NOA1 Received

Great news! We just received NOA1 (Notice of Action #1) trough email. That means they definitely opened the package (they must have got my email address from the G-1145 form) and surely begun processing our case. We also got a text message stating pretty much the same. This is a sample of the email we received:

Your case has been accepted and routed to the USCIS California Service Center for processing. Within 7-10 days by standard mail you will receive your official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) with your Receipt Number XXXXXXXXXXX. With the official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) you may visit http://www.uscis.gov where you can check the status of your case using My Case Status. We suggest you wait until you have received your Form I-797 before checking My Case Status.

This confirmation provides notification of the date USCIS received your case. This notice does NOT grant any immigration status or benefit. You MAY NOT present this notice as evidence that you have been granted any immigration status or benefit. Further, this notice does NOT constitute evidence that your case remains pending with USCIS. The current status of your case must be verified with USCIS.

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE

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This is how the NOA1 email looks like from my phone.

So we got routed to USCIS California Service Center. According to VisaJourney’s timeline we should be receiving NOA2 between May/June. That sounds great! At this point I suggest you guys go to the USCIS website, create an account using your Receipt Number, and subscribe for email and text updates. We did that, but most likely I will be manually checking every day with my Receipt Number on the USCIS website.

One thing we are worried about is that we used our Venezuelan address in the I-130 form and they will attempt to send the NOA1 Hard Copy to that address. The problem is: Venezuelan postal service is a complete disaster: slow, unreliable, unreachable… it’s just a Russian roulette. I guess we will simply forget about receiving this Hard Copy from USCIS. If we somehow get it, I’ll be very surprised. The good thing is we don’t need that document at all. It is just a hard copy for archival purposes.

Of course we will switch the address to my US domicile soon. There is a way to do that right on the USCIS website, but I’d like to call first and clear some doubts. This is very important because there are some important packages and notices that we DO NEED to physically receive. Specially at the NVC stage.

In this link (HERE) you will find very interesting information about your Receipt Number.

And this is how it looks like when entering the receipt number on the USCIS Website. Very neat!

This is how it looks like when entering the receipt number on the USCIS Website. Very neat!

USPS Tracking: the package arrived!

Since we dropped the envelope at USPS we’ve been tracking the delivery almost compulsively 🙂 checking several times a day, following each step. I suscribed for email notifications, which worked very well, on time with the updates.

This morning the status changed to “Available for pickup” which gave us some doubts:

1) Why pickup? do they go to the post office and gather all the envelopes?
2) Maybe we misunderstood and sent the package somewhere else for pickup?

USPS Online Tracking shows the delivery was picked up at the Post Office.

USPS Online Tracking shows the delivery was picked up at the Post Office.

It stalled in that stage for like 4 hours and I was thinking if I should call USPS. While deciding what to do about it, suddenly we received a new email with new status updates! and guess what? DELIVERED! Phew!

I guess its up to USCIS now to proccess the package and send us the famous NOA1, also known as “Notice of Action”. We expect to recieve it by email (since we included form G-1145 “E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance”) which I strongly recommend you guys include it in your petition. We’ve read it takes about 5-10 days to generate NOA1, we’ll eagerly wait for the good news and of course open a new blog post!

The beginning of the Journey

Hello world!

Our names are Daniel & Juli. We got happily married back on April 20, 2013 here in Caracas, Venezuela. Since then we’ve been planning to leave this country for various reasons (which we won’t address in this blog) and move to the United States and start our family there. We are both Venezuelans, and luckily for us, I am also a born US Citizen.

To lawfully enter and live in the United States, turns out my wife needs a IR1/CR1 Visa approved for her to enter the US and gain Permanent Residence status. (Very usefull information HERE). After approved, three years later she can become a US citizen.

We have been researching a lot about the whole Spousal Visa process, and found that while being somewhat long (est. 12 months) it seems pretty straightforward. That’s what we are going to find out, and hopefully leave all of our experiences in this blog!

We used USPS Express Envelope Service. It cost $20 for next day shipping.

We used USPS Express Envelope Service. It cost $20 for next day shipping.

After many months of preparation we gathered all the necessary documents and today (april 06, 2015) we sent the first package via DHL Express to the Chicago Lockbox facility. We are very exited, full of hope and everyday dreaming how our future will be once we enter our new home country!

Well the first package can turn confusing sometimes. It is bulky (like 80 pages) worth of documents.  It includes the I-130 form “Petition for Alien Relative” and many documents such as marriage certificate, photos, joint property document, birth certificates, legal translations, etc. so you need to pay attention to all the details cause one missing requisite, even one missing signature will stop the process and get you an RFE (Request of Further Evidence) which is basically a second chance to make things right. RFE’s are exactly what we don’t want, as it generates unnecessary delays.

From what we’ve read all over the internet, most likely you guys DON’T need to hire a lawyer. It is all about investigation, preparation and order. So first, what we did, and would recommend to all of you that are planning to hop on this train, is to make a DETAILED list of all the documents you need. We used Microsoft Excel and it worked wonders. So we made a simple item table, listing all the documents needed in specific order. We bought a classic manila folder, clips and some separators, assigned an imaginary “serial number” for each item, indicated it’s status on the table (things like picture taken, not printed, photocopied, need translation, have notarized or registered at local authorities, etc…) we also put a comments column to indicate important tips to keep an eye on, like signatures, highlight data, check missing data on forms, etc. Then I used colors (red and green) to indicate what item was 100% ready and what was still left.

Most rows began red colored and day after day those rows turned green, one by one. Finally it was all 100% ready and we sent the package just today.

I will continue to add details to this blog post, cause right now I need to get back to work!