On November of 2010, I arrived to the USA from a trip with my 10 year US visa which allowed me to be in the US for 6 months at a time. For some reason, that day the immigration officer decided that I was abusing my visa even though I had been legally coming here and gave me 3 weeks to leave the country. He also said that the next time I came back it had to be with a different type of visa such as student or work.
At the time, I was “living” in the US with my soulmate (leaving every 6 months), so it was very bad news to hear that I had to leave, especially since if I left, who knows when I would be able to come back because getting a student or work visa would be a pain.
We decided to get married and apply for a green card.
We had already talked about marriage, it was something we wanted but our plan and our timing changed based on these circumstances.
We would need thousands of dollars to go through the application including filing fees, required medical testing, etc, which we didn’t have. This sounds weird, but luckily, we got on a car accident which basically paid for all of it. We got rear ended and the other person’s insurance paid for my application and my medical bills. It was the only car accident I’ve been in my life. The timing was crazy. Only God could do that.
About 6 months later I received a conditional green card (or permanent residence card). Conditional meant that it would expire in two years and before it did I would have to apply to remove the conditional status. This status was granted because the application was based on marriage.
Almost two years later I started the process to remove the conditional status. More money. The process, they say, usually takes about 6 months. It took a year and a half.
One time, they had sent an important letter requesting additional evidence that I never received. I also never knew they sent the letter. I was in application limbo.
After 6 months I started contacting them and asking about my case. After several calls and visits to the office no one could tell me anything but: “your case is still pending”. More time passed and I kept contacting them. Finally one day someone on the phone somehow saw that they had sent me a letter requesting evidence. When I learned this I requested the letter to be resent.
After a month, I received a letter that said that they had sent a letter requesting additional evidence. I kid you not!
I just couldn’t believe the ridiculousness of the situation.
I contacted them again to send me the actual letter, via phone and every email I could find: my USCIS service center and the USCIS headquarters.
I was finally eventually receiving responses like email forwards with words like “she still hasn’t received the letter.” But they were still useless.
During this time, I visited my hometown, Mexico City and my dad randomly asked about my green card situation and offered to pay for a lawyer. This was interesting because he has never approved of my relationship.
Some more time later I received the darn letter with a deadline to respond that had already expired.
It was time to accept my dad’s offer. I personally will always prefer to not use a lawyer for anything unless truly truly necessary, or basically if God prompts me.
I felt I had to.
The lawyer contacted me and requested a bunch of documentation. Then it was in his hands and I could only wait some more.
About 4 months later I got my 10 year green card in the mail! A lawyer definitely helped this time.
It only took several thousands of dollars, lots of patience and waiting, and a lawyer. The whole process lasted about 3 and a half years.
10 years is the max amount of time they give you, then you have to renew your card but the process is supposed to be easy. Hmm…
I am qualified now to actually apply for citizenship, but should I even bother?
Could you pass the U.S. Citizenship test? Apparently I wouldn’t unless I study. The test is oral, to make it even harder… Who does well in oral tests?
Here is a longer test if you are in the mood. I did pass this second test.