Spiny gets Advance Parole!

  • and no, I’ve not been thrown in (or out of) jail.

Advance Parole is the document (technically, form I-512 (as requested by submitting form I-131)) a newly-wed furriner like me needs in order to leave the US. Well, technically I can leave at any time, I need it to re-enter.

And receiving it marks that we’ve gained a major objective in my merciless and protracted battle with the INS. Remember, kids, you can’t spell “insanity” without typing “INS”!

Along the line, I’ve arrived at the INS office at 05:45 AM and
had to queue for 3 hours and 45 minutes before even making it to the front door and then been told that “this sort of application is not accepted by personal delivery any more.”

We’ve had photos returned for not showing enough of my right ear, never mind that they were exact copies of the about a dozen photos that accompanied every other piece of paperwork to the INS. And never mind that the INS complains about being understaffed, still someone found the time to use two different highlighters on the form letter that accompanied the offending photos. Very efficient.

I’ve talked to a variety of nincompoops with less knowledge of the rules than I had, trying very, very hard not to show my impatience. (“But I thought that according to the memo number 456-234 dated so-and-so form X-545664 is no longer needed and Y-4235423345 would substitute ? I did take the liberty of printing it from your website.” )

I’ve been fingerprinted, vaccinated, X-rayed, I’ve submitted authorized translations of I don’t know how many documents.

I’ve filled out forms solemnly declaring that I’m NOT a terrorist, a criminal, infected with syphilis, that I do not intend to overthrow the government, that I’m not wanted for genocide, that I’m not insane…

I’ve asked for the status of my case and been told that my best chance to see if my precious, precious paperwork was being processed (3 weeks after delivery) was to “check if my fee checks had cleared the bank”. And those are not small fees either - just the latest batch ran into $535, all things told.

But I now finally have that welcome, welcome letter: “You will be notified by mail no later than 18 months from the date of this notice… Please do not contact this office prior to 18 months from the control date to inquire about the status of your application.”

Ahhhh. 18 whole months. :cool:

My work permit expires in a year, as does my Advance Parole, so there’s still a few skirmishes to look forward to. But for now, there’s a lull in the fighting.

Time for my sweet Shayna and myself to lean back and take pride in a job well done.

S. Norman

wow. i hope you took a few good books with ya, perhaps one of those folding chairs as well.

sounds like some beach time is in order.

Yeah, but how solemn were you when you were filling them out? (Or were you internally laughing your ass off as much as I am when I fill out official governmental forms?)

I’m just glad you’re NOT a terrorist.

Ah. So you lied. :stuck_out_tongue:


I feel your pain. I didn’t bother with a work permit, though. I am just going to submit my change of status, and then will receive a SSN in order to work. As I’m not in a hurry to leave the country, I have decided against advance parole.

INS hasn’t been unbearable yet. Probably because the first part of the battle - the K-1 - is handled by the State department.

“Wait in line.” You’ve had to “wait in line for 3 hours.” Americans do not queue.

It’s glaring and national-security-threatening errors such as this that give the INS pause.


Immigration in this country is a national embarassment.

Land of immigrants my ass. If this was a land of immigrants it wouldn’t take 10 years and thousands of dollars to get citizenship.


I feel for ya, Norman.

And welcome to the USA and stuff.

Gingy, as a former immigration paralegal, may I humbly suggest that you probably should get the advance parole even if you don’t think you’ll need it? Because if (God forbid) some terrible emergency happens that you need to go to Canada for, it will be extremely difficult to get the document at short notice, as Spiny’s experience shows. I never had a client who regretted obtaining the document but I sure as hell had a few who regretted not getting it.

Also, I’m not sure what you mean by

Unless they’ve changed the laws (Eva Luna?), you will need to file for a work permit (EAD) along with your adjustment of status, and you can’t work until you’ve received that OR until your adjustment comes through, which I guarantee will take a lot longer.

If they have changed the laws, never mind.

It is a shame when it takes so long to establish yourself in this country. A lot of it is just red useless tape. Seems that the people that are ok and should be accepted have a hard time, maybe because they are trying to do it right? While others simply ignore the process and skip around the country without getting caught. A big part of it may be because so many people want to get in, and not very many are leaving. You ever get on yahoo chat and man it seems every man in India is looking for an American wife. It’s gotta make you smile when you read how the world hates America, yet they’d all give an arm and leg to live here and they beg you to help them get in. All in all Americans are just people, some are hateful and haughty, some are honest and trustworthy. It’s just a big ole kettle of mixture.
Hope everything works out for you Spiny, sorry it’s been such a pain.

This is why I suggest people who marry Americans do so in a different country through an Embassy. Our entire ordeal (done through the Embassy in Tokyo) took 46 days from start to finish.

Not to rub it or anything. :wink:

Really, though, Spiny, I feel your pain! INS is a nightmare to deal with, though, believe it or not, it’s more efficient than the French equivalent.

Now let’s be fair…in some areas of the country he would be waiting on line.

Let’s be flexible, here.

Well, if he was waiting online, then he could play Minesweeper and post to the boards while waiting, and then there wouldn’t be a problem!

Congrats, Spiny! It’s great to know they can’t lock the door behind you if you have to step out of the country for a moment.

Geez, what a guy won’t go through for a piece of…

The American Dream!

…what did you think I was going to say…? :smiley:

  • reading those travel documents again, Shayna commented: “That isn’t our zipcode, is it?” As it happens, it isn’t.

One of the fine INS representatives managed to enter my Alien Registration number in the space reserved for a zipcode. It might be said that I am not really happy about that. And as I would rather not have some eagle-eyed INS border guard spot this little oversight, it’s time to write some more letters, I guess. If they tell me to go stand in line, I’ll be kinda unhappy.

But thank you for the sentiments all the same, although they seem a bit premature now, sadly.

rocking chair, I will squeeze in some beach time anyhoo!


I don’t have that much ass to laugh off in the first place, but a few of the questions were good for a grin. How often do you fill out a form with a checkbox for “stowaway” as a mean of transportation ?

Mr. L.A., I did not lie about insanity. Lying is a willful distortion of facts, and I suffer under the delusion that I’m absolutely sane. So there!

Ginger, what ruadh says sounds very much like the results my own research led to. Technically, you can work with a K-1 and a SSN, but in reality the SSN certificate carries the inscription “Not valid for work without INS authorization.” And the K-1 will expire after 90 days. Looks like a hard sell, but if you’ve found a faster route, more power to you.


A well-made point - except that there were hardly any Americans in the queue, so there. :stuck_out_tongue:

friedo, thanks. And while the INS makes for excellent semi-rant material, it is not impossible to untangle what needs to be done and why. I guess adjusting to the glacier-like pace is the hard part.


That thought has entered my mind once or twice, yeah. (I of course consider myself in the “ok” category…)

Of course, I want to be able to travel, work for a decent wage and I have no desire to have any beef with The Law, so when they line up the hoops, I jump. It’s been so worth it, after all.


Hmmmm. Science has so far denied the existence of a phenomenon like that (except in a purely theoretical sense). Please provide pictures. As for getting married abroad and let the embassy handle it: I believe that works better if the US citizen is actually living abroad.

Jonathon and RTF, I would’ve killed for a good Internet connection. Or lacking that, a chair. As it was, I got through half of “Pillars of the Earth”, so it wasn’t a complete waste.

Icarus - ehm - I lack words. Thanks, I think ?

Ladies & Gents, thanks for welcoming me. You have a great country, here.

S. Norman

Definitely what ruadh said about the advance parole. I’ve had some heartbreaking moments trying to convince INS to issue one on an expedited basis after a client’s father had a first, then a second stroke…the initial response was “we only issue them for funerals of immediate family members, otherwise he has to wait his 4-6 months like everyone else.” Assholes! (We did get it in the end, though…the trick is to be more stubborn than they are, and escalate when necessary.)

As for the work permit (and IANAL, but I’m an immigration paralegal): theoretically one can work on a K-1, but only if your I-94 is stamped “Employment Authorized” upon your initial entry in K-1 status, which the dumbass inspectors usually don’t bother to do.

You can file an EAD application (Form I-765) along with your adjustment of status, OR you can file the adjustment, wait until you get a receipt notice, and then file the EAD application along with a copy of the receipt notice. So say you don’t initially feel like working, but six months down the road you’re getting stir-crazy, you can cahnge your mind. And given how long it’s taking to process an adjustment of status thse days (~2 years here in Chicago), you’ll probably end up needing to file at least one extension anyway.

Good luck to everyone, and congrats on the advance parole! Just make sure to file an extension application well ahead of time if you anticipate needing it.