Alright people; this is it! The point at which we are once again done with paperwork and we can rest easy while we wait for a referral!
I have been worried about our I600-A getting renewed by November 30th since June when we relocated back to Colorado from Texas. In order to renew this all-important immigration form, we had to have a current home study. In order to have a current home study, we had to have a home (!) and we were living in limbo without one until September 1st. Home studies can take a lot of time but we had ours done by early October. Then the home study report had to go to our international agency for approval, which means they had to make sure the wording was done in such a way that it would be properly translated once it got to Russia. Then they send it back to our local agency. After it is in its final draft form, it is sent to the Department of Homeland Security/Immigration to request our renewal. The government process for renewing can take a couple of months and at this point we had about four weeks…
When we had three weeks left before our expiration date of November 30th, I called our local caseworker to ask when she had mailed it out and express my concerns. She said she put a “rush” on it. Hm. Hadn’t heard that there was such an option. Okay, I felt comforted and thanked her. It was the next day when I got a call from the officer who had our renewal request on the desk in front of her. (that was rushed, for sure!) She asked some questions and made sure she was doing everything we needed. She found out at that time that we needed our biometrics renewed too. (Biometrics = fingerprints. No idea why they have to make it sound like they’re going to draw blood.) So she said she would schedule and appointment for our biometrics immediately and send us out a notice. That’s how it works; we do not have the privilege of requesting a convenient date or time. They just send you a letter with your appointment on it and a stern warning: “If you are not present at the time of your scheduled appointment we will consider your case abandoned.” (it’s the same concept for letting the I600-A expire, which is why we were so nervous about it!) A few days later we got our appointment paper: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 9 am in Denver. Black Friday?? Seriously? What if I wanted to stand in line for five hours in the wee hours of the night to get the latest hot toy for one of my kids? Alas, that wouldn’t be an option this year. So Thanksgiving night we shipped the kids off to Grandma and Grandpa’s and woke up at 7 am to get on the road by 7:45 and make it to the immigration office in Denver. There were two accidents on I-25 near our home but after we went through the city to avoid those we were on our way to Denver. Clear driving. I think people were either still shopping the Black Friday deals or at home sleeping soundly after Thanksgiving and/or being up all night shopping. (which may have contributed to the accidents we passed.) We got to the immigration office with our appointment papers in hand at 8:57. We walked into the bland strip-mall building store-front that was mysteriously labeled “Application (Office)” and got checked in. Then we got in line for being fingerprinted. Even with a few people ahead of us we were processed almost immediately and told we were done. The fingerprinting technicians were lightning fast! We walked out of the building at 8:59.
After biometrics are done they can officially update the I600-A. So they gathered everything up and did so, and yesterday the I-171H came in the mail; the paper that states we have been officially updated and our I600-A is now current until May of 2014! WHEW. We did it!!!