I got my Green Card! Or at least, I have a piece of paper that says I have been granted my request for change in Permanent Resident Status, and that I should receive my card in the next couple of weeks.
Cassie and I went to the USCIS building on Washington and Sansome, where we met my attorney (actually a local attorney recommended by my actual attorney in New York). I’d gathered together the considerable amount of paperwork required, including photos of Cassie and I with each others families, shared bills, the wedding certificate, joint bank statements, tax returns and so on. After a short time in the waiting room trying to figure out what all the posters in Spanish said, we were called in to an officer’s room. He sat behind his desk and started to gather a load of forms together. As he went through my forms, he asked me to confirm various bits of information – my date of birth, Cassie’s date of birth, membership of the various groups (including the Carlton Dramatic Society – I was pretty thorough). He asked Cassie to tell the story of how we met, and how we got together, all the while making notes on our forms and stamping things. Finally he told us that I had been approved! We were in there for about twenty minutes, and it seemed pretty easy, all told.
One little problem raised its head. Once you start the Green Card process, you can’t leave the US and come back in until you receive your Employment Authorization and Travel Authority (or “parole”) card. So when I received it, we immediately booked a trip to London and Berlin (details later). At the interview, the officer took my Emplyment Authorization and Travel Authority card away, because the Green Card will replace it. My attorney told him about our travel plans, and he said I could come in and get a stamp in my passport which did the same thing as the card. I had to make an appointment for that, and by the time I did that, the earliest available appointment was on the morning that we fly to London! Close shave.
The Green Card I’m getting is actually only a temporary one, because Cassie and I have been married less than a year. After two years I have to apply for the full Green Card, but that is a matter of just submitting a form. Oh, and staying married. We’ll see how that goes…