As I’ve mentioned, my husband is not a U.S. citizen. What keeps him here legally is our marriage. After we got married in 2004, we applied for his green card based on our marriage. However, since we had at that point been married for less than 2 years, they would only give him a 2 year conditional visa. And here we are.
If you’ve never gone through this (and chances are that you haven’t), it can be quite a nailbiting ride through American bureacracy. It probably also doesn’t help that I am a world-class procrastinator. D’s visa expires on 6/29/08. I sent in the HUGE packet of paperwork yesterday. That’s 6/25/08. Yup, I like to live on the edge. To be fair, they say to send it in during the 90 days before the expiration date. So, I did.
To get the visa in the first place, you have to prove that you have a real marriage. Luckily, we have a kid that we were able to show off and you have to give them tons of paperwork like tax returns, rental agreements, etc. To get your 2 year visa turned into a 10 year visa, you basically have to do that all over again. I think I sent nearly 75 pgs of paperwork. Copies of our mortgage agreement, our bank account, our loans, our car insurace, even our Costco membership. You also have to provide at least 2 letters from people who have known you(the couple) since before you (my husband) were given your visa and can attest to the fact that you have a true marriage. The idea is to drown them in paperwork, so they have no reason to not believe you.
So, I sent it all out yesterday, and they should be getting it today. Hopefully, they’ll accept it and approve it quickly. The current time frame for completion of an application is somewhere around six months. This is really cutting it close because in six months we’re planning a trip to Brazil for Christmas and New Year’s. I’ve read elsewhere that they’ll often give a 1 year extension while you wait for approval but I’m not sure about this. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. government doesn’t give a whole lot of information or details about this process. You know, why be helpful?
So, for now, we’re sitting here with our fingers crossed hoping for the best.