Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chapter Nineteen: Homestudy Approval & The I-600A Run Around

We have been pulling our I-600A together for a while now. We had just to wait for our homestudy approval. We finally recieved that on Friday the 17th. Pabbi and I were so thrilled! It came the day before our Yard Sale. By the end of the weekend we felt so elated from our success and from having the homestudy done!
We could now set up an appointment for the I-600A and our fingerprinting.

Our appointment was for 7:40 am Tuesday. We stayed up the night before reviewing all the paperwork and requirments over and over. (Here one can see our neuroticism and perfectionism especially when dealing with Immigration Offices -we have had to in the past and we get such mixed results...we don't leave anything for chance). We felt prepared! We had our paperwork fully done and we set our checkbook with the paper so as to not forget it.

We pulled ourselves out of bed, bright and early to make the 40 minute trek north. We arrived about 30 minutes early (again - neurotic). We waited patiently and we were promptly called to the window at our time. The man who helped seemed like he too had been pulled out of bed early and did not seem to happy about that. He barely glanced at our paperwork and then asked for the money order. In the paperwork it says we could use a moneyorder or a check - we had chosen to go with the check. He looked at us and said "Money Order only." We were dumbfounded. He stamps our appointment paper, hands us back our paperwork, and said "Come back when you have the money order."

We left a bit shocked. It was not even 8:00am and where were we supposed to find a money order that early!?!
Not far was a grocery store...their counter did not open until 10:00am. We looked in the phone book for a Western Union. We found one about 10 minutes away. We drove all the way over there only to be told they don't make money orders from personal checks or Visa's. Only Cash. But there was an ATM across the street we could try.

We ran to the ATM across the street and started pulling money out. It soon denies us from withdrawing (We now know that our bank protection against stolen cards and large ATM cash withdrawels work). We were unsure what to do. We aren't too familiar with the area and unsure where to go. We go back to Western Union ask if they would cash a check. They will cash a personal check - for 5% of it! That was out of the question.

Then an idea! Where is the nearest Wal-mart? Not too far actually. So we ran over there and with no trouble or questions, they use our Visa and make us a money order! (I know some of you readers are anti-Wal-Mart but sometimes they can be quite the lifesaver)!

So we run back to the Office and we wait a few minutes before we are summoned back to the window, and to the same man.

He takes the check and paperwork while we stand silently. Then my eye catches something. Right there on his desk is paperwork with personal checks attached.
WHAT?!?! Others can use personal checks but we had to take over an hour to hunt down a money order. I try to keep a smile on my face...don't want to upset the man who stands between us and our future!

We wait while he keeps typing away at the computer in silence. After a what seemed like forever, he talks to a co-worker about how he can't find Pabbi in the computer. I try not to get to nervous. Finally, he finishes and hands us the paperwork for the fingerprinting...I look at the time and date...November 5th!!

But before I can say anything he says, "Go to the [fingerprinting office] and tell [so-&-so] that I sent you, and that you should get printed today. Otherwise you would have to wait until November 5th." Such relief flooded through me - I didn't want to have to push too hard for early fingerprinting. I was worried about poking the snake...who turned out to be quite nice..most likely just tired.

We drive over to the office and are fingerprinted in no time at all. I thought it was weird that they set up appointments etc. because they are busy...yet there was NO-ONE there to be printed except us!

After we were printed and climbed into the car, Pabbi looks to me and says, "Do you realize that filing the paperwork and getting printed took less than an hour and yet we spent over an hour just tracking down a money order?"

The irony of that one!

All in all...we are done with this step and are now ready to put together our dossier! I wonder what new adventures this next set of paperwork will present. We will be sure to keep you posted!