Archive for February, 2011

A slap in the face

I made such a neat little time line in the previous post. Since then, our plans have been completely overturned. Here is what happened:

We met on a terrace in a mall. A gaunt-faced, gray bearded man was dropped off by his wife, some fifteen minutes late. We briefly explained our plans. His response was overwhelming. We couldn’t do it. There was no way whatsoever that we could do what we wanted. He named a term of three years after obtaining a registered partnership before we could even file nor naturalization for the beloved. After that, a one-totwo-year wait for the naturalization to be approved – assuming we were picture perfect about everything. We couldn’t afford a single mistake! He painted pictures of huge financial losses and irreparable damage to he beloved’s career. He inquired how much money the beloved made (but didn’t ask me). Every time he mentioned the beloved’s money after that, he looked at me. At some point he told me that I probably could not tell my girl friends how much the beloved made because then they’d try to steal him (uhh? really?). I tried to play along.  Made a joke, even.

Additionally, he suggested to us that the sooner we shared an address, the sooner we could argue the start of a three year official relationship, even if no registering has taken place yet. We had better move in together today, nay, yesterday!

Beloved and I left the consultation feeling shaken. We walked through the mall for a while, trying to get the message to sink in. I wondered how none of the documentation that I found, could have pointed out the three year term that the expert mentioned. It sounded a lot like he mistook one of the criteria for being eligible for naturalization for an additional criterium for keeping one’s own nationality. But he was the expert, right?

After some walking, we decided that speeding up the moving in process – at least on paper – would not be problematic, assuming that I could manage financially. And perhaps a registered partnership would also be a good idea, as soon as humanly possible. That advice, at least, we could follow.

 

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One full weekend

It’s odd how a feeling can grow. A first tentative thought leads to hesitation, a joking remark to a casual ‘not-about-us-discussion’  and slowly a mutual suspicion grows into an assumption. We talked about getting married this weekend. As far as I can tell we’re on the same page. Levelheaded, not overly fairytale romantic, and very serious about the commitment. It was a big relief.

What happened since the last post:

When I sent the beloved the information I found on direct consular filing for a green card, he responded with “Now all we have to do is get married ;)”. Which gave us both jitters, but indeed seems to be one very vital step. Hence the talk with which I opened this post. As an added incentive  I found a little gem online when I went to find out whether marriage would also benefit the beloved. It does. Apparently, this country’s laws allow a registered partner or a spouse to naturalize without having to give up their own passport.

Giving up his American passport has (understandably) never been something on which the beloved was very keen. So, when I told him about this convenient rule, he was very happy.  We talked some business, which was remarkably painless. I found out that the process of naturalization usually costs about a year. We wouldn’t be able to start the process until after having gotten married. Getting married comes with a recommendation to request a license at least six weeks beforehand. This does not take into account extra processing time needed for the local authorities to deal with the fact that one of the marriage partners has a different nationality. So, let’s say that we need twelve weeks for the whole marriage license (have not contacted local authoriites to confirm that yet).

We will not be leaving for the US halfway through 2012, as you may understand from this. The new hoped-for date will be somewhere in spring 2013, partially to give us some time to get used to the new country before grad school starts, and partially  due to the affidavit of support that the beloved needs to sign on my behalf, he needs to have employment for a certain time after repatriation.

With that new date, the timeline slowly gets a bit of shape:

3rd quarter 2013: Beloved kicks ass at grad school

2nd quarter 2013: migration

1st/2nd quarter: pack up

4th quarter 2012: start direct consular filing process (expected to take 4 months max, maybe only 10 weeks)

1st quarter 2012 start naturalization process

1st quarter 2012 get married

4th quarter 2011 obtain marriage license, pre-nup, etc.

2nd quarter 2011 moving in together.

1st quarter 2011 Halp! It goes fast! We have also contacted an expert on immigration an naturalization law with whom we’ll meet this week. We’re definitely at a point where some expert advice can save us hassle.

Visajourney pays off

…already! The site pointed me to Direct Consular Filing for a visa, which can be done if the ‘sponsor’  (I think that’s the right term, although it sounds rather silly) is a resident in a foreign country for 6 months or more.

I’m sure it doesn’t make the entire process of getting a Visa (and the right to work) a breeze, but it sounds understandable at least, which is better than I dared to hope for .

Brief outline

..of what will presumably happen. Because, see, I’m not really comfortable talking about it extensively with people that I know. It is far away, after all. And what if something happens and we need to postpone? Or, worse, cancel? I’d have to tell those same people that the plans have failed, which is a weird form of humiliation. No one knows me here, though, so I can talk, write, make plans and work out some dreams and nightmares while also documenting my efforts to allow that new country to become my home. All risk-free and safe.

Now, listen, I don’t have my heart set on the US. Had you asked me two years ago, I would not even have considered it a realistic holiday destination. But now that love leads me there, I’m willing to let the country into my heart. I let their finest citizen in there too, after all.

Before the country can be welcomed, though, I need to:

– Sell my apartment

– Move in with the beloved and ensure that we can share a house. Make contracts.

– Get definitive on where to live in US

– Find lawyer

– Figure out which legal status would make visa proceedings easiest (right now, it looks as if this is an indirect way of saying ‘get married’)

– In the case of getting married : pre-nup, insurances, wills etc.

– Getting married (quick courthouse? But how not to hurt the mutual parents’ feelings?)

– File for visa

– Pay through the nose

– Wait

– Make decision on what to do with house here

– Pile of unexpected paperwork (because you always have those)

– Figure out if I would be able to work

– Pay more

– Please the Allmighty Lord- and Ladyships of Immigration

– Arrange to do whatever we decided to do with house here

– Find house there

– Arrange shipping of Owned Stuff

– Find work

– Build network

– Live

This list does not count the actions of the Beloved  (Gain residency? Enroll in university? Teach? Work? Not kill me?) and is probably overly simplistic.

I also found this website: http://www.visajourney.com/ which I definitely should remember.

Introduction

This is the smitten immigrant. Halfway through 2012, I am to immigrate to the USA. For love. Also for knowledge, for chances and opportunities, but without love I would have found those things here in the country where I was born, and left the 50 states for what they were.

In early 2011, the first steps are taken in preparation. It will go slow at first, but I want to document the process from the beginning anyway. Certain posts my not seem to be about immigrating at all, except that when you cross borders for love, many things in your relationship become intertwined with where you’ll end up moving to as a couple. With about eighteen months in preparation time, things will need to be sped up a little, sometimes.

We’re lucky, my love and I. We are neatly of opposite genders, he’s an American citizen and I am a well-educated lady from a well-developed country in western Europe. A piece of cake for visa purposes. We’re also sensible, communicative, understanding and committed to each other; qualities I think we’ll need. We’re also fiercely independent, pretty introverted and a couple of other things that may make the merger of our lives in such an accelerated fashion a little more complicated. Still, I have no doubt we can face this series of complexities. How we’ll face them, that’s what you will read here.