Saturday, June 5, 2010

USCIS Appointment - DONE!

Had our USCIS "biometrics" (electronic fingerprinting) appointment in New Orleans yesterday.  We were thankful that when we were assigned our appointments, that we got NOLA (the closest option) - and that the date was a "good" one!  We took the whole family plus my mom and made a day of it. 

Our first stop of the day was Krispy Kreme! (All good road trips begin there, don't they?)  They were giving away free donuts yesterday, so we HAD to go there!  Next we made the drive to New Orleans.  The drive went smoothly.  We got there a little early, so we decided to stop somewhere quick and get some lunch.  We should have had more than enough time, but there is so much road construction that we were almost late getting to the USCIS office.   That could be disastrous, because if you are late, they can consider your application "abandoned"!  Thankfully, we got there just in time, and there was no problem. 

It took about an hour to go through the "process".  (About 1 minute to go through security, 4 minutes to fill out a form, 50 minutes sitting in the waiting area, and another 5 for the actual fingerprinting.)  It could have been much quicker if they had had more than one person at a time working.  There were two people working, but I guess it was lunch time for them, so only one person was working at any given time.  Six windows.  ONE person working...  The same person was having to work the window AND do the fingerprinting.  (It was frustrating, but it made me think of missionary friends who have to deal with immigration requirements in foreign countries and that what they have to go through is probably way more frustrating than our little appointment yesterday.)

Our papers said that no one "extra" could come in, so my mom sat in our van in the parking garage with our four kids for the whole HOUR!  (She's awesome!  Thanks, Mom!)  I was finished first, so I went on down to the van while Michael was still waiting.  When I got there, all the kids had to go to the bathroom (anyone surprised by that?), so I took them back inside.  But, in order for them to go into the bathrooms, they all had to go through the security scanner first.  Everyone was fine except for D, because he had a studded belt on and had to remove it.   I think they all got a kick out of it.  Shortly after we got back to the van, Michael was done, and we were able to get on with our fun.

First, we had planned on going to the Zoo, but the rain dictated that we go to the Aquarium of the Americas instead.  After that, we wandered around the Riverwalk mall for a little while.  I think everyone's favorite part was the beignets.  (duh!)  We also had planned to eat dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant that we had found on-line, but when we "finally" found the address it was closed!  We were very disappointed...  and ended up eating at Ruby Tuesday instead.  Oh, well, we tried.

All in all, it was a fun day...  AND the best news is that we're one step closer to having the dossier done! 

Petting stingrays at Aquarium of the Americas...

yummmmm..... beignets at Riverwalk


Jennifer said...

Did they give you an idea on time frame for the l7lH????

I have seen a lot getting the results in two weeks (ie: a Florida couple who dealt with Texas for their regional).

Charleston, SC said they have 90 days, and it appears they plan to take it.

Amazing how CIS offices vary so much.. frustrating.

Melinda said...

When we asked, the man in the office said, "I cannot tell you that." So, who knows... (sigh)

Jennifer said...

How funny. Top secret governmental information no less......

Oh well, I just wondered. It took the full 90 days with a couple from D.C. Others are taking two weeks......