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.
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 issuance of her visa.
All of this went smoothly, and the visa was issued so she could come to the United States. About 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 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.
Read Part 1: A Life of Love. My Philippine Relationship
Read Part 2: A Life of Love. A Life of Love. The Beginning.
Read Part 3: A Life of Love. The trip.
Read Part 4: A Life of Love. At the Hotel in Cebu City.
Read Part 5: A Life of Love. Heading to Mindanao
Read Part 6: A Life of Love. The Peering Eyes
Read Part 7: A Life of Love: The Talk
Read Part 8: A Life of Love: The Prep
Read Part 9: A Life of Love: The Questioning
Read Part 10: A Life of Love: The Church Seminar
Read Part 11: A LIfe of Love: The Wedding and Beyond
Read Part 12: A Life of Love: Worst Day of my Life
Read Part 13: A Life of Love: Arriving Home
Read Part 14: A Life of Love: The Visa Process
Read Part 15: A Life of Love: Arrival
Read Part 16: A Life of Love: Food
Read Part 17: A Life of Love: New Things
Read Part 18: A Life of Love: Driving Miss Feyma
Read Part 19: A Life of Love: Citizenship