DV 2019 AOS Only

OMG @Grug i am soo happy for you. Congrats. You literally had to fight over GC. Glad that you found a way, didnt drop it and won. Now you can breathe your full chest)))
Yes @Mila05, I tried to let it go but I just couldn’t get over myself...I just knew I’d regret it my whole life if I didn’t give my case one last shot and push all the way.
 

Aidyn

Well-Known Member
[...last part, I promise :) ]

The CO was a friendly gentleman who asked me to raise my right hand and swear to tell the truth. Then he asked:
  • high school completion year?
  • What I did after that?
  • How many years I lived in each country since then?
  • What year I moved to the US (no questions about maintenance of status), but he did ask if I had adjusted status?
  • Marital status?
  • Any children?
  • Highest education level?
  • He asked about my research project and
He then asked me to seat and wait to be called back. 15 minutes later the CO came back and apologized for the delays, and said he could not find my archives in the consulate general’s database, and had to access those from other US embassies where I had applied for visas of different categories. Finally he asked me when I was planning to travel, and I explained that I was actually late as I was supposed to join a team on an excursion North near the Baffin Bay in the arctic regions of Canada, so I’d have to leave Montreal that same evening and catch a charter flight to take me near the Baffin Bay where the rest of the team was headed. He laughed and said that clearly I must enjoy making plans last-minute, after which we laughed and joked about how nuts the past week had been for me, but in the end I thanked him for being willing to interview me on such short notice.

He finally pulled out 2 forms from his desk, one from USCIS saying congratulations, with an A# and a DoS case # (same as my DV case number + 01 as did not have any derivates), and another form from the embassy asking me to come back later that afternoon to pick up the visa, which I did. In addition to the passport, I was also given a very long sealed envelope. The CO said I was to give it to CBP upon reentry into the US and that the i-551 stamp will serve as temporary GC for a year waiting for the plastic one to be delivered to my home.

That same evening, I checked the CEAC case status and the blue letters had changed to “Issued”.

Timeline:
  • June 2018: checked selection results
  • July 2018: DS-260 form filled out
  • September 2018: 1st 2NL
  • October 2018: early filing AoS package sent to lockbox
  • Mid-October 2018: check cashed
  • Late October 2018: NOA received
  • Early Nov. 2018: Walk-in biometrics
  • End of Nov. 2018: “Fingerprint review completed”
  • February 2019: 1st infopass, no satisfactory answer as to when to expect an IL
  • April 2019: 1st service request submitted, KCC informs that eDV file not yet requested by FO.
  • May 2019: FO responds to service request with unsatisfactory generic response “case under review”
  • June 2019: 2nd service request, no satisfactory response.
  • End-June 2019: 1st congressional inquiry + request for assistance from Ombudsman + 2nd infopass, informed FO that I’ll be out of State end of Aug-early Sept. FO assures me IL will be sent before then.
  • July 2019: 2nd congressional inquiry, still the same generic unhelpful response from the FO.
  • August 1 2019: 3rd service request, for which no response ever came from FO + 3rd congressional inquiry, FO response: “case still in preliminary stages of processing”
  • September 1 2019: 4th congressional inquiry
  • September 15th FO responds that H1B visa applied for abroad and approved in 2017 but never picked up is still pending and therefore FO needs information from DoS about that visa.
  • September 16-22nd: meeting with lawyers and congress
  • September 23rd: initiation of CP process communication with KCC and the consulate. KCC only agreed to waive the “document submission process” for my case because an embassy had already agreed to interview me on a specific date.
  • September 24-30: gathering of CP-specific missing required documents.
  • September 25: a piece of mail, likely IL coming from FO (they probably tried to call me on that day, but I was in Canada by then), but I didn’t care anymore about anything an FO which delays a whole year had to say in a letter.
  • September 30 late afternoon : CP interview @ consulate + immigrant DV visa issued that same late afternoon.
Notes:
  • When it started to dawn on me that my case may run out of time and that, as a result, I may very well miss out on my DV selection, I pondered over what it all meant for a week, while consulting with lawyers by phone. As expected, most of them not knowing what to do to expedite my stalled case, advised me to hire them and follow other routes (NIW, etc.) but something in my brain just could not accept defeat, I tried to accept it, but I could not.
  • In the end survival instinct, the kindness of friends and strangers (angels in unexpected places, really!!) during that last week, and the willingness of the consulate and KCC to push things so last minute made all the difference.
  • Needless to point here that by the time the status quo looked like it was never going to change in time to ensure I don’t miss out on my DV selection, it was beyond too late to apply for advanced parole, as only emergency reasons like emergency medical treatment or funerals qualify for such short notice advanced parole, there was absolutely no time!!!
  • The past 2 weeks were very stressful in terms of game-plan. I would not wish that level of stress on my worst enemy.
  • Would I advise anyone to try CP that late in the game? Absolutely not!! Not everyone can cope with such stress and no everyone would feel comfortable putting pressure on people so last minute.
  • If you’re dealing with an FO that’s proving difficult to communicate with despite having been approached through all reasonable and advised follow-up avenues, please consider CP before end of July of that FY.
  • Submitting the DS-260 form soon after learning I was selected made a key difference in the outcome of my case a year later, so, something to keep in mind when processing AoS (although DS-260 form not required, you never what lies ahead).
  • Having your own FBI-fingerprint background check done at an FBI-approved local channeler might help you have the equivalent of a police certificate for the US in case you unexpectedly have to process CP.
  • It ain’t over until it’s over.
  • Experiencing both sides of the DV journey (AoS and CP) was fun, but I have to say CP processing is so much faster and more time-efficient.
  • Finally, I’d like to say that I had strange misgivings about my FO from the outset, and I wished I had acted on them and switch to CP sooner. So, if any DV selectee who’s dealing with my FO has the same doubts as I had, I’d advise to change course earlier in the FY and process CP if that’s an option for them.
  • I hope all of you are enjoying your new LPR status, and I wish those of DV2020 all the best of luck!! Cheers!!
WOW!!! What an amazing story. Congrats on your green card, I'm so happy you persisted and your dreams became a reality in the end :)
 
WOW!!! What an amazing story. Congrats on your green card, I'm so happy you persisted and your dreams became a reality in the end :)
Thank you. You cannot believe how many activation stories I’ve read in the past 4 days. “How does activation actually unfold?”. Through so many experiences shared here, I have an idea of how so many airports actually look like from the inside traveler’s perspective, and where CBP booths are ;)
 
Dear Mom,
Last Wednesday we received my husband’s GC as well. Thank you so much for all the advices. As you said we contacted congressman and also requested an appointment for the INFOPASS since Detroit doesn’t allow walk-ins. When my husband received a call from the Tier 2 officer regarding the INFOPASS he mentioned his situation ( incorrect birthday and the new background check). Tier 2 officer told him there’s no need of a background check but a simple document check to clarify his birthdate. On the same day we received an email to send his birth certificate and copy of the passport. We sent them quickly. It was on the 25th and 26th his status changed to ‘New card is producing’. 27th morning ‘case approved’ and finally on the 1st ‘GC sent’.
So thank you Mom, Britsimon and everybody for your selflessness and all the kind advices.
 

Sm1smom

Super Moderator
Dear Mom,
Last Wednesday we received my husband’s GC as well. Thank you so much for all the advices. As you said we contacted congressman and also requested an appointment for the INFOPASS since Detroit doesn’t allow walk-ins. When my husband received a call from the Tier 2 officer regarding the INFOPASS he mentioned his situation ( incorrect birthday and the new background check). Tier 2 officer told him there’s no need of a background check but a simple document check to clarify his birthdate. On the same day we received an email to send his birth certificate and copy of the passport. We sent them quickly. It was on the 25th and 26th his status changed to ‘New card is producing’. 27th morning ‘case approved’ and finally on the 1st ‘GC sent’.
So thank you Mom, Britsimon and everybody for your selflessness and all the kind advices.
Fantastic news. Congratulations. Now go enjoy being a LPR!;)
 
FINALLY MY DREAM CAME TRUE

I’m going to share my story maybe it helps someone in the future. My case number was AS10*** and it became current in July. I sent my package in June and attended my Biometrics in July. My status was OPT and I had pending OPT Extension application. I checked the spreadsheet and people who did the Bio in the same field office (Detroit) at same time got their interview letter in August. However, I didn’t receive anything so I was worried and contacted congressperson office. After a while he called me back and told your case is still in national benefit center and he said I contacted them too. After few days he forwarded email from NBC that field office is responsible to expedite case and setup interview. So I was frustrated and I just used the last option I thought I had. I called Customer Service and submitted expedite request and I chose USCIS error as the reason for expedite. On August 29th my expedite request was approved and I was told that they are going to send another notice or make decision in 30 days. At the same day my file was requested from KCC. Finally I got an email from field office on September 9th for my interview.

My interview was done on September 25th. The officer was kind but very serious. My interview took about 1 hour and for my wife took about 45 minutes. She interviewed us separately. She started to ask about what I was doing in my home country and here in the US. She checked all I20s carefully. She asked for military service card and I gave a copy of the letter from military service to department of education that I was exempted due to study abroad. She also checked my OPT EAD card and the notice of pending OPT Extension application. She asked about my Jobs. And finally she asked all yes/no questions. The questions from my wife also was the same as me. She checked her I20s and her OPT EAD cards.
Then she asked me to come to her office again and talked to both of us. She said everything looks fine and I need some review for myself but I’m going to approve you and I am aware of the deadline.

At night, I got “new card is being produced” update. But there was a notice below that “we are working on I-485 form and we will notify you if your document cannot be produced”. So due to my series of bad luck recently, still I was worried that maybe it wouldn’t be resolved before the deadline. But fortunately today we received the cards.

Biometrics: 7/9/2019
Interview appointment email: 9/9/2019
Interview: 9/25/2019
Card was mailed update: 9/28/2019
Card received: 10/1/2019

Thanks everyone for sharing your experience and thank you mom for keeping this forum alive.
What an amazing story. Great job :)

It's nice to hear about government officials going out of their way to help.

I'm not sure if you were in Canada on advance parole or not, but my aos application was approved one day after I returned with advance parole. Not sure if that's a coincidence or that they don't approve aos applications while the applicant is out of the country.

What did the letter from the fo say?
 
What an amazing story. Great job :)

It's nice to hear about government officials going out of their way to help.

I'm not sure if you were in Canada on advance parole or not, but my aos application was approved one day after I returned with advance parole. Not sure if that's a coincidence or that they don't approve aos applications while the applicant is out of the country.

What did the letter from the fo say?
Thanks, the consular officer and the KCC supervisor and their teams were absolutely amazing, they took ownership of the urgency and acted as if they were in my shoes...it was such a far cry from my very passive FO. Small gestures such as the interview day morning email from the consulate asking where I was because I was 2 minutes late to the interview due to waiting to pick up the last police certificate delivered to my hotel by mail...really surprised me a lot!! So refreshing from government officials!!
This whole experience the past 2 weeks was hands-down the craziest gamble I ever took. I initially had no plans to travel to Canada and I received word of that expedition in Canada soo last minute during my research trip to Alaska that there really was only a couple days left to apply for advance parole before having to travel. When I spoke to a few attorneys regarding the time-efficiency of emergency AP applications and how realistic getting one may be, they told me only medical reasons, funeral and severe financial loss situations qualify. And it was such a rare research opportunity that I thought, career-wise, traveling without AP given the circumstances was worth the gamble.
I don’t know if the FO waits for the applicant’s return before adjudication, but it’s possible, who knows, may be they think the application is abandoned until reentry.
Frustrated with the slow pace at the FO and frankly having totally lost faith in the ability of the FO to complete the case in time, I got to a point in mid-September where I just started thinking about other GC avenues because I considered my DV case doomed given the mere 2-1 week left. In that state of mind, exiting the US without AP did not feel as hazardous to me as it might have felt earlier on in the FY2019. Besides, the fact that an AP is not a guarantee of readmission made me realize that AP or no AP, I’d still have to explain my Canada research trip and its short notice at the PoE on reentry.
My neighbor sent me a copy of the FO letter from my mailbox, and I laughed out so hard when I saw that it was an IL from the FO for an interview less than 24 hours AFTER the letter was delivered (talk about last minute!!), I like the customer service at the consulate and KCC waay better than the FO, and I’d rather deal with the former than the latter all over again. In fact, I’m thinking about asking KCC and the consulate how I could have some chocolate & flowers gift package mailed to them, to make sure I follow proper mail delivery security protocols ;)
 
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