Our official paperwork for i600a approval was submitted early last week. We just saw the payment go through yesterday, so we are hoping that means we will get our biometrics appointment soon!
This approval is the last thing we need before we can go into the queue for Exit Permit submissions.
We are praying:
- Everything looks good on the home study and paperwork, and no extra information is needed by USCIS.
- Our fingerprint appointment is soon.
- Our caseworker processes our case quickly after our biometrics appointment.
Basically, we have no idea how this will go.
Ideally, we will get a notice in the mail with our biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment notice, and this appointment will be set within a week or two (some are set a month out, but I’m hoping that isn’t the case for us). After fingerprinting, we could get approved in the next 2 – 4 weeks, or we could get a letter requesting more information. Once that information was submitted, we would be looking at approval 2 – 4 weeks from that date.
The average processing times on the USCIS website are 3 – 5 months, but most people we’ve talked to have been able to get approval a little faster than that.
Why are we eager to move this along a quickly as possible?
Korea only accepts Exit Permit submissions every few months. If you miss a submission date, your paperwork essentially just sits there until the next one. That is an extra 2 – 4 months of waiting to meet Sam and bring him home. There is no pre-announced schedule for these submissions, so we’re racing against a clock with no idea what time the timer will actually go off (so to speak).
There were submissions in December and March, so our agency thinks it’s reasonable to expect more submissions in May. There is basically no chance of us making the May deadline unless we get the i600a approval in record time AND the May submissions don’t happen until the end of the month. Basically, God would have to move in a way only He can (and we believe He is fully capable of moving these sorts of mountains!)
However, I am conflicted in how we should even pray for this because obviously I want to make this deadline and cut our wait by 2 – 4 months. BUT at the same time, there are other families who have been waiting and waiting, and they are just as eager to get the ball rolling as I am. Praying for the submission to take longer means that these families lose another precious month with their children.
Realistically, May is not an attainable submission date for us, so part of me hopes they do it ASAP so the countdown for the next submission round will start. We are guessing sometime mid-summer for that (July maybe?), and that’s the most realistic date for Sam’s exit permit submission. So I am praying that we are at peace with whatever happens, but that the USCIS process does go smoothly and quickly so that we are ready whenever Korea is.
It is so easy to focus on the negative in this process. The whiny part of me wants to yell, “We would have made this date if our home study hadn’t gotten held up!” or “Why do they need MORE fingerprints?! Why does the US govt not have a centralized database for fingerprints? Why does TBI, FBI and Homeland Security all need SEPARATE fingerprints?!” And sometimes I do blurt these out in frustration. But God has never failed me, never forsaken me, never had any plan that didn’t result in some sort of good later. Trying to remember to do everything without grumbling or complaining and to have a grateful heart. This is not a strong area for me. I’m not a natural optimist. But I’m working on it.
Right now, I’m just trying to think about how excited I will be to get Sam’s next update in a couple of weeks. I hope to get family pictures printed this weekend so I can ship out his first care package early next week!