Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Green as they Come

I am happy to report that as of August, we are now official permanent residents of the United States. We received our Green Card approval after just under two years in the country. The Green Card process itself took 1 year, 8 months from first filing.

What a relief ! We no longer have to deal with border guards that question our every motion and motive. We have the freedom to work at any company we choose, even though we are blissfully happy at our current jobs. The biggest risk we took in moving down here was that we wouldn't get work authorization before Scott's time-limited work visa ran out. As it turned out, we got it a full 6 months in advance. We were lucky !

When it came time for us to get our passports stamped, we approached the task with dread. I'd heard horror stories of people lining up at the INS offices at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, and waiting 6 to 8 hours to be seen. I asked my lawyer's office if this indeed was true. The paralegal advised us not to show up after 6:30am. She said that since our approval notice had a time range on it (8-2), we could take the notice to the information officer and ask if we had to wait in the big line or not. But she wasn't sure this would allow us to bypass it.

As instructed, we showed up in San Francisco just before 6:30am. The line, five people across, already stretched down the street and around the block. We looked at each other in dread and resignation. Good thing we had brought books.

I took the approval notice to the information officer as instructed, not expecting any miracles. The officer looked at our paper and informed us that we were in the wrong line. We had to go to the appointment line on the other side of the building. I gathered Scott and headed to the appointment line.

There were a grand total of 5 other people waiting.

All we had to do was wait for the office to open. Within 2 hours, we were processed and out of there. Since we had told our respective jobs that we would be gone all day, we spent a lovely day riding the cable car, shopping, and taking in a most excellent movie. Not bad for a day's work !

The INS told us it would take 3-12 months to receive our physical cards in the mail. We received them 3 weeks after our visit. The cards aren't even green. But they're cool. And they're proof of our legal status in this country.

In five years, we will be eligible for citizenship. We fully plan on pursuing dual Canadian-American citizenship when such a luxury is available to us.

[see next post]


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