I have been in the states for three months now and the last two months we have spent trying to sort and figure out the immigration process. Now let me tell you, it got very confusing at times whilst trying to seek the right advice.
~One person told us there would only be a few forms to fill out and that we needed to make sure that we got married at least 60 days after I arrived in the U.S. We were also told that I should have all forms ready to be sent off the instant we got married.
~Another person told us we needed one form only; Adjustment of Status.
~A lawyer gave us a long list of forms that we were required to provide (including invalid information about death certification:/)
Fed-up, I decided to call the immigration department at USCIS and was informed that I would have no way of even knowing what forms I'd be eligible for until after I was married...
So in the assumption that this was the most correct and legitimate advice I was going to recieve, I took it. We got married on April 15th and called the same immigration department after our honey moon (as previously instructed) - to then find out that all the forms I had been told about (the first time round) were exactly the forms I needed to fill out. I was very annoyed... I could have been filling these out this whole time!!!
ANYWAY. AND HERE IS MY MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE.. GO STRAIGHT TO THE IMMIGRATION OFFICE OF STATE.
Frustrated at being told ten hundred different things, we went straight to the Utah county immigration office and my husband was very clever at getting us an appointment then and there - instead of having to wait two weeks. (another thing he's taught me - if you don't ask you definitely won't get!) We got to sit down with an immigration adviser and he gave us a list of absolutely everything we needed to provide. He also told us that I needed to get a Medical Examination (which we had not been informed of previously) and the best part of all this is that this information and advice was absolutely free.
Below is a copy of the contents page that I included in my immigration packet;
Beneficiary – Talia Grace Diaz
Sponsor – Juan Carlos Diaz (Beneficiary’s Husband)
Joint Sponsor – Juan Carlos Diaz (Beneficiary’s Father-In-Law)
Contents of Immigration Packet; In this Order:
Two Photos of Beneficiary, One Photo of Sponsor
I also included and enclosed two separate cheques to cover the filing fee’s.
One amounted to $420 and the other amounted to $1,070
I wanted to do a post about immigration to help clear things up for anyone else that may find themselves in the same frustrating loop hole we did!!
So some extra information to note.
Having a joint sponsor is optional and is not always done. The point of having a sponsor is that they are there to show that you have someone that is financially viable for you. Our circumstances at the moment - Juan Carlos is unemployed and we are currently staying with his parents - meant that we had to make sure that my financial support was shown in some other way.
Another few variables with our situation is that Juan Carlos' Father is self employed so instead of showing proof of employment and a tax return we had to send a copy of his business license and copies of his business tax returns.
Basically with any situation that you face as long as it is not illegal you can write a letter explaining your personal circumstance, attach it as part of your immigration packet and it will be fine:)
You must also show the citizenship of your sponsor and any joint sponsors and give all information about the beneficiary (in this case, me) as possible. Including their legal entry into this country. And of course, as in my case, if based on your marriage to a citizen, a copy of your marriage license.
Basically you can't send too much support and proof of valid information!!
The total cost of immigration came to $1,690 and that was without legal advice. The cost of Immigration Medical Examination's vary from clinic to clinic and you must choose a clinic that has been certified by the USCIS. The best way to find out which clinics you are allowed to use is to call the USCIS No. and give your area code. My medical exam cost $150. The exam was split into two separate visits, spaced a week apart. The first appointment will be a blood sample and the second appointment will be a physical. I also had to show a list of all the vaccines I've ever had (I got this information from my registered clinic back in England) they surveyed the list and told me I had to have one more. This cost an extra $50 and brought my total visits to the clinic up to three.
You can get all the forms online on the USCIS website and after you get going they're not all that difficult to fill out, if anything just a little repetitive. It is also worth mentioning that you may submit a Travel Document and an Authorization for Employment form free of any filing fees along with your I-485 form.
Then once you're done you send all your documents as one whole package and send it to the immigration office based in Chicago. (Cost of postage varies dependent on what state you live in.)
It is also worth scanning and copying every form you fill out and send so that if they need further information from you, you can simply go to your computer and refer to the very page of information that the USCIS are referring too and send back only that corrected page and not a whole form. It'll make the whole process that much easier.
And finally -- DO NOT WORRY -- if you go past the staying limit of your visa. As long as you entered the country legally and have simply sent off your immigration package you are okay to remain in the United States. Now just sit tight and wait for your receipt.. you'll be fine;)
I hope this is enough information to help anyone searching on how to start the immigration process. And let me tell you that the feeling you get once you've sent your package is AMAZING!!! Keep, love and cherish that postal receipt.
Brit. U.S.resident. Lover of Opera. Believer of dreams.