In the past few weeks we succeeded in getting several Extreme Hardship (I-601 Waivers) approvals at the US Consulate in Ciudad Juarez. The amazing thing is that many of these cases got approved the same day. Here is a detailed report of the experience by one of our clients. We hope this information will help the numerous families that are about to embark on this difficult journey.
This is my complete experience of becoming a legal permanent resident. I hope it helps those who are going through this confusing time.
My previous legal status was of an undocumented alien. My parents brought me here when I was fourteen. In high school I met my husband and have been married for four years.
My first interview was Friday March 7th 2008, 6:25 am. I arrived in Juarez Tuesday night and the next morning went to my medical examination.
(Remember not to eat anything before this step, but do take a snack into the clinic for after your blood samples you will be hungry)
Wednesday morning we were at the clinic at 6:00am and waited in line for along time, Around 9 am, I finally was in. the first step inside was to give my information to the ladies in the front desk (this included my interview letter and vaccination record), after that they told me to go to waiting room #4 (all the other female applicants are there too). I sat there until my name was called, when they did called me it was to have blood samples taken out. After blood samples I waited again for three hours until they called me to an inside room, this is where the complete body examination takes place its not to pleasant but everyone is really polite.
After the examination they sent me to another waiting room were they administered the vaccines I needed (important to take your vaccination record, if not they will give you all the vaccines and charge you for each one). Then I waited in line to pay for my examination and vaccines. At the payment booth they handed me a little paper where it said I had to appear at the consulate the next morning (don’t panic if you don’t get one I was told not everyone gets one). That same day around 3pm we picked up my medical results. They gave me a vanilla envelope and a black plastic envelope and was told not to open them. This ended my first step.
Documents pre- examination
(This was because of the little paper I received at the clinic not my interview date)
Thursday morning we were at the consulate at 6am, I brought the little paper and interview letter and all other documents we had. I got inside until 10am by my self, my husband had to wait outside, there was not enough room for everyone. Inside I waited for my name and when I got called onto a window I was asked some questions about my husband and about myself. I handed them my medical exam and passport, and anything else they asked for. I was told to wait again to be called for fingerprints, after fingerprinting they gave me a colored paper that allowed me to get into the consulate the next day. This ended my third day in Juarez.
(Remember no to bring cell phones, make up, or anything sharp in the consulate they will make you throw it away)
This was my final process day and again we waited in line for about two hours, when I got in, I handed my colored paper to a person picking them up and waited about three hours to be called. When I was called my interview went well, the agent asked me questions about my husband and about my self. She had all my documents from the day before and she told me I could not receive my visa; but I was eligible for an i-601 waiver. She handed my all my original documents and gave me a paper explaining the waiver process. I was not sad this was what I expected.
(This interview can be scheduled before hand and the waiver packet can also be prepared once you know your first interview date)
My appointment was scheduled by my attorney Jacob Sapochnick for April 11th 2008. During this month my waiver packet was completed by Jacob with all the documents we had given him before hand( it is very important to have a good hardship letter from your spouse and supporting evidence). On the day of my appointment that was a Friday I didn’t have to wait in line at all; I just showed at the time of my appointment and I was allowed in directly to pay for my waiver $545. After paying I was sent to another building where I handed in my waiver packet and waited about 4-5 hours to be called again. When I was called other seven people got called with me, as a group they gave us the good news “your waivers have been approved!!!!” we were all extremely happy. They gave us a letter and told us to return to the consulate on Monday morning (be prepared for this sometimes you can return to the consulate that same day but they could also have you return on the next business day).
Visa pick up
(Remember to be early this time you do have to wait in line)
On Monday morning we were in line early, with the paper in hand. Again inside somebody picks up the paper and you wait to be called. When I was called they handed me a vanilla envelope and was told not open it they also gave me back my passport with my visa on it, the outside of the envelope had a sticker that showed the port of entry I needed to go to. My port of entry was Santa Teresa which was very far away out in desert. We got a taxi ( be prepared to pay a lot of money for the taxi if you get a far away entry port, our taxi was $60 each way and yes they do wait for you to bring you back.) At the port of entry you hand over your packet and they fingerprint you. Once this over they stamp your passport and welcome you to the United states of America yeahhh! This is the end of my journey, now I am back at home happy to be with my husband ready to start our new lives.
I know that Juarez is the only consulate in the world that can approve waivers on the same day. I pray for the rest of the consulates in other countries to adopt this method it could spare a lot of suffering to separated families.