Saturday, October 29, 2016

DTC!!!! (Dossier to China)

We received the approval toward the end of last week, so I got it notarized within an hour of getting it in the mail. Mom, the girls and I got up at the crack of dawn the next morning armed with the notarized copy of the I800A and lunch boxes and drove to Austin for the certification. They went to the Capitol Visitors Center again while I went across the street to the Secretary of State. The very kind lady had it certified in under fifteen minutes. Back in the car we went to drive to downtown to the consulate again. Thankfully, I had remembered to type out my authentication form the night before, along with the copies of documents and my passport. The line was only a half hour this time, and we were done. So it was possible to get it notarized, certified and left at the consulate all in 24 hours. I called it The Amazing Race: Dossier Edition. I went back this week and got there 15 minutes before they reopened after lunch. It was my fastest trip yet, I was done in under 10 minutes! Frankly I was so happy to have successfully authenticated all my documents without having any rejected during all those trips, I wanted to hug the security guard on the way out. I don't think he would have appreciated the gesture though. After stopping at home to scan and copy, it went straight to FedEx. I had confirmation this afternoon that the whole dossier was shipped to China today!

I am beyond delighted. I finished my last grant application this week too, so I have run out of paperwork. What a freeing feeling! I'm back to Ebay, and I am finalizing getting my bracelet fundraiser off the ground this weekend - look to the right margin ;). I have been hoping for March travel all along because pragmatically, the prices, weather, and timing would work well. My husband will not have enough vacation days before March either. Also more time to get the money together. It occurred to me today though that there is a very, very slim possibility that we could travel in February. That kind of excites me and freaks me out - cold weather, high prices, not enough money, but I wouldn't want him to wait longer than he has to. And we would get to celebrate his birthday with him. I'm just praying over the timing of everything. And money.

Next step: we wait for our LID (Log In Date) which would mean we are officially logged in. Then China will translate and go through the entire dossier before they decide to match us with him and give us LOA (Letter of Authorization). Then it all goes back to USCIS. Fun fun fun!

Friday, October 14, 2016

So close...

Our superstar home study agency worked on the RFE as soon as we received it, and it looks like we are unofficially approved at this point for our I800A. I hope to see that in the mail sometime next week. I just want to take a moment to give props to the kind officers working at the uscis. I called almost everyday and everyone I talked to there, especially my officer was so kind and helpful. I am so thankful they didn't blow me off or put off my application because I was a pest. In the meantime, I returned to the Houston Consulate this week to pick up all of our other dossier documents. I was so nervous last week when I went there for the first time. I had my mom drop me off because the parking there is non existent. I went the day after they were closed for the Chinese holiday, so it was packed. I waited in line over an hour, but I was just so happy they accepted all my documents and I did it all correctly! And I was more than delighted to pick them all up again with no issues! What a weight off my chest. For all intents and purposes, my dossier is all finished except for the I800A approval. I am curious if it's possible to get it certified and dropped off for authentication in the same day. I do so enjoy a challenge.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

USCIS, Perhaps Email Is a Better Delivery Method?

Every evening I eagerly checked the mail only to be disappointed. By Friday, I was sure it should be here, but there was only magazines and junk. Strangely no envelopes. Then lo and behold, my neighbor came walking through the scrub brush holding a bunch of envelopes. Yes, my mailman delivered a stack of very important mail to my neighbor, including all our finger print notices! Oddly, the exact same thing happened on Saturday too. Our neighbor walked over a bunch of envelopes again (the junk mail is actually being delivered to our mailbox, just not the important stuff), including MORE finger print notices. Because of course they love to send duplicates. I can't figure out if our mailman is that inept or just hates us. It makes me nervous about the fate of any eventual approval notice coming through the mail...

So today was Monday. My husband is traveling most of the next two weeks, so we drove over an hour to the ASC (Application Support Center) armed with our notices and got there soon after they opened. They were BUSY. As soon as we got up to the counter, she took one look and told us we would have to come back after noon. But she said we could come back! So we puttered a few hours by looking at larger vans and trying to figure out how in the heck we will get our car issues sorted out. We decided that was too big a problem to consider right now and went to IKEA. There we ate $2 breakfasts and looked at the dishes and silverware and home organization stuff. This is the section of the store I never see because it is toward the end when everyone is tired and cranky and sick of being there. It was fun to window shop. We headed back to the ASC and it had totally cleared out. Most of the employees there were really nice and we were excited to have it done with!

This evening we actually received all our mail (I think), and I saw another envelope from USCIS. But this time it was a pink letter. That can't be good, I thought. Sure enough, it was the dreaded RFE (Request for Evidence). Apparently there was some required language that did not get included in our home study for one of our household members. It was very disappointing to know that this is going to add I don't know how many days for the paperwork and all the mailing back and forth. However, I have to give them kudos for their thoroughness in finding a detail like that in a twenty page report. Well done!

I am going to try to get the authentications done this week, so I hoping that goes a little better.