Ahana recently got her conditional greencard, so I wanted to spend some time describing our process.
While there was a lot of paperwork, there were also plenty of forums to help answer most of the common questions, so we decided not to pay for an immigration lawyer. It’s actually quite doable on your own, providing you set aside enough time.
Besides the standard paperwork, the most important aspect is the evidence of a bona fide marriage. Always err on the side of caution and overprovide when possible. Since Ahana and I started long distance, we gave all of our communications:
- Our entire Skype call and chat log history
- All google hangouts chats
- Our entire Twitter DM history
- Every text message we’d ever sent between us
- All pictures of vacations we had gone on
- Our wedding album
- The entire call log history between us
This was about 800 pages all printed out, and took quite a bit of time to get all the screenshots.
We double checked our application about three separate times over the course of a week to make sure we filled in everything properly.
After submitting our application in March of last year, it was time to wait. Processing times were getting longer thanks in part to our dear president, so we had estimated about 6 months of waiting times. Around August Ahana got a request for biometrics (which, surprisingly, insurance actually covered the cost of), and then more waiting.
Since Ahana was technically in a status of adjustment phase, we weren’t traveling internationally, and since we wanted the greencard as soon as possible, we definitely didn’t want to be on vacation anywhere too far away for fear of having to postpone the interview.
In January, we finally got the notice for the interview.
Our local interview center was down in Santa Clara - right next to the Caltrain, so we showed up at 6:50 for our 7:15 interview, as the notice said… only to discover they don’t even open the doors until 7:45.
:) After waiting, we went through the standard metal detector / security process, and then, like the DMV, stood in line to get a ticket, and then waited for our number to be called.
The actual interview was incredibly easy and took just 20 minutes. The interviewer was nice and professional, and already knew all about Indian arranged marriages. We briefly talked about the timeline of our relationship along with the various addresses we had lived in.
We actually brought a lot more evidence to the interview, but given the volume we had provided earlier the case worker didn’t need anything except for the copy of the deed to the house we bought. And after 20 minutes, we were out!
Ahana got her conditional greencard in the mail 3-5 business days later!