Archive for February, 2012

Waiting for the one, holding off on the other..

It’s an interesting thing, balancing the two major bureaucratic “cases” and their respective time lines.

On the one hand, there’s Beloved’s naturalization. This process is expected to take approximately one year. We need to remain residents of our home country during this process. We cannot leave this country (for the US for more than a holiday) until he has his passport, because forfeiting legal residency makes one immediately ineligible for naturalization.

On the other, we will file for a CR-1 which for spouses has an average processing time of around five months. The CR-1 remains valid for six months after issuance. In that time, the beneficiary (me) needs to have entered the US and the petitioner (Beloved) must have established domicile there.

Now, if the average processing times were anything to go on, it would be simple.

Take exam and file for naturalization in April 2012. Be approved in April 2013. File for CR-1 December 2012, be approved in April 2013. Wrap stuff up and leave in May/ June 2013, with time enough to travel a little and then set up shop in our location of choice.

Except that a lot of cases filed when the US Citizen lives abroad have been approved with absolutely shocking timelines (the record sits at eight days before forwarding to NVC). And some other cases take seven months or more.

And except that naturalization may take only four months. Or more than a year? Maybe?

I think our safest bet is this:
Naturalization needs to happen ASAP, because there is no harm in staying here with a double nationality.

Since we want to leave at an absolute latest date of August 2013 and an immigrant visa is valid for six months after issuance, we should aim to have the CR-1 be approved in February 2013, so as to make full use of the six months of validity as “reserve space” for when the visa process gets delayed. This means that (given the average) I should file five months before February 2013 (which makes Sept 2012).

Should naturalization happen in much less than twelve months, I can bring the CR-1 filing date forward to allow us to leave as soon as possible (and get some more travel time in before Beloved needs to be in the US).

Should, on the other hand, processing speeds for non-domestically filed petitions for CR-1 stay at the rate they seem to be at now, I may need to file later than September 2012 to avoid running out of validity on the CR-1 while Beloved’s naturalization process prevents us from transferring domicile to the US.

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The different threads..

on this blog confuse even me, sometimes. It’s probably even worse for those readers who come here from a niche forum (like allesamerika for America lovers and (wannabe) migrants or A Practical Wedding for weddings-but-mostly-marriage) and expect uniform content.

Today is a nice day to summarize the different threads and give them all a category or two for easy reference.

First, there is the “smitten” part of the blog which deals with the relationship of yours truly with her expat husband (aka Beloved), and also with their marriage and wedding.

Then, there is the immigrant part, which deals with the process of returning to Beloved’s home country. This splices out into dealing with authorities and my Americanization (also, wry observations of those parts of American culture that seem funny to this particular European).

Last, there are posts that fit into neither category. They’re the posts that can be about anything. Feel free to skip those (or read them extra carefully).

.. with mayonaise, please.

US universities are funny. At least, US university naming is funny from a European standpoint. Or well. I think it’s funny. Think of that what you will.

Much of the conversation over the last few days has been directed at grad school programs. What programs are connected to which organizations, which career paths are easily attainable with certain degrees, which specialization would be most valuable and would allow most access.

I did some reading and burst out laughing when I pulled up a sub-site for Carnegie Mellon University. Apparently it is possible to study at Heinz College. Later on, I looked at for iSchools. I am confused. Seeing as that the Heinz College does not, in fact, offer a Master’s degree in advanced tomato assessment or PhDs on the sociocultural implications of preferring chunky sauces over organic unsweetened ones and that the iSchools teach more than professional degrees in aluminum block-cutting and Comparative Steve-Job-ism, the naming of said schools obviously does not reflect the content of the programs.

Why name a school after someone who does not exemplify the intellectual values of the school? Bluntly said, a main reason is university financing. The relationship between American universities and their alumni and sponsors is radically different thank what the old world is used to. Let’s generalize my experience a bit. I do not feel gratitude to the university I studied at. I would not refer to it as my Alma Mater, because it does not feel like I was nurtured at anyone’s loving bosom while I was there. If anything, my education was an indifferent wolf’s teat that I suckled at while risking claw and teeth marks due to the bureaucratic inclinations and lacking communication skills of the academic wolf pack.

Since this distinct lack of emotional connection exists at many (state sponsored!) universities in my part of Europe, universities do not generally receive spectacular financial donations from their alumni. Hence, no naming stuff after wealthy benefactors (to ensure more donations) either. Universities remain free (or are limited to, if that’s how you’d like to see it) naming their buildings after old thinkers.

I’m curious to see if university naming policy in Europe will shape itself after the American model over time. We’ve already adopted the Ba-Ma system over the German one. Will we see extreme quality differences as more progressive universities start working their alumni harder for financial gain? Britain already does. Universities ignoring the track-based education system in preference of individualized admission barriers? I’m sure we have them somewhere. Perhaps soon we’ll have the Benz-campus and the Shell-schools teaching us philosophy and medicine.

Maybe we can have a McUniversity drive-through M.Ed. program somewhere, too.