To the point... Here's the situation:
* I'm on F-1 in the US. My wife is perm resident in the US.
* She petitioned for me I-130, which has been approved.
* The case went to NVC.
* NVC asked me to fill out DS forms as if I'm outside of states.
* I filled out DS forms and paid fees.
What's going on now:
* Called USCIS to ask if it's normal that the case went to NVC.
* The response was "stuff happens", and the case shouldn't have been forwarded there.
* Lady says that if I file I-495 and AOS the USCIS will request the case back from NVC.
* The fees from NVC? I should contact NVC for that
* What might have caused the case to be transferred to NVC? Form I-130 is filled properly.
* How can I proceed? Should I just file I-485 as the lady said?
* Any chance I'd get a refund?
Your case was likely transferred to the National Visa Center as your wife is a lawful permanent resident not U.S. citizen. You can only seek adjustment of status in the U.S. based upon a marriage to a lawful permanent resident if your priority date is current. Based upon current visa availability your priority date may be current, but there is typically a 2-3 years backlog for this visa category.
You can only file a I-485 if your priority date is current and you have maintained lawful non-immigrant status. If you have not maintained lawful non-immigrant status, you must speak with an immigration attorney immediately. The other option would be to proceed with consular processing.
No, you will most likely not receive a refund. You filed the DS forms. You can still proceed through consular processing. You would have been best advised o talk to an experienced immigration attorney before completing the forms and paying the filing fees.
There is a space on the second page of the I-130 that asks where you'll be obtaining status. If you put your country of citizenship, then the case will be transferred to the NVC. This happens a lot.
I sincerely doubt that you will get a refund. Immigration as a whole is very miserly with fees.
You can probably go ahead and file the I-485 with all the supporting documentation. USCIS should ask for it back. To be on the safe side, call the NVC and notify them that you will be adjusting status in the US. Be sure to check that the F2A category is current for your country.
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