Immigration is a long and complex process. This timeline notes the steps taken in the process for my husband to go from an illegal alien to a u.s resident. Includes dates and fees paid to lawyers/and immigration.
MBJ is a very reputable lawyer here in Oklahoma City, and we wanted to get the best. At this consult, he layed out how the immigration process works, what we would be looking at for prices and wait times. We explained to him that I am a U.S citizen and my husband is not, he is a Mexican citizen and we would like to begin the process for getting him permanent residency. MBJ explained that our biggest challenge will be getting a pardon (called a waiver) from the government. When someone is here illegally and begins the process for legalization, there is a 10 year penalty, meaning they cannot get legalized nor enter the U.S for 10 years. One must apply for a pardon, ask the government to waive this penalty, and one must show and prove to the government that you really need this, I would need to prove to the government that it would cause extreme hardship on me if my husband were not allowed to be here for 10 years. MBJ said that in all of his cases his clients have received the pardon, except for two cases, where the clients involved had criminal backgrounds and were from South America. He said that we had about a 98% chance of getting the pardon, based on my medical issues alone. (Medical hardship is perfect for getting the pardon)
• Payed $50.00
Jesus and I got married! We had no formal wedding ceremony, it wouldn’t be fair to his family that is in Mexico to miss their only son’s wedding. We will wait until we get his papers settled and then figure out what to do for a wedding.
• Turned in to our lawyer the I-130 Application. Items included:
-Photos of me and my spouse
-Copies of items with both our names on them, such as bank accounts, apartment leases…….
-Note from my mom vouching for the validity of our marriage
-Copies of both our birth certificates
Our lawyer has finished preparing our application and we have signed it. It is now ready to be sent.
We recieved a letter stating that our application was recieved and it is now being reviewed. Letter contains our case # so we can check our progress online.
Received letter from the visa center regarding new procedures for the I-601A application. (The waiver app). The new procedures go into effect March 4th and will allow Chucho to apply for the waiver while here in the U.S, instead of having to leave the country and apply and wait in Mexico. This new procedure was passed in order to lessen the hardship on families when an immigrant has to leave the country and apply for the pardon out of the country, and wait for the answer there, which often takes up to 6 months.
Turned in to our lawyer our evidences of hardship. These are reasons why we believe that my husband having to stay out of the U.S for ten years would cause extreme hardship on his family (me) These included:
• Copies of medical bills
• Copies of all my medical records (that date back all the way to the time I was diagnosed with Marfans)
• Letter from me and my mom stating why it would cause extreme hardship on us if Chucho were not allowed to enter the U.S for 10 years.
• Payed $1,818.00 ($318 Visa Bills NVC + $1500 Attorney Fee)
• Payed $1,670.00 ($670 FF Waiver + $1000 Attorney Fee)
We recieved a letter stating that our application for a waiver has been recieved and is being reviewed. Fingers crossed!
Received letter with appointment date and time for Chucho to go get his biometrics. (fingerprints) Appointment is 6/11/13 @ 3 p.m
RECEIVED LETTER OF WAIVER APPROVAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Chucho has been oficially pardoned by the U.S government, my medical problems turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
We turn in the consular application to our lawyer. App is sent. Included documents:
• More pictures of me and my husband together
• Copies of both our birth certificates
• Copies of our passports and my mom's passport
• Copies of mine and my mom's last years W2 and taxes
• Copies of any documents that show both our names on them that we share accounts together ( bank accounts, insurance, bills, etc....)
• A letter from my job and my mom's job stating what our job is, how much we make, and how long we have worked there
• A letter of good conduct from every state Chucho has lived in, ( Mexico and Oklahoma)
• Payment of $1,500.00 (Attorney Fee)
My mom was our co-sponser, because I do not earn enough income to support my husband ( he earns waaaay more than me)
We recieve a letter from the National Visa Center saying that they recieved our consulate application, and that our lawyers filled out part of it incorrectly. It must be fixed and re-sent.
My mom and I sign the corrected application, and it is re-sent.
Received another email from the NVC saying that our lawyers have again filled out the application incorrectly, the mistake was leaving a spot blank instead of writing N/A. Our lawyer tells us that they have filled this out many times and have never had to do this, but it doesn't surprise me that a government run agency would have some people anal about little things and some people who don't care. We again re-signed the app and it is re-sent.
Recieved letter from the NVC with our appointment date in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, set for March 27th, at 8:15 a.m. We will leave the 20th of March and get his medical exam on the 21st.
Our lawyer prepared a packet of the documents we will need for the visa appointment. It Included mostly copies of documents previously submitted, along with original and/or certified copies of birth certificates, passports, and marriage certificate.
• Payment of $1,165.00 ($165 FF + $1000 Attorney Fee)
We left OKC and stayed overnight in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Crossing the border (I drove) they asked us a bunch of questions. We arrived at the "Golden Zone" and went to see where the consulate and medical clinics are located. They are within walking distance of the hotel.
At 6a.m we went to the medical clinic and chucho got his medical exam. I waited for him in the waiting room. It took about 2 hours. This is a list of the exams they did:
• Payment of $380.00
Chucho had an appointment at 1:40 to get his fingerprints and picture taken. Family members are not allowed inside, so I waited outside.
We arrived at the waiting room at 7:45, for his 8:15 appointment. At about 9 someone from the consulate came and got Chucho and his group and took them to the entrance of the consulate. I stayed in the waiting room waiting anxiously. My husband entered the consulate, and waited to hear his number. When they called his number he went up to a window where they took his documents and looked them, keeping the ones they needed and leaving the rest in the envelope. They handed it back to him and he went and sat back down. He waited for 2 more hours. When his number appeared on the screen, it told him which window to go to. He went and stood at a window, there was an officer seate behind the glass looking through his documents. The officer asked him only 7 questions.
What is your name?
Who is your petitioner?
How did you meet your wife?
What is your wife's date of birth?
Do you have any tatoos?
Have you ever been arrested?
When did you come to the U.S?
After the last question, the officer gave him a green piece of paper and told him his visa had been approved! He also gave him a piece of paper with instructions on how and where to pick up his visa.
We got lucky. The packet was ready before noon when the DHL closes on Saturday. We went to pick it up. After that a taxi driver took us to the Zaragoza bridge where you get the visa signed and stamped. The official got all the paperwork ready and put the visa in Chucho's passport.
After a week en Ciudad Juárez, we returned to the U.S. I drove across the Zaragoza bridge, the official inspected the truck and Chucho's new visa, and for the first time ever he entered the U.S legally. I still can't believe it!! It was the best day of my life.
Passing through Alamogordo, New Mexico, there is another immigration checkpoint where we had another chance to show off his new visa.
We went to the Social Security office and applied for Chucho's S.S number. He needed his birth certificate and passport/visa. It should arrive at the house within 2-4 weeks.
Chucho got his Social Security card in the mail! We were able to transfer all his work credits on to his new number, and are now in the process of paying taxes for the past years.
Chucho got his drivers license! The instructor said that his test was "outstanding" and another instructor waiting outside mentioned that he did the parallel parking perfectly. I have never been so proud of my Chucho.
Today Chucho got his green card! Process complete, Chucho is legal. Sigh of relief.....