The USA Green Card Journey (pt.3)

Last time we left off at August 9th 2017 with the USCIS approval. Confused? You won’t be, after this week’s episode of…Soap.

So the excitement quickly dies down when you realise just quite how much more there is to go. In order:

  • USCIS has to pass the visa case to the NVC (National Visa Center)
  • NVC has to create a case and invoice ID numbers
  • NVC then sends that information to you.
  • You then have to pay the NVC fee
  • Once the fee has been paid, you can fill out the DS-260 online form
  • Then send in some requested documents.
  • And wait while NVC processes form and paperwork
  • NVC responds, and tells you that they’re going to schedule an interview at local US embassy consular section.

That’s where I am at time of writing. I’ll cover the remaining process later.

The NVC created their case for me on the 22nd August. It took two days before I got the email from them that contained my case and invoice ID numbers. It also tells you there is a fee of $345 to pay before things can proceed .. and thats where we hit the first major problem.

I’m applying for this outside of the USA. The NVC will only accept payment drawn from a US bank account. I can’t have a US bank account until i’m over there. That’s a pretty big deal. Now what the hell do I do? Can’t do a transfer over with my usual methods. Possibly one of my friends could help?

Turns out my attorney Beltran Brito comes to the rescue. They will forward the fee on for me, so I make the transfer, wait three days, get the confirmation they’ve received it … and then wait for the payment to go through to the NVC. And that’s where we hit issue no.2.

The NVC was (or still is) having issues with it’s payment processing systems. I wait the required two weeks before trying their online web portal and nothing. Some calls to Miami later, the NVC apparently occasionally rejects payments and the only thing that can be done is to try again. So Beltran Brito pulls out all the stops and gets the payment sent again.

Now around this time there were some major hurricanes brewing in the Florida area, so they literally did this just before evacuating out. For that, I am very glad and even more pleased that they all got out safely.

Payment goes to the NVC eventually. September 26th 2017 I am finally able to log into their portal and fill out form DS-260. This takes about an hour to do and the only real sticking point is it asks you where you live in the USA. I don’t … so I put in some info to say that I don’t and that allows me to proceed. Hrmm.

But wait, there’s more! I have some documents to prep, a checklist to tick off and a cover sheet for my application. Make copies of my UK Police Certificate (as you don’t ever send originals at this point), my long form birth certificate (no translations needed because English) … and that’s it. I don’t need the other forms because i’ve not served in the military or got married etc. Place these all in order, attach the cover sheet to the top and courier the lot out to the NVC.

Someone signs for it on September 29th. Later on I find from calling up the NVC that they only started to process everything on October 2nd 2017. This is the point where I begin the 11 week wait as that’s their expected processing time. At this point if I have missed anything then I get an email telling me to send in the missing stuff … and the clock resets.

In the intervening time I discover a site called Visa Journey and I create a profile and timeline of what’s been going on. I update this regularly, as an aid to others progressing down the EB-1 route.

I take one bit of advice from that site and I start to call up the NVC every couple weeks to check. On the 22nd November when I call, I find out some information.

Case Complete.

17th November.

Guess I didn’t miss any paperwork then 😉

Now I wait some more and on the 22nd November, I get an email from the NVC telling me that the case is complete and they are organising a visa interview at the US Embassy in London. Now I must wait some more.

As of today it has been two weeks since case complete. NVC aims to organise an interview based on visa category priority and available appointments at the embassy. The EB1 is a “first priority” visa so I basically get in first before any of the second priority or less visa applicants. Some people have spent years at this stage, patiently waiting.

This is happening far more quickly now that I was told and made out in the last post. I now expect to have notification of an interview date in the next two weeks, earliest date being the middle of January 2018. Keep your eyes peeled folks, Same Bat Time! Same Bat Channel!