On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


I Am The Paperwork Queen, I Can Do Anything

As you all know, B- is not an American. He's the greatest in all other respects. But, he cannot just willy nilly fly back to the U.S. and stay longer than three months. In the eyes of the guvment, he is but a tourist.

Thus begins immigration filing, round three. Let me type that again for effect. Round three. In little more than one year. I must have it out for myself. First, B- and I came to Holland. Then I had to apply to stay in Holland. Now we're high-tailing it back to 'Merica. More paperwork. Shmaperwork. I'm a pro. I could do this in my sleep.

At first, applying for residency in the U.S. seems easier and and more straight forward than our Dutch immigration. At least our forms are in English. The process to bring a spouse to the Land of the Free happens in two steps.

Step 1) Prove you're married. As the "petitioner," I first submit documents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS, formerly INS) that prove I'm a U.S. citizen along with documents that prove we're married: marriage certificate, joint lease, joint bank account statements, and affidavits from friends swearing that they believe that we're married.

Step 2) Mysterious application process at U.S. Consulate in Amsterdam. Upon declaring that we are, in fact, married, the USCIS sends a letter to the consulate stating such. Then we dunno what happens, but it can take 10 weeks. TEN WEEKS.

Did I mention that the Step 1 takes 12 weeks? That's 22 weeks total, or in layman's terms 5 1/2 months. We can't even send off the paperwork for round two until our stupid bank sends us a cashier's check in the mail. Lazy jerks said it could take two weeks before we receive the check. Waaaaah!

What's more than a little unnerving is our lack of knowledge about what really happens during these 12 and 10 month steps. Will we have to go to Frankfurt so they can quiz us on personal details about each other? Crap, I don't know B-'s favorite color! C'mon now, it never came up. Will they show up to our apartment unannounced one day to make sure our unmentionables mingle in the same laundry bin? Note to self, must vacuum pet hair off furniture more regularly.

But even more importantly. What am I going to do with myself for the next six months? At least six months. We can't really make arrangements to leave until we know when B-'s visa will be approved. Realistically, we're here until October.




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