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Showing posts from 2019

DIY I-485 Adjustment of Status Part II: Immigration Interview (with real questions!)

As my previous blog post "DIY I-485 Adjustment of Status with No RFE!" received a lot of great comments, I promised that I would do a follow-up post regarding the last step of the application - the interview. If this is your first time reading my post, please note that my green card application was marriage based with a USA citizen spouse.

The Green Card Interview Day Here's our process. We were they around 15 mins ahead of time. You are not supposed to be there more than 30 mins ahead according to the interview notice. We passed through the X-ray exam and checked in at the counter with the interview notice. They took my photo and collected my fingerprints.
After about 10 minutes, we were led by our interviewer to the room and made our oath to promise that we are only telling the truth. The whole interview was about 20 minutes. It was pretty casual and comfortable. At the end of the interview, we were informed that our case will be approved and I could expect my green ca…

It's a boy!

It's been 6 days since the day I delivered my boy. We wanted to be surprised so we didn't know the gender until the delivery day! Finally, I have time to share my boy's birth story.
Fanfan's Birth Story Fanfan's Due Date 4 days before Fanfan's birthday was my baby's so-called "due date". I was excited to finally reach that day and was told that something can happen any time, any moment. I waited and waited, nothing happened.....1 day passed, 2 days passed, more and more people from work, from my family asked. I started wondering if something was wrong with my baby or me. We had a scheduled appointment on Friday (3 days past due date) for an ultrasound if we still haven't delivered the baby naturally. I wasn't planning to go to that appointment at all lol.
1 Day Before Fanfan's Birthday Day I hadn't felt any serious contractions throughout my whole pregnancy so far. Every time my OB or my friends asked me: Have you felt any contract…

Making a Quilted Baby Blanket

We had so much fun from making the baby bibs and burp cloth. This time, I wanted to take a big step forward to make a quilted receiving blanket. I like how the quilted blanket can have multiple prints.
Materials/Supplies I used: 4 or 5 different pieces of 28 inch to 1 yard flannel fabric 100% cotton 1 yard backing material (this can be flannel cotton, fleece or other warm materials) Coordinating threads A sewing machine Iron Bias tape (optional)  How to Make an Easy Quilted Baby Blanket Step 1: Decide the blanket’s size  I wanted to make a bigger sized blanket because I can imagine how the baby can outgrow the blanket so quickly. So I choose to make a roughly 40 x 40 inch blanket.
Step 2: Prepare the Squares  If you are doing a 28x28 inch blanket, you will need 7 of 7x7 inch squares for each piece of fabric. For my case, I picked four different pieces of flannel fabric but I wanted to make it bigger to be 40x40 so I cut them into unequal numbers of 7x7 inch square. In the end, I have …

Sewing Project II: Making a Baby Bib

After I made the burp cloth, I couldn't wait to start a new project, a baby bib! There are a lot of different styles and designs, but we will start with a basic one.
What Supplies are Needed to Make a Baby Bib?½ yard Flannel fabric ½ yard absorbing fabric (I used my old cotton shirt) Coordinating threads Sewing machine  How to Sew an Easy Baby Bib Step 1: Find a Pattern Find a pattern you like, print it out and cut in shape. You can also simply draw your own pattern.

Step 2: Start Sewing With right side together, use ½ inch seam allowance, sew from the bottom (where it’s a straight line) and go all the way around and back. Remember to leave 3 inch wide space where you can flip it inside out. Backstitch at the beginning and at the end to re-enforce the thread.
Step3: Iron and Front Stitch  Iron your half-done bib flat so it’s easier for you to work on. Now front stitch the whole bib with ¼ inch seam allowance and close shut the hole you left from the previous step. Backstitch at th…

How to Sew an Easy Burp Cloth Under 10 Minutes

Valentine's Day is also our wedding anniversary, so my dear husband bought me a surprise gift - a sewing machine! I looked at the machine, and wondered "are you putting me to work? haha" I was never into sewing before. A couple of days later, we started learning how to use the sewing machine and what we can make for our baby-on-the-way.
My First Sewing Project  So there we went to Joann to pick up a yard of flannel fabric. I was excitedly researching online what we can make with flannel fabric. I know, it's backwards, right? I had no idea what I wanted to make before we bought the fabric. We just thought it was so cute and couldn't leave empty-handed.

Finally, I decided to start with an easy one - a burp cloth.
How to Make a Simple Burp Cloth Materials and supplies I used:
1/2 yard flannel fabric 100% cottonAn old cotton T-shirt or 1/2 yard other absorbing fabric like Terry clothA sewing machineIronSome coordinating color threads Step 1: Downloaded a Free Pattern 

How to Go Through Canada Customs without Speaking English

Most of my elder relatives in my home country don't speak English. In fact, some of them probably don't understand English at all. Not to mention that they have never traveled abroad by themselves.

As my husband and I are expecting a baby soon in the USA, my parents are eager to come for a visit and meet their little grandchild! To make their wish come true, a big mission landed on me - help them get prepared for the trip and make sure the traveling won't have any hiccups.

We plan to book a direct flight from Taiwan to Canada and transfer from Canada to the USA by ground. Let's take a look at my planning of "shipping" my parents here!
How to Enter Canada Customs without Speaking English The biggest concern, of course, is the language barrier. With proper preparation ahead of time, I am sure we all can help our non-English speaking relatives travel around the world without any issue and fear! There are a few things to think about:
Airline Special Assistance Wi…

Who Is the Petitioner, Applicants, Beneficiary and Principal Applicant?

Who Is the Petitioner, Applicants, and Beneficiary? When filing the G-1145 E-Notification form, I was a little confused about who's name to use. I decided to use the applicant's name for G-1145.

If you are confused about who is petitioner, applicant, and beneficiary, take a look below. Generally, the U.S. citizen spouse is the petitioner and the alien spouse who is applying for a green card is the beneficiary: Petitioner - U.S. citizen spouseBeneficiary - Alien spouseApplicant for I-485 - Alien spouseApplicant for I-130 - U.S. citizenApplicant for I-765 - Alien spouseApplicant for I-131 - Alien spouse Who is the Principal Applicant? If you are the main beneficiary of the I-485 application, yes, you are the principal applicant. If you have other relatives applying with you, they are the derivative applicants.

Click here to learn more about filing the I-485 application.

Disclaimer: This article is for sharing personal experience only and not for the purpose of providing legal advi…

Where Can I Find My USCIS A Number?

What is an A Number? An A number is an Alien Registration Number or Alien Number. It is a unique 8 or 9 digit number assigned to you at the time you file your application. The series of number starts with the letter "A".  

Where Can I Find My USCIS A Number? You may not necessarily have an A number. If no A-files have been created in the past, you don't have the number. Or if you are a H1-B holder like myself, you probably don't have an A number as H1-B holders don't need an EAD card to work. If you have an EAD card, you can find the A number on it.

When I was under OPT, I did receive an EAD card but that card has expired of course. That A number will not be applicable to this case because once your green card application is received, USCIS will assign you a new A number. So simply leave that field blank if you don't have a current A number.

Click here to learn about filing the I-485 application.

Disclaimer: This article is for sharing personal experience only…

DIY I-485 Adjustment of Status with No RFE! (2019 February)

After all the trouble we have gone through preparing for my I-485 green card application for almost 2 months, I decided to put the things I have learned together and share with all of you who might be in the same boat and searching for a detailed, clear direction.

Please note: This post is mainly for alien spouse applying for a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen.

Disclaimer: This article is for sharing personal experience only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

My I-485 Application Preparation Overview  The article gets a little long, so please click the links below and fast forward to the section that you want to learn more details.
Step 1: Download all the required forms and prepare 6 folders
Step 2: Download all cover letter templates
Step 3: Schedule a USCIS doctor's appointment - don't do this too late, you might have to wait in line
Step 4: Fill out all forms - I suggest fill out the the PDF files on your computer. It's easier to make changes. M…

Who Needs to Fill out the I-864A Form?

Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member Form I-864A is a contract between the sponsor and a household member. When you have one or more co-sponsor(s) other than your alien spouse (beneficiary), each of the co-sponsors has to fill out their own I-864A form.

However, if you are using your alien spouse (beneficiary)’s current income as part of your household income, the alien spouse DOES NOT need to fill out the I-864A form. The only situation that he/she needs to fill out the I-864A form is when he/she has derivative relatives who are applying for a green card with him/her.

I-864A and I-864 are an important part of the whole I-845 application. In the next post, we will talk more about the sponsor's financial requirements for form I-864 Affidavit of Support. Stay tuned!

Disclaimer: This article is for sharing personal experience only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

What Tax Return Documents Are Required for Form I-864 Affidavit of Support

What Tax Forms Are Required for I-864? The petitioner (U.S. citizen) is only required to provide the most recent year tax return document. However, you can provide the most recent three-year tax return documents if you think those will help prove your support.

You can provide IRS tax return forms along with your W2s, Form 1099, tax schedules (for self-employed sponsors) OR IRS tax transcripts. You can get your IRS transcripts from IRS’s website here. I think an IRS tax transcript is simpler with fewer pages, but it’s really up to you!

Good luck with your I-485 application!

Disclaimer: This article is for sharing personal experience only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

How Long Does It Take to Receive My I-693 Report?

Finally, you have finished the medical exam. Now you are wondering how long do you have to wait to receive your report from the doctor.
How Long Does It Take to Receive My I-693 Report? Every clinic has a different schedule of course. It took me one week to get the report from my doctor because he only works two days a week. Normally, I would say 2-3 days if you have all the vaccinations done before already.

Once you get the I-693 report from your doctor, he/she will instruct you to sign and date the form and seal the report. Be careful - DO NOT open the envelope!USCIS won’t accept any opened I-693 envelope. Just submit the sealed report as it is to USCIS.
Can I Get a Copy of My I-693 Form? On the I-693 form instruction, it states that the immigration doctor is supposed to give you a copy of the complete form for your record so be sure to ask for a copy! Unfortunately, my doctor refused to follow the instruction, so I can only trust that they took care of everything without any issues…

Green Card Medical Exam for Pregnant Women

Can I still pass the Green Card Immigration Medical Exam if I am pregnant? It depends! If you are seeing your OBGYN regularly, they probably have already tested Syphilis and Gonorrhea for you. Ask for the test results from your OBGYN and bring it with you to the immigration exam, you may be able to save a few dollars by avoiding the redundant tests!
About Syphilis Test Be careful though, according to CDC’s website, starting from 2013, Syphilis tests performed before the panel physician or civil surgeon exams the applicant are not acceptable. So theoretically, your Syphilis test results from your OBGYN before the immigration exam will not be accepted. To be safe, you can have it tested right at the immigration doctor.

I just got tested for Syphilis at my OBGYN about a month before the immigration exam so my doctor used that record. Hopefully, this won’t cause any RFE. I will keep you all updated what happens after!
About MMR Vaccine The only vaccination that can be dangerous to pregnan…

What Vaccines Are Required for the I-485 Green Card Application?

The immigration medical exam might be one of most time-consuming and complicated parts of your I-485 application. There are some long, long lists on USCIS’s website and CDC’s website regarding the vaccinations and tests you need for the I-693 report. However, many of them are subject to your age group. If you are between 18 and 64 years old, generally, you only need 4 vaccines and 3 blood tests, including:
What Vaccines and Tests Are Required for the I-693 Medical Exam? Td/ T-Dap: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (expire every 10 years) MMR Varicella - If you had chickenpox before, you don’t need it Influenza (Flu Shot) - You only need this during flu season, from October 1st to March 31st Syphilis Test*- Please read important update below Gonorrhea Test Tuberculosis Test** - This needs to be tested every 1 year. Please read the important update below Click here to see the Vaccine Requirements According to Applicant Age. 

Varicella can be avoided if you or your family remember you had …

Where Do I Find a Green Card Immigration Doctor?

When applying for the adjustment of status (I-485), form I-693 report of medical examination and vaccination record is required. This is one of the most troublesome parts of the application process for many immigrants.
How to Find an Immigration Doctor? You will need a qualified immigration doctor to help you fill out most of your I-693 report of medical exam and vaccination record. Go to the USCIS website to search for a listed doctor that’s convenient for you.
Green Card Medical Exam Cost Each doctor charges differently, so I suggest you call at least 3 to compare the prices. Note that a lot of immigration doctors only take cash or check. The cost can range between $120 and $300 depending on the area you are in.

If you already have done some of the required vaccinations or blood test, be sure to bring them with you to the doctor’s appointment. You may be able to save some redundant vaccination shots!
6 Questions to Ask Your Potential Green Card Immigration Doctor Do your homework be…