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H-1 visa stamping at Islamabad

I would like to share my latest H1B visa stamping experience Islambad. My brief background: I came to US first in Aug 2004 on F1 visa with my wife and kid on F2 visas. We visited Pakistan in Jun 2006 while on F1. My H1B status started in Oct 2007. We came to Pakistan in last week of December 2008 and needed to obtain H1B visas to return back to USA. We got our appointment for Jan 9, 2009. VO asked few general questions related to job etc. and examined my original educational documents, letter from my employer, my tax returns and my salary slips. He later gave us a paper saying our visa is subject to additional admininstrative processing that could take upto 2 months or more. I'd been reading on internet that it could take upto several months too so was bit concerned. But alhamdolillah yesterday (Jan 22) we got a call that our passports are ready to be collected from American Express office Lahore. I visited them and collected our passports with visas in them. So I am now believing that may be many people are getting visas fast, but on the forums only those people are posting their comments who have had bad experiences. So I was determined to share my experience with people in my situation so that the positive news should also be available.

The Journey starts

Well I managed to wrestle my way through cluster-crap Dar es Salaam traffic today and made it to the US Embassy at 1:45pm and was immediately whisked in.

When I walked into the consular section I was flabbergasted by the number of people there (I could easily count 50 people) and knew I'd be there for at least 2-3 hours.

Anyway the guard who ushered me in told me to go hand my green pickup slip at the counter which I did and was told to sit and wait.

Literally two minutes later my name was called up and the pleasant consular assistant handed me my sealed envelope, passport and USCIS fee payment information paper and told me that I had to pay $165 to obtain the Green Card and if I was changing address then I had to notify USCIS and Homeland Security. She wished me luck and I left the Embassy quicker than I got there.

I'm all packed/booked and I leave with Emirates on Saturday evening at 5pm reaching Dubai at 11:30pm and get on my connecting flight to Dulles at 2:30am arriving the next morning at 8:30am.

My thoughts are with those still awaiting DV2013 interviews and those with upcoming DV2014 interviews. Ensure your documents are well prepared and you have savings and you'll be fine.

Watch this space as I will be keeping you all posted on all matters I undertake from the moment I get there.

All the best to everyone and God Bless!

N-400 timeline - 2013

N-400 timeline (2013):
SC: Texas
USCIS: NYC

April:
22 : Application Filed
24 : USCIS Received Date
24 : Priority Date<<br style="color: #333333; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal; background-color: #fafafa;" />26 : NOA - (I-797C)
29 : Check Cashed
May:
02 : FP Notice Received
29 : FP Done
31 : In-line for Interview
August:
06 : NOA - interview scheduled
08 : YL received
10 : Interview letter received
September:
10 : Interview - passed
11 : NOA - Oath letter sent
16 : Oath letter received
October:
04 : Oath
07 : Applied for PP
21 : Got PP - end of journey :)

DV Lottery Interview Experience

Hello people.

i had my interview a month ago and due to sputum test thing i had to wait till today for the results.
they sent my medical report to embassy and tomorrow i am going to send my passport to embassy for temporary visa.
i had my interview with my wife, and we waited like 2 hours before the interview.

my wife and i were married after i won the lottery by the way.
we got lots of photos with us to Ankara. 

We wanted to have our interview in Turkish but the guy did not know that much Turkish that's why we did the interview in English. He was a nice person.

We first swore.
At phone, when we called the embassy before the interview when we were making our documents ready, they said to me that it was not necessary to get bank documents which showed transactions from 1 year before. my wife got those documents in case, and they wanted those documents(transaction documents) during the interview. 

after we gave that document, he asked me some questions.

He asked : What are you planning to do there?
I said : i am planning to work as a software developer

He asked : where are you planning to go?
i said : to San Francisco.

He asked : when did you meet?
I said : 2011 August something.
My wife said : No, it was december 2010. we met at december and started dating at august 2011.
I said : oh ok. 

and then he said that everything was fine and to send our passports after the medical report was ok.

he did not want any photos or something, i think it was because we were nice as a couple or something .

and a question : i will send our passports tomorrow. how long does it take for the visa?

Naturalization Experience

This week I went for my oath ceremony and I am now officially a US Citizen. 

The process was very smooth overall.

My only beef is that for the interview I had to go to Holtsville and for the oath I had to go to Central Islip. I live in Queens and I don't drive so getting to those places was a major issue. 

Here's my N400 timetable:

Queens/NY 

5 years rule

Sent N400 to Texas: 12/19/2012
USCIS Received application: 12/24/2012 
Check cashed: 12/27/2012
Received receipt: 01/05/2013
Finger Print notice: 1/7/2013
Finger Print walk in: 1/10/2013
Placed in line for interview scheduling: 1/14/2013 
Interview notice: 3/12/2013
Interview walk in: 4/16/2013
Application placed in oath scheduling quee: 4/22/2013
Oath scheduled: 4/23/2013
Received oath notification: 4/27/2013
Oath: 5/14/2013

My case was relatively simple. I am 24, single, I came to the US in 2005 as a permanent resident. I have been living in the same place ever since I arrived in the states. Both my parents had already become US citizens before I applied. Never been arrested or so much as stopped by a cop. 

My major concern filing out the N400 was that I no longer had a passport (destroyed during hurricane Sandy). I had travelled abroad twice and was not sure about the exact dates of departure and return. I attached an extra sheet to the application explaining that I was estimating the dates. 

The interview could not possibly have gone any better. The interview was scheduled to 9AM but there were over 50 people ahead of me so I was only called at around 10:30AM. The IO was a very friendly lady. After the oath she asked me to hand in my GC and passport. I got a bit anxious when she asked for the passport...I explained to her what had happened and she asked me about the dates I thought I had travelled abroad. I told her the dates I had put on the N400. She seemed satisfied and then she emphatically asked if I had travelled to either Mexico or Canada. I said no. She asked the same question twice just to be sure I hadn't forgotten a trip across the boarder. I have never been to Canada and Mexico but I have a feeling many people forget to disclose their trips to these countries (I guess it's easy to forget since you don't need to take a plane to visit either country). 

She asked me the usual questions IOs ask and then she gave me the civics test. 

1. What is freedom of religion?
2. Name a state that boarders Canada
3. When was the constitution written?
4. What ages men selective service?
5. How many senators are there?
6. What is the ocean on the East Coast?

She asked me to read “What do we pay the government?” and the she dictated “We pay taxes

She then asked me to review if all the info was corrected (I had asked for a name change). I started joking about how I was glad none of the papers asked about my weight which made her laugh. 
Then she asked me all the questions involving morality and the questions regarding my willingness to defend the US. When she asked if I had ever hired a prostitute I joked sating “as if I had the money.” She laughed at that joke too. 
After that she congratulated me and gave me the paper saying I had passed everything. 

The oath ceremony was uneventful. I was scheduled for 8:30AM and the oath was over by 11:30AM. Basically they just asked every person to hand in their green card and sing their certificate. After that the judge came in and we swore the oath and recited the pledge of allegiance. Then the judge gave a speech about how the US is the greatest country on Earth. That was a bit annoying actually. Don’t take me wrong, I love the US, but I think the whole “we are the greatest country in the world” slogan is false patriotism that prevents people from seeing and solving the serious problems plaguing our country right now. After the speech he left and we were all called individually to get our certificates and that was the end of it. 

I would like to thank this forum for all the help during this process. Coming on here and reading what you guys went through when you were applying for citizenship made my journey much easier.

Asylum Interview Experience

I think it will be different with each people. In my case, all three times were different.
The officer usually did a small talk with me while going to the room from the hall asking me about the weather and other information which was not listed in application from my previous state where I lived and how I liked it here. IMO, I took that in good and bad way. Good way in the sense, that he wanted me to feel comfortable and bad way, like as if he is saying, I already know everything about you. So, its a mixed bag.

Political Asylum Interview Experience

I went there at 7, just in case 1 hour earlier. Office opens officially at 7:30, but security let me in. The office is on 4th floor, but they let me in because we had 4 month old baby. So durin security check you are checked like in airport, I took off shoes and family members too. 

We went and there is reception and I checked in my additional evidence. 

!!!!!!!!!!!IMPORTANT FOR THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO SUBMIT NEW EVIDENCE!!!!!!!!!!
There is announcement on reception window that if you are going to submit new evidence which is relatively big in volume (however it doesn't say how big, I checked in over 20 pages of new evidence so they didn't say anything) submit it at least 1 week earlier to interviewor your interview may be reschedule. Yes this is important, no one wants their interview to be rescheduled. So if you have big evidence submit it earlier. (As I mentioned many times going to asylum physically is 100 tiems better thing thaan to send letter, call or ask friend)

So with me checked in over 5 applicants, 2 guys I recognized from Friday, they were with me on Friday (the day I found out my interviewdate). I communicated with them and what they told me

!!!!!!WE WENT TO INQUIRE ABOUT OUR INTERVIEWS ON FRIDAY AND OFFICE OFFERED US TO SCHEDULE OUR INTERVIEWS IN 2 WEEKS!!!!!!

This is true as it seems and I feel same thing is with me. Asylum office often have free time when someone reqeusts reschedulin so they have time available right away and if it happens that you are inquiring asylum office receptionist will offer you new date. LUCKY isn't it. Yes so my friend go there physically. Also when you will be given 1 page inquiry form, don't forget to place tick on "I want to schedule myinterview". 

I was called for finger prints and they took me photo and my wife too, not children. 

Then I was asked to wait for officer to call me. I waited over 1 hour and half and lady called me. She was communicable, very nice and friendly, she took me in her room. very cozy room. First I thought interview rooms are like prison rooms where only ground attached tables and chairs are available. But with all of sudden I appeared in very nice room, I even saw what she had on breakfast  

She had my case in front of her, she told me she read everything, it was over 300 pages. First of all I told her, I have new affidavit of political expert and she told me she saw it (I checked in reception) 

In the beginnin she told me that you're lucky your interview was scheduled and told me that Newark office now is conducting interviews on MONDAYs too. So good news for those who are in Newark office. More interview weekdays. 

She started to ask me my date of birth, place of birth, address, current address in US, I told her where I live now (fortunately I updated asylum office with my residential address and they had it) she even asked me my past addresses starting from brooklyn and bronx, I remembered everything as I was prepared. But here I blame myself, she asked me my wife's home country address and I told her, but somehow I forgot that I had in my application that for some time I had been living at my wife's family's address, but fortunately I told her quite frankly that I don't exactly remember and I live for some time there, she showed me that address in application but she was not as if she caught me on something, she was as if she helped me to remember and then I said yes, yes I remember, sometime I stayed at my wife's family address. my mother stays there too and I told it to her, so she was pleased I hope. When I answered her questions she market my correct answers. I don't know if it is problem or not. We will see. 

It seemed that she really read my case. Because she didn't ask me to start talking from the beginning, she got interested how I was appointed on my key position for which I am here now. 

Here I can surely state that I didn't make any mistake, I talked talked for 1 hour and half and was as humble as I could as honest as I could because I was telling really truth. There is no doubt that she didn't believe me, becasue as you know my case was documented by my beating photos and video footage, I submitted my photos, also I had 5 affidavits and she told me she read those affidavits. 

And my lawyer wasn't their, I don't know they had emergency and they couldn't. But no need of lawyer, lawyer never intervenes in your conversation there, I saw laywers there but they were just helpin clients t feel additional evidence check in paper and it is just 1 page and then interview is between officer and you and translator if you have, lawyer just sits there. 

I don't know is it good point or bad that as far as I was telling my story, she was nodding her head every time I stressed on important events. At the end she asked me questions about my personal political views about why current government came in power. It was as if dialogues between friends, when your friend asks you about something politics. 

She copies my passports (I don't know why, she anyway had them) 

She told me to pick up decision in 2 weeks time, she gave me yellow paper where date is indicated 

So this is it 

I can assess myself as 8 from 10 points. But in very important parts of interview I really did well. 

Wish you all the best too and 

AGAIN GO AND PHYSICALLY INQUIRE AT THE OFFICE, FORGET LETTER, PHONE CALL OR E-MAIL

My Interview Experience

 

I just found the answer to why two identical applicants can have a totally different outcomes. The key is the IO professionalism. A very professional Asian American Officer interviewed me and she seemed to know her stuff. First she put me on ease, I guess I looked nervous, and asked me to realax and take a deep breath. Now the interview begins, she went through all my application and made sure I understood the questions and when we got to the Selective Service question she asked how old I was and I said more than 31, she said never mind about the Selective service letter. She also understood the 4 names system we use in my country and saved me from explaining it. She also complimented me on me achievements. She was a real human that felt what we went through to have the honor of U.S Citizenship. Then she asked if I want to change me name and then proceeded with the test. I answered 6 Qs correct and she moved on. Asked me to read a simple question and write the answer. She Approved my case and offered me to have the oath on the same day which I gladly accepted.

A few helpful points:
1. GC, DL and All Passports are a must have items. They even copy the 1st page of your passport before you set in for the interview.
2. Arrive like an hour early, security line takes too long, about 30 to 40 minutes to get into the building.
3. If your case is marriage based bring marriage certificate and your spouse's prove of citizenship.
4. Send ALL the supporting documents with the N400 so the IO can review them before hand and you have a short interview.
5. Don't park on the street and you will have a piece of mind, you already spent tons of money on this process, $ 12 more will not break the bank.
6. Smile to everyone even if they are rude to you.
7. Be a good citizen

Special thanks to Big Joe, Jacko, Vorpal and Bobsymth who made my application looks smart and for the endless support and time they didecated to this great forum.

Thank you ALL and good luck.

10/18/2011: N 400 Mailed
10/21/2011: N 400 Delivered
10/26/2011: Check cashed
10/28/2011: NOA recieved
10/31/2011: FPN received
11/04/2011: FP done W-I
11/28/2011: Inline for interview
12/19/2011: Yellow Letter
01/06/2012: Interview Scheduled
02/16/2012: ID, Approval and oath

 

 

My N400 progress

DO: Atlanta

06/07/06: Mailed N400 to TSC<<br />06/12/06: Mail arrived at TSC and priority date<<br />06/14/06: Checks encashed
06/21/06: Notice received
06/26/06: FP notice received
07/11/06: FP Date
07/21/06: Notice for interview.
08/30/06: Interview date.

It is all DONE. I am now a citizen of USA.

The interview process was very simple. It was scheduled at 8:05 in the in morning and I live 40 miles from MLK bldg and I knew traffic can be problem. As expected I got stuck in traffic and finally made it to the appointment 15 minutes late. That wasn't a problem at all. I was more worried about how my 6 month old would behave during the interview process. I had to take my daughter with me because even my wife was scheduled for citizenship interview at the same time. The interview officer was very nice and understanding and even tried to play with my daughter. Anyway, the interview process itself involved checking my application in front of me and updating any changes...my recent trip outside USA. He asked me 6 questions from a list (all of them from the book ofcourse) and after answering all the questions, he asked me a read and write a simple sentence. He then said he would recommend the approval of my application and asked me to go back and wait in the waiting room until someone calls out my name to give me the final status. As expected, it was approved and they said I can take the oath on the same day at 2:00 PM. My wifes interview was also successful and she was also asked to come for the 2:00 oath ceremony. We went home and came back for the oath and it was also a simple process. Several people came with their families and took pics and videos.

The next step is to apply for passport.

Hope you all nJoy your journey too.

Interview - my Experience

Just wanted to share my and my wife's experience during the interview process. Our appointment was around 10 am in Atlanta DO. There was not much traffic (around 8:45 am going 75 "S" from vinings). Also was a public parking opposite the federal bldg for $4.00 per day.

The officer who interviewed me was very polite. Asked me to stand up and raise the hand etc. Asked my full name. At a very fast pace went through the N-400 questions (whatever we filled in the form). She asked if there were any trips out of us after filing n-400 and also if any traffic violations after filing n-400. Other than the Greencard and the Passport (proof of trips outside us), no other documentation was asked. I think the passport was not even opened.

Then asked 6 civic questions from a sheet of paper (it had 10 questions) that she had. After which she asked me to read a very basic english sentence and write another basic english sentence. The interview was tops 15minutes. 

Then the oath was around 2:00 pm which really started around 2:30pm. Since there were 60 people, it got finished around 4:00pm. We became US citizens around 4:00pm.   

My sincere thanks to all the members of this forum who have taken their time to answer questions. Good Luck to you all.

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