June 13, 2008

Permanent Residency

OK - so when I first heard someone say "Conditional Permanent Residency" I seriously thought they were joking. I mean, who thinks up these names? Since we got married in 2005 I have been muddling my way through the immigration process. You wouldn't think that a Canadian, who grew up visiting the U.S. every other weekend, would have so much work to do just to live here legally. Alright, I know, they are different countries and all - but hey, we're neighbors, friendly lovable ones. I guess that explains why, despite all the money and paperwork, immigrating to the U.S. wasn't too difficult for me. Did I really just say that? What I mean is, in comparison to other friends, family and stories I've heard it wasn't that bad.

After our first application was sent in it seemed like forever waiting for news. I checked online every other day (alright daily) just to see where in line my application might be. I applied for permission to travel out of country early and an early work permit. Those I received within two months, just after having my picture and prints were taken. Did you know that all people filing for Residency can not leave the country unless they have paperwork stating they have permission? Yup. Guess what that's called? Never mind, you wouldn't think of it unless you've been in prison recently. It's "Early Parole"! My husband still teases me about my parolee days.

Anyhow, about a month after I received Early Parole and permission to work we had our interview. Let me tell you I was so nervous. I mean - I married for love, not to immigrate, but how do you prove that to someone in just a few minutes? I had everything under the sun showing we lived together, I had changed my last name everywhere possible, and finished our wedding Scrapbook. After a 15 minute interview they looked briefly through the papers and pictures and stamped the form saying I was approved for "Conditional Permanent Residency". (Permanent based on the condition of your marriage.) That was it. A few weeks later my Green Card came in the mail.

So at the beginning of this year I had to apply for the "Conditional" status of my Residency to be removed. Another dump into our savings and another pile of paperwork about did me in. I finally sent the application in and prayed it would all be over soon. Last month I had another stint with Biometrics getting photographed and fingerprinted. I wasn't sure what to expect but I assumed another interview at least. Maybe a visit to our house? Honestly, though, unlike last time it was the furthest thing from my mind. I'd almost forgotten about it, and then it came up in conversation on Monday night. I figured it had been a few months and I should see where I was in line. Hence, my utter surprise when I received my new Green Card in the mail the very next day!

Let's just say we are so happy to say it is finally over! I am a Permanent Resident! Thank-you to everyone who aided me in the process. Mom for gathering paperwork back in Canada, all those who wrote letters for us, and especially my dear husband.

As for whether or not I will be getting citizenship - don't ask me for a while. I'm so sick of paperwork.


Jessica Brown said...

I'm so glad your a permanent Resident Maggie! Thats awesome! Congrats!

Jocelyn said...

Yatta for Maggie! We celebrate, yes?