So, as I described in the previous article, I had arrived home from the Philippines, so now it was time to start the process of getting a US Visa for my wife so she could come and join me in the United States.
Back at that time (1990), the process was relatively short, about 4 to 6 months. Today, getting such a visa takes much longer, even up to 2 years in some cases. I sure am glad that I did not have to wait that long!
After acquiring the necessary documents from the INS, I filled them out and submitted them with my payment for the service. I do not recall how much the cost was back then, but certainly a lot less than now. Somehow $50 comes to mind, but that is only off the top of my head.
A little help from my “friends”
After filing my petition, I contacted my Congresswoman, and my Senators from the State that I lived in and asked them to follow up on my petition to make sure it was handled swiftly. I never heard back from either Senator, which I found disappointing. The Congresswoman, though, worked with me and assigned a worker at her local office to keep in touch with me and follow the application. I was quite impressed because I had not voted for this lady for Congress and was well known to be a member of the opposite political party, so the fact that she really took good care of me was very impressive to me. Because of this, I always voted for her, even though I did not agree with her politics. Her service, to me, made her worthy of my vote.
The application went through rather quickly, and I was told by the INS to have Feyma bring certain documents with her to the Embassy when it was time for her interview. Some of the documents were with me in the States, and Feyma would need them in the Philippines, so I sent them to her. i used DHL as the courier service. The documents never arrived with Feyma! To this day, sometimes Feyma jokes that she is still hoping to get them! Luckily, though, I had more than one official copy and I re-sent them. As I recall, the second time I used FedEx to send the documents, and they arrived as expected.
The hassle with DHL misplacing my shipment, though, cost about a month of extra time before Feyma could get a visa. I was rather upset about that, as you can imagine.
As we went through the process, Feyma had to go to Manila (about 600 miles away) for her medical exam for the US Embassy visa processing. Later, Feyma had to return to Manila for her final interview and the issuance of her visa.
All of this went smoothly, and the visa was issued so she could come to the United States. The only problem was that this was all happening between Christmas and New Year, so things were very hectic. Feyma left Manila on United Airlines (yes, United used to fly to Manila back in the day), stopping in Seoul Korea, then on to Portland, Oregon. Because of the holiday season going on things were a little wild with the scheduling of flights and everything, but it all worked out for us. In total, from the time I filed for her visa, to the time she got to the States (including the lost time caused by DHL), it took only 4 months for her to arrive in the United States.
Like I say, the time was quick, but it sure seemed like a long time back then! It could have been much worse, though.
Feyma arrived in the USA on January 6, 1991. Next time on the Life of Love series, I will tell about her arrival day, what a day to remember.