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!


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:


The last processing action taken on your case

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


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.


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:

 The last processing action taken on your case  
Receipt Number: SRC11******** 
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.


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!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


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!


Sunday, May 15, 2011


[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.


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!


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.


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


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


[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!


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.