Once I gathered all the documents I needed both for myself and for/from Tyler I sat down and compiled them into a comprehensive order matching my cover sheet. All my pictures were printed on high quality photo paper and put into plastic sleeves with little pink sticky notes which had the date and location of each picture. I sent 3 total pictures. I also took screen shots of a few facebook and skype calls with time and date stamps on them. Copied boarding passes to and from our visit. And that was it. Mind you, Tyler is from Canada and since US and Canada have very relaxed border laws, I can get away with not providing heaps of evidence since there isn’t a high fraud rate within Canada. However, petitions including those from non-English speaking countries and even countries which traditionally have a high fraud and/or completely different customs than the US tend to receive a lot of scrutiny during the adjudication process. So a good rule of thumb is to include at least 5-10 photos of varying location and date.
Once I had everything in order based on my cover letter (example), I placed it in a photo document mailer making sure that I checked off each item on my checklist as I went.
- Petition I129F with check paper-clipped to it
- Supplemental explanation of how we met in person.
- G-325 A for me along with a passport photo
- G-325 A for Tyler along with passport photo
- My US birth certificate copy and my US passport copy
- A letter certifying intent to marry from me
- A letter certifying intent to marry from Tyler
- Flight boarding passes from when Tyler visited
- Pictures of us together
- Facebook & Skype Convos picked once a month for the last year
I addressed my photo document mailer to the lock box facility in Dallas and took it to the USPS to mail. I opted to require a signature because I don’t trust the postal service for good reason. It took my document about 8 business days to get from Virginia to Dallas. I found it a bit odd that it took that long and called a few times in the interim to find out where it was since the tracking number only showed that it was dropped off in a sorting facility. This is where my aforementioned distrust of the postal service really justified itself. No one at any of the local branches could help me figure out why my document didn’t actually make it to a postal office and sat in a sorting facility for 3 days. Eventually someone from their corporate facility found the package location and put in an inquiry to have it properly delivered.
Eventually the package did make it and was signed for. I received a notice on January 20th, 2015 that USCIS received my petition on January 15, 2015 and had an NOA date of January 20th 2015. I received a hard copy by mail a few days later. When I got my electronic NOA1, I saved the receipt number and later used it to sign up on USCIS.gov website. This helps to set your notification preferences and also provides you with proof as your case is moved through the USCIS. Once your case is sent to NVC this site no is no longer relevant.
I also took that time to sign up on the site VisaJourney. It’s an excellent wealth of free knowledge as you can see I reference it often with examples. This is a completely user experience site which offers wikis, walk throughs, forums, forms, examples, processing times, embassy reviews and so on. I highly recommend it and have made some really great friends.