Kaitlin, an American, and Panos, from Cyprus, met in college about a month after Panos came to the United States in 2013. After Panos transferred to another university, the couple continued dating long distance. (Fun fact: Kaitlin put over 100,000 miles on her Ford Focus driving back and forth between Ohio and Michigan until they both graduated.)
Then came marriage.
As Kaitlin remembers, “We had been talking about getting married abstractly for a long time — over four years. We made a “pros and cons” list and then decided, let’s do this! The very next morning I made an appointment to get married at the local court. Honestly, the easiest thing we did during this whole process was getting married.”
Now a married couple, Kaitlin and Panos put a lot of thought into where they would begin their new lives together and ultimately decided on the United States. Panos had been through the immigration process as a student and already knew they were going to need help applying for his marriage-based green card.
“I’ve been traveling my whole life,” Panos said. “I was used to being patient. When I first came to the U.S. and applied for my Social Security number, it was during the first government shutdown, so my application was lost. I had to wait for six months, whereas [the process] is typically one to two months. We actually had to reach out to [the Social Security Administration] and ask what happened. They said, ‘You submitted right before the shutdown. We don’t have it.’
“In my experiences dealing with immigration and all kinds of government offices, the green card experience with Boundless was a lot easier and faster than anything I’ve dealt with so far. I was very happy with it, compared to everything else.”
With other visa applications, Panos would gather all the forms and instructions from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website and fill everything out on his own. That’s exactly what he started doing with his marriage-based green card application.
“I quickly realized I had a lot of questions and couldn’t do it myself,” Panos said. “We couldn’t really afford to hire an immigration lawyer, so someone referred Boundless because it was a mix of me working on it myself and Boundless support and guidance. Ultimately, it was a choice between Boundless and immigration lawyers, and we chose Boundless.”
As Kaitlin put it, “What’s great about Boundless is that we had someone to reach out to. During the Social Security number process, we had nobody. But during [the green card] process, I was like, ‘Well, let’s email Boundless,’ and it just eased my anxiety. The major pro was just how simple it all seemed. There was going to be someone we could reach out to all the time.
“But even just the branding — how clean it is,” she continued. The message was “‘You’re just gonna pay this amount, and everything else will be covered.’ I’d never hired lawyers before, so I didn’t even know how that would have worked, but it just seemed like a less stressful experience to me. We had a question for someone when we were trying to pay, and Camilo, [our Boundless customer success advocate], was emailing and calling us right away. The fact that there was someone so accessible alleviated my fears.”
Panos was also attracted to the one-time payment and dedicated support from Boundless, but he initially had concerns about privacy. “I’m suspicious about sharing my information,” he said. “At the time, I wondered if I wanted to share my information with a company all the way in Seattle, but the pros outweighed the cons for me there. We clearly couldn’t do it ourselves, so either way we were going to have to share our info with someone. The transparency Boundless offers really helped.”
Once the couple started filling out the application through the Boundless system, Panos said he realized that he wouldn’t be emailing sensitive documents back and forth with an attorney, and that Boundless was actually the safer option. “I liked that when I was submitting all of our documents, there was a way to do it with your website instead of emailing them. That was the thing that gave me ease, the online portal,” he explained.
The further they delved into the process, the more apparent it became that Boundless really was the better option, the couple said. Kaitlin described the stressful moment when they were first looking at the required forms: “It was so much information and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t know how we’re going to do all this.’ Then we looked at the Boundless app, and it was very clean and simple. It made it easy to do everything. I don’t remember anything confusing.”
When Boundless customers run into any problems, their independent immigration attorney (included with Boundless) is always just an email or phone call away. Kaitlin and Panos worked with Anjana Prasad, whose legal services were included in the one-time Boundless fee the couple paid. Anjana helped them complete their application, answered their questions, and reviewed their final paperwork to make sure they had the best chance of success.
“Anjana always got back to us very quickly,” Panos said. “When we first got connected with her via email, she was on vacation. She said ‘During this time, you can reach out to this person while I’m out of the office,’ and it was really nice to have someone to reach out to while she was away. We reached out to that person and had a couple of questions. For example, I wasn’t sure if I had to get my documents translated, but they were also very helpful.”
Boundless has a detailed guide to translating documents into English.
Before sending their application package to USCIS, all the couple had to do was sign the clearly marked dotted lines.
“I was really impressed,” Kaitlin said of their application package when they first received it in the mail. “I was just like, “Wow, this looks great! We were super worried about what we would have to mail in and what it would look like, and then all of those concerns were gone. It was super easy to pack it all up in the pre-addressed envelope Boundless had sent us and drop it off. I really liked it.”
Panos echoed his new wife’s sentiment: “I think the package preparation was another reason that we chose to go with Boundless. I thought it looked very professional, and I really liked it. It was really easy to go through everything and just sign.”
But no one is perfect. As scrupulously as the Boundless team prepares every applicant’s paperwork, mistakes are sometimes made, which is why Boundless always sends the completed package to the customer for a final review, giving them the opportunity to correct any issues before sending the paperwork to the government. When asked what Boundless could do better, Panos replied, “The only thing we could think of was just one little misspelling.”
Having sent off a carefully organized, thorough application package, Kaitlin and Panos were summoned to their nearest USCIS field office for the green card interview, which many applicants dread. But Kaitlin and Panos need not have feared.
“During the initial interview, the USCIS official made 11 notations,” Panos said. “I think they were mostly just notes she made. She changed one answer from “no” to “yes” and wrote down that my military service was compulsory. I served in the National Guard, and I’m still technically a part of it. There were questions about whether I had military training. I was kind of confused at the time.”
“We left the interview, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, there are 11 notes that she made!’” Kaitlin added. “I thought we messed something up, but it was fine.”
At Boundless, we do everything we can to help make sure that couples are prepared for the green card interview. “The only question that caught me off guard was when [the USCIS interviewer] asked me for Kaitlin’s parents’ birthdays, and I managed to get close to one of them,” Panos said. “But other than that, no surprises.”
In addition to studying the Boundless interview preparation materials, the couple did a lot of their own research.
The interview “felt like a make-or-break moment,” Katilin explained. “We talked through all the example questions” that Boundless prepared. “We felt good that we had all our documents, and we had a timeline. Going in, we felt really prepared, but I was still very nervous once we found out about the notations.”
For a good part of the day after the interview, the couple wondered if they’d failed or passed. Most of their anxiety would have been alleviated had Kaitlin checked her phone sooner.
“We received our updates through text,” Kaitlin said. “And we got the text an hour after our interview that we had been approved, but I didn’t check my phone so I was worried for a good six hours. But it was all fine.”
As always, Boundless asked how likely the couple would be to recommend Boundless to others on a scale of 1–10.
“A 10,” Panos said. “I think you guys made it a very good process for us. I will definitely recommend it. I was unaware, or forgot, that we would also get a lawyer along with our application process. You streamlined the entire process for us. You made it simple and easy to know what to do and expect, and to know what’s going to come next. You guys prepared an amazing application package for us to send. You just made the whole thing a lot easier than it is for most people, I think. It was also very helpful to know that we still had your service until we got the green card, so even when the application process was over, it wasn’t all on us.”
Kaitlin also gave Boundless a rating of 10. “I would highlight how helpful and stress-reducing it was to always have somebody to reach out to,” she said. “I didn’t need to call, but just being able to send a quick email and not have to worry that, if I reach out it’ll cost me more, was great. I’d never had a lawyer, so it was intimidating to not know how much that would cost. We thought, ‘This is going to be the worst,’ but it was such an easier process with Boundless.”
“Thank you guys so so much it seems like you guys have personal experience, which is why you started Boundless,” Kaitlin added.