We’ve mentioned April as our starting date, but there was this one little thing that had prevented us from being truly committed to that date. That was partly why we haven’t even bought our tickets yet.
Jill’s Immigration Status Was In Limbo
I got my permanent resident card 2 years ago. But the name ‘permanent’ is misleading since it was a conditional permanent resident that expired 2 months ago.
Without a valid permanent resident card, I won’t be able to work or come back to the states. As required by the US immigration, I applied to remove my conditional status 2 years after our marriage date (so that was roughly in October 2010). The removal process of the ‘conditional’ status is a mysterious one. Sometimes they require another round of interview. Sometimes, they simply say ‘Congratulations, here’s your permanent card.’
But when that interview is going to be (or even if there’s going to be one) nobody knows. They usually send a notification letter and basically tell you, ‘Be here at this time and this place.’
On UCSICS site it says that the processing time for California center is 6 months, and that’s why we tentatively decided on leaving in April 2011 (6 months after October). However, we’ve been warned it could take up to a year for the process.
But you’ll never really know how long it would actually take.
What if I haven’t gotten my permanent green card by April 2011?
What if they decide to call us back for another round of interview while we’re on the other side of the world?
What if they demand us to send further documentations while we’re away on our travels?
Maybe we should wait until I got my permanent resident card?
The time in between my old card’s expiration date and until I get the new one leaves my legal status in somewhat of a limbo stage. I can travel during that time, but I’d be in the beck and call of the immigration office who can decide to call us for our interview at anytime. Definitely not an ideal time to take an extended trip.
We were ready to leave in April 2011 anyway and resigned to the fact that we might have to travel back to the US from wherever we happen to be for the interview. Missing this interview means my legal status would in a HUGE mess (and that’s an understatement) and it’d be a major pain to sort out. Needless to say, I’d do whatever it takes to make that interview happen.
However, going this route will mean that our travel would be overshadowed by this fear of missing the notification letter and the interruption the travel back to the US will bring.
But we were going to do it anyway.
Life has been known to throw a monkey-wrench even into the best-laid plans. But every now and then, it throws a bucketful of grease.
While sorting through our mail after we got back from Indonesia, we saw an official looking letter from the USCIS.
And you guessed it!
To say that a big burden has been liften from my chest is an understatement.
While being an international student here in the US, I was used to carrying around a thick manila folder as proof of my legality to enter the US again.
But now, all I need is this little card.
And more importantly, there’s nothing stopping us from leaving on our RTW trip as planned.
I’m sooo taking this as a good sign. A sign that whatever deity is watching us from the big astral plain (the USCIS?) is giving our plan her blessing.
Thank you USCIS for taking only 4 months to process this (I’m being truly sincere here), and managing to send this card one day before Christmas. It’s the best New Year present!