Thursday, December 6, 2012

DCF in South Korea: Preparing for the Immigrant Interview

It's been 2 weeks and 4 days since we submitted our I-130 Petition in person at the US Consulate in Seoul. Today we received the e-mail giving us our next step! Record time!

I will update the post later with all the forms and information we will have to gather for our interview!

DCF Korea: Submitting the I-130 Petition

Submitting the I-130 Petition in Seoul, South Korea.

Jay and I got all our forms plus a few extras together and created an amazingly organized packet of information. We e-mailed the address posted on the Seoul Consulate website to make an appointment, but after a week of no response, I started posting on, and learned that they CHANGED the appointment system but didn't update the website. We found the correct website ( and made an appointment for November 19th, at 1:40PM.

Here is a list of everything in our packet- I went with the "better to be over-prepared than under-prepared" philosophy. I've also starred *** the things they actually took from me out of that list.

On top there was a cover letter with an index of everything included and where to find it  [ALSO: don't staple anything, just use paperclips as they're going to tear through it anyhow] 

This is the index:

  • I-130 Petition for Alien Relative***
  • Copy of unexpired U.S. passport (Petitioner)***
  • G-325A (Petitioner)***
  • Passport Style Photo (Petitioner)***
  • Copy of Birth Certificate (Petitioner)
  • Copy of Korean Alien Registration Card (Petitioner)
  • Copy of Current Work Contract (Petitioner)
  • Copy of Previous Work Contract (Petitioner)
  • Copy of unexpired U.K. passport (Beneficiary)***
  • G-325A (Beneficiary)***
  • Passport Style Photo (Beneficiary)***
  • Copy of Birth Certificate (Beneficiary)
  • Copy of Korean Alien Registration Card (Beneficiary)
  • Copy of Current Work Contract (Beneficiary)
  • Copy of Previous Work Contract (Beneficiary)
Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage: 
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate from the U.S.
  • Copy of Joint Credit Cards
  • Copy of an E-mail requesting to set up wire transfer into a Joint U.S. Bank Account
  • Copy of a wire transfer into a Joint U.S. Bank Account
  • Copies of a scrapbook chronicling our relationship history, includes photos, letters, plane tickets, and travel stubs.

Day of the appointment

So, we arrive at the consulate super early [around 12:30PM for a 1:40 appointment], show our appointment printout and passports, and head up to the 3rd floor. There was only one couple ahead of us and the window was still closed. I organized and reorganized and within minutes the window opened and the man started dealing with the couple in front who, by comparison, had absolutely no organization. How do you show up to such an important appointment, not have the forms filled out, and have to ask your wife when her birthday is, right in front of the official? 

While they were writing out their forms, he called me up, I gave him my whole beautiful packet, which he quickly tore into, taking out only what he needed and leaving the rest in a sad pile of paperclips.  While this massacre was going on, he gave me a payment slip and sent me down to the 2nd floor to pay. I payed the $420, which was something like 507,000 won, and ran back upstairs. 

Jay had one green form to sign [don't follow the Consulate website- your spouse MUST go with you to fill out this form!] and then I handed the payment receipt and Jay's form back to him. He gave me my extra papers back, told me to save them for the interview, and said we would receive an e-mail from them in about a month!

All in all, it took about 12 minutes. 12 minutes!  A four hour train ride up, a night in a love motel, and an hour early to the appointment, which only took 12 minutes in and out! AMAZING!    

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Direct Consular Filing in South Korea

This blog started out as a poor attempt to chronicle our year in South Korea teaching English. As you can see, the last post was somewhere around our first week in Korea, and then never since haha. It's been an interesting year, and while I'll never call Korea my home, we've had a lot of fun and have extended our contract for another 6 months.

In our first year we:

-saved [a little] money
-made some awesome friends
-learned some basic Korean
-discovered that kimchi is an acquired taste
-learned we CAN live in a confined 10x10 foot apartment together and not go crazy
-ran and cycled over a thousand miles
-traveled to the Philippines [incredible!], Jeju Island [not bad], and everywhere in Korea you may ever consider going

We resigned our contract because:
-money money!
-an opportunity to simplify Jay's immigration status into the US.

Jay and I had planned to get married in the summer of 2013, and would then have to start filing for his immigration status after. It would take many years and a possible $7,000-$8,000 [immigration lawyers.. vomiting noises...]

ANYWAY, through some super awesome research by yours truly, we learned that because we were foreign residents of Korea, we could start Jay's immigration process through the US Consulate in Seoul, through Direct Consular Filing. It would only take a few MONTHS and cost about $1,000. So, we're saving the party for later, and decided to get married immediately!

We went home to NY after we finished the contract, got married [city hall style], and came on back.

Over the next few months we will be working through the immigration process in Korea. We noticed that there is very little information for people doing what we're doing, so this blog will finally serve a purpose! I will be posting our whole process as it happens, to hopefully help anyone else trying to do something as complicated as being allowed to live in the same country as the person you love.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to post me a comment and I'll address them!