Last week I recapped the many issues that Brendan and I faced as online daters. If you recall, we dealt with relationships, work/business challenges, children and housing. I also mentioned…visas and immigration; the dreaded, ominous monster and left it for another time. Well, the time has come Marvin K. Mooney. (For those of you Dr. Seuss fans, you know exactly what I’m talking about!)
Ahh…the world of immigration. It’s a touchy subject these days so I’ll limit my comments and concerns to my first hand experience without the political slant thrown in.
After Brendan proposed, and since we had already decided that he was to move here, we figured we should find out how that could happen legally. We genuinely (and ignorantly) believed that since America and Australia are friendly countries–they are actually on a list of countries for which you don’t need a special visa to visit–it would be an easy process for Brendan to move here, marry me and set up house. How wrong we were!
At first, when I looked for information, most of what I found addressed illegal immigrants and what to do after someone had already been in the country longer than his or her visa allowed. Everywhere I looked, I was informed about protocol if I had broken the law; the assumption being that I had, but I wanted to know what to do to avoid breaking the law. That was where the difficulty came. Imagine that…
I finally uncovered that first I had to apply for a fiance or a K-1 visa using an I-129 form, and of course a K-2 visa for each of the children of the fiance of a U.S. citizen, in order for Brendan to have permission to enter the USA to marry me which he had 90 days to do or they would kick him out.
Ok. Fine. A little more complicated than we expected, but still doable, right?
I did some more research to determine how long the process may take since we hoped that Brendan could arrive in time for Carol and Brian’s wedding at the end of February. Then we planned to be married at the beginning of April; after leaving Carol and Bri enough time for a honeymoon and to settle in before attending us at our wedding.
I cried when I found out that most fiance visas take anywhere from six months to two years to process. Seriously?? I was stunned to find that because hundreds of thousands of immigrants apply each year in California, the wait time has gradually been extended longer and longer, and for some it has taken years. I couldn’t believe it. Surely that couldn’t be true! But yes, the more research I did I discovered story after story of couples who had been waiting that long. I finally quit reading immigrant blogs and forums. It was just too depressing.
Once again, we felt like God said to trust him and proceed, so I printed out the papers and began filling them out. Along with multiple copies of birth certificates, Brendan’s late wife’s death certificate, my divorce papers, forms with all our names, addresses, birth dates, maiden names (mine, not Brendan’s – but yes, his mother’s!), every place we had ever lived, a signed statement about how we met and that we were legally available to marry each other, photos to prove we actually had met in person, copies of the stamps in our passports to prove we had visited each other to meet in person and all the same for each of the children. Oh,and I forgot to mention the form stating that I made enough money to support Brendan and the children, which I didn’t. In quadruplet. With a fee. A large one.
I confess that for a moment, I completely understood why people move here illegally. And I also wondered how in the world with all of this paperwork, any terrorist could ever get in! Of course, on the forms, they do ask if you are a terrorist or have ever engaged in terrorist activities. Give me a break! If someone were a terrorist do you think they’d admit to it on paperwork for the government issuing them a visa??
By the time we gathered all the paperwork, filled it out, mailed what we needed from Australia and checked with an immigration lawyer (thank goodness we did!) to make sure we had filled out everything correctly since some of the wording is pretty ambiguous, it was late in January and our hopes of Brendan getting here by the end of February were quickly diminishing. Still, we proceeded, trusting that God had a plan and mailed all the paperwork in with the check. Of course. It barely fit in the manilla envelope.
Believe it or not, that was just the first batch of papers. Then we began counting the days.
More to come next week….