Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Under the new rules, I'd still be walking around like a single man

Got an email from Red October (pictured left with his wife), who readers of this blog may remember from this profile. His was the interview I conducted just hours before proposing to my wife, as it turns out, and perhaps the one that suggested the best possibility for happiness in the future -- he and his girlfriend seemed very close and intimate, in part because Red October spoke some Russian.

Turns out, their story won't be all happy, or at least not prompt. After returning to Kharkov with his daughter before the New Year, Red October set a wedding date with his girlfriend -- for tomorrow, in fact.

But today he got an email from the US Embassy in Kyiv saying their office, along withall other US Embassies, will no longer accept I-130 petitions from US Citizens -- the form that a US citizen must file in order for his foreign-national wife or relative to immigrate to the United States.

The email, included below, didn't say whether or not this includes petitions from US Citizens living permanently overseas, but if that's so, and this rule had gone into effect a year ago, I'd still be walking around like a single man, not just sputtering through a phone call with my mother-in-law, taking my "kto eto's?" and "Da-da-da's!" out of mothballs.

The alternative to what I did -- filing at the US Embassy in Moscow -- is what Red October now apparently faces: throwing his application into the mail and directing it toward a regional office -- for California, a suitably anonymous city named Laguna Niguel -- where it will join a tall and teetering pile of similar forms, and one man, as I imagine it, who has a rubber stamp, but walks around muttering all day, wondering where he left the ink.

I had a face in the window, a helpful hand showing me where to cross my t's and dot my i's. "Should we use her maiden name or new last name here?" Very nice. Red October, I fear, will get no such help, and so it seems he'll have to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney.

Which is the awful thing about this. Another set of forms a US Citizen can only fill out, properly at least, and if he wants a prompt and appropriate response, if he agrees to show someone the money.

Here's the email that was forwarded to me:

Per Department of State instructions, effective immediately, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine and U.S. embassies worldwide are no longer authorized to accept or adjudicate I-130 petitions. American Citizens must file petitions for their relatives with the appropriate United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) office in the U.S. Petitioners can check here to find the appropriate office. Please visit this site for more general information about filing the petition.

Petitions that have already been approved at U.S. Embassy Kyiv but have not yet undergone visa adjudication must be forwarded to the USCIS office in Moscow, Russia. Embassy staff will forward all of these in the coming week.

We will post more information on this matter as soon as it becomes available to us.

As will I.


Anonymous said...

We moved up our marriage date and as of January 20th, we are officially married! As for an immigration attorney, no need. I've become the expert from hell on all this in the last year! Even from the states, it's really easy to do. This is where I learned how: http://www.visajourney.com/forums/index.php?autocom=custom&page=guides

Everything so far has worked perfectly. As far as I consider it, its just a bump in the road.

Red October

The Author said...

Yes, visa journey is quite a site.

I hope the delay for you is not too long. We only have, on average, 65 or 70 years on this planet; we shouldn't spend one or two of them waiting on the paperwork.

kharkovite said...

WOW!! You wife looks great, I wish you both all the best and may you find what you are looking for. Personally I think you would have been better off living in Ukraine. Thanks for sharing your story.

olechko said...

from a perspective of a wife: we showed up at the door of the US embassy in Kyiv few weeks back to find out that "they tried to call us" and that the I-130 are not processed there since 4 days ago. So we live in Ukraine!

Anonymous said...

Minor point but accoring to your profile on Red October he had a son and she had a daughter. I wish them both all the best.