Newark Stamping experience

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United States

My wife and I had our passports stamped after a 6 hour ordeal that started at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 2:30 p.m. Here are some tips based on what we experienced,

1. For an 8:40 appointment, get there before 8 if at all possible. They were not checking appointment timings, so people with 9/10 a.m. appointments were ahead of us in the line. All they care is that you have an appointment for that day.

2. The clerk at the end of the first line (150 min) took our I-797c, Infopass appointment notice, EAD cards and 2 pp snaps (mark your A# and name on the back of each photo with a pencil) and also our index fingerprints on a form which was handed to us alongwith a token number. (My wifes case and mine were combined so we didn't have to wait for two seperate calls)

3. Line 2 was a laborious 180 min wait as the numbers counted up ... out of 25 available counters only 3 were functioning at any given time ... who the heck coaches these people on queue management !!! When we were called, the guy at the counter (listening to rap music at his desk) took our I-94's and also painstakingly handwrote our names on a new form. We were then told to wait until a background check (new policy he mentioned) was performed.

4. 35 minutes later; call that line 3 (interspersed by a lunch break for them), our token numbers were called again at which point, the same guy stamped our passports and explained that they were as good as green cards for travelling, employment etc. He said the cards arrive in 3-6 months. Woo Hoo !!!

AP docs, I-140 approval docs and original I-797 from lawyer were not required, nobody asked for a drivers license or any such identification. Though all the above must be carried to be on the safe side.

5. We took the courage to step up to the 10th floor on the same building to join a queue in that other malfunctioning dept called the Social Security admin. Once again 65 people in the room and 1 counter open. After 50 min of waiting we had re-applied for our new SS cards without the DHS qualification.

Makes sense to get both processes out of the way at one shot. 7 hours later we were on the streets of Newark a free couple !!!

And oh yes, the Federal Bldg checks yours baggage by x-ray machines and complained about a pen knife I carried in my office bag. So kosher bags would be ideal!!!