Saturday, October 8, 2011

Driver's license

So back in June after I got my SSN, I went to the DMV here in town and tried applying for a driver's license. Since I had a valid Canadian driver's license, I wouldn't need to take the written or road test, just the vision test. Well, after waiting about 2 hours to get called up, I was only up at the counter for about 5 minutes since I completely failed the vision test. The lady asked me how long I've had my glasses for and told her I've had the same ones for about 7 years. She suggested I go get an eye exam, get new glasses, and come back to try again.

So, since I knew an eye exam and new frames/lenses would be expensive, I waited until I had a job so I had the money to afford it. As you all should know, I got a job in August. I procrastinated for a few weeks (as is usual for myself XD), but since October 10th was coming up (my birthday!), my Quebec driver's license was going to become invalid as we have to pay an $80 fee each year to keep it valid. So, now I had a deadline. I got my eye exam done September 29th. Then went back the next day to pick out frames and choose what lenses I wanted. On October 5th, I got a call saying my glasses were ready. The next day, after my class was finished at school, I biked to the DMV. This time around, no one was there! I just had to fill out the form, and I was brought up immediately. About 20 minutes later (after successfully passing the vision test), I had my new South Dakota driver's license in my hands! And I thought I would have to wait a week or two, like I had to with Quebec. But nope, it was available right away!

Anyway, here's a picture of me with my new driver's license :D

Monday, September 12, 2011

Credit card

So, on September 1st, I went to my bank to apply for a credit card. Sometime in July (I think it was), I had gone to my bank to apply for a credit card, but was denied since I didn't have a job. Anyways, I went again less than 2 weeks ago since I had a job. Plus I was applying for the college credit card, and because I'm in college, I thought I'd have a better chance of getting it. Anyways, checked the mail when I got home from school just a few minutes ago and discovered a letter from my bank. I was approved!

The process of applying for a credit card was simple as I already had an account with my bank (checking + savings account), so they had most of the information already on hand (like my SSN). All they needed was my work and school information and that was it. I was expecting to be asked for proof of enrollment in school, but wasn't asked at all.

Glad to finally have an American credit card! :)

~Lindsay

Friday, August 12, 2011

Orientation and training

Well, I finally had my orientation and training at Target two days ago on Wednesday from 9am to 5:30pm. The morning was spent watching orientation videos. Then a tour of the store. The afternoon consisted of cashier training. Training only lasted about an hour or so, and then I had real experience dealing with guests! I think I did a pretty good job as the first time using a cashier.

I'm going back tonight from 4:15 to 8:15 for food training, as I'll be working in both the restaurant and as a cashier.

Off to make more money! :D

~Lindsay

Monday, August 1, 2011

Job

So, about 2-3 weeks ago, I applied for a job at Target. Then about a week later, I got a call to come in for an interview last Thursday. Had a double interview! Then I believe it was a day later when Target called, asking to come back in today. No word on whether hired or not, so didn't know what to expect.

Turns out it was just to talk about being conditionally hired. Have to have a drug test within 24 hours, pass it as well as background checks, and then I'm hired :) Then I'll have orientation either next Wednesday or the Wednesday after. Then I'll finally have a job!

I think those background checks won't be a problem. After going through all the background checks in this immigration process, this will be easy :)

~Lindsay

Thursday, June 30, 2011

School

So, a few days after I received my SSN, I applied to a school here in town, Lake Area Technical Institute. I had my high school transcripts sent to me and my college transcripts sent directly to the college. Now, because of the postal strike in Canada, it probably got delayed. I'm planning on calling tomorrow to get an update as I have general education credits from college that I want to get transferred so I don't have to re-do them again and pay for stuff I already know.

Anyways, finally got my high school transcripts on Friday, but I was out all day Friday and only got home at night, so I couldn't go to the school to drop them off. So on Monday, Ben brought me to Lake Area while on his lunch break. Dropped them off.

Today, I had a wonderful letter from Lake Area. Right on the front of the envelope was a sticker with 'accepted' on it! Didn't even need to open the envelope. I now have to pay them $150 as a deposit of sorts. I don't really have enough money at the moment to pay that, but thankfully I have about a month to get it to them.

I'm very excited to finally go back to school again as it's been more than a year!

~Lindsay

Monday, June 13, 2011

SSN received!

So, I had a good feeling this morning as I went to check the mailbox. Lo and behold, there was something for me from the SSA! Came all the way from Baltimore, Maryland. There was only one thing inside the envelope:

(front with SSN card)

(back)

So, after one month and one day from entering the USA, I finally have my SSN! *dances*

Going to my bank after Ben gets off work and I'm going to apply for a credit card. Hope I get accepted! As soon as I have a credit card, I'll be buying my computer parts off NewEgg, so I can finally, finally have a desktop again! *super excited*

I'll be applying for school probably tomorrow and getting my transcripts gathered and such.

I'll also have to pay a visit to the DMV (*shudder*) to get a South Dakota driver's license.

And then finally, try to get a job somewhere, so I can start getting money again after one year of unemployment.

~Lindsay

Friday, June 3, 2011

Applied for SSN

Well, yesterday marked 3 weeks since my POE. I read on VJ a lot that if you checked off on the DS-230/DS-260 for an SSN and don't receive it after 3 weeks from POE that you should go to a local SSA office and apply in person. So that's what I did today.

After lunch, Ben drove me to the SSA office here in town. I explained to the lady there that I had to come to the USA on an immigrant visa and still hadn't received an SSN, after 3 weeks of waiting. So she asked for my visa, so I gave her my passport. A few moments later, she requested for my birth certificate, which I brought with me as well. She then asked me some questions, like my address, if I ever had a US driver's license before, if I had applied for college in the US, if I ever had a checking or savings account in the US, if I had ever filed taxes, if I had ever been registered to vote, etc etc. After she finished asking all the questions, she printed out a form with just my basic info on it (name, date of birth, parents' names, address, phone number) and asked me to verify if everything was correct. It was. She took the paper back and printed something else out. She told me that I should receive my SSN in the mail within 10 days. If I didn't receive it in 2 weeks, she told me to call the number that was listed on the paper she gave me. All in all, it took about 15 minutes.

So, back to the waiting game. I'm hoping the card arrives next week sometime. I really want to apply to school for the fall semester and then apply for a credit card, so I can finally buy a computer. And then of course, find a job.

~Lindsay

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Received green card!

So, on Ben's lunch break, he checked the mail and came back with two things for me!

The first item was another welcome letter. Said the same thing as the one that I received last week. The only difference was that the notice date was May 25.

The second, and more exciting, piece of mail was my green card. Arrived as Priority Mail, oh boy! Here's a picture of the contents of the envelope:


I thought the most interesting thing, besides the green card, was this small paper envelope they included and suggested putting your green card inside to prevent wireless communication with it. My green card fits very nicely inside :)

And, of course, the whole point of this post, the green card:


Let me tell you, there are a LOT of security features on this green card. And the back is super cool. There's this portion at the top that looks like a negative for old pictures, and if you look closely, there's a second picture of me, as well as info like my birth date, USCIS receipt number, A#, etc. Above this, there are tiny little pictures of all the US states. And then below, there's a picture of all the US presidents (including Obama, the newest). They definitely don't want this card to be forged in any way!

Now all I'm waiting for is the SSN! If I don't get it by this Thursday (3 weeks after POE), I'm heading to the SSA office on Friday. Hoping it arrives before then!

~Lindsay

Friday, May 27, 2011

Another USCIS update

While I was at supper, I got another text from USCIS saying my case had been updated. Upon checking my email, it said:


*** DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS E-MAIL ***

The last processing action taken on your case

Receipt Number: SRC11********

Application Type: OS155A, IMMIGRANT VISA AND ALIEN REGISTRATION

Your case Status: Post Decision Activity

On May 27, 2011, we mailed you a notice that we have approved this OS155A IMMIGRANT VISA AND ALIEN REGISTRATION. Please follow any instructions on the notice. If you move before you receive the notice, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283.


So, I'm hoping that means they're mailing out my approved green card with this notice.

And still no SSN. Less than a week before I head to the SSA office if I don't receive it.

~Lindsay

P.S. It was actually kind of freaky. Before I got the text message, Ben asked me if I had heard anything about my green card and I replied that I hadn't. Within a minute, no joke, my phone buzzed with a text message from USCIS!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Green card update

About an hour ago I got a text message (as well as an email) from USCIS that there was an update on my case. The email said this:


*** DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS E-MAIL *** 
 The last processing action taken on your case  
Receipt Number: SRC11******** 
Application Type: OS155A , IMMIGRANT VISA AND ALIEN REGISTRATION 
Your Case Status: Card/ Document Production

On May 25, 2011, we ordered production of your new card. Please allow 30 days for your card to be mailed to you. If we need something from you we will contact you. If you move before you receive the card, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283. 
So within 30 days, I should get my green card in the mail! Not that I'm too worried about not getting it since the visa in the passport does act as a temporary green card for a year. But it will be nice to finally have the green card that took so long to obtain!




Also, no update yet on my SSN. Tomorrow will mark 2 weeks since my POE. If I don't receive my SSN by next week, I'll go to the local SSA office here in town.




~Lindsay

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bank accounts, anniversary, and NOAs

So, last Tuesday (after hearing that you don't need a SSN to open a bank account) proceeded to Wells Fargo (the most well-known bank in this town). The only thing you need to open a US bank account is two pieces of ID, so I gave my passport (with my pretty visa in the back XD) and my driver's license (which is in French). About 30 minutes later, I had both a checking and savings account in my name :)

I also wanted to apply for a credit card, but I need a SSN for that, so I have to wait :(

And yesterday, May 21, was Ben and I's first year anniversary! Even though we spent 9 months apart, we're finally together again forever now :D

And when Ben checked the mailbox today, I had two letters (NOAs) from USCIS! One was a welcome letter and the second was a receipt notice for my green card. And upon entering the case number at USCIS's website (how long it's been since I've been there!), all I see is that it's under "initial review". So it should be in production soon and then mailed out.

If only I got a NOA for my SSN!

~Lindsay

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Moving

I know it's been a few days since I moved, but I just kept putting this off, lol. Anyways, here it finally is!

So, on Thursday, my dad and I got up around 7am. Did some last minute packing. At 8am, I had someone come to buy a dresser I had for sale. Once that was gone, my dad and I finally put all my stuff in his car. It like just fit. I was in the front seat incredibly squished. I had two bags and a box on the floor by my feet, my laptop bag squished up against the window, my purse on my left, and a 20" computer monitor on my lap. I could not move for the hour it took to get to the border.

Picture of all my stuff right before it was all packed away in the car.


We arrived at the Champlain border around 10:15am and was out around 11am. To read what happened at POE, you can read my review in the previous post. My dad and I then headed to Burlington, Vermont where I was renting a car. We got there around 12:30. Took maybe 30 minutes at National and then I finally had the keys in my hand. My dad then drove up the parking complex and met me and my rental. We transferred all of my stuff from his car to my 2011 Chevrolet HHR. Again, my stuff just barely fit. Phew. Here's two pictures of the car I had:

Front view of the car at the parking complex at Burlington.

Side view at some service area when I stopped at some point.

Anyways, I think it was 1:30pm by the time I finally left. Said goodbye to my dad and headed out. The drive itself wasn't very exciting. Getting through Vermont took awhile. The road I was on didn't have a high speed limit. I eventually got to New York around 4, maybe. I was on the 87 for just a bit before I had to get off at Saratoga Springs. I had been trying to find a Pizza Hut so I could eat lunch, and I finally found one at the exit. So, at 4:45, I finally had lunch. It was really late, but oh well. After eating, I finally headed out again. 

The rest of the day wasn't very exciting. Just driving and stopping every few hours to use a bathroom, stretch my legs, and wake myself up a bit. Stopped at a service area near Rochester for supper around 8. I probably should have waited as I wasn't really hungry and most of my food ended going in the garbage. Finally, I was through New York; it felt like forever. Pennsylvania was short and didn't last long. Then I reached Ohio. I think around the PA/OH border, Ben called me and we talked the rest of the trip. I had planned on stopping at a hotel in Elyria, Ohio which is right outside of Cleveland. Ben kept me awake as by the time I got to the hotel, it was like around 2am and I was exhausted. I had found a coupon online for this hotel for $47, so it was nice and cheap :) Even though I was exhausted, I had a lot of trouble falling asleep.

Morning soon came. I had set my alarm for 8:15am. I didn't want to get up and all I wanted to do was sleep, but I knew that wasn't an option. So I eventually got up, showered (with no pressure whatsoever, let me tell you), and quickly checked my email. I checked out and was back on the road around 9:30am. 

Got through Ohio an hour or two later. Stopped for lunch somewhere in Indiana. And then hit Illinois. This was the part I wasn't looking forward to as I was going through the outskirts of Chicago and I had to get on and off like 4 interstates. There was traffic, lots of it, although not as bad as Montreal traffic. At one point, I thought I had taken the wrong exit, but 30 minutes later or so, I breathed a sigh of relief as I was going the right way. After I passed Chicago around 4pm, it began to rain. And not light, it was a downpour. It got so bad at one point that I could only see a few feet in front of me. This downpour probably continued for an hour or two. Then it finally started to lighten up a bit.

Finally hit Wisconsin. Stopped somewhere to fill up on gas and had supper at a Subway in the same building. At this point, I realised that I wouldn't be able to stop anymore if I wanted to make it to Sioux Falls before 11:30pm when National closed. So, I got back to driving and started to push it. But then, traffic like I've never seen (not even in Montreal) hit me. It took about an hour to get through 5 miles. An hour completely wasted. At this point, I started to get a little worried that I wouldn't make it. As soon as the traffic ended, I zoomed along. Within an hour, I hit Minnesota, the last state before South Dakota! I think Minnesota was my favourite state to drive through as the speed limit was 70, the highest out of all the states I had driven through.

As time ticked by, I slowly started to realise that I would never make it to Sioux Falls before National closed. I would have had to go like 200mph to make it, which is ridiculous, lol. So, at this point, I slowed down and just took my time as I knew I would only be able to return the car the next morning. Ben was going to come meet me in Sioux Falls, so when we realised I wouldn't make it, he booked a hotel near the airport and where I had to drop the car off. I got to the hotel around 1:30am and Ben arrived about 20 minutes later. It was finally nice to be back with my husband for good :)

I slept like a baby. It was my first good night sleep in like 3 days. Before heading to National, we switched all my boxes to the truck he borrowed from his boss. Ben then put a tarp over my boxes and tied it down with cords. After filling the car up with a full tank of gas, we headed to National and I dropped off the keys. Then Ben and I were on our way back to the apartment! We had to stop a few times as the tarp was coming off. I finally suggested putting my suitcase on top of the tarp, and that finally fixed it. We arrived in town around 1pm and unloaded the truck. I had seen a video Ben took of the apartment, but when I saw it in person, it looked sooooo much bigger. So much space! I love it!

And so that was a summary of my trip! I apologize for it being so long, but it was a span of 3 days.

Now I'm just waiting on my green card and, more importantly, my SSN!

~Lindsay

Sunday, May 15, 2011

POE

[review taken from my VisaJourney timeline]

POE was easy. Got to the border (the one at Champlain at the Quebec/NY border) around 10am and told to head to secondary with my sealed package from the consulate. Parked the car and went inside. I was only sitting for less than 5 minutes before a lady called me up. She asked me about my visa, where I was moving, when I got married, and a few other questions. She then opened the sealed envelope and told me to go over the DS-230 to make sure the addresses were right, so the green card and SSN would be sent to the right place. I was then instructed to sit down while she went over the forms. About 30 minutes later, I was finally called back up and she took my fingerprints. And not electronically, the old way with ink and paper. She was having problems doing my fingerprint, so another guy came to take them. He was extremely nice and even joked with me. He asked if my hair was my natural colour (if you don't know I have pink and blue hair XD). Once he took my fingerprint, I was then asked to sign this tiny box. The lady then gave me this paper about the I-751 and told me to sign two of them, one of which I kept. And then I got my passport back and that was it! I was at the border for less than an hour. Everyone I interacted with was extremely nice and I had no problems.

~Lindsay

P.S. I'll write up a summary tomorrow of my trip :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Moving tomorrow!

The day has nearly arrived. I'm moving tomorrow! My dad and I will be leaving around 9am and we should get to the Champlain border around 10ish. Then, hopefully, it won't be that busy in secondary and we can be on our way to Burlington. My reservation with National is for noon, but they'll hold the car up to 12 hours if you're late. So hopefully, by about 1pm, I'm on the road and on my way to South Dakota! I'm planning on stopping the first night somewhere in Ohio, after Cleveland. Then, depending where I stop the first night, I might be able to make it to Sioux Falls (the drop off location for the car) before they close at 11:30pm on Friday. If I can make it in time, I'll drop it off Friday night, even though I have the rental til Saturday noon. No point in spending $50+ for a hotel Friday night if I can make it to Sioux Falls.

Anyways, here's some pictures of everything I'm bringing (almost everything). I'll take some more pictures tomorrow once it's all in the car. Well, I hope everything can get in the car, I have so much stuff!

A box and two bags full of bathroom stuff, household cleaning products, as well as some kitchen stuff.

My bulletin board and a bag full of shoes. Plus my winter boots!

6 large purple and blue boxes. And I cut off its head, but that's the red bear Ben gave me for Valentine's. He's going to be sitting in the front seat with me to keep me company ^_^ (I wonder if he'll talk back? Lol)

Another blue box in my closet with two plastic bags of clothes on top. Then two beige bags that I'm keeping up front with me. In the right bag contains my sealed envelope. There's also a tiny box on the left with 4 bags and my collapsible hamper.

Small box as well as a bag with a blanket and backpack with my Macbook case inside.

I also have a large suitcase with a suitcase inside it full of clothes. I was originally going to fill up both suitcases with my clothes, but I thought it would be better to only have one suitcase then just bags with clothes as those can fit better in tighter spots than a suitcase.

I also have 2 computer monitors I'm bringing with me. As well as 2 pillows (one large, one tiny). And I think that's it, lol.

Anyways, if I can, I'll post tomorrow night. Depends if the hotel has decent wifi and how awake I am from driving all afternoon and evening. 

So excited!

~Lindsay

Friday, May 6, 2011

Visa received!

So, this morning, I called up DHL and asked if my shipment was ready for pick up. The lady confirmed it was! So, this evening once my dad was home, I borrowed his car and headed out to Dorval, the DHL location I chose which is closest to me. Took about 30 minutes to get there and then another 30 back, but it was definitely worth it! At DHL, the lady asked for ID as it was for a passport pick up and she had to verify. She then asked me to open the DHL package to confirm with the passport as well. I carefully cut the package as I didn't want to accidentally tear at the sealed envelope within. She looked at my passport and then told me everything was okay and that I could take the package. I happily skipped off to the car :)

Here's some pictures if you're interested (as always, click to enlarge):

Here's me holding the very bright yellow DHL package.

The contents of the package.

Finally have the visa!

The very important, sealed envelope. Who ever opens this package must be extremely blind.

This is what it looks like on DHL when you input the reference ID that is found on the CSC site.

This is what it looks like on DHL when you get your waybill number or when you click on 'view status' when you put in the reference ID number.

~Lindsay

P.S. Only 5 more days and 10 hours till I leave Canada and head for the border!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Email from DHL

So, I just checked my email and found I received one from DHL! It said they had picked up my passport/visa at the consulate and they gave me a waybill number to track it. I should be able to go pick it up tomorrow! Yay! :D

~Lindsay

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

APPROVED!!

[direct copy and paste of my review on VisaJourney]


I’ve been waiting months to write this review, and now I finally can! ^_^

So, I got up at 5:15am this morning. Didn’t get much sleep. Only about 2 hours. Couldn’t stop thinking about the interview and what questions I would be asked. I somehow managed to get dressed this morning, do my hair and makeup, and remember to bring everything I needed to. Phew!

My father and I left at 5:45am and got to the consulate faster than I thought as there was no traffic. My dad dropped me off at the front of the building at 6:30am and he went off to Tim Horton’s to wait for me there. I was the first one at the consulate!

I was pretty much all alone waiting by the side doors for about 30 minutes until fellow VJ member Minted7 arrived with her husband. A couple of people arrived soon thereafter and within the next 30 minutes, the line got pretty long, maybe 15-20 people.

Around 7:30am, the lights inside turned on and I spotted 3 guards. A few minutes later, one of them came down and took off the chains and unlocked the front doors. Someone tried butting in front of us, but the guard didn’t let him go. So, the guard waved me forward, showed him the first page of my interview letter and my passport. He looked inside my bag and then directed me to go up a small flight of stairs and then wait. A second officer opened the doors and let me through. I was instructed to take off my sweater and anything in my pockets as well as any watches or bracelets. I passed him my bag with my folder in it and everything was passed through the scanner. I then had to walk through a scanner myself and collected my things. The officer told me to go through the door, walk down the stairs, and wait for someone to bring us up by elevator at 8am.

I was the first one down in the basement and sat in the chair closest by the elevator. Minted7 then came a few minutes later and they both sat down beside me. We had to all wait down there for about 30 minutes until an officer arrived by elevator at 8am to take us up. He wanted to see the interview letter and then let us board. I immediately went to the back and stood to the left. Let me tell you, it’s a good thing I’m not claustrophobic, because that officer herded a lot of us inside. And also to mention, that was the smoothest elevator ride I’ve ever had. I barely felt like I was moving.

As soon as the doors open, the receptionist was standing there and directed all of us to the left. We then lined up in front of window 14A/14B. The receptionist told me to wait till the lady behind the window was ready. Within a few seconds, the lady pulled up the blind behind the window and waved me forward. She asked for my interview letter and my passport, checked it then handed it back to me. She asked what I was here for, I replied an immigrant visa, and then she issued me two pieces of paper with a number on it. I got C1!!

I was then told to go sit down and wait to be called. But by the time I got to the middle of the room, my number buzzed on the board, and the receptionist told me to go down the hallway to window 10. The man behind the window asked for my number. He tore off one of them and handed the other to me. He then asked for my passport and interview letter. He kept the passport, but handed me back the interview letter. After a few seconds, he then asked for my 2 passport pictures. I took them out of my plastic bag and handed them over. Finally he asked for my medical results. He didn’t ask for the X-ray as I presumed. My fingerprints were then taken. He then handed me a DS-230 and told me to fill it out. I smiled and told him I already had a copy that was filled out. He said great, just go over to the next window, 11, and the lady there would take the rest of my paperwork.

So, I saddled over to the next window. The lady asked for my DS-230 which I handed over. She then asked for my original birth and marriage certificate. Handed that over. She asked for the AOS package. Had that out already and gave it to her. She gave me back the cover sheet, cover letter, as well as the pay stubs. When she got to the transcripts, I told her I had 2010 ones, so I gave those to her. In return, she gave me the 2007, 2008, and 2009 transcripts. Then finally she asked for my police certificate and told me to go back to the waiting room, sit down and wait to be called.

By the time I got back to the waiting room, it was only 8:15am. Sat down next to Minted7 and her husband and waited. Within 5 minutes, they were both called up to the interview room. About 10 minutes later, I was called up by name to booth 7. They were just leaving and said they were just approved!

The booth is slightly more private than the other windows. There’s a chair inside that you can put your stuff on. There was a really nice blonde-haired lady behind the booth. She never asked me to raise my hand or swear to any oath like I’ve read in other reviews. She just looked over my DS-230 and asked me 2 questions. Just two! She first asked where my husband lived. I replied South Dakota. We kind of laughed how it was going to be a big change, going from a big city to a small one (I love you, dear husband, I do <3). Her second question was how did we meet. I replied online and she asked what website. I told her it was through a video game actually, World of Warcraft. She said she’s heard of a lot of people meeting there. She then slipped me the DS-230 and asked me to sign Part II. Which was hard as my hands were shaking, but I managed. I can’t really recall if she said “you’re approved”, but she slipped me the “welcome to the USA letter”. I have yet to even read it, lol. After that, she told me I would have to come back later as there was a problem with my fingerprints. She asked if I could come back in a few hours and if I can stick around Montreal for awhile. I told her I lived north of Montreal. She then told me to just go wait in the next room where I had handed over my documents and to tell one of the guys to call for her, Joan, and she would re-do them for me. I was so thankful she was willing to re-do them right away instead of waiting a few hours.

So, I headed next door and sat down. After about 5 minutes, one of the guys behind the windows called me up. I told him I had to re-do my fingerprints and that I was told to call for Joan. He said alright and told me to sit back down, they’d go get her. Waited about a minute, then I spotted Joan who had just interviewed me. She typed a few things on the computer and then told me to put my fingers on the screen. After they scanned everything, she told me they turned out good and smiled. She asked if she had given me the confirmation letter from the interview, and I said yes. I asked her if I was all done and could leave. She said yes and smiled. I thanked her and left, smiling.

I quickly left the building. It was just a little before 9am! So, it definitely pays off to get there early because you get out super fast. Even though I’m only running on 2 hours of sleep, it was worth it as I got out in less than 2 hours. There was a lot of people when I left and I’m sure they’re gonna be there for awhile.

Now all I have to do is wait for my visa by DHL and then moving next week! Yay! ^___^

Monday, May 2, 2011

Interview tomorrow!

So, my interview is in 18 hours! It's finally here! I don't think I'll be getting much sleep tonight. Especially since I'm getting up a little past 5am. My father and I will be leaving here a little before 6am, so I can get there around 6:45am. I want to be the first one there! ^_^

I spent about an hour before lunch going through my entire folder to make sure I had everything. Just gotta add some ID and money (just in case) tonight and then I'll be 100% ready. Here's some pictures of my folder and bag that I'm bringing tomorrow (click them to enlarge):

Printed off my front cover for my folder last night. I love it :D

Inside of my folder. Everything is nice and organized within my 13 sections.

Here's everything I'm putting inside the bag: folder, passport with interview letter, and my medical results.

Everything in my bag, ready to go for tomorrow morning!

I just went to weigh my bag with my folder in it. It's 5 pounds! Heavy!

Earlier, I looked at the weather for Montreal tomorrow morning, and it's predicted to be cloudy with showers. Hoping it only starts once I'm inside the Consulate as I'll be standing outside for about 45 minutes. Just in case, I'll be bringing an umbrella with me. Don't want my folder and documents to get wet!

~Lindsay

P.S. I'll be writing a review as soon as I get home, so around 10am, depending exactly when I get out and how long it takes to get back.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New picture

So, if you look to the right, I put a new picture up :) If you don't know, I got my hair dyed all pink yesterday with some blue streaks underneath. I know this isn't immigration-related, but I LOVE it :D

~Lindsay

P.S. Only 4 more days and 19 hours to go till my interview! ^___^

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tax transcript

Wow, third update in one day!

Very quick, Ben's 2010 tax transcript came in today! Only took a week to get to him. He ordered it last Monday and got it today. I'm going to print it out later and can give that at the interview instead of the 1040 and W2s *happy*

~Lindsay

Car reserved

Quick update:

So, about an hour ago, I made a reservation on National for a car from Thursday, May 12th to Saturday, May 14! There was also an option to "Save Time" where you can input the driver's information (license, address, birth date, etc) to save time at the counter the day of the rental. Did that. Now I just need to wait about 16 days to go pick the car up! :D

~Lindsay

Moving route and car rental

So, a bit more than a week ago, my father and I went to CAA (like AAA in the US), so we could get a TripTik for when I move to the USA. If you don't know what a TripTik is, it's this awesome map thing. They break up your journey into many pages (for mine, it was about 20 pages), so you could get a closer look at your route. So, we told the lady where my starting and end points were and what highways I wanted to take. While we were there, I got a huge map of the USA as well as two TourBooks (have listings of motels) for Indiana/Illinois/Ohio and Michigan/Wisconsin. I'm thinking the first night I'll be stopping somewhere in Ohio, and then the second night somewhere in Wisconsin. We then went last Thursday to go pick the TripTik up. A few pictures (click them to enlarge):

This is what I got on the first trip to CAA.

The package I received for the second trip.

A view of one page of my route in the TripTik.

The route I'm taking from Burlington, Vermont to South Dakota.

I'll actually be renting a car from Vermont, not Canada. I found the cheapest price was to rent from Vermont and then drop it off in South Dakota for about $400 from National Car Rentals. Every other company I looked at was around $800, whether renting from Vermont or Montreal. There were actually very few companies that had an option of renting in Canada and crossing the border and dropping it off in the USA. That's why I decided to rent from Vermont. My dad nicely agreed to drive me and my stuff down to Vermont :) I'll actually be reserving my car at National either today or very soon!

~Lindsay

P.S. Only 7 more days and 16 hours to go till my interview!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DHL location chosen, interview preparation, and taxes

On Monday I signed up for a DHL branch location so the Consulate knows which branch I want my visa and passport to be mailed to after the interview.

If you want to see screenshots, you can go here. Each picture has a detailed description for each step in signing up, so click on the first picture.

Also on Monday I finished printing out everything I needed for the interview. I only have one or two things left, but I'm waiting till I get closer to the interview date to print them out. Once everything's done, I'll take a picture of my very huge (and heavy) folder.

As well, Ben finally got his tax refund last Friday, and on Monday he requested a 2010 tax transcript from the IRS. Apparently they have a form you can fill out online now instead of calling in (found here). I'm hoping he gets the transcript before the interview, so I can bring that and hand it in instead of the 1040 and W2s. It said it takes 5-10 days (although Ben doesn't know if that was total days or just business days) and there's currently only 12 and a half days left till my interview. I'm sure it will arrive before then!

~Lindsay

Thursday, April 14, 2011

US Consulate in Montreal

So, a few months back, I found a thread that had pictures of the US Consulate. Decided to post them here if anyone's interested. Also, when I went to pick up my results for my medical on Tuesday, I decided to actually visit the Consulate myself as it was about a 5 minute walk away. I took some pictures and I'm adding them here too. If you click on any of the pictures, it will blow them up to full-size.

Picture I took of the entire building. The interview takes place all the way at the top (I believe the 19th floor).

Picture I took of where you line up outside and wait (if you get there early).

Picture I found. Different angle from the one above.

Close-up I took of the front doors.

Even closer picture that I took.

Picture I found of the front doors.

Picture I found of the sign above the doors.

Picture I found of a notice board on the front doors.

~Lindsay

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Medical results

So, went out today to pick up my results. Before leaving, I called Medisys as instructed and they told me the results were ready. My dad had an appointment at a nearby hospital, so he dropped me off across the street from where Medisys is. I was definitely not stressed this time going to Medisys, compared to last week when I was freaking out.

Anyways, got up to the 11th floor and had to wait in line to speak with a receptionist. I think it was about 5 minutes and then I was able to go up. When I called earlier, I had asked the person on the phone if I needed to bring anything with me, but she said no. Yet when I got to the receptionist and asked for my results, she asked for my invoice paper. I told her I didn't have it, so she asked for ID. Thank goodness ID is acceptable as I would have had to go back another day if they needed my invoice. Anyways, she took my driver's license and went to find my results. She then returned and told me I could not open the two envelopes and that I had to bring them with me to the interview (duh). There was a paper stapled on top that I was allowed to open as it was just my vaccination sheet.

I took pictures of the envelopes and you can find them here. Note, the X-rays were in the brown envelope and I can tell they're on a CD. Much more convenient then carrying around a HUGE envelope of the actual X-rays.

So, no one actually told me I passed, but I'm going to assume that since I didn't hear back that I passed the medical. Not like it's hard to pass though, I just had to not have syphilis or HIV, and no past drug use or anything like that.

~Lindsay

Friday, April 8, 2011

Labels added

Decided to go through all my posts today and add labels to each one for easier searching. For each post, I added at least one label whether it was "personal" or an "explanation". Then I added additional labels, depending on the content. I then added a gadget to the right column to show all the labels. So, if you want to find all my posts relating to "medical", for example, just click on the word "medical" and my blog refreshes to show posts about the medical. Hope this helps!

~Lindsay

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Medical review

I survived! I survived! :D

So, my appointment was at 10am at Medisys in downtown Montreal today. I had asked months ago if my dad was willing to come with me for moral support. Plus I knew I wouldn't be able to drive; I'd be too nervous. Anyways, my dad and I left at 9am. We got there like exactly at 10am.

Waited in line till the receptionist was available. Told her I was there for a medical. She found my file and then asked for my interview letter. I had only brought the first page, and she asked where the rest was, so I'm guessing I was supposed to bring all the pages, not just the first. But she took what I had, thankfully, and made a photocopy. She then took my passport (made a photocopy of that too) and stapled my 3 pictures to various papers. She then took my vaccination record. I was given a paper (front and back) to fill out. It asked me my name, date of birth, whether I've had any of the diseases listed, if I was on medication, etc. Also, females: it asks when your last menstrual period was, so make a note of the date. I think I got the date right for mine, but who knows, lol.

After I finished filling out the paper, I brought it back to the receptionist. She then told me to wait till my name was called. I barely had time to sit back down before I was called. I followed the doctor into his office. He told me to undress to my underwear and socks behind a curtain and put on a gown. He then asked me a few questions as I was undressing. Once I was done, he did a standard physical exam. Checked my eyes, ears, and throat, took my blood pressure, listened to me breathe, and the funnest: hit my kneecap with that thing (which I've never had done before, so I was amused). I then got re-dressed. This part took all of like 5 minutes and was very quick.

I then had to go back to the waiting room. About 10 minutes later, my name was called again, by someone different, and was for the X-rays. I was showed to a little cubicle (felt like a bathroom stall, minus the toilet) and told to take off my shirt and bra, along with any jewelry, and told to put on a gown. I did that and then waited, as instructed, inside the cubicle for my name to be called. A few minutes later, a woman called my name and was shown inside the X-ray room. I was given this heavy thing to tie around my waist. I faced this white board and told to take a deep breath and hold it as the X-ray was taken. I then had to go in another position. This time my left arm was against the white board. Again, I took a deep breath and held it. That was all for the X-ray. The woman instructed me to go back to the cubicle and wait till she looked at the X-rays before getting dressed to make sure they were okay. Once I was cleared, I got dressed again and was given a red paper to hand to the receptionist. All in all, the X-ray part took about 10 minutes to do.

The longest wait now began. All I had left was the blood test. It was about 30 minutes before my name was called by another person, Melissa. She asked me how I was and I told her I was extremely nervous about the blood test. She then asked if I had gotten the influenza shot this year and told her no. She said then I'd have to get it done. I told her that I had read that flu season for immigration ended March 31. She told me to wait a second as she left the room to go talk to someone. She returned and told me that no, flu season only ended April 30. I had to get another needle stuck in me!! Anyways, blood test was up first. I requested a butterfly needle, so she got that ready. My dad was in the room with me and he came over next to me. I then started to squeeze the crap out of his hand as Melissa (such a nice nurse by the way) started "prepping" my arm. This was my first blood test ever, so I didn't know what to expect. The only pain I felt was the prick as the needle went in. Then it just felt weird (in a not good way) having the needle just sitting there in my arm. Finally it was over and the needle was out. I didn't faint! Melissa then left to get the other nurse who would be giving me the flu shot. She then came in with Melissa and prepped my left arm again for the vaccine. I began to squeeze my dad's hand again and Melissa started asking me questions to distract me. Thankfully, vaccines are quicker and   the needle was out quickly. I breathed a sigh of relief; no more needles! I said aloud that I deserved a lollipop and Melissa went to the cupboard and actually gave me a lollipop! I got up and felt a little light-headed, so Melissa told me to sit back down. She asked if I had anything to eat this morning, and I replied no as I wasn't feeling well. She then got some orange juice from a fridge that was in the room and gave it to me. After drinking that, I then felt I was okay to go back to the waiting room.

I was told I'd have to wait 20 minutes before leaving to see if I'd have a reaction to the flu shot. At like 12pm, the receptionist called me up. Told me to call before coming back to pick up the results next week. I then forked over my credit card to pay the $240 bill. It would have only cost $215, but getting the influenza shot wasn't free, so.

And that's it! All in all, I was at Medisys for exactly 2 hours. If it hadn't been for any of the waiting, I could have been done within 30 minutes. I'll be going back next Tuesday to pick up the results of the medical, along with my X-rays.

~Lindsay

P.S. My left arm is extremely sore. I now realise that typing with only one hand is difficult and I hope this soreness goes away soon.

P.P.S. I'd like to give a huge shout out to my dad. I'm so thankful he was willing to drive me there and back again and coming inside with me for the blood test. Thank you daddy!! :D

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Confirmation

Just called DOS up. They confirmed the case was at the US Consulate in Montreal. The operator couldn't give me the exact date it was received, she just said it was sometime between Monday and today. As long as my case is there, that's good enough for me!

~Lindsay

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shipment delivered

So, according to DHL's website, with the tracking number I found yesterday, the shipment arrived in Montreal this afternoon at 12:36pm and signed by "IRENA". Whether or not my case was actually in that shipment, I'm not 100% sure, but I have a good feeling it was. I'm going to call up DOS tomorrow and see if an operator can confirm that my case has indeed been received by the US Consulate in Montreal.

~Lindsay

P.S. Wow, two posts in one day!

Booked my medical

Just called up Medisys and asked them a few questions (since their website is lacking in any kind of information on the medical). There are two places available in Montreal for medicals. I already had most of my answers for Dr Seidens from their website. I decided to go with Medisys since it was $35 cheaper. And when I called and asked about butterfly needles (I've been told they're easier to get to the vein and less painful), the guy on the phone told me they were available! So, I called back a few minutes after my Q&A and asked to be booked for a medical. I got scheduled for April 6th (next week!!!) at 10am.

I am now going to freak out for the next week about the blood test as I have mentioned before that I hate needles. And I've never had a blood test done before either. Hoping I don't pass out or anything. If anyone has any suggestions to help my blood test go smoother, please, please, please leave a comment. I already know I'm not going to watch and that I'll lie down if possible. I've also heard that drinking a lot of water ahead of time helps with blood circulation, as well as keeping warm. Anything else?

~Lindsay

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Case sent to Montreal

I called an operator up yesterday to see if our case has been shipped to the US Consulate in Montreal. According to John, it had been sent on March 28th, the day I called. When I called the AVR this morning, it confirmed: "NVC has completed the processing of this application and has forwarded it to the embassy or consulate in Montreal on March 28th, 2011. Please contact the embassy or consulate for further questions."

Now, a couple of months ago, I found this thread with instructions on how you can track your case from NVC to the US Embassy or Consulate. You go to DHL.com and select 'Track by Reference' under the Track option. You then put in "EXP 28 MAR 2011A" as the reference number (changing the dates according to your case). Hit 'Track', and a bunch of shipments should appear, going to numerous countries. Now the thread I found said to use the day before the case was sent out as the reference number, but the day before for our case was a Sunday. I tried using Friday's date, but there were no cases sent to Canada. But when I used Monday's date, there was a shipment heading to Montreal, Canada.

If for whatever reason you want to track my case along with me, just use tracking number: 8768131783 and put it in the box hereI'm not 100% positive of course that my case is included in that shipment, but I'd say it's a very good chance. I also have signed up for email notifications on the shipment, but I'm crazy, so :D

I think I'll call up DOS a day after I see the shipment has been delivered to see if my case was received by Montreal, just to be sure.

~Lindsay

Monday, March 28, 2011

Very touching article

Back in November, I wrote a post about a mass transfer of I-130 files from CSC to TSC. I have been following the thread created on the topic from day 1 and still continue to do so. One man, Wade Grant, frustrated with how inefficient the process was going for him, reached out to the media to raise awareness of this issue. Finally, after weeks, a news agency picked up his story and wrote an article which was just published online today. I encourage each and every one of you to read his touching story and spread the news article. Everyone should be aware of how broken this system can really be. Forget about illegal immigration, let's focus on how the legal system really works, or in reality, how it's not working.

Article can be found here.

~Lindsay

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Interview letter received

Very, very short update:

So, at 6am on Saturday, both Ben and I received the interview package by email. If you want to see screenshots, go here.

~Lindsay

Friday, March 25, 2011

INTERVIEW DATE ASSIGNED!!!

Omg!! It's been about 30 minutes and I'm still shaking.

So, two people on VJ got interview dates assigned today. I was super excited! So, I decided to call DOS an hour early, I was just feeling good about it. I called, asked if an interview date had been assigned and gave over my NVC case number. I was put on hold for a bit and then she came back and repeated the case number to verify. Usually they don't ask the case number again, so I was getting excited. She then asked the petitioner's name; I got even more excited. She finally said the interview date was assigned! I heard her say May 13th, at 8am. I then called up NVC to see if they had this date as well. Gary, the operator, said he had good news for me and that an interview date had been assigned for May 3rd, at 8am. I must have heard the DOS operator wrong, it wasn't the 13th, but the 3rd. Just in case though, I called another NVC operator to verify, and it is indeed May 3rd! :D

Just waiting on the interview letter now. Should get it either today or sometime soon. The operator said I should get it by the latest by the end of next week.

I'm going to call up the two panel physicians in Montreal next week and ask a few questions I have about the medical. Then I'll figure out which place to get my medical done and then book it for sometime in April.

I am so glad I didn't listen to all the operators who told me they only schedule interviews in the second week and to not call back again until the second week of April. It was complete lies and I knew it. And now, I'm proof of that. It's the fourth week, yet my interview was assigned!

~Lindsay

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wiki on EP and online forms

So, back in January I believe, I started working on a wiki I wanted to put up on VJ about the NVC process for Montreal beneficiaries in relation to electronic processing and online forms. I wrote most of it while going through the process myself. Once our case was complete at NVC, I put the finishing touches on it and finally published it on the wiki section of NVC. The link can be found here. Hope this helps other Canadians and any others that are also doing EP and/or online forms!

~Lindsay

P.S. Still patiently waiting for an interview date! Last week, I saw someone on VJ who had a case complete the day before ours got assigned an interview date for April 20! It's very possible that I can get an interview date for late April! I'm so thrilled that Montreal is getting faster. I can't believe that only last year it used to take 5 months from CC to interview, but now it's dropped to 2 months and below. Go Montreal go! ^_^

Monday, March 14, 2011

Graph

Before I start, no news yet on an interview date. Hope to hear this week!

Anyways, so I was bored this afternoon. Made a spreadsheet with recent IR-1/CR-1 visa filers in Montreal and wrote down dates for case complete and interview dates, plus a few other dates. Decided to graph it in a pretty line graph to visually see it.

Here it is: http://www.chartgo.com/get.do?id=dd14518654 (I was gonna embed it, but it was too large of a picture to post here without making it look horrible.) You can definitely see the average going down! :)

~Lindsay

Friday, March 11, 2011

Case complete email and AVR update

So, yesterday morning, NVC Electronic sent both Ben and I an email saying they've received everything needed at NVC and that our case was complete. Yay, it was official!

And then today when I called up the AVR, it finally changed to reflect our case complete: "Your case was completed on March 10th, 2011. Please allow 8 weeks from this date for further instructions."

Now to just wait for an interview date to be assigned to us. It's currently about 2 months from CC to interview for Montreal. As soon as I get my interview date, I'm going to have to make an appointment for the medical! Not too excited about that since there's a blood test involved. Oh well.

~Lindsay

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SIF and CC!!!

So, a little less than an hour ago, I decided to try signing into the payment portal. While I was waiting for the page to load after putting in the case number and IIN, I looked over at my second monitor, and out of the corner of my eye, I see a red box on the payment portal site. It took me a second to realise that I was seeing the much desired sign-in failed message! I started to freak out and immediately started yelling at Ben on MSN. He then went to try to sign in on his end and he also got the SIF message! At this point, I was shaking all over and my heart was beating fast.

I usually call an operator up at 5pm, but today was an exception. I wasn't going to wait another hour to find out, so I called one up. Twelve minutes later, I finally got an operator. I explained how I got a SIF and she asked if I was using Internet Explorer and then told me that many people have been getting these fake SIFs for awhile and I should just try again. I explained to her that usually, when someone gets a SIF it's a good indication that the case is complete at NVC. Amanda (the operator) asked me to wait a second as she looked over some information on her computer screen and then told me that it looks like our case was complete at NVC. Yay!!

Amanda went on to say that we'll then be notified by email and that the US Consulate in Montreal will assign us an interview date and that we didn't make it for any March interviews. I knew this as Montreal is behind. So, we could possibly get a late April or early May interview. Now I get to ask an operator for interview dates when I call up instead of asking if our packages have been reviewed! :D

~Lindsay

P.S. Still shaking with goosebumps! ^________^

P.P.S. The beautiful SIF message

Monday, March 7, 2011

Packages being reviewed

I called an operator up as usual and according to Jim, the operator, both packages are under review now as of March 3rd. Woot! Hopefully NVC finishes reviewing both packages soon and we can get a case complete!

~Lindsay

Friday, March 4, 2011

AVR update!

Finally, after almost a month, the AVR finally, finally, finally updated to something different. It's now saying: "The NVC is awaiting the return of the biographic forms from: the petitioner. Once this packet is received, allow 6-8 weeks for the reviewing of all your documentation and you will be notified of the outcome of the review." I believe this means that they've finished reviewing our AOS and accepted it and are now waiting for our IV package. Woot!

~Lindsay

P.S. Ben will be here in about 4 hours!!! Eeeeee :D

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A slight update!

So, as usual, I called an operator up around 5pm. I was instantly through to an operator, absolutely no waiting. And I finally heard some good news today! NVC finally received something today, March 3, and that it's currently under review. I'm guessing it's the I-864 since that was sent out first. It was such a nice change compared to just hearing "please wait 20 business days". Hopefully the damn AVR changes soon to say case complete!

~Lindsay

P.S. Ben arrives tomorrow afternoon! Yayyyy! :D

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Printing

So, I spent a couple hours tonight printing some stuff out for the interview. I got a copy of the I-864 package we emailed printed out, along with a copy of my supporting documents. I also printed out ALL email correspondence between me and NVC. I had I believe 17 emails printed out, including auto response ones. I know I probably will never need them, but I felt like printing them out regardless. I also printed off a copy of a DS-230 filled out. Doubt I'll need it, but whatever.

Once I have everything printed out, I'll take a picture of my folder and upload it here.

~Lindsay

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Certified copy of passport and apartment

Well, I was supposed to go yesterday to pick up my passport and certified copy, but it ended up snowing a lot, so I postponed it till today. When I got to the Passport Canada office, I ended up getting the exact same number as last week (B555). And then, when I got called up, I had the same lady as well and she remembered me too. Anyways, I received two certified copies of my passport in an envelope and received my passport back. Just have to give one copy over to Ben when he comes to visit this weekend!

In other news, Ben's been looking at a few apartments these past 2 weeks. He went to see one yesterday after work and he loved it. And so, he went back today after lunch to sign the lease! He's probably going to move in the weekend after he gets back from Canada. He gets the whole place for himself for about 2 months until I get there.

Here's a picture of the outside
A picture of the bedroom
A picture of the huge kitchen
And a final picture of the included (!!!) washing machine and dryer

And a video Ben took the second time he went to see the place: https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0BxJvo2IPcz1qNGFlOTBjNjgtN2QzMy00M2NhLThhNmMtM2YzZTNmZjEyMDc4&hl=en

~Lindsay

Friday, February 25, 2011

Re-sent documents

So, called an operator up again today. Instead of getting the usual reply of "it could be 20 business days", this operator suggested I actually re-send the documents since it's been 3 weeks. So, I just re-sent our I-864 and DS-260 packages by email.

The operator mentioned that our case was only changed to EP on February 17, yet we sent our documents before that. But if they process the emails in order, then technically, by the time they get to my email for the I-864, they'll have switched me to EP since I had sent the optin email three days earlier.

Two days before our optin was accepted, an operator actually suggested to me to re-send the optin email since they hadn't switched our case to EP yet.

I'm hoping the same thing happens now where they're just really behind on emails and they'll get to our February 4th email of our I-864 package soon. It wouldn't make sense to have to wait for optin acceptance to email things if they process emails in order.

~Lindsay

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Passport and operators

So, I've been calling an operator every day around 5pm. Only takes an average of 5 minutes to get through to an operator. Still no update though on either our I-864 or our DS-260 packages. I just keep getting told "it can take up to 20 business days".

So, filing for taxes this year is going to be fun for Ben. Since he's married now and I don't have an SSN, we need to file for an ITIN for me since he wants to do married filing jointly. Besides filling out the W7 form, they also need proof of my foreign status and identity. The passport can qualify as proof for both. But, it just can't be a photocopy. It has to be a certified copy by the issuing agency. So, I drove out to the nearest Passport Canada agency today and asked to get a certified copy of my passport. The lady took my passport, filled out a paper, I signed it, and I just have to wait till this Monday to go pick it up. And it was free! I was waiting for the lady to ask for money or something, but nope. Yay, score one for the government for not charging a fee.

~Lindsay

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Optin email accepted!

*Reference link to abbreviations/terms post*

Yay! I log onto my gmail account and find a beautiful email from NVCElectronic: our optin email acceptance! I had a good feeling this morning as I turned my computer on, and then voila! It took 16 days from sending out the optin email to getting an acceptance.

In other news, I've been calling up an operator each day around 5pm. Only takes about 5 minutes to get through, compared to my 20 minute wait at other times during the day. Three out of the four told me it can take up to 20 business days to review a package. Blah, blah, blah. One of them, on Monday, told me that our case isn't showing as EP and that we should re-send the optin email. So, I did, even though I knew it can take awhile for the optin to be accepted, but the operator said it couldn't hurt. Oh well. By the time NVC gets around to that second optin, we'll have a CC :D

~Lindsay

P.S. Ben will be here in 2 weeks and a day!! :D

Friday, February 11, 2011

Operator #5

So, I decided to call up an operator today. I wanted to know if NVC has received or reviewed our I-864 or DS-260. Only had to wait 11 minutes to get to an operator! Fastest time so far. Anyways, Robin told me that she didn't see anything in the system yet and that it could take 20 business days. Oh well! I'm going to start calling up everyday now to see if they have any news.

Also, no change on the AVR. Was looking forward to a 4th day in a row for an update, but nothing so far. I can't wait to hear: "Your case was complete was on February XX, 2011."

~Lindsay

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another AVR update

So, as usual, I called up the AVR as soon as I got up. The message had changed yet again, for the third day in a row! It now says: "A packet of information and documents was generated on February 9th, 2011 and will be sent within the next few weeks." I'm thinking this means NVC is going to send an email about the I-864 documents, even though we already submitted the I-864 last week. But of course, NVC is way behind :D

~Lindsay

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

AVR update and NVC email

As soon as I got up today, I called up the AVR and was surprised to hear it was updated again. The new message: "NVC has received the immigrant visa fee bill on February 7th, 2011 and will send further instructions within the next few weeks."

About 30 minutes ago, Ben and I both received an email from NVC with instructions about the NVC. To see screenshots, go here: http://s128.photobucket.com/albums/p174/smurf47/Immigration/NVC%20DS-230%20email/

Oh, and last night I was on the VJ forums and saw that someone else from Canada who did EP and filled out the online forms got a case complete in 25 days!! Wow.

Also, Ben has booked a flight to come here to Canada for March 4 and leaving on the 8th. Can't wait!

~Lindsay

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

DS-260!!

A little after 8pm, our IV bill finally appeared as paid! It took me a second to realise what I saw. I had been signing into the payment portal all afternoon, every 20 minutes or so, and nothing. But it finally changed! I hit the button to start the DS-260 application.

I'm very glad I went through the DS-260 screenshots. I saved a lot of time by finding out information that would have taken a few hours to get. Page after page, I entered in the correct information. At the end, there's a review page on each section.

I printed out each review section and sent a PDF version to Ben to review. I'm glad he did as I missed a question about the petitioner's email address. I swear, it didn't ask that in the form, but I clicked the edit button, and voila, it was there. Mysterious...

After we both reviewed, I digitally signed it (like with the DS-261) and then clicked the submit button. A confirmation page was presented and I printed that out as well.

Then it was time to send off the email for the supporting documents for the DS-260. I printed out my cover letter, signed it, and then scanned it. I added that, along with the cover sheet, to the package. While Ben's I-864 package was nearly 8 MB (reduced from 20 MB), my package was only 3 MB (and not reduced).

I prepped the email with the needed info, attached the package, and emailed it off.

So, within 7 days, Ben and I have finished paying all the bills and sending in all the forms and documents. Now all we have to do is wait for NVC to review them and complete our case. Very exciting!

~Lindsay

Monday, February 7, 2011

Screenshots

I created a new album on Photobucket called immigration. I then moved the DS-261 screenshots album into that album, so the link will be different. The new link is: http://s128.photobucket.com/albums/p174/smurf47/Immigration/DS-261%20screenshots/

I also created another sub-album called Payment Portal screenshots which you can find here: http://s128.photobucket.com/albums/p174/smurf47/Immigration/Payment%20portal%20screenshots/ So far I have two screenshots, one showing where you see and pay bills, the other showing where you can see and fill out the online forms. I'll most likely add another one to show what it looks like when a bill is looked at in a few minutes.

If you want to just see the general Immigration album, it's here: http://s128.photobucket.com/albums/p174/smurf47/Immigration/ From there, you can choose the sub-albums.

I'm planning on uploading a copy of the correspondence I got from NVC as well soon, so keep an eye open for that too.

If there's anything else you want a screenshot of, please leave a comment and I'll do it.

~Lindsay

EDIT: I uploaded the screenshots of the receipt page in the payment portal sub-album. I also uploaded the 4 page document I received last Friday. You can view this at the sub-album NVC information email here: http://s128.photobucket.com/albums/p174/smurf47/Immigration/NVC%20information%20email/

IV bill

Around 10:30 this morning, the IV bill became invoiced and Ben paid for it immediately.

Either tomorrow or Wednesday the IV should appear as PAID and then I can fill out the DS-260 and then submit the supporting documents by email.

Later today, I'll make the scans I need to, so everything's ready.

~Lindsay

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mail and AVR update

*Reference link to abbreviations/terms post*

So, sometime yesterday night, both Ben and I received mail from NVC. Attached was a 4-page document giving information about NVC and had our case number, IIN, and beneficiary ID number. The last two pages was the DS-3032 form (expired by the way). Sorry, NVC, but we're way ahead of you, thanks though :P

Also, about half an hour ago, I decided to call up the AVR. I was expecting the same message that it had before: "Your case was entered into NVC's computer system on February 1st, 2011. The case number assigned by the NVC for this case is XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Please allow 6-8 weeks from this date for: the beneficiary to receive notification." But when I called, that's not the message I heard!

Instead, it talked about the DS-3032. I had to repeat the message since I didn't hear it the first time from excitement. The message: "NVC received the DS-3032 Choice of Agent and Address form on February 5th, 2011. Please allow 4-6 weeks for processing before you will be notified by the NVC." So looks like they received the DS-261 that I sent in on February 3rd.

They should now invoice us for the IV bill on Monday or Tuesday. If only they could do it on the weekend...

~Lindsay

Friday, February 4, 2011

I-864 package sent!

*Reference link to abbreviations/terms post*

So just about an hour ago, Ben tells me that our AoS bill appeared as PAID! Oh wow, took just a bit more than one day! Amazing!

I had added something to the cover letter, so Ben quickly printed it out, signed it, and scanned it again. While he did that, I went onto the payment portal site and got the cover sheet saved as a PDF. Once I had that and the cover letter from Ben, I added it to the I-864 package and then reduced it in size. It came to about 8 MB.

I headed over to Gmail, attached the file and put the pertinent info in the body and subject line, and then sent off the I-864 package! Yay!

Now we have to wait for the IV bill to appear in the payment portal to pay that. Once that's done, we wait for it to appear as PAID, fill out and submit the DS-260 and then email the supporting documents. Hoping the bill appears today, but more realistically early next week.

This weekend I'm going to put my supporting documents together so that's ready to go as soon as we can!

~Lindsay

Thursday, February 3, 2011

AoS bill and DS-261

*Reference link to abbreviations/terms post*

Yesterday, NVC was closed due to weather. But I'm glad they're open again today.

Well, I got a text message this morning from Ben saying the AoS fee appeared and that he paid it immediately. Now to wait for it to appear as PAID, then we can email off the I-864 package.

When I saw his text, I went to the payment portal site on my iPod and saw the DS-261 was finally available. I got up quickly and turned my computer on. I filled out the form and submitted it. If you want to see screenshots of the DS-261, go here:
http://s128.photobucket.com/albums/p174/smurf47/Immigration/DS-261%20screenshots/
I've included descriptions underneath each picture when you click on them.

So, last night, Ben scanned all the I-864 documents. During the day, he got the employment letter printed out and signed by his boss. After he sent me the package, I went through and digitally added our case number to the top right of each page through Adobe Acrobat. In total, the I-864 package is gonna be 30 pages long. Breakdown:

-Cover sheet with barcode (appears on the payment portal site once the bill is accepted)
-Cover letter
-I-864 (4 pages)
-Tax transcripts (9 pages)
-Employment letter
-Pay stubs (14 pages)

I merged everything together into one PDF file then reduced it in size. It's currently 7.91 MB. We still have to add the cover sheet once it's available, so it'll be about 8 MB at the end. This probably isn't too big for NVC's email server. I'm glad its size got reduced so much as the original file was 21.1 MB. A lot of compression!

Nothing more we can do now. Just have to wait for the AoS bill to appear as PAID, then we add the cover sheet to the PDF package and email it off.

Also, have to wait for the IV bill to appear on the payment portal. Still not invoiced yet. It probably won't appear till next week.

So, a bit of progress today! Now to more waiting.

~Lindsay