February 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
I’ve had two different Canadian ladies come to me about being in love with American boys this week – a new record!
With Facebook, Facetime, Skype, and everything else, it’s so easy to meet and fall in love with someone who doesn’t live where you live these days. It makes me wonder if this new trend of long distance love is here to stay.
Perhaps it’s time Canada and the USA come to some sort of true love immigration agreement. I’m happy to have my frustrating immigration experiences to share with those who are about to go through a similar journey (and to warn them about where I went wrong!), but I don’t wish those hard times on anyone else.
What do you guys think – have you ever dated someone who lived far away? How did you keep things going before today’s technical advances? All Nick and I had were old fashioned text messages and phone calls ;)
How To Renew A Green Card
September 18, 2012 § 3 Comments
I haven’t written about American Immigration stuff for a while, mostly because I was enjoying the two years I had between receiving my first green card and having to renew it. It was a blissful state of knowing I had done everything I had to do at that moment, but now I’m back at it! This time around is much easier. Last time we used an immigration lawyer because we were in a hurry, but this time, I filed all the paperwork myself.
And paperwork I did file! The USCIS forms were only a few pages long, the rest is “proof of relationship”. This means credit card and bank statements, insurance forms, wills, emails, photos, documentation of trips taken together, health insurance, leases, letters, wedding invitations, and anything else you can think of that ties you to your American significant other. I even had two good friends write letters on our behalf, stating we’re a real couple. (Thanks, Annie and Kate!)
Just a few weeks after sending this in, I received an appointment to have my “biometrics” taken, which was this morning. Biometrics, as I now know, is a very fancy and intimidating word for photograph and fingerprints.
Because I live in Brooklyn, I’m always assigned to have this done in Borough Park, which is SO FAR from where I live. Three subways and nearly an hour and a half, and I step out of the subway to pouring rain and gusty winds. (Oh good! I wanted to look wet and disheveled for my new green card photo ;)
The application center is in a very old strip mall. The sort of place that is only still open because the place you’re assigned to go to is in it. Luckily, the trip to these offices takes about 30 times as long as the procedure you go through. A very pleasant lady takes my photo and fingerprints and sends me on my way. She also tells me they have new computers which read fingerprints much more accurately, so my smudgy, almost non-existant fingerprints are accepted instantly this time. Hooray!
Now I just wait to be approved for my new permanent resident status, and then for my new green card to arrive in the mail. Thanks, America!
P.S. Visit Immihelp for help renewing your green card yourself, it helped me.
Serious American Progress
November 5, 2010 § 3 Comments
So what have I been up to the past few weeks?
Preparing for my Greencard interview, obviously!
Although it’s not as nerve-wracking as the visa interview was, nothing is as therapeutic as collecting government forms, emails, photographs, birth certificates, insurance documents with both our names on it, and other items that “prove our relationship” and putting them into a folder, dividing them by type, and labeling them with their corresponding copies.
The interview is next Monday the 15th, and this time, it’s not just about me. Nick and I will have to prove we’re a real married couple who aren’t just together so I can live in this country. (I also have to refrain from making any remarks such as “why the hell would I go through all this trouble to live in this crazy place if I didn’t really love and want to be with this man?!”) I kind of hope they ask us questions and test us like in The Proposal where we get to play a sort of Newly Wed Game because I think that would be fun.
After the interview, if all goes well, I will be granted “Permanent Resident with conditional status”. In a year or so, I can apply to have the conditional status removed. In about three years, if I want, I can apply for citizenship. So to answer your questions, no, this isn’t the end, but it is a huge step towards settling into a real life.
Best day ever.
May 20, 2010 § 12 Comments
[Nick and some colourful fountains last night, downtown Montreal]
As I flew to Toronto from Montreal this afternoon, I was fighting off tears, thinking about what took place this morning, but these were tears of joy and relief instead of the tears of frustration I’d been dealing with for the last 8 months.
Today was not only mine & Nick’s three year anniversary, but also, coincidentally my visa interview at the American Consulate in Montreal.
We woke up at 6 am at the hotel I purposefully booked 5 minutes away from the consulate. We arrived just after 7 even though my interview was for 8 and there were already about 10 people ahead of us. Nick went to get us tea and muffins, but we barely had time to eat them before security started opening the doors and leading in people to be searched.
The whole process was impressively orderly and organized. We were split into groups and given letters. We were taken upstairs to a high floor where we waited about half an hour before I was called for them to review my documents and take my fingerprints. They charged me a “machine readable visa fee” (AKA a “give us this last bit of money please” fee) and I waited some more. I was then called into a booth to be interviewed by an officer. For the first time in the history of my travels, I was face to face with the nicest immigration officer imaginable. The dude could have been a kindergarten teacher. I told him my fiance was also here and he told me to please go get him so he can be part of this too. He asked us how we met, to which we looked at each other and laughed, then I told the briefest version of the story possible. He asked about the company we both worked for, how often we visited each other, and really not too much else. After about 10 minutes, he declared “Based on the information you’ve given me today and that I have here, I can tell you that you’re approved for this visa.” Nick and I looked at each other like our heads were going to explode out of pure happiness and relief. We thanked him very much and left and Nick planted a big kiss on me as soon as we got into the hallway.
Now here’s the part of the story where you’re gonna think I’m starting to make things up – we take the elevator downstairs to leave and as soon as the door opens, there stands Steve Herman – mine & Nick’s old boss! The very same man who, when I asked him two years ago to be transferred to our New York office, he tells me “I’m sorry, I just can’t do it, it’s too risky. Maybe you guys will work it out and stay together and get married and prove me wrong, I just don’t know!” We were all shocked, but said hi and hugged quickly before he was ushered into the elevator with the next group of wannabe-Americans and can only assume he is thinking back on the same moment.
The whole experience was really great. I’m so glad Nick was there with me and it went so smoothly. We were back at the hotel, eating breakfast at 10:00 and were able to catch early flights home. Now I’m back in Whitby and just spent an afternoon with my wonderful sister and her amazing kids and will probably drink a beer with my Dad when he gets home from work in 20 minutes. I can’t wait to see friends next week and enjoy my last bit of time in Canada for a while.
Best day ever!