Using Skype or Facebook to Prove your Relationship
Presenting Skype or Facebook evidences
My philosophy for successfully demonstrating the bone fides of a couples relationship ( for background details watch this video http://www.visacoach.com/genuine-relationship-video.html
includes presenting to immigration, itemized logs or samples of communications. This is in order to demonstrate the couple has been talking on an ongoing and regular basis. An itemized telephone bill, or a detailed log from an emails sent folder is fairly easy to generate. But Skype and Facebook provide a long continuous ‘blog like’ record which is not so easy to work with.
When working with my clients, I prepare for them for them a personalized, check list of the different ways to prove their relationship. They gather their proofs and we submit these evidences as part of the I-129F or I-130 petition we send to USCIS to apply for for Fiancee or Spousal visas. Also an updated set will be hand carried later to the consulate for the visa interview. I call the package of evidences and documents the US sponsor sends me his ‘shoebox’. I go over each page carefully and select the most useful to include as part of his petition. While he was working on his ‘shoebox’, a client recently asked me this question.
Jason: I’m still in the process of compiling my shoebox and I have a quick question regarding taking the screen shots of the chat logs. Most of our conversations have been on Skype. Must I take the screen shots of our conversations from the skype program? or can I copy/paste them into a word doc and take pictures that way?
Fred Wahl: When presenting evidences, you should never NEVER put them through, or into an editable, word processed document. WE know you are not editing, or falsifying the evidences, but we DO NOT want to take any chance to cause the consular officer to have any doubts himself. The proof you present should be as close to the original document, desktop, screen, or view as possible, without manipulation.
If the evidence is displayed on your computer monitor, the better procedure is to print out a ScreenShot or ScreenCapture of your actual computer screen. Open your skype, chat, email, facebook, bank statement, phone bill, or other internet based evidence. Then take a screencapture image that shows the pertinent section (message, text, date, etc) as well as enough of the surrounding borders, graphics, captions, and even advertisements, so that it will be clear to anyone who sees your image, exactly where the image came from, what it is about, and what Internet service you were using. Save the screencapture in an image processing software like photoshop, pixia, photoscape, picasa. Then print out hard copies for your shoebox.
By including the identifiable surrounding elements, you clearly demonstrate the “PROVENANCE” of the evidence, (exactly where it came from).
To be most effective, try resizing the windows, to make the crucial portions (the text portions you want to show) as large as possible (while still retaining enough of outside edges and borders to make the source recognizable).
Also make sure that the CALENDAR DATE when the communication occurred is clearly visible, and legible especially AFTER printing. Sometimes
the quality of the printing, or the colors used for text make the date hard to read. Correct this, as the date is the most important element on the page.
Remember: When it comes to sampling Chats, we DO NOT want to see the ENTIRE chat session. Only one page, generally just the first page (as it most often shows the date) is enough. It should provide enough information, so as to identify you, her, the date, and a few words shared between the two of you. It is not so important exactly what you were saying, but that you were communicating together on a regular and ongoing basis. Then scroll a week or more in time, find another sample, and take a screencapture of that page and so on.
A simple sampling procedure:
Start by taking a sample of your earliest session, then depending on how long your records go back, take regular samplings of 4 times, 3 times, twice or once each month.
Depending on how many months you have corresponded, I recommend the following sampling intervals
|under 9 months:||4 samples each month, the first page of a chat taking place near the 7’th, 14th, 21’st, and 28th .|
|9 – 18 months:||3 samples each month, the first page of a chat taking place near the 10’th, 20th, 30’th|
|18 – 24 months:||2 samples each month, the first page of a chat taking place near the 15’th, or 30’th|
|over 24 months:||1 sample each month, the first page of a chat taking place near the 15’th of each month|
Then top off the stack with an image of the first page of your most recent chat , taken just before you mail me your shoebox.
At the end of the day this is the way to put together a well documented, understandable and believable package of proofs and evidences. So far following my philosophies, I have had all petitions approved at BOTH the USCIS AND Consulate stages.
by Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach