Disclaimer: We love the USCIS. They are just super. We’ve not had anything but lovely treatment from anyone associated with them and neither have our friends. Just in case you work for the USCIS and found your way here somehow. We’re big fans. Hurrah!
Seriously, I have no complaints about any individual associated with the USCIS – they’re just doing their jobs like you and me – and strongly suspect that my beef is more with the Bush administration and the culture of fear that they have engendered in the United States since 9/11 with things like the Patriot Act and taking photos of every foreigner to enter US soil. (Plus I find it cathartic to just randomly blame things on the Bush administration sometimes. Especially when I’ve been reading Anne Lamott…)
In the past month we’ve found out some more things about recent changes in the immigration process that have blown some of our plans to shite. To start with, James had planned to enter the US in July on a visa waiver, return to the UK in mid-August for Greenbelt and his K-1 Fiance Visa interview at the London Embassy, then enter the US on the fiance visa in early September. Well, we found out – and really this does make sense when you stop to think about it – that James can’t enter the US on the visa waiver in July if the London Embassy already has been notified of our application for the K-1. Which, if timing is similar then to what it is now, they almost certainly will have by mid-July.
So that leaves us with three other options. Either James can arrive in the US before the London Embassy gets our paperwork which would most likely mean leaving his job early. Or he can come in July as planned and skip Greenbelt (which would be nigh torture for him). Or he could stay in the UK until after Greenbelt (which would be nigh torture for me). Not a great choice to have to make.
The other problem is that unlike less than a year ago when couples could go get the greencard (via Adjustment of Status, or AOS) the day after their wedding, now we need to go file for AOS as soon as possible after our wedding and wait 90 days for an interview at which we then would – if all goes well – get James’ greencard. Which means we probably will not be able to go to England as planned for Christmas ’04. The only way that James can leave the country and then reenter after getting married but before getting the greencard is to get Advanced Parole, but we’ve been told they only give those out in emergency situations and also give themselves 90 days to issue those. Which brings us back to where we started. We’ve been strongly advised not to even risk leaving the country until James has his greencard. So while not being able to spend next Christmas with James’ family in England is not the end of the world, it is disappointing.
On the good news side of things, wedding plans are coming along swimmingly. We’ve started registering at a number of stores near you (or maybe not so near, but at least easily accessible online). We’ve reserved a block of rooms at a hotel for our out-of-town guests. (More details about all of that coming soon.) And James has now seen the Post Family Farm and likes it. Just need to send in the deposit and reservation form for that.
And perhaps the best news of all. I found sandals for the wedding that are tres wonderful. I adore them. Now I just need a dress to go with them!
(p.s. the tres above is a reference to Eloise, not me trying to be pretentious. Just in case you rolled your eyes for a second there. Really. 😉 )