Friday, February 3, 2012

Doing Battle with USCIS

My hate-hate relationship with USCIS has now been ongoing for seven years. One of the slowest, most incompetent organizations I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with, USCIS now has approximately 12 sets of my fingerprints, 183 copies of my signature, and $5,800 of my (husband's) hard-earned cash. Unbelievably, $3,500 of that was a completely unnecessary expenditure. We had to hire an immigration lawyer because the morons working at USCIS (*cough* Donald Neufeld *cough*) failed to read their own rules and rejected my permanent residency application on the basis that I hadn't submitted a second medical report. (The website clearly states that you do not need to submit an additional medical report for a permanent residency application if you entered on a fiance visa.) We gently pointed out to Mr. Neufeld that he had made a mistake, but rather than admit his total incompetence, he rejected the appeal too. If I ever run into that man I will ram his *&%h up his %$*(@$, fish it out again, and feed it to a hoard of starving dogs.

Anyway, having been an official permanent resident of the United States for five years, I have now reached the final immigration hurdle: citizenship. As much as I am loath to stand in public and renounce good old Blighty, the truth is that becoming a US citizen will make very little difference to my overall status in either country. I will still have a UK passport and retain all my rights as a UK citizen; those rights just won't be recognized by the United States. The biggest advantage of citizenship (apart from being able to negate your husband's vote) is that as a citizen of the United States, you can leave the country for any length of time and return here without having to go through the entire immigration rigmarole all over again. At the moment, any leave of absence can be considered as abandoning residency, and leaving for more than a year pretty much ensures that you're going to be denied re-entry. Or at least be spending a lot more quality time with the chaps at secondary immigration than you intended.

Now I just need to raise the $700 application fee. Oh, and get another set of fingerprints taken. Sigh.

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