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08/23/2005

Immigration Interview in Frankfurt

It took the US Consulate two and a half months to work their way thru our stack of papers. Meanwhile Alejandra and I had all our vaccinations updated and our medical exam done. I called three times during those weeks, just to make sure they hadn't forgotten about us. Then we finally received our invitation for the interview.

Train ride to Frankfurt again, stayed at the hotel Bristol again. I can't remember ever being that nervous in my life before. Sweat was pouring down my body, my hands were shaking, I kept checking my stack of papers again and again. The loudspeakers weren't very clear, we had a hard time hearing our names being called.

The interview itself was nothing like I had expected. A friendly, young officer asked Alejandra and Tom two questions each - I was just asked about our marriage date. Then I was told, that I needed to fax written permission from Fernando, that he allows Alejandra to go with me. And that was it!

On August 26th 2005 we received our immigration packages in the mail. Woo-Hoo!

07/05/2005

Medical Exam in Munich

Alejandra hates going to doctors, and I can't say I particularly enjoy it - especially when I'm not even sick. But we had to go there to receive our immigrant visa. Prove, that we have all the necessary vaccinations. Also test for AIDS and other horrible things. And have our lungs x-rayed, to see if we have tuberculosis.

Of course you can't just schedule that medical exam with ANY doctor, it needs to be one of those ten in Germany, who are authorised by the USCIS to do it. There's one of these doctors in Munich, and he has a waiting list of approximately one month. Good thing we had plenty of time.

06/03/2005

Tom files I-130 for Alejandra and me

Even with the help of our lawyer it still took almost half a year to collect all necessary papers. The definitely hardest was our co-sponsor's birth certificate. Since Tom has no assets on US soil, and will have to quit any job he might have in Germany, he can't prove his ability to support the family. So we needed somebody for our co-sponsor. Becky's husband Scott (thanks a million, Scott!) didn't hesitate to take that burden.

We didn't count on it taking four months for Scott's birth certificate to be finally sent from Louisiana. So, with a bag full of about five pounds of paper, Tom and I travelled to Frankfurt and filed forms I-130 and DS-230 Part 1. We went there personally, and handed over paperwork for the first three steps of the four-step filing process. Our lawyer had strongly recommended to do it that way. In case there was some little detail missing, we would be there to fix it.

Here's what we needed for me: dcf_foreign_spouse_checklist.pdf

And this is what Tom needed to supply: dcf_us_citizen_checklist.pdf

12/08/2004

Find an Immigration Attorney

Barely home from Las Vegas, we started working on stage three of our plan: prepare the move to Indiana.

I had found a lawyer in California, specializing in immigration for foreign fiancees and spouses of US citizens. We wanted to make sure, that we did all the right things in the right order. There is no room for errors in this kind of procedure. The USA is not really an *immigration country* anymore, there's actually only two (maybe three) legal ways left to immigrate.

You have to win the green-card lottery, or marry a US citizen, or invest $1,000,000 in the USA. Option number two seems the most doable, but even then there is no guarantee. You have to prove, that you didn't marry somebody, just to acquire a green card. And your US spouse has to prove, that he/she is able to support the family.

Since Tom and I were both living together in Germany, we had to do the entire paperwork at the US Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany. The procedure is called *direct consular filing* DCF, and is supposedly the fastest way for *regular* cases. Regular means mostly military personnel - but Tom is a civilian. 

Here's whom we picked: Holmes & Lolly