I’ll have to post later with more detail because I have some information that could prove helpful for others in the future.
As promised, I’m going to provide more information on what has been going on with our fingerprint renewal drama.
Yesterday I received an email from USCIS telling me that our information was being forwarded to the National Visa Center. I considered this good news, but quite honestly the email from USCIS was a bit cryptic so I emailed them again in an attempt to clarify exactly what was happening. It took two more emails to them to get a somewhat straight answer, but the final response was not what I wanted to hear. In my email request I asked that our fingerprint renewal information be sent electronically to the National Visa Center, however, USCIS mailed our information to the National Visa Center. Yes, it was sent through the United States Postal Service from Chicago to New Jersey yesterday. Will the National Visa Center get our information, process that information and get it sent to the Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia prior to our departure Saturday? I don’t know.
So, now I know that our info is on it’s way, but the woman who did our prints at the Application Support Center told me everything would be sent out the following day. Therefore, I decided to call the National Visa Center yet again. If our information had really been sent earlier, maybe they would have it by now. The answer was ‘no.’ They had nothing. However, I was able to speak with another supervisor who did some further checking and put a notice out to the entire center to be on the look-out for our information. This supervisor also gave me information that no one else had given me before. He told me that the National Visa Center will accept information electronically. He said that sending information electronically is not the normal process for USCIS. USCIS, in special circumstances, will honor a request for information to be sent electronically and this supervisor felt that our situation would qualify as a special circumstance. I told him that my request to USCIS was that they send our information electronically, but they obviously did not honor that request. He then suggested I contact our U.S. Congressman’s office or U.S. Senator’s office for assistance. I told him that our Congressman’s office was involved and he then suggested that we get our Senator’s office involved as Senator’s hold a bit more clout.
After receiving this information, I emailed my contact at our Congressman’s office with the information I had received and asking her if she is able to assist us further or if it was time to get our Senator’s office involved. No response so far, which means I’ll be calling our Senator’s office this afternoon for assistance.
In the meantime, I received a call from our agency consultant telling me that she has another family in a very similar situation. The other family has received information from USCIS that I have not been given. According to the USCIS representative they have been in contact with, when a family has their fingerprint renewal done prior to the expiration of their current prints, USCIS sends the updated information directly to the Embassy without going through the National Visa Center. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if it’s true?!!!! This is not information that I have been given by USCIS or the National Visa Center, so I have no idea if this information is correct or not. However, I have now sent an email to the Embassy in Addis Ababa asking them if they have our updated information. Since there is a 9 hour time difference between here and Addis Ababa, I’m hopeful that I’ll wake up to an email confirming whether or not they have all the necessary information for our Embassy appointment on the 22nd. Of course I’m not the type to sit and wait for an email that may or may not arrive, so I’ll continue to work on this issue throughout the rest of today.
Other than hoping beyond hope that this is all resolved before we leave Saturday, I also hope that our experience and the information I’ve gained will help others who may find themselves in a similar situation.