Thursday, January 24, 2013

And that's the way it's done in America

Has something ever worked out exactly the way you wanted it to without putting any hope or effort into getting it done? It usually doesn't, and we certainly didn't imagine it would ever happen when dealing with the French or American immigration process.  Until Gui becomes an American citizen and I become French, we will forever be obliged to deal with the paperwork and "hassles" of immigrating.  And, we're mostly ok with that - it's something we've always understood to be part of our relationship since day one.  

When Gui officially immigrated to the US nearly two years ago, the immigration officer at customs in Houston marked his visa as a conditional permanent resident which requires reapplication for the green card in two years.  According to the immigration laws that were in effect when we applied for Gui's residency, if an immigrating spouse has not been married to an American citizen for at least two years at the time they first enter the US with a green card, they are granted conditional permanent residency.  When we applied for Gui's green card, we had not been married for two years, but by the time we finally officially moved to the US, we had been married for nearly three years.  We didn't notice the error right away, and when Gui researched how to contest it, we decided it wouldn't be worth the hassle and risk to go through the process of disputing the conditional status.  

Fast forward to early last year, when we applied for the green card renewal.  We sent in the tedious paperwork, hefty application fee and submitted to all the biometrics by May of last year.  When December rolled around and we hadn't heard anything back from USCIS, I made a phone call.  Frustratingly, I was refused any update on the status of our application and was kindly told to wait it out.  Then, this past weekend, we came home to a letter in the mail from USCIS explaining that they realized an error was made when Gui entered the US in April 2011.  What?  They realized their error and they're actually admitting it?  They also said they are going to reimburse our application fee and send Gui the permanent residency card he should have received in the first place.  What?!  Does this even happen in real life?  We couldn't believe it when we read it.  This would probably never happen in France, and I'm even surprised that it happened here.  The fact that they would even take the time to investigate our case and then recitfy the problem without our behest is just so unbelieveable.  It's actually renewed my confidence in the process and although I'll probably never be happy doing all the paperwork and interviews and appointments that come with being a legal alien, it sure makes things a tiny bit less painful when you trust the folks running the show.

Gui's still a little skeptical that there's an ulterior motive for their admission of guilt, but it just sounds like plain old American courtesy to me.  

2 comments:

Emily Marie said...

That's wild! When we first moved to the states it was just 2 months shy of our 2 year anniversary so we had to finally deal with removing the conditional status last year and couldn't believe how expensive it was. I don't think Jerome will apply for US citizenship but I will definitely be starting my application this Spring!

Kate said...

Oh wow, that is amazing! I have friends here who are working on citizenship and overall it's a huge pain in the ass. Glad you guys had some good people working on Gui's!