Have I mentioned before that my husband is Scottish? Only an obnoxious amount of times I’m sure. And have I clarified that he’s Scottish as in he was born IN Scotland and grew up in a small town called Airdrie just outside of Glasgow? Have I mentioned that parents and sister and friends still live there and he has a British passport and an accent?
My husband is one of those people who love to try news things (puke) and when his first job out of Uni told him they required LOTS of travel, he jumped on the chance and began traveling frequently for work.
His first stop outside of Scotland was Melbourne, Australia for a year, where he promptly fell in love… with the country. After that he was sent back to Scotland and started thinking about purchasing a flat (condo) and a new car. He finally gave in and bought a car but was sent to the United States of America three weeks later. He was supposed to be here for a few weeks but that turned into a few months which turned into two years which turned into indefinitely.
The Scottish and I knew we wanted to apply for a green card early on in our relationship. I don’t exist well outside of the Midwest and luckily my husband was happy to declare “nesting” with me his next big adventure. As we began researching all the forms and paperwork we would need to submit to the government, I tried browsing for blog posts and personal stories of other couples who’d gone through the same process but came up dry. All of the information out there was technical and boring. I knew then that I wanted to share our green journey after we had gone through it.
Everyone’s timeline is going to slightly different, but here’s how it went down for us.
February 2009: The Scottish enters this country on an L1 visa and is living in Arlington Heights even though his company sold it to him as living in the big city of Chicago. (A suburb does not a city make.)
August 2009: The Scottish decides he loves Chicago so much he will stay for the span of a two-year contract. He moves to Wicker Park and drinks lots of beer with his fellow Scottish transplants.
Eve of Thanksgiving 2009: The Scottish meets an American Goddess aka ME. He decides to date said American for her body and her brains but NOT for her citizenship.
As the years go by The Scottish and his American Goddess fall in love, The Goddess encourages The Scottish to try peanut butter for the first time (he hates it), and The Scottish encourages his Goddess to try whiskey straight up (she gags). They travel to Scotland, Minnesota, and North Dakota, they meet each other’s family, they laugh, they bicker, they go on fancy dates, and they get to know each other.
February 2012: The Scottish proposes to The Goddess at the top of the John Hancock building and they move in together officially.
Note: At this point they could have applied for a fiancé green card but because they’d have to reapply again once married and The Scottish was already in the country and working here, they decided to forgo it.
March 9, 2013: They marry in an epic wedding ceremony in Bloomington, MN surrounded by their favorite people in the world.
March 10, 2013: The day they SHOULD have submitted their paperwork for an AOS (adjustment of status) to the USCIS (US Citizen and Immigration Services) but you know planning a wedding while simultaneously proving the validity of every single aspect of your life is just plain impossible.
April 11, 2013: The American Goddess changes her name to match The Scottish’s surname one day after arriving home from their ten day honeymoon in the Caribbean. (There is no leaving the country once you submit your forms for review.)
May 23, 2013: The actual day of submission! Angels sing and The American Goddess hand delivers their entire folder of documents to the post office herself. The waiting game begins.
What is included under the general term of “documents?” Official copies of the many completed forms, ID’s, birth certificates, passports, and marriage license, but also bank statements, W-2’s, pay stubs, old emails, pictures with family and each other, affidavits of support from parents, life insurance, joint car loan papers, joint insurance cards, joint anything and everything! And two money orders, one for roughly 500 dollars submitted by the sponsor (American G) and one for roughly 1,000 dollars submitted by the applicant (The Scottish).
Weeks later: Their status online says their paperwork is under review.
June 21, 2013: The Scottish has his biometrics appointment in the suburbs of Chicago. Basically all that means is they need to take his fingerprints. A good sign that things are moving along!
Early July: They check online and it says they’ve been issued a time and place for the interview!!
Middle July: They find out their appointment will be on September 12th, 2013 in downtown Chicago only they have already decided they won’t be living in Chicago by then! Womp womp. Guess that means a trip back to the big city!
End of July: They leave Chicago and move to Kansas to chase tornadoes and Dorothy.
Within ten days of moving: The Scottish must notify USCIS of his change in address and The Goddess (as his sponsor) within thirty days.
Early August: Their appointment in Chicago is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. The are bummed but also around this time The Scottish receives his Employment Authorization Card in the mail which means he can work in this country wherever he’d like and is not tied to his current company and visa. (yay!)
Middle August: They receive new information informing them that our interview will now be in KANSAS CITY! And it’s a day earlier, on September 11, 2013. Major props to the government for making the change so efficiently.
September 11th, 2013: We meet with a detective at a USCIS building for our green card interview. EEEK!
Stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow…