Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No PBP for you, says USCIS.

Ever dreamt of something for a long time? I am sure you have. Now imagine yourself having done everything in your power to accomplish this dream. You have trained in the rain, climbed hills, done some tough brevets, ate less to lose weight, read numerous ride reports, tried different foods on the bike to better your performance and spend less time at the controls, talked about it to everybody in your family till they walked away, planned your life around it.. the works. You feel good, and you are about to submit your application for said dream. You probably figured out that this dream that I am talking about is PBP. Now imagine your dream shattered because of something completely unrelated to your ability to ride a bicycle.

Immigration. Along comes the USCIS and blindsides me. In the first week of July, my wife and I are eligible to apply for one of the final stages of permanent residence in the US (I-485, for the immigration geeks). Normally, this would be a well-controlled process (by using a complicated system of priority dates), and processing times were reasonably predictable. Now, the USCIS in their infinite wisdom decided to open the flood gates, and allow everyone to apply, which means "Official receipt" dates are unpredictable. Normally it would be 4 to 6 weeks, but is expected to be delayed because of the flood of applications.

How does this affect you, Narayan, you ask? Well, I cannot travel outside the country until I get an official receipt from the USCIS. Which means I cannot travel to France for PBP. So, no pains au chocolat, no "bon courage", no adoring public, no middle of the night coffee stop in France, for me. Yesterday was one of the most disappointing days of my life. And I don't take disappointments very well. Those of you who don't have to worry about such mundane things as Immigration, are lucky ones indeed.

I suppose I could make all the plans, register, sign up for ride cancellation insurance, and then if I don't get the receipt by the 15th of August, cancel all plans and recoup what I can. But I am not sure I want to go through that nerve-wracking experience. I have a lot of friends who are going to PBP. I feel quite happy for all of them. I will follow their progress online, and live vicariously through them, and rejoice through their successes. But, being so near and yet so far, is very depressing.

This is a disaster. And I am so bummed. Unless one of you knows how to pull strings inside the USCIS. :)

6 comments:

Kent Peterson said...

That totally sucks. Let us know if there is anything we can do.

David said...

I can't imagine how awful you must feel right now. The best I can offer is an invitation to join us on June 30 for what will be an epic journey, from Portland to White Fish, Montana, on the Glacier 1000K. Just a few hours ago, Susan France sent out a note to the Oregon and Seattle randonneurs announcing that she has one slot open for a male rider. Could that be you? You have to admit, the timing of her announcement, and yours, is an interesting coincidence. I hope you will consider it. I would enjoy riding with you.

Susan said...

There are many reasons to not make it to PBP but that is certainly the worst I've heard. So sorry.

I would recommend setting a new season goal; David has the right idea. I'll be doing the Princeton Hell Week.

Don said...

Normally you would apply for advanced parole (permission to travel - I-131) so you can travel while the application is pending. However, if you are on an H-1 visa, you may not need to do this -- check with your lawyer though.

Good Luck -- Don

From the USCIS site:

Advance Parole
Most aliens who have pending applications for immigration benefits or for changes in nonimmigrant status need Advance Parole to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad. Aliens applying for advance parole on the basis of a pending application for adjustment of status must be approved for advance parole prior to leaving the United States in order to avoid the termination of their pending application for adjustment. Note: this does not apply to aliens who have applied to adjust to permanent resident status and who maintain H-1B (Specialty Worker) or L-1 (Intracompany Transferee) status, or their dependents, who have applied to adjust to permanent resident status and who have valid H-1B or L status and valid visas, V nonimmigrants who have a valid V nonimmigrant visa, are in valid V nonimmigrant status and have or obtain a valid V nonimmigrant visa before applying for readmission to the US, and K-3/4 nonimmigrants who have applied to adjust to permanent resident status and who have a valid K-3/4 nonimmigrant visa, are in valid K-3/4 nonimmigrant status and have or obtain a valid K-3/4 nonimmigrant visa before applying for readmission to the US. Refugees and asylees who have applied to adjust to permanent resident status under section 209 of the Immigration and Nationality Act may travel outside the United States on a valid Refugee Travel Document and do not need to apply for advance parole.
Aliens in the United States should, prior to departure, obtain Advance Parole in order to re-enter the United States after travel abroad if they have:

Filed an application for adjustment of status but have not received a decision from the USCIS;
Hold refugee or asylee status and intend to depart temporarily to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa in Canada; and/or
An emergent personal or bona fide reason to travel temporarily abroad. Applicants who are the beneficiary of a Private bill and Applicants who are under deportation proceedings must file to the Department of Homeland Security, 425 I Street, NW, ATTN: Parole and Humanitarian Assistance Branch, Washington, DC 20536

Shan said...

Narayan, I sent you an email directly with some info. Don't give up those PBP dreams yet. Hope it helps.

Erik said...

Narayan;

My partner and I recently wenth through similar frustration with USCIS and Nebraska Service Center. We retained Duncan Millar, of Millar Fagan Smith in Bellingham.

[http://www.muelaw.com]

Give Duncan a call; he'll be able to tell you whether he can help push your I-485 processing thru any faster.

Best of luck to you - Erik Andersen