As soon as I opened my mail box I knew what the envelope inside held. It wasn’t even a government envelope or anything special, it just had the words PRIORITY MAIL printed in big red letters on the outside. I gave it a little bend and it confirmed my guess, that yes, there was a card inside. It arrived almost 1 year to the day since I first applied for my USA permanent resident visa. Hello Green Card!
“How long do I have to wait for my Green Card once I arrive in the States?”
I hear you ask. I had the same question too. The website says be prepared to wait 6 MONTHS. Mine took 7 weeks to the day after my arrival in America. I had paid my Green Card fee before I left the UK.
It seemed so much work just to get this little piece of plastic, some people would do anything for one. I almost thought the party poppers would go off the day it turned up, but in reality, everything just carries on as usual!
I had used my temporary visa in my passport to get a job, set up all my accounts and my health insurance. It just now means that my precious passport can go back into hiding…I’ve hated carrying it around with me everyday! It also means that I can leave the country and come back in with a little less hassle than just using my temporary passport visa, yay! I no longer feel trapped in the country! It’s not like receiving it now gives me any additional benefits such as the right to vote or anything…not that I’d know who to vote for anyway…
The card is in fact green. No surprises there! It has a bunch of my details on, my photo, my thumbprint (which is pretty cool!) and an expiry date. The initial card only lasts for 2 years. 90 days before it expires I have to get the conditions removed…basically I still have to be married to the same person for it to then be valid for the full 10 years. I won’t get kicked out at the end of the 10 years, I just have to renew the card, just like a passport or a driving license.
I was half expecting a whole load of paperwork to arrive with it. Information such as HOW I would go about removing the conditions, but nope another thing I’m going to have to research myself! The government really doesn’t like to make things easy! All that came in the envelope was:
- A leaflet that summarised the much bigger downloadable ‘New Immigrant’ guide. The bigger version just says things about finding a home, schooling, paying taxes etc.
- A letter that says in 5 years…but depending on the visa it could be sooner, again just a generic letter that is obviously sent to everyone…I could apply for citizenship. I can also now sponsor certain family members if they wanted to move over to join me.
- A little paper envelope to store my card in. Apparently this makes it harder for people to digitally steal the card information if it was stored in my bag etc. It just looks like normal paper so who knows if it has special magical protection powers!
And that was it!
I guess for now things on the visa front will go quiet for a bit, the 90 days before the Green Card expiry date will be all the way in 2018! As always, I’m still happy to answer any questions about my experience that may help you out! Feel free to comment below or send my an email (which can be found on my About Me page) even if it’s just to say Hi!