O Visa, Visa, wherefore art thou, Visa?


I thought that it’s probably time for a little info on the Green Card situation.  

Since my last update, things have been moving forward a-pace.   It transpired that we are, in fact, eligible for an EB-2 visa (Employment based permanent residency).  Based on Damyan’s degree and experience, apparently we satisfy the  “individuals who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, and whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States” requirement.  Who knew that computer games could be so terribly influential, huh?

Having determined that we’re actually applying for a green card that should take 6 – 10 months, rather than years, to be processed, I stepped on the gas pedal pretty sharpish.  Having wasted so much time, I’m not about to let this drag on any longer than necessary.  There’s just too much at stake – being home-owners on a single income in the United States, we have absolutely zero security with no permanent residency status.  What happens if X-Box fails spectacularly?  Or Microsoft goes through another massive reorganisation, which doesn’t end so well for us?    If Damyan lost his job for any reason at all, we’d have 30 days to find another role which “no American citizen could fulfill”, or leave the country.   

Fantastic.

So, yes.  Time to pick up momentum on this, I think.

After completing, printing and signing a ridiculously repetitive and baffling pile of official paperwork for all three of us (Henry’s a Yank, remember – he’s the easy one!), and providing birth and marriage certificates, we then had to send off 6 passport photos each, and arrange the medical.  

Ah, the medical.   It can only be completed by a USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services) approved physician, and there are only two of these in Redmond.  TWO.  Let’s just say that same day appointments are not readily available. Same month is pretty tricky, too, actually.

In the meantime, I tried in vain to get hold of any of my medical or vaccination records from the UK.  Strangely, it turns out that I don’t actually exist.   Huh.

Having called NHS Records offices in the town I was born, the village I was raised, the city I attended university, and in Brighton, our most recent UK abode, it transpires that I actually must be a figment of my own imagination  According to the NHS, I wasn’t born, I didn’t attend any of my regular “well child” appointments, and I certainly haven’t been vaccinated.  Against anything.  Ever.   Which is quite odd, because I’m reasonably sure I’m real.  I definitely remember my Rubella jab in school (and the fainting five minutes into double art, afterwards), and the Tetanus shot I got after being bitten by an over-exuberant spaniel at puppy training classes.   Thanks, Snuffy.

The fact that, according to anyone who has ever met us, I look disconcertingly similar to my brother and sister, suggests I’m probably not adopted, and my parents haven’t, in fact, been lying to me all my life.   And then there is that whole “But I have a birth certificate to prove it” thing.    Hmm.  Curiouser and curiouser. 

No matter.  Sweep that one under the carpet and worry about it another day.  For now, all any of this meant was that I would now have to have a blood test to determine which terrible diseases I might be at risk of bringing into the good ole US of A.    Regardless, all of us (except Happy Henry) needed a TB test anyway.  

In Australia, where I also applied for permanent residency many moons ago, the TB test was a chest X-Ray.  Here, it’s a blood test. No biggie for me, after two pregnancies and all the blood draws and fun stuff that entails, but for my needle-phobic husband, and neurotic, drama-queen daughter?  Big deal.  Big.  HUGE!! 

That’s a story for another time.  I’m still too traumatised to talk about that day (only slightly exaggerating, by the way!).  But it’s done.  We’ve handed over our precious red stuff, and now the visa bandwagon rolls on.

Tomorrow, I have the 2nd (and final) part of the medical.  They’ll let me know which immunity I’m missing (given that the Americans are a lot more needle-happy than us Brits, I know there’ll be at least a couple), poke some  more holes in my arm, and send me on my way.  Damyan goes through the same process this weekend.  Evie’s golden – she has her full vaccine record to hand, phew!

And THEN!?!  One.  More.  Step.   Just one more form to fill, appointment to make, office to visit.   Today, this arrived:

Image

 

 

My first letter on official paperhead from USCIS.   Shit’s starting to get real, yo!

We have our appointment at the end of the month for “Biometrics testing”.  I’m pretty sure that’s a fancy word for “taking our fingerprints”.  

And then….we wait.  

Tum de dum.  De dum.   Dum.  

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