Currently, I am sitting in the Federal Building in Hartford, CT. Hubby is in an office, being interviewed to become a US citizen. This was a looooong and expensive process.
When we got married, I just assumed hubby automatically became a dual citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America. Ha, ha… not so much. I am now very familiar with the immigration process. Hubby came to the states as a student, and therefore had an F1 visa. Once he began working fulltime, he then was sponsored by his employer for one year, and held an H1 visa.
While we were working before business school, I “petitioned” for hubby to become a permanent resident on the basis of our marriage. We filed lots of paperwork and paid hundreds of dollars in application and biometric fees. Hubby was fingerprinted, and then after a long looooong wait of several months, we finally had our interview. We brought in with us about three trees worth in timber in paper: marriage certificate, bank account statements, a copy of our mortgage, joint tax returns, utility bills, my birth certificate, my passport, his passport, passport style photos, a medical examination, selective service registration, Gadget’s birth certificate, photos of us together, and the list goes on! There were about three forms totaling well over one thousand dollars in application fees.
After the interview, we waited patiently for hubby’s green card to arrive. When it did, it was right on time because we were applying to MLT and you have to be a US resident to be considered a fellow. It was also perfect timing because hubby was eligible for the Consortium and Federal loans. After hubby had his green card for two years, we had to apply to have his “conditional” residency removed. This was because when you file on the basis of marriage, you have to prove you’re still married after two years. This meant another application, more paperwork, photocopies, certified copies, notaries and oh yeah, you must not forget, more money.
Once this stage was complete it was smooth sailing. Hubby could go and come as he pleased into the states without having to worry about any kind of visa. Somewhere along the line, we decided citizenship would be a great option for three reasons: 1) Hubby could sponsor his mom to become a permanent US resident. 2) He could vote to re-elect Obama, and 3) We would now meet the qualifications to apply for the Amazing Race.
So, several months ago, maybe in April, we applied for citizenship. This was another application, about $600, another biometric fee and fingerprinting. We quickly heard back and received the confirmation letter that his interview and test was for today. The test consisted of US history and economic questions, like name the first 13 states, who is your state representative, and who wrote the Declaration of Independence (I believe I would have failed).
Hubby and I stayed up late last night quizzing each other (well, really he was quizzing me because I was so fascinated by the questions). We drove the hour and a half drive to Hartford, CT this morning, equipped with an armful of documents proving our “marital union.” Hubby was called and he disappeared into a room in the Federal building. He emerged with yet another date, for his oath ceremony.
In case you thought the process was quick and easy, please think again. It is extremely costly and requires patience. Thankfully, hubby will soon be the rightful owner of a passport for the United States of America. Yay!