Aanna Farhang (0:01) - Can you please introduce yourself to everyone? My name is <inaudible>. And how have you personally engaged with or interacted with the United States immigration system? What was your case? What did you go through the process?
Vasileios Pantelidis (0:22) - That's a long story. I will try to make it short. Fresh out of the boat, I landed in JFK international airport. I came with an Ester visa in 2013. My first interaction was a few months later. I got married in the Midwest, South Dakota. I put my application in by myself, no lawyer, no nothing. That was a big mistake, but anyways, uh, the marriage didn't last at all. In six months I got a divorce with her then after a couple of years of pending status, as you know, my status was pending. I landed in Washington DC and I got hired by a contractor there to do construction work. Long story short, I met another girl and that was in the period of the two years pending status.
I didn't want to make any fast move again and marry and not to go through all that again and put it all in. And then, you know, the outcome. If you get divorced, you can, you can go forward with your application. So I met my ex. My ex wife now actually, but I met her. We got married after a year of being together and I put the application through Passage Immigration.
Aanna (2:20) - And what made the immigration system difficult to navigate for you?
Vasileios (2:29) - You mean without the lawyer because when I went to Erick at the Passage Immigration, everything was easy. But before that everything was a pain. I mean, you have to fill out applications where they ask, like what number underwear your great-grandmother was wearing or, or like what you did 20 years ago, where you lived? Like, they asked like 20 addresses of yours and now that was not easy. I mean, I was very happy that I chose to go through that with Erick.
Aanna (3:10) - And what do you think would have made the immigration system easier to navigate for you when you were by yourself and going through the process?
Vasileios (3:24) - Sorry, say that again? I'm sorry.
Aanna (3:27) - What do you think would have made it easier for you to navigate the immigration system by yourself?
Vasileios (3:33) - A lawyer, an immigration lawyer I'm telling you. I felt like I'm going to save, you know, that money for the lawyer. And honestly, in the beginning, you know, I was immigrant here I came because the financing crisis in my country was, still is very bad and I didn't have to spare that money.But if I knew what I know now, definitely I would make sure that I will have that money even like before I start, because doing it yourself, you're going to stamp in many, many obstacles that you don't know about yet. But you know, like Erick is doing that for a living and he has seen so many, he has done so many applications and he has seen so many agents and he knows what they are going to ask you. They prepare you for the interview. They set you up to have a strong case, your bank accounts, your leases, uh, they set you up so you can have a very strong case. But in the beginning, when I did it by myself, I didn't know that this little stuff would build a strong case, but Eric explained that to me.
Aanna (5:10) - So that's how passage helped you out. Just making everything so much easier and streamlining the process.
Vasileios (5:15) - Well, yeah, I mean how to say it simple, the moment, uh, I started working with Passage. Let's say that I stopped worrying. I have no worries at all.
Aanna (5:34) - And from what you have learned from your experience, what insight would you pass on to people who are currently dealing with their own immigration problems and issues?
Vasileios (5:45) - It's totally worth it to save that amount and pay a lawyer. It is totally worth it. I have my green card and everything now. And let's say if my cousin came here to the United States, first of all, I would send him to Eric that's for sure. But if that's not the case for someone else that is far away from Washington or Portland, you know, from Northwest, I will say, make a good research and find a good lawyer, even if he's expensive it is worth it, because it's going to save you a lot of time, pain, and how to say, like, probably you're going to get your green card. Like you have much more possibilities to get it with a good lawyer.
Aanna (6:48) - Are there any final words you want to say to the people watching this
Vasileios (6:53) - For the people who are in theNorthwest I will say that Erick and Passage Immigration Law office was the best experience I ever had and I have been all over the United States.I put in an application in New York, the Midwest, and South Dakota but the best lawyer I ever met. And that's like I dunno, like now that it's gone like three years now or what, and then that's the reason I accepted immediately to do this interview. He is the best guy I ever met. He was very thoughtful, very professional, and caring. He has answered a ton of questions, you know, because questions, they create little things that you build up in your mind and you think they get it or it's something, or you hear from someone else and you build up a case in your mind. And that's not true when you have a lawyer backing you up, you ask and he says, ‘no, you don't have to worry about that’ or ‘yes, you need to do that’. And then Passage was excellent.
Aanna (8:15) - Thank you.
Vasileios (8:17) - You are very welcome.