Monday, July 19, 2010

Administrative Processing

*Reader Note* While this post is not all that impressive, I just updated the dates because I started writing it on May 21. Life is a really, really busy place!

The second divorce certificate was submitted to the US Consulate in Montreal, July 2005. Immediately our case was put into "Administrative Processing" which is a scary thing when you're dealing with US Immigration and a Pakistani-born immigrant. The petitioner (me) has no way of knowing why the case is in AP or how long it will take. There are no guarantees and the Department of State uses "National Security" as an excuse to blow off any inquiries or questions one may ask.

By August, I was freaking out. It took me a long time to figure out what exactly what was going on with the case because the US Consulate and the Department of State do not like to just give you information on your case. . .they make you work for it. I tried one of my Senate Immigration liaisons and gave him two months to try to get a response. I would call him back every two weeks, he would promise to follow up and call me back and then would never call me back. After two months of that, I made an inquiry through then Republican Immigration liaison to Senator John Warner. This woman was intimidating as Hell, but she was the most efficient and effective representative EVER. Within seven days she had a response and more information than I could have ever hoped for along with LEVERAGE!

She slipped in telling me that the AP was for "Document Verification." They did not tell her what type of document they meant, but I already knew that information, and that meant that my AP was finite, because it was not security checks! There are no words for how excited that made me. It was leverage because the more you already know when you call the Department of State, the more information they will give you. All I had to do was call and say, "I know that the case is undergoing AP to verify the divorce certificate I submitted to Montreal on. . . .Could you tell me what stage it is in?" Or, "can you tell me the last day a note was made on the case?" or "Can you see if the case has been returned to Montreal yet?"

I was able to find out that the rest of the case stayed in Montreal, while only the divorce certificate was sent to the US Embassy in Islamabad. In September I had a moment where I was discussing the case with M and told him (only half joking) that they were checking up on him for me and that if he was still married to some woman in Pakistan they'd let me know . . .he took it waaaaay too seriously and got all offended.

I now found myself spending time trying to get information from Islamabad, but if you've ever done that you know how futile it is. I sent them an email and within 10 minutes had a reply. They had SO MANY cases undergoing Administrative Processing that they give you an automated response ANY TIME you email them saying that they will not respond to emails sent before your case has been in administrative processing for 180 days or more. You know what I discovered?

They don't respond after 180 days either.


  1. We were in administrative processing for - I think - almost three years. (I'd have to go back and look though the dates, though, so I could be wrong.) Kudos to you, though, because I never not one single iota of information - even after THREE YEARS - except that it was a pending "name check." Even when I KNEW what the problem was, because of figuring it out myself even when the idiot clerks at USCIS couldn't figure it out. And then I spent a year trying to get them to recognize what the problem was and they kept telling me I was crazy. it took going through my Senator and bam! Six months later, and it was exactly what I said it was the entire time - his application had been split in two under two different Alien registration numbers. My husband could have been a citizen three years ago but for their inefficiency and complete lack of transparency. I have a serious bone to pick with USCIS. I do plan to write about our immigration troubles. But of course, I don't know even a fraction of what you know about this subject!

  2. Yeah, DOS will just sit on a file until you make yourself heard. I am very happy for you that you got to spend that time together! I read about a few cases last year where the name checks lasted more than two years and the couple were separated, he Bangladesh/Pakistan and the wife US! The whole system fascinates me.

  3. Hello I have just managed to finish your blog after a few days of reading and looking at your life makes my heart warm and uneasy. Warm at you everything worked out the uneasy well you know that all too well

    Although personally I have been in a failed relationship with a (gori) american girl, It didnt reach this far but it scarred me very deeply (not to mention threes years wasted felt abit bad). I had almost given up on relationships after that and some years have passed too and I was pretty much prepared for the "arranged" deal waiting around the corner.

    But alas someone has literally forced her way into my life and It feels very real now and as I read the details of what your M went through I can almost sigh at how very real they are to me and hope against the inevitable. If you havent guessed by now I am also a Pathan, I almost knew your M was too after they way his parents were reacting. I wish you could explain the dynamics of a love marriage in a Pathan family and how very different we are from the "normal" pakistani people haha.

    I wish you and your family all the best in life and I might return from time to time on your blog :).

    I might drop by again for advice or updates might even blog someday although blogging as a male about my relationship feels uncomfortable lol

    PS: I thought about showing your blog to my girlfriend and seeing as the realtionship is very new atm I think she might just get overwhelmed. (very pakistani thinking of me dont you think?)

  4. Amaan--I was giggling after the Pathan comment as M considers himself a proud Pathan. He first told me and acted as though, I, an American was supposed to understand the great significance of that fact.

    I hope your new relationship goes very well and one day, after she's already secure, maybe she'd enjoy reading the blog. The most response I've gotten from the American side has been, "Oh my gosh you're scaring me!" haha.

    I'm glad that you have enjoyed reading and hope you will stop by again!