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.


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.


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


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."


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


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:

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!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


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!


Monday, February 7, 2011


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:

I also created another sub-album called Payment Portal screenshots which you can find here: 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: 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.


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:

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.


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...


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!


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:
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.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Email addresses, ID number, and optin email

*Reference link to abbreviations/terms post*

So, I got off the phone awhile ago with another operator (Brooke). I was able to give her our email addresses. Took her a little longer on mine since she mis-heard some letters. After that was done, I requested for the beneficiary ID number that's needed for the online forms and she gave that to me after searching for it for a bit.

After that, I sent off an email to opt-in for electronic processing. Now to wait for an acceptance from NVC which can take up to 10 business days (according to the auto response email).

Also hoping the payment portal updates so we can pay the AoS fee. I'm sure this is one bill Ben is excited to pay for. I'm also keeping an eye out for when the site updates so I can submit the DS-261. It's still saying this case is not eligible for further processing at NVC as it said this early afternoon when we first got our case number and IIN. It better update by tomorrow or I'm going to call another operator to complain.


Case number and IIN assigned!

*Reference link to abbreviations/terms post*

So, a few minutes before 12pm, I decided to call up NVC to see if there was a case number assigned to us. It took nearly 90 attempts over 10 minutes just to get through to the phone line. I decided not to call the AVR just to have to wait again to talk to an operator, so I went directly to an operator.

Was on hold again for about 30 minutes when I finally got through. Gave the operator our CIS receipt number and she put me on hold. The guy last night hadn't put me on hold, so I was wondering what was happening. I thought she might have hung up on me or something, but after two minutes she came back. And then told me wonderful news. Our case had just been entered into the system. I asked for the case number and she gave it to me. I then asked if the IIN was available and she said yes and I got that as well. Woot!

Unfortunately, I was so happy about finally getting a case number, I completely forgot to give the operator our email addresses. I realised this only like 20 minutes later. D'oh! I decided to eat and then call back up.

This time, only took once to get through to NVC and then another 20 minutes or so on hold. I gave the operator this time our new NVC case number (you can either give your CIS number or NVC case number). She asked what she could do for me, I told her I wanted to give the email addresses of the petitioner and beneficiary. She then asked me who Ben was, I replied the petitioner. She asked me who Lindsay was, I replied the beneficiary. She then asked if I was one of those people, and I'm like yes, I'm Lindsay. She then asked for my birth date and then asked for Ben. She said alright, and asked again what she could do for me. (Do operators forget that quickly?!) I repeated I wanted to give our email addresses. She then told me that she couldn't input anything into the system at the moment since someone in another department was putting our information literally at that same moment. She suggested I call back either tomorrow or later on today. I told her thank you, and she apologized she couldn't help me.

So, I've been calling up the AVR every hour or so to see if they have a record of our case, either with our CIS number or our new NVC case number. Still nothing yet. I'm going to call an operator later tonight, probably right after supper. Thank goodness they're available until 12 midnight.

I'll update later with what happens tonight after I call again!


EDIT: After getting our case number and IIN, tried going on to the payment portal site, but the AoS fee isn't invoiced yet, so we still have to wait. Hopefully by tomorrow the fee is invoiced so it might possibly appear as PAID by Friday to already send in our I-864 package!