Day 197: Change of Address

April 28, 2015

All I can recommend is that you DO NOT move while you’re in the middle of this process. Just don’t do it. Because USCIS apparently can’t handle a simple change of address. They say the can, they even have this nice, tidy online form that you can fill in and submit without having to actually mail a whole bunch of crap in. But it’s all lies. They’ll send you a letter a week or so later saying they’ve confirmed your change of address. But it’s all lies.

Also, if you did as we did and submitted our I-485 with our I-765, be sure to remember that they do have two different case numbers and you have to put in both, or fill out two forms, regarding your change of address. Because despite the fact that your immigrating fiance(e)’s A-number should be attached to everything and that USCIS processes everything, they can’t handle a change of address unless you specifically tell them which cases your address is changing for, as if your address would change for one case and not the other.

We moved in January, but we had a mailing forward for 30 days, or whatever period of time it is that USPS allows there to be a forward, so we weren’t too worried about not getting our mail from immigration. Once we had moved I remembered that I needed to change our address and did so immediately, receiving confirmation, as I explained earlier, about a week later. The issue—I forgot to put the case number for the I-765, which, turns out, was much more important than the I-485. Around the beginning of March, Efrem received an I-797 Notice of Approval for his I-765, Employment Authorization Document, which would give him, obviously, authorization to work in the US, and should finally get rid of the red tape for getting a driver’s license (although that’s yet to be determined given the sheer ignorance the DMV workers have demonstrated in regards to what the law is as it pertains to LA IDs and K-1 visa holders). The letter was dated from late February, so I mean there was a delay in receiving the letter due to the forward on our mail, but clearly the forwarding process worked. Now we were just waiting on the actual card to come.

But alas, it’s now almost May, and it still hasn’t come. I was tracking the case on USCIS’s website, My Case Status, but the last it showed was that it was held up in someone’s post office as it couldn’t originally be delivered. And then that messaging disappeared altogether and there was nothing. I put in an online case inquiry, to no avail, and finally got around to calling them.

As the petitioner, I’ve never had an issue immigration regarding Efrem’s status in the past, but apparently, since the I-485 is solely Efrem’s case, I’m no longer authorized to ask for information–despite the fact that the automated voice says that the person calling has to either be the beneficiary, petitioner, or lawyer. So in order for me to call and ask anything I have to get Efrem on the phone to tell them they have permission to speak with me. So I called, and conferenced in Efrem, and he gave her permission to talk to me about his case, BUT, the first woman I spoke with wasn’t actually the person I needed to speak with, so she had to transfer me. To add to the frustration, his authorization for them to speak with me about his case, didn’t transfer—that would make too much damn sense. In fact, there’s no case information at all transferred every time they transfer you making you have to explain the same thing repeatedly. Before I could even speak with anyone there was a  wait time of 83 minutes (you could press ‘1’ to be put in a queue so you wouldn’t have to stay on the phone, but despite how many times I pressed ‘1’—like 15 different times—it wouldn’t register, so instead I just had to wait).  83 minutes of elevator music. And by the time I got a hold of someone, Efrem wouldn’t pick up his phone so that I could conference him back in for him to give his authorization. Since the immigration people can only hold on for exactly 1 minute, they hung up on me, and we had to start all over again. We decided to wait on calling them again until we were both in the same room to avoid that happening again.

Now we’re getting a letter in the mail regarding his I-485 (the case whose addressed WAS changed in a timely manner) but it’s still addressed to our old apartment, HOW MANY MONTHS LATER? Anyway, there was some good news in that they said our case may be eligible for an interview waiver, meaning we wouldn’t have to go in for an interview and prove our love to each other, but the overwhelming bad news was that they were 6 months, SIX MONTHS, behind on cases. I just love when USCIS sends these letters about their being behind, capping it off with a “if you do not receive a decision or other notice of action from USCIS by that date, please contact…” blah, blah, blah. And “I sincerely regret any inconvenience caused by this situation and appreciate your patience…” -signed by the Center Director.

I mean, you appreciate our patience, but what choice do we have, it’s not like we can blow up your phone with these 80-90 minute wait times with terrible music.

Now to resolve this EAD thing, because his sitting here in legal limbo is not a good look.