Thursday, April 24, 2014

Unexpected Update

I received a letter from USCIS on Monday that contained both good news and bad.  Ready?

Our I-130 petition for Jon's visa has been approved.

This is good news - it really is, and I keep reminding myself of that.  The I-130, if you remember, is the spousal visa that will give Jon his green card, allowing him full legal rights as soon as it's granted.  He won't have to wait in the States, prohibited by law from working, submitting further forms and applying for an adjustment of status until he's awarded a green card.  Once the visa is in his passport, he can move over and we'll hit the ground running with real life.  We're no longer in limbo; our marriage has been deemed bona fide by the United States government.

The bad news, though, is that Jon probably won't be moving over for four to six months.  That's an estimate of how long it will take for the steps between the petition being approved and the visa being granted to play out.

There was a snowball's chance in hell that our I-130 would be approved before our I-129F because of the delay in processing time for the I-130.  (Just to remind youyou cannot file an I-129F without having first filed an I-130, and we filed the I-129F in addition to the I-130 because it would have gotten Jon here sooner though he wouldn't have had the full legal rights of an alien spouse upon arrival.)  As I noted a few weeks ago, the wait for I-130 approval is supposed to be five months but it was 12 months at the time we filed and when I wrote that last post it was eight months.  It somehow only took five and a half months from the date our application was received to the date we were given approval.

That's good news.  It is.  It really is.

But we were so aware of the infamous delay in the I-130 processing that we hadn't actually considered any other possibility than that we'd get the I-129F approved first, around this time, and that the next steps would only take six to eight weeks.

When I moved back from London, we knew we'd be long distance for more than 18 months and, over the past year, we've more or less made our peace with the fact that we'd be apart for longer than we'd expected because of delays and misunderstandings on our end.  Honestly, though, we never prepared ourselves for more than two years of this, and it's really hard.

That's all I've got for you, dear readers.  It's really hard.  I know it's not fair - thank you to everyone I speak to who confirms that - and I know it could be worse - Jon could be from a suspect country rather than one with which we have a special relationship - and I know that the approval of our I-130 is good news and there are couples who would do anything to be in our shoes.  I'll remember soon enough that things are moving forward, but that's all I can say right now.  It's really hard.

photo by Tarah Coonan

 photo 866de425-8336-4c63-9efd-1c4dd8bf0e62_zpsafe0d56b.jpg

28 comments:

  1. Oh Betsy, I'm so pleased for you both. I know it's hard waiting, but isn't it possible that, if the I-130 has arrived so much sooner than expected, the visa might be granted sooner too? I'm crossing my fingers for you both x

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  2. Congratulations and a 'boooo' all in one :(


    I guess you've got no choice but to just hang in there and keep doing what you're doing. My fingers are crossed that the time passes as quickly as possible and that the visa surprises you just as the I-130 has.

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  3. I know that feeling. It is really hard when your life is in someone else's hands (for you it's the government, for us it was the Army). It really is a powerless feeling, but I'm glad things are at least moving forward. Praying you find peace and that this will ultimately strengthen your marriage :)

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  4. I can only say what others have already said, that hopefully the visa surprises you just as the I-130 did. x

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  5. Hugs Betsy, I know how hard this whole process is :( It just takes so long, and feels like it will never end. Here's hoping it will be done faster than you think! Do you have to apply to have his conditions removed after he has been here a year, since you have been married less than a year?

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  6. :( Keep your chin up - at least it won't be 4-6 months of hearing nothing. You'll be getting pings every few weeks to pay for something, or turn some form in. I think it will feel faster than the petition stage. And if you're super organised it might not take as long! Thinking of you! Love your Immigrant Visa fellow sufferer!


    Maybe another trip to London is in order then?!

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  7. Ahh so sorry to hear about the wait! At least there is light at the end of the tunnel! I know from experience how hard those last few months are, but I promise, they are so worth it in the end!

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  8. So sorry to hear you're stuck in paperwork limbo Betsy :( It's so worth it though. And that wedding photo is soo full of feels.

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  9. Oh Betsy - I'm so sorry that your wait is so much longer than expected!! Fingers crossed that the timeline shortens and that you can each sneak in some trips in the meantime.

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  10. :( Ugh. We are here together, and that is amazing, but it is still so hard when we want so badly to be someplace else. But we are together! And you have to do long distance ... I did that in 2011 to 2012, and it really took a lot out of me. Sorry you're going through this.

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  11. I appreciate your positive outlook even when things aren't going 100% like you want. Distance is hard, there is no way around that. However, I know for me, we became a stronger couple in the end because of it and I hope that is the same for you guys.

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  12. Visas are just such a difficult thing to deal with and they don't help long distance relationships at all. Hugs your way!

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  13. Ugh. All I can say is, ugh. I wish we lived closer together so we could commiserate about the headache that is the USCIS together. Just know that I'm virtually holding your hand and giving you hugs --> OOO

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  14. I;ve been lurking for a little while but just wanted to pop up and give my sympathies. It must be so hard to be apart from your beloved. I've got to spend 6 months away from my husband (because of work, not visas thankfully) and I hate it. We did long distance when we first met and that was tough enough, but this must be so much harder for you guys. At least you're moving forward, even if the process is very slow and frustrating.

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  15. I'm so sorry. I mean I'm happy about the one visa, but I'm so sorry about the time. I appreciate your positive attitude, and I'm thinking about you guys!!

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  16. I have No doubt it's hard, and I don't mind you saying so! I honestly don't know how you do it. Yay for the good news, but I wish you guys could be together soon like now.

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  17. The good news is truly good but so often timing is everything and I'm so sorry that you are facing more time apart. How incredibly frustrating. I'll be sending prayers (or warm thoughts, take your pick) that time moves swiftly on both sides of the Atlantic.

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  18. Bittersweet congratulations! I take my hat off to you and other long distance couples, I can't begin to imagine how hard it must be! I had some good friends who married in Australia, then it took just over two years for her to get a spousal visa for the UK - so they had celebrated their second anniversary before they had ever lived together. Still, five more years and two kids later they're going strong so it was clearly worth it in the end!

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  19. Fingers crossed this process somehow speeds up for you guys and the wait won't be so hard to bear. I guess some congrats are in order, but I know they're bittersweet for you both. I know it's so hard to have to be away from your spouse for long periods of time…but reading your positive outlook on things just speaks to how strong you are! You've got this! :)

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  20. Georgia ChristakisApril 25, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    I'm sorry, Betsy. Just remember, things are moving. Just keep pushing forward. You'll get there, I promose

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  21. Definitely bittersweet congrats! Been there done that. Totally know your pain.

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  22. I don't know if I'm crying after reading this or my allergies just got really bad at a coincidental time. Like everyone else has commented, it's such bittersweet news. I can't imagine being long-distance from my husband. Both of you exhibit such strength and love, which I'll remember next time I complain about my husband traveling for work.

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  23. Definitely bittersweet news! I can't imagine how tough it must be. You two are a very strong couple. Just try to remember things are moving forward and that is a good thing.

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  24. There is an end in sight, however. Doesn't that make you feel good in a way you probably haven't had the chance to feel in awhile? HE IS COMING FOR REAL!!!!

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  25. I'm glad for progress but so sorry about the lag in time! You guys are handling all this so gracefully. Hope the process gets a boot and goes quickly!

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  26. Betsy, given the complex topic of undocumented immigrants, could you
    share with us your thoughts going through this process? As the child of immigrants who waited years to come here and hearing how long you need to wait, I am very torn.

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  27. the short answer is that I'm very torn too! I'm going to try to write a post with a slightly longer answer. it is definitely complex :(

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