Yay! You got your USA Green Card, finally you can sit back and relax…WRONG. If you’ve been married for less than 2 years at the time you first applied for a Green Card, you actually are only granted a conditional residency. This lasts 2 years from the day you first enter the USA. 90 days before the card expires, you have to start the 1-751 process to remove the conditions on the Green Card. A process that currently has a processing time of over 18 MONTHS.
I recently attended a local ‘Immigration Simulation’ event where everyone was given a ‘character’ with a back story as to why they are trying to get into America. They then had to live out the frustrations of the USA immigration process, and believe me it was just as frustrating as my experience. We were told that the process can take 16 YEARS to go through the whole process and become a citizen.
I hold my hands up, I’m an immigrant. I’m living in America on an immigrant visa. I know especially in the blogging community, the word ‘Expat’ is thrown around a lot and I admit this is what I tend to refer to myself as, but in fact, I am an immigrant. But can you really blame me for not really using this term at the moment? Just look at the news, it has so much bad press and I debated as to whether or not I should pipe up and say my view. But as an immigrant, and especially one that blogs about the visa process, I thought surely I should show what it’s like through my eyes?
I wasn’t too concerned about the differences of travelling on a green card, all I knew was that I HAD to make sure that little bit of plastic came with me, along with my passport, otherwise getting back into America would have been a right pain! This is my first experience travelling with one, please be aware that countries/airlines/airports may be slightly different!
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!