door and was gone only a few minutes. She came back in and told me she was refusing to file the visa because I didn't live in India. I advised her we had met every requirement listed on the official embassy website. She looked me straight in the face and told me that the website didn't matter and she could read those requirements to mean anything she wanted and we were going to have to mail our visa. Hubby encouraged me to leave before I gave her a piece of my mind.

Reluctantly we mailed the petition all the way to the US. Imagine my lack of surprise when the USCIS forwarded our package to the next level of processing just 6 short days after they received it. I readied myself for the next phase and started packaging documents into an envelope. I wanted this process to go as fast as possible. But it didn't. Naturally there are snags in everything. Some of our papers got lost and some crossed in the mail but we got them all in.

Then instead of getting our approval notice, we got a request for us to submit the letters the National Visa Center (NVC) had sent to us. So I called because that's a bit ridiculous. If they sent them to us they should have copies right? No one else had ever heard of this and I was right. When I called them they told me that it was a mistake and that our package had already been forwarded to the embassy. Needless to say I was happy.

Then our papers arrived at the embassy and they had scheduled our interview right away. There was no time to prepare for it. I checked around and no one else had been asked to show up at the embassy so quickly. It normally takes 6-8 weeks to get an interview scheduled. They didn't even give us half of that time!

Hubby started scrambling to get his medical done and ready himself. He had to book train tickets, hotel rooms and everything else that goes with travel in India. We spent extra time daily preparing for the questions they would ask him. We used several sites to locate potential questions. I started scanning and emailing copies of all our papers to him so he could read over them and be ready in case they asked questions about those things.

From start to finish this process took us 8 months. It would have been shorter but sometimes you can't rush people no matter what and we wound up waiting on some of our documents to get ready and of course we had to deal with the papers getting mixed up. I can't even tell you how many requests for evidence we got only to call in and find they already had the papers.




16 comments:

  1. Wow that is such a big process, who knew. I can't believe how long it takes and how much money you have to put into it. You seem very smart though in how you handled and prepared things. It's great you're so organized. Is it all because the US handled things slowly or is it because of India being difficult? I find it funny that you were asked for you wedding pictures. Not everyone has wedding pictures, I don't. It's not even Islamic, so strict practicing Muslims don't have any photos.

    ReplyDelete
  2. and things change at the drop of a hat.. as an Immigration Specialist for a major employer, we just never know what will happen from one day to another.. there are all sorts of crazy RFE's happening presently. They sure make it difficult to enter legally at the expense of the people affected...

    ReplyDelete
  3. A lot of it was embassy delays and mistakes. We would send in papers, they would send us a letter requesting them again, saying the papers were missing, etc. and then when I called they would confirm they had them. This continued on even after we got the visa in hand! Lol. They contacted us and told us that we needed to pay a fee we had paid a month prior. It was crazy!

    I really think that woman just didn't want to be bothered taking our papers that day. She was very rude about it and I just got the impression she had been looking for a way out of taking the papers. She tried to say I just came to India to get married and that everyone got a residence permit - neither of which is true. Sometimes these people can just be a tad bit crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've heard about some of the RFE's happening. I saw a few handed out that made no sense to me either while I was there. I think a lot depends on who you see behind those windows, what kind of mood they're in that day and whether or not they detect fear in the person being interviewed. The CO's are in a very powerful position and I think they know it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know someone who's been waiting for almost three months because they wanted an updated resume. Guess what his religion is? Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Our interviewing officer said he stopped asking for pictures because so many times even the pictures were faked - he'd see the same faces in multiple people's photos... in one, the minister would be the father of the bride, and in the next he'd be the brother of the groom, and so forth!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That would be a tough guess. I hear they're routinely harder on both Muslims and Sikhs. I'm not sure where a resume would be relevant. For H visa's they should have a job, not a resume in hopes to get one and for the E visa's they should have $$$ and real estate paperwork. But of course I don't know about other types of visas. Still, I don't know why a resume would be relevant.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yeah photo's are easy to fake and I'm sure plenty of people have figured that out. Not to mention that Indians generally fill in vacancies in weddings with random family members. Since my parents were unable to travel to India for my wedding, my husbands aunt and uncle filled in as my parents for the ceremony. I imagine this kind of thing happens a lot on a grander scale, if not we wouldn't have fraudulent marriage rings busted here from time to time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had no idea 75% of K1 applications were denied. Wow.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I found that astonishing number among the embassy documents exposed at WikiLeaks. It's astonishingly high.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It took a year to get our OCI, PIO and dog's pet visas.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Amelia Grace KumarJuly 7, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    I feel your pain. Ive been married to my husband for almost 8 years and didn't bother to apply for my PIO in Australia. Now I am applying now living in India. it is not a simple process in India- but it never is!

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Of course, ours wasn't just denied, the consular officer (CO) misbehaved so badly with my then fiance that another CO came and removed him from the interview (the officer) and we wound up with an apology letter from the embassy. "

    WOW.
    Just WOW.
    I bet you can't imagine some of the rubbish I've heard from CO's & other immigration officials (both US & Indian) since my husband is a Kashmiri Muslim. (In case you didn't know Kashmiri Muslims are the WORST kind of Muslims- all terrorists & murderers OBVIOUSLY).
    Well, if it is any consolation the lady lawyer that runs the US embassy in Kathmandu is absolutely unreasonable & insane.
    I've had about 50/50 good/bad experiences with the US embassy in Delhi- it really is a crap shoot.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yeah it's a real crap shoot for sure. I've heard so many horror stories. At one point I was so angry that I was determined to pursue investigating embassy fraud, etc. Then after calming down I realized that the undertaking would be much too big for me and these are the kind of people I do not want breathing down my neck or on my enemy list. Still, someday I just may decide that's my calling. Right now I'm not sure which route I want to go, or if I want to diversify but I do think at some point I will wind up investigating cases involving immigration.

    ReplyDelete