@DutchBride21: You’ve probably gotten to a point where my input isn’t valuable anymore, but my husband is from the Netherlands as well (though not from the Holland province – he’s from an area nearby Eindhoven). Here is the timeline for how “fast” things moved for us:
Sep 9, 2009 – got engaged
Oct 6, 2009 – filed for K-1 fiance visa
Oct 8, 2009 – visa petition received by USCIS
Jan 5, 2010 – received word that the petition was approved on the US side of things and was being sent to the Netherlands for the final processing
Jan 18, 2010 – received packet of information from the Dutch US consulate with more forms to fill out.
Jan 25, 2010 – sent back completed paperwork
Feb 06, 2010 – received Dutch US consulate notification of our interview appointment which was set for March 15, 2010
Feb, 2010 – set up medical exam appoiment for March 10, 2010 with the US approved doctor.
Mar 10, 2010 – had medical exam
Mar 15, 2010 – had interview, was approved on the spot. YAY!
Mar 22, 2010 – received passport with visa stamp in it!
Apr 15, 2010 – flew to the USA
Apr 16, 2010 – married by civil ceremony
Apr 30, 2010 – received marriage certificate
May 10, 2010 – filed for change of status and temp work permit
Jun 5, 2010 – received word that we were missing some documents
Jun 11, 2010 – sent in missing documents
Jun 14, 2010 – received a letter stating a date for his biometrics appointment (fingerprinting and pictures done by the US Government) is July 9, 2010
Jul 9, 2010 – had biometrics appointment
Jul 21, 2010 – Work permit was approved and put into production
Jul 26, 2010 – Notice of the scheduling of our final couples interview set for
Jul 31, 2010 – work permit came in the mail
Aug 2, 2010 – applied for social security card
Aug 4, 2010 – received SS# (card to follow in the mail)
Aug 6, 2010 – applied for drivers license, added Anton onto my bank accounts
Aug 25, 2010 – couples interview. Change of status approved! Done with immigration until 2012!
A couple of things to note that I learned along the way or from the guy who did our couples interview:
- If you have questions you need answered and can’t find them out via the USCIS website or by a call to their toll free number, ask to speak to an officer!! I wanted to strangle someone one day because I had questions about what documents I was missing and the person on the phone was quoting the website verbatim. She kept trying to tell me to hire a lawyer and I finally snapped at her. My words to her were something like this: “Ok so what you are telling me is that I’ve paid all of these processing fees to the government so I can bring my husband in LEGALLY and yet now that I have some questions, you want me to spend MORE money by hiring a lawyer? This coming from a government that is allowing ILLEGAL aliens in left and right and not doing ANYTHING about it? You have GOT to be kidding me! There HAS to be someone there who can answer some questions about MY case!” THEN she offered to transfer me to an officer who actually works with immigration cases…. he was able to answer all of my questions.
- DON’T go the “easy” way and come to the US on a visa free waiver and get married and STAY here through the process! When we were at our interview, the guy that interviewed us told us that we were an unusual case in that we did things the right way. Usually he has to deal with cases in which people came on a visa free waiver and then stayed to try and expedite the process. I’m sure it has everything to do with what state you are from, the day, the time, who’s having what kind of hair day, etc., but they DO watch for that, and I got the distinct feeling that had we gone that route, we wouldn’t have had NEARLY the “easy” time of it that we did and it may very well have ended in denial (as a prior poster says, by coming on a visa free waiver you are stating that your intention is to be in the US for a visit – not to get married and stay). Now coming to the US to get married and then heading back out of country for the paperwork to be filed is a completely different ballgame and completely legal from what I understand.
- DON’T assume on a timeline. We were told at our couples interview that we were one of the fastest cases that he’d had in a long while and that while the website might give guidelines for how long it COULD take, there is no set timeframe that immigration has to follow. I know of another lady who filed in April of 2009 and had a wedding all booked complete with a week of activities, etc. for the month of December 2009. They already had had their consulate interview (in mid November) but weren’t given an answer at the interview. They didn’t get an answer in time and had to cancel the wedding. They didn’t end up getting the visa in hand until April 2010! So my advice is to either go the route my hubby and I did and do a civil ceremony first and then pick out a workable timeframe for an “official” wedding, or to be very much aware that the timing might not work for whatever you plan and know what your change/cancellation policies are with each and every vendor if the situation arises that you aren’t able to have the ceremony when you planned because of immigration set-backs.
Hope that helps! If anyone wants any help or wants to hear more about our personal experience with this, please feel free to ask me!