I am an Australian citizen who came to the United States for a meditation retreat and holiday combined and was co-incidentally offered a job that I was uniquely suited for; I decided to give it shot and live in the US for a couple of years. At this point I worked in the media. This qualified me for a an E3 visa. Fast track three years and I meet my husband to be at our yoga school, fast track another eighteen months and we go on our first date. Two years later we were married and now ten years into this story we’ve had a very beautiful life grow up around us in New York. Friends, family, pets, plants, community; it’s a rich tapestry and for this I am very grateful. I’ve swapped media for my biggest passion and have become a Yoga Teacher.
2. What immigration application did you apply for?
The Green Card (Permanent Residence based on Marriage to US Citizen)
3. Was the process difficult for you?
It was much longer than I thought it would be for several reasons. The good news though was that I had temporary rights for work and travel from the start of the process and I knew it was my right as I was legally married to be ultimately successful. However we still had to do all the work and definitely had set backs along the way. Tracking down paperwork was time consuming. However the delays were mostly backlog in the system, and we were also accused of being a phony marriage twice. Many people are given approval at the interview stage but we were told we would have to come back for a second interview. Despite this threat the two year (conditional) green card just arrived in the mail. When we were applying to have the conditional green card become permanent (removal of conditions), which we did ourselves, we supplied the up to date papers only to be told that we had not supplied enough proof of authenticity. I had thought this stage a mere formality until now and so went out and asked for ten letters from friends, family and colleagues and showed more financials and finally it came through. Three and half years after the original application.
4. What advice would you give others seeking the same immigration benefit?
Definitely get a lawyer to help with paperwork, it can be confusing. I also heard that applications with lawyers are seen more favorably. It’s also great to have the representation and ease of mind that you are doing things properly. Collate as much evidence as you can, you can’t have too much. Be patient.
5. How do you think immigrants benefit the United States?
Fresh perspective, eagerness to contribute to the community and strong ties with the outside world. I think it’s good for world peace.
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