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Completed I-824 (for wife of GC Holder) Ask me Anything

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Posted by i824 (70) 20 Dec 2017#1
Here is the detailed chronology of events leading up to the final receipt of GC for my wife -

USCIS Steps:
- I-140 and I-485 Receipt Date: 5-Aug-2015
- RFE on I-140: 21-Mar-2016
- RFE Response Receipt Date: 19-May-2016
- I-140 Approval Date: 4-June-2016
- I-485 Approval Date: 8-July-2016
- I-824 Receipt Date: 30-Aug-2016
- I-824 Approval Date: 30-Nov-2016


NVC Steps:
- First Notification from NVC: 21-Dec-2016
-- Step 1: Online Choice of Address and Agent (Form DS261) Submitted: 21-Dec-2016
-- Step 2: NVC Fee Payment Request: 29-Dec-2016
-- Step 2: Fee payment date: 29-Dec-2016
-- Step 3: Payment Receipt Notification: 9-Jan-2017
-- Step 3: NVC Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application (Form DS260) Submitted: 10-Jan-2017
-- Step 4: Submission of required physical documents: 27-Jan-2017
- Second Notification from NVC of Documentation Completion: 24-Apr-2017
- Third Notification from NVC of Appointment Scheduling: 15-May-2017

USTravelDocs Steps:
- Foreign Civil Surgeson appointment and vaccination steps: 1st to 10th June 2017
- Biometric Appointment on: 27-Jun-2017
- Consulate Interview Appointment: 30-Jun-2017 –Result *APPROVED*
Asked to wait 3-4 days for stamped passport

Twist in the tale:
- Received Notification that visa cannot be issued due to EB1 Visa Retrogression: 3-Jul-2017 (What!!!)
Chaos ensues as we try to get more clarification on what this means since the visa interview was already successful.
Sent queries to the consulate, ustraveldocs.com, NVC and USCIS.
USCIS and the consulate did not respond and NVC passed the buck on to the consulate. Eventually it was confirmed that we have to wait for dates to become current again. Damn!

- Dates became current again: 1-Oct-2017
- Sent query to ustraveldocs: 1-Oct-2017
- Received ustraveldocs request for passport submission: 5-Oct-2017
- Passport submitted at Drop Box: 9-Oct-2017
- Visa Stamped: 13-Oct-2017
- Passport Collected from Blue Dart location: 16-Oct-2017

Travel to US and subsequent steps:
- Arrival in the US: 17-Nov-2017
- SSN Issued : 21-Nov-2017 (WITHOUT ANY SSA APPOINTMENT)
- SSN Card Received in mail: 1-Dec-2017
- Green Card Received in mail: 15-Dec-2017
*Whew*

Having gone through this entire process on my own (the company attorney filed the I-824 but I did everything else myself).

Highlights -
+ Required translation for a lot of documents - I used a friend to certify them, did not use a professional translator.
+ I spent a lot of time in creating a very comprehensive document package for NVC and then for the interview - I believe this was crucial in this going smoothly at each step, but that's just my guess
+ I thought that once a consulate appointment is scheduled, a visa number is reserved and hence retrogression would not make a difference - I was wrong, there is no visa number assignment or reservation at the time of appointment scheduling
+ There is very little reliable information out there on this process - probably because very few people go through I-824 to get a GC for their spouse. The I-130 process is more common.

In hindsight, I could have done a lot of these steps faster and potentially completed this process before retrogression hit. Lesson learned - every minute counts! Do not procrastinate and prep in advance as much as you can.

Ask me anything, I will try to answer to my best ability. I have good records for all steps but may be getting hazy on a couple of things.
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Posted by shranger (109) 21 Dec 2017#2
Just here to say thank you.

Very few here do this kind of service. You did a great job of explaining everything very elaborately.

Currently scheduled for 485 interview. I824 was transferred to NBC as well. I will take my 824 along as well and see if they will approve both together.


Thanks again ...happy holidays.
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Posted by i824 (70) 21 Dec 2017#3
to shranger:

You are most welcome. Best for luck for your I-485.

I doubt that the I-824 will be processed simultaneously since the very point of an I-824 is to inform a consulate that you have successfully become a permanent resident but then it doesn't hurt to try.

It is important to understand that the I-824 is not something that is an application that requires 'approval'. It is just a request to USCIS to send a communication to the consulate. Frankly, its a really pointless step in my opinion but then we can say that about a lot of steps in all processes!

Happy Holidays to you and your family too.
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Posted by utopian123 (25) 01 Jan 2018#4
to i824:

Please advise when to use I-824 versus I130 for spouse. My 485 is currently pending and I have received EAD/AP. i am planning to get married next month. What are the various options I have to bring my spouse?

1) Bring her on H4 and then apply her 485. Since I plan to travel to India, do i need to come back on H1 stamped Visa ( my H1 visa has expried and not use AP card), which will allow me to bring her on H4?
2) Apply I-824 while she in India?

Please advise
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Posted by sisipuede (98) 08 Jan 2018#5
to i824:

Hi there,
Thank you so much for taking time to write a detailed post. It’s very kind of you.
Looks like you applied for I824 after your I485 was approved? Do you mind sharing which service center was it processed by?
Did you check your processing times during your application? If yes, did the processing time reflect your actual process?
Mine was sent to NBC and their processing time has been stuck at feb 2017 for about 3-4 months now :(
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Posted by i824 (70) 09 Jan 2018#6
to utopian123:

If your 485 is pending then I130 is ruled out.

Now between H4+485 and I824, its probably better to do H4+485 since you won't have to wait for almost a year or more to get your wife to the US with you. I tried that option (getting my spouse on L2 visa before the 485 was approved) but could not manage to get it done in time so had to fall back to I824.

Regarding your question # 1, I believe you will have to come back on H1 to be able to get her on H4 but I dont know that for sure. Regardless of the answer to this question, I still think its better to come back on H1 status and keep the AP in your back pocket as a backup option.
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Posted by i824 (70) 09 Jan 2018#7
to sisipuede:

Service center - Nebraska (its the same service center that approved the 485)
Processing time - Yes I checked it and it said 4 months. It was more or less in line with the same as my dates above will show
I am not sure why I824s are going to NBC - this seems to be a new process or a different scenario.
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Posted by sisipuede (98) 12 Jan 2018#8
to i824:

I guess my case was sent to NBC because it was approved by the local office.
I am starting to contemplate if i should apply for I-130 as well(given i can).
The only service center processing I824s seem to be NBC now, at least from the processing times chart.
Also, since pretty much all I485 requires interview now, I can imagine NBC being crazy backlogged.

The processing time for I824 has been stalled for 3 month now, if the trend continues I-130 might be faster. I had an impression I824 would only take few months, but looks like it's a year now just for NBC to let NVC know my immigration status has changed

Hard to believe there isn't a system in place for such a small effort :)
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Posted by i824 (70) 13 Jan 2018#9
to sisipuede:

I feel your pain since I went through the same. It seems incredible that such a minor step should take so long. Frankly it seems ridiculous that step is even required. Surely the consulates have a way of directly checking the LPR status of a GC holder without this stupid notification from the NBC or the processing center.

An I-130 may well be a viable option, depending on your wait time based on country of chargeability
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Posted by gcwait2018 (2) 14 Jan 2018#10
to i824:

Thanks i824 for taking time to respond to our queries. I have a couple of questions on the process. I received my GC a month back and now waiting of approval of I824. The i824 application was filed concurrently in 2016 and so it has been almost a year since the application was received by USCIS. My questions are these, assuming they approve I824 in the next month or so:

1) You mentioned that you could have completed a number of these steps partially before retrogression hit. CAn you prrovide some color on what those are.

2) what financial and supporting documents did you submit to NVC. I am hoping to keep these ready to go once they reach out

3) My plan is to go to my home country in MArch. I am wondering if it makes sense to complete the medical for my family and keep that ready as well. Do you know how long the medical results are valid ? IS it one year as in the US?

4) I have also heard that if you request the NVC for an exception citing retrogression as a reason, they will allow you to schedule the appointment with the consulate directly instead of waiting 3-4 months that, once I824 is approved. IS that some thing you considered?
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Posted by sisipuede (98) 16 Jan 2018#11
to i824:

According to the latest visa bulletin, F2A has date of March 2016, so I guess even if I apply 130 right away, she will have to wait about 2 years(given I130 is approved sometime in between) to actually apply for consular processing, guessing it will take about six months, the FASTEST time I can come up with completing I130 + consular processing is about 2.5 years.
Even though I-824 has slowed down quite a bit but I think it's still a much faster process than I130.
I am contemplating applying for I130 as a backup, incase I-824 stalls...
What do you think?
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Posted by i824 (70) 16 Jan 2018#12
to gcwait2018:

Sorry for the delayed response.

1) You mentioned that you could have completed a number of these steps partially before retrogression hit. CAn you prrovide some color on what those are
A: The most time-consuming aspect is the documentation package that is submitted to NVC after the fee payment. All documents (except for the fee payment receipt) can be compiled into a package with an index sheet well in advance. I wasted 17 days at this step itself. I also gathered that you can ask for an expedited appointment at the consulate and it is granted easily too.

2) what financial and supporting documents did you submit to NVC. I am hoping to keep these ready to go once they reach out
A: I submitted all these documents -

• Birth Certificate
• Translation of Birth Certificate

Secondary Documents (you may not need these but I submitted them to confirm date of birth)–
• Affidavit – Date of Birth
• Aadhaar Card
• PAN Card
• Voter ID Card
• Driving License
• School Board Certificate
• School leaving Certificate

Petitioner (me) documents -
• Long Form Marriage Certificate
• Green Card
• Passport (Biographical Pages)
• I-140 and I-485 Receipt Notices
• I-485 Approval Notice
• Most recent 3 pay stubs
• Most recent W-2
• Most recent Federal Tax Return (Form 1040)
• Biographical pages of valid, unexpired passport

Additional Documents -
• Police Clearance Certificate
• I-824 Receipt Notice
• I-824 Approval Notice

3) My plan is to go to my home country in MArch. I am wondering if it makes sense to complete the medical for my family and keep that ready as well. Do you know how long the medical results are valid ? IS it one year as in the US?
A: The validity is 1 year but you wont be able to schedule a medical appointment without the appointment confirmation that will be sent by NVC at the last step. After that you will have ample time before the interview date to complete medicals so this should not be an issue.

4) I have also heard that if you request the NVC for an exception citing retrogression as a reason, they will allow you to schedule the appointment with the consulate directly instead of waiting 3-4 months that, once I824 is approved. IS that some thing you considered?
A: I had not heard of any such possibility to bypass NVC's appointment scheduling process. Even if I had, I doubt that they would accept retrogression as a reason for obvious reasons. And its a moot point in my case because EB1C had never retrogressed in the past. The interview was already scheduled before retrogression hit EB1C for the first time and surprisingly the appointment was not cancelled and the response from the interviewing officer also was APPROVED.

Hope this helps
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Posted by i824 (70) 16 Jan 2018#13
to sisipuede:

If I-824 stalls, I dont know how I-130 will progress faster. And CP timelines are also stretching much longer now. And now with retrogression in all categories a reality, even the 2.5 years is likely to stretch for longer.

Having said that, I don't see any harm in keeping a fallback application apart from the expense and time spent. If you have enough of both, then why not!
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Posted by gcwait2018 (2) 20 Jan 2018#14
to i824:

Thanks i824. This is really helpful. Regarding the documents, when we put together the package for NVC, are the documents just the ones in my name or for the entire family? E.g. Birth certificate should i submit those for myself and my wife to NVC? Or is that something that will be verified at the consulate?

A similar question for the police verification. Is that to be submitted to NVC or will be verified during the consulate interview?

Appreciate your help as always!!
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Posted by i824 (70) 21 Jan 2018#15
to gcwait2018:

Birth certificate of the applicant is required (the person for whom the derivative green card is being applied), not the petitioner.

I submitted copies of all documents to NVC, including the police clearance certificate. The originals were carried to the consulate for the interview but none were asked for.
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