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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello - Just some background on us :) - I came to Expat looking for a TON of answers - not kidding 9ask the girl and Pepper Ann) LOL - We were trying to determine the best route to go..I am American my (now) Husband (Yay us heheheh) is British. We weren't sure if it was faster / cost effective to apply for a Fiance, or a Marriage Visa. after some really great answers here, and doing our own research, we decided for us, the marriage Visa was better.
Then it was decision time. How to apply - ahhhhh everyone's question - How do we do it, Where do we do it? How long will it take - I've asked all of them myself! Here's what we found out (my husband is a UNIX IT manager - he knows his stuff, SO understand something when you are searching...Just because a company comes up first, or a LOT on a search does not mean they are a really great company (It means they have programmers that know what they are doing lol)... Any how We were looking into using a Broker - namely Global Visas.. From here on out, this s our opinion - no more, no less.
Before using any broker (especially GV) please really look into your options... If you are able to fill out the Visa application ourself - do so. It is NOT hard - it is nothing more than Q's about you, your spouse (or fiancée or partner) - their situation, yours etc...) THE ONLY WAY TO APPLY FOR A VISA IS ONLINE.... Whether you do it - or pay someone else to.

We ultimately decided to use a Expediting service...I am not going to give their name just yet, (You'll understand why when you read below :) - check back in 11 days, and I will tell you if they were indeed able to process our Visas in the promised 2-3 business days).
You go online fill out your visa forms (be prepared to pay as soon as you're done). You will be scheduled your Biometrics apt. right then. save/print your application. When that's all done and you have your Bio's done... mail it to the expediter. Once they have it, they review to ensure you have all of your documentation - then they take your entire packet, and go to the consulate. they submit your paperwork, and are issued the visa. they then mail all of your paperwork (including shiny new visa) back to you. * I asked every possible question from every angle I could think of... 1. doing this forgoes having to have an interview.(assuming you have an actual relationship no trouble w/ the law etc)... Depending on where you live, determines how long it will take. - I was quoted 2-3 business days. So... I will keep anyone interested posted. I literally filed and paid for my, and my daughters Visa online today. On Mon is my Bio apt, Tues is my daughters. So - I will mail everything one Wed morning. They will receive my packet Thursday - which means that I should have my Visas in hand By Wed. 25 Nov. That will be 7 days from the day I send it ( Nov 18). I will keep anyone interested as to the actual time. The way I look at it, is we were willing to pay 2400 + 2000 + airfare, plus moving expenses etc... If this works, and takes even 2 weeks - we are still Waaaay ahead of the game!!
 

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Best of luck! I sent my spouse visa application and got a receipt email from the Chicago consulate on November 5th. I did use a visa consultant so that I would get everything right the first time. After sending the visa off, I began reading about expediters. Too late as usual.

I will post when I get mine back. I am hoping not much longer now. I have to study for a test coming up in January there. And I miss my husband - it's been over 3 weeks since he left. We were thinking it would only take about a week.

Let us know when your visa gets back :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update: :D

Best of luck! I sent my spouse visa application and got a receipt email from the Chicago consulate on November 5th. I did use a visa consultant so that I would get everything right the first time. After sending the visa off, I began reading about expediters. Too late as usual.

I will post when I get mine back. I am hoping not much longer now. I have to study for a test coming up in January there. And I miss my husband - it's been over 3 weeks since he left. We were thinking it would only take about a week.

Let us know when your visa gets back :)


I went to my Biometrics appointment today - my daughters is tomorrow- So I' will be mailing off everything tomorrow (Assuming my OCD allows for it LOL) (OK only slightly joking)... SO thus the race begins! - Assuming I am able to mail off our packet tomorrow to the expediter - That will put 2 days (both there and back) 2-3 business days - so we should have our Visa's no later than 11/25. (That is me allowing them 1 additional day for processing.) Really if it were strictly the 2-3 days, we will have them back by the 23rd or 24th. (Honestly I could care less if it really is this quick)! One more personal note... When we were going to go through GV - we were looking at not being able to get our Visa's until Mar/Apr - of 2010... Partially because of their fees, and the other costs. - so to go from expecting not to have them until next spring (6 months) - to the potential of having them in hand in 1 weeks time..... :clap2: Well, excitement doesn't cover it LOL!! And as I promised before - I'll keep you all posted!
I am so excited for you! hopefully you will have a beautiful present in tomorrows mail!!! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
11/17/09 Had my daughters Biometrics apt. today - all smooth sailing. Called my expediting company did a run down of all of the documents I was sending to ensure that I wasn't missing anything - so I will mail off for our Visas tomorrow!
**NOTE** If using an expediter it is your job to ask them questions - all they do is go to the consulate on your behalf - If you aren't sure, ask them! In my case I am ex military, and because there were questions about that on the Visa app - I asked - she said yes for me to send my military documents - it is NOT something that they would generally ask for... So - save yourself the trouble, if they need it and don't have it - you'll have to send it - which delays your process!**! Anyhow LOL (SORRY)

According to the gal I was speaking with, I should have them without Question by no later than Wednesday (1 day for travel,2-3 days to get Visas, 1 day for travelling=5 business or11/25/09). 1 week from Biometrics to Visa in hand.. So, Anyone taking bets? LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Update: 11/19/09 I sent our packet yesterday. I just received an email confirmation they have received it and are now processing our application :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We were issued our Marriage Visas in 2 days using A Briggs Expediters!!!

:clap2: :clap2: :clap2: :clap2: :clap2: :clap2: :clap2: :clap2: :clap2: :clap2:

OK so..Not only am I posting This here... BUT THIS DESERVES IT'S OWN POSTING!! The company we used for expediting our Visa's is: :D A BRIGGS. Sandy Savaiano ( In the L.A. Office)... was our representative. :D You can google them or go to: Expedite Passport and International Travel Visa Services - A Briggs

If you haven't been following - I sent my packet on Wed 11/ 18. I had a quick conversation with Sandy Thurs night, then She called this morning to tell me that they were taking our forms over to the consulate this morning, and to call her in the early evening. Our Visas have been issued and are already sent back via FedEx. I will have them in hand on Monday 11/23. Had tomorrow not been Saturday - I would have them tomorrow LOL - this means from my sending to them processing, applying and fulfilling the order - then returning them to us it was a grand TOTAL of 4 days. (1.5 days to receive and process)!!!!! If you have ANY questions at all email me here, and I will help you however I can!!! I will gladly help, as I know the frustration in deciding which route to go :)
 

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deeger -

That's great news! It feels so stressful to wait and looks like your wait was not too long? When is the big move?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
deeger -

That's great news! It feels so stressful to wait and looks like your wait was not too long? When is the big move?
We are waiting a whopping 2 weeks!!! Woo-hoo!! I'm just so thankful that before we made our final decision with how/whom to go through, we waited a few days and decided to give this service a chance! - We just saved over 2k .... Which we are able to apply toward travel and airfare!! I think I will sleep better tonight than I have in a month LOL!!! TY so much for your encouragement!!!
 

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Expediter is a fine option

We too used an expediter, because we wanted to be sure ours was delivered and all sorted. He had so many tips and advice, and our package was as flawless as could be.

We paid $200 for the service. Well worth it to us, but we could have done it on our own, and mailed in all the docs instead, but this worked for us. Expediter got our package on Friday, he had our visa processed late Monday afternoon, and overnighted it to us - I got it on Tuesday. Just helps with the nerves this way, so worth the $200.

Why someone would pay thousands for a broker, is beyond me. Sounds scam-like to me.

Congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We too used an expediter, because we wanted to be sure ours was delivered and all sorted. He had so many tips and advice, and our package was as flawless as could be.

We paid $200 for the service. Well worth it to us, but we could have done it on our own, and mailed in all the docs instead, but this worked for us. Expediter got our package on Friday, he had our visa processed late Monday afternoon, and overnighted it to us - I got it on Tuesday. Just helps with the nerves this way, so worth the $200.

Why someone would pay thousands for a broker, is beyond me. Sounds scam-like to me.

Congrats!
TY! I absolutely agree, the reason we opted not to go in ourselves was a matter of convenience - We are too far away, and would rather save the money it would require to fly there, get a hotel etc... Plus (God forbid we forgot something...Not like we can easily get it)! I did receive the Visas yesterday around 10 AM!!! I wish more people knew about A Briggs!!!
And Congrats to you too!!!
 

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What is Biometrics? Just curious, this is all new to me!

I'm American, my fiance is British...we're getting married in January and I hope to move there to be with him shortly after. We're working with an immigration attorney, paying a TON of money, and he said it could take 3-6 weeks for my visa to be approved. Am I doing the right thing? :)
 

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That's the experience of posters on UK forum and a timescale given by WorldBridge, an official visa handling agency used by British embassy.
But if your agent can speed up your application, let them! It seems that if you are a professional couple with a straightforward application, it takes less time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What is Biometrics? Just curious, this is all new to me!

I'm American, my fiance is British...we're getting married in January and I hope to move there to be with him shortly after. We're working with an immigration attorney, paying a TON of money, and he said it could take 3-6 weeks for my visa to be approved. Am I doing the right thing? :)


Biometrics are nothing more than digital fingerprints and a photograph. Too bad - you are going through an attorney.... - I went through A Briggs - an expediter and they had my Visa back to me in 3 days (2 days of it was mail delivery time 1 day there - 1 day back)...- and it was only $185. Mine went to the busiest consulate in the Nation - L.A. Cali.
 

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sarahsue, I'm with Deeger - you don't need an expensive attorney. This is USA - UK visas. I too went through LA-California Consulate. One doesn't even need an expediter, I used one ($200) because I didn't understand enough. Since you are getting married in some months, there is no reason to not have your ducks in order on your own. An attorney cannot fill out your application, do your narratives, collect all your UK-based paperwork, and cannot do your biometrics. You may want to take a loss on retainer but are you sure you need an expensive lawyer to assist you? Just sayin'.... (Just think about it. No need to answer here.)
 

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We know now we shouldn't have used an attorney, but unfortunately it is too late.

I have contacted A Briggs and were told that they can still step in and take over for us and get me there faster than the quoted 12 weeks. The only thing i fear is something going wrong with A Briggs and it will end up costing me more time and more money if I mess with things (yes, I am a scaredy-cat by the way).

Do you really recommend expediting...?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We know now we shouldn't have used an attorney, but unfortunately it is too late.

I have contacted A Briggs and were told that they can still step in and take over for us and get me there faster than the quoted 12 weeks. The only thing i fear is something going wrong with A Briggs and it will end up costing me more time and more money if I mess with things (yes, I am a scaredy-cat by the way).

Do you really recommend expediting...?

Yes. double and triple yes!!! I am now comfortably settled in the Isle of Man (British Territory) - I had the BEST experience with them... In fact the consulate issued my Visa for 2 weeks later than I had asked and Briggs had me Fed-Ex them back, went back to the consulate and had the date corrected. (Mind you the dates the consulate used were my original requested dates - so based on a phone conversation I had w/ my Briggs rep, we adjusted my date. the consulate did realize their oversight, so this error was in no way Briggs' fault) :)
I did not pay a dime more, and they had my corrected Visas to me 2 days before they said they would...which in total was a 3 day turnaround.... These people do exactly what they say they will, and because they charge such a nominal fee.... i mean reallly I guess my question to you would be this: You've already waited this long, how much longger are you willing to be dealt with at your lawyers cenvenience rather than your own? You are already out your fees - so if you can afford $185 - then why wouldn't you? I really do understand, and as with anything walking into unfamiliar territory is scary! From the day I paid for the service until I had visas in hand was less than 1 week. 3 business days total (2 of which were for mail). Sorry I haven't been on in so long, and I truely hope this gets to you before it's too late!! Let me know what happens OK!!
Deeger
 

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Yes. double and triple yes!!! I am now comfortably settled in the Isle of Man (British Territory) - I had the BEST experience with them... In fact the consulate issued my Visa for 2 weeks later than I had asked and Briggs had me Fed-Ex them back, went back to the consulate and had the date corrected. (Mind you the dates the consulate used were my original requested dates - so based on a phone conversation I had w/ my Briggs rep, we adjusted my date. the consulate did realize their oversight, so this error was in no way Briggs' fault) :)
I did not pay a dime more, and they had my corrected Visas to me 2 days before they said they would...which in total was a 3 day turnaround.... These people do exactly what they say they will, and because they charge such a nominal fee.... i mean reallly I guess my question to you would be this: You've already waited this long, how much longger are you willing to be dealt with at your lawyers cenvenience rather than your own? You are already out your fees - so if you can afford $185 - then why wouldn't you? I really do understand, and as with anything walking into unfamiliar territory is scary! From the day I paid for the service until I had visas in hand was less than 1 week. 3 business days total (2 of which were for mail). Sorry I haven't been on in so long, and I truely hope this gets to you before it's too late!! Let me know what happens OK!!
Deeger
I AM SO EXCITED!!!! YAY deeeeger WOO HOO. i havent responded...been in the UK! how is it going over there? I am going to be applying in 45 days...i am about to poop my pants jeez.
I told hubby about a year ago I was gonna use A Briggs. Am glad i have defo confirmation they are good.I think right now my biggest scare is that we wont have a full 3 months of pay slips on his end....but we did manage to get a loan for 8000 GBP for the duration of the visa. So i am hoping that will take the pressure off the non 3 months of pay slips.

I am so excited for you really really am! keep me updated darling!
Cheers love
Pepper
 
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