As soon as I got home from the airport, Ben and I began to research what we needed to do. We decided to file for the CR-1 visa (an immigration visa) since the K3 visa is unofficially not done anymore. We discovered what forms we needed to fill out and what documents we needed to send in. So much is needed!
-cover letter explaining what's included
-check for $355, fee for the I-130
-form I-130 all filled out, signed and dated
-form G-325A from the petitioner (Ben), all filled out, signed and dated
-a passport picture of Ben
-form G325A from the beneficiary (me), all filled out, signed and dated
-a passport picture of me
-copy of petitioner's passport
-copy of petitioner's birth certificate
-copy of marriage certificate
-copy of beneficiary's passport
-copy of beneficiary's birth certificate
-evidence that our marriage/relationship is real
I knew what I had to do the next day (Wednesday), as did Ben. I needed to get passport pictures of myself done, as did Ben, and I needed to photocopy all airplane boarding passes from my previous trips to the US. I also photocopied some movie tickets from when we went to see movies together. I also needed to make a photocopy of my passport and birth certificate. Once I had everything done on my part, the next day (Wednesday) I sent everything by priority to Ben in the US. He received my package two days later, on Friday. He then spent that night putting everything together in the correct order. And into the manila envelope it went.
On Saturday, August 21st (our three month anniversary), he went to his post office and sent our application for my visa by priority mail.
And now the month-long wait begins. The immigration officer that I spoke with at the airport said this takes about 4 months. He was very wrong. On VisaJourney (the website where we got our information from), users frequently show their own timelines of their journey through immigration. Many of them have taken months just to get their I-130 approved. And then there's more steps after that which takes even more time. By the time most people have sent in their I-130 and have got their new visa in hand, it's closer to a year than 4 months.
So, I'm trying to remain hopeful. I'm planning on visiting Ben soon, but I will discuss the challenges I will face in another post.