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.