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I think I’ve brought out the entire story of our immigration now. So we are sitting on our approved I -130, but after waiting for over two years, we started married life together in Italy. We both got new jobs, began careers, we got a puppy, moved outside the city center, lost Stitch, thought about going in another direction, then ended up getting Luna and staying settled near Rami’s family.

Even if we were to restart the process right now, the next steps would still take years:

Our I-130 is basically the first step (…and we’re still at the first step) in the immigration process. It is a declaration that Rami is my husband with multiple documents which state that “hey, USA, we want to immigrate to your country. (because apparently there isn’t any other way.” Then, because I know that you all have probably forgotten the process, the next steps are as follows:

  • Compile all documents for the National Visa Center (NVC) for the next round of “vetting,” if you will, and pay more in fees. 
  • Wait six to eight or more weeks for the USCIS office in California, which now has our I-130, to send the approved document to the NVC – which in our case is in Naples, Italy.
  • The NVC then notifies us that they want more information and documents which I should prepare in the time it takes for them to send over the approved I-130.
  • I submit the documents as requested to the NVC and then they schedule an interview for Rami in Naples within a few months (hopefully) – so generally, once the I-130 is approved, its another half a year (on a good timeline) in order to get an appointment.
  • At the appointment, unless some miracle occurs, we already know Rami will be denied because of his ban.
  • At that point, we begin the Extreme Hardship (I-601) waiver which I won’t get into right now but usually is about a 6-12 month process but Lord knows it’ll probably be much longer than that for us.
  • Once (if) we get the I-601 approved (that is a very big IF and was focused on with my lawyer that if we are denied here, which could happen, it’ll be a rough process to try and continue – if it would even be worth it) the USCIS has up to 30 days (normally) to send us more information and set up a new interview – at this point I’m unsure if that’d be in Florence, Rome, or Naples.
  • If that appointment goes well, Rami would actually get a visa/green card to reside in the USA for a year. 
  • Then I have to get everything set up in the US before we are able to move there and then we have to go through the green card process – which I’ll detail in another blog.

Once we get to the states, we try for citizenship which is another whole world of hurt, but we’ll get there when we get there.

This can all be done, with money and time, but remember, it still doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed anything – all of this could be for nothing. With the government shutdown and the chaos that the topic of immigration is right now, we aren’t sure if we should use our one shot on the US Government just yet. If we miss it, we could never go home together – but every year we wait is another year I have to get on that plane to Boston by myself any time I want to see my family.

So we’re left with no options right now, and no one willing to just let us prove that all we want to do is visit New England for an August wedding or a white Christmas, but it looks like we’re just going to have to wait.

If anyone has any ideas, we’re open. If anyone knows someone that could actually help us visit home, please let us know <3

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