I just got married-February 16th 2013. One of the best days on record (or at least in my opinion)
But this post is not about my wedding. It’s more of a reflection about something I took for granted that I never even had a second thought about until it became a huge event in my life. I never knew how much it would suck to have to prove my marriage was valid.
I should back up and do a little bit of explaining. I met my husband A (for privacy’s sake I’m keeping things slightly anonymous) on Eharmony. He is from a tiny country that you probably wouldn’t know unless you were either a) a geography bee star or b) very concerned about the whereabouts of a now extinct bird. A came here on a student visa and we started dating while he was completing and finishing his bachelors and masters degrees.
We have our share of differences-cultural and personality quirks- but we work well together so when he proposed (on an airplane with poetry and books no less) I of course said yes. Eight months later we got married and then started the longest process of my life…
The Green Card Process
As I mentioned before A was an international student at one of the local colleges here so once we were married and we got our certified copies we had to apply for a green card for him.
So…for those of you whose knowledge of the green card process comes from the move The Proposal with Sandra Bullock I can tell you that for us it was nothing like what was shown on film (no big surprise there). There was no agent coming to our home and trying to talk family members into ratting us out, no pressuring to admit that we were trying to scam anyone, no intense questioning…anything like that.
What was it like?
Slow…really slow. We started the process in March with filing our applications, passport photos (which are always so flattering), and $1,500.00 (thank you tax return!). Then we waited.
A month later we got the piece of paper that said that our paperwork had been received and that A did not have to (and could not) leave the country until the process was complete. I breathed a sigh of relief.
A few months later we finally got our interview notification-much rejoicing was had.
And then the worrying started as we got prepped for our interview by our lawyer. The more he talked the more I started to worry. You see dear London Diaries readers…I typically try to keep stuff private (I do) and as the lawyer talked I started to see that my typical smart assed and fiercely protective self could NOT make an appearance. So if the agent who interviewed us wanted to they could ask us when the last time we had intercourse was –I could NOT answer with “none of your f-ing business.” This was not going to end well.
In the week leading to our interview A was a basket of nerves so I made sure I stayed calm. Inside though? I was having nightmares about having to send A back to his country.
The worst part about it? Some people kept telling me “don’t worry” or “you’ll be fine” and the worst one? “It’s really not that big of a deal” That last one…it hurt.
Some of the people were trying to be supportive and pull me out of my “worst case scenario” mindset. The ones who didn’t see the “big deal” really took for granted that as citizens they don’t have to defend their marriage. That they didn’t have to worry about the government asking them “how much money did you pay to marry your wife.” They didn’t see that we were tasked with proving that we were in fact together for love, not just for paper.
In the end- everything worked out wonderful. Because A and I are both overachievers we over prepared. Even the agent mentioned that for what we brought it would be a whole lot of work if we were in this for the card. We were approved on the spot and A’s card is on the way. And because we used a lawyer this time around we are prepared already for the next interview process we will have to do in 2 years.
Moral of my incredibly long and not so funny story? Not so sure to be honest…maybe it’s a request to get rid of that horrid question “what’s the big deal?” Maybe it’s to encourage people to take a pause on questioning why people are worried about something-just because we don’t understand the significance doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal.
Not sure…I think it was just getting my experience out there…just in case someone else needed the assurance to know that the process may be daunting but in the end as long as you love your partner than everything works out.
G is an aspiring writer working on the East Coast. A is not sure how he feels about this post but is a great supporter of his wife. G is willing to answer questions about her experience with if you have any, feel free to message her on Twitter.