Tag Archives: paperwork

About Paperwork For Country-Hopping

I was asked recently about my experience with the process of getting a Green Card.

Technically, first it was an Immigrant Visa, then the Green Card came through a bit after I’d immigrated.

There were a bunch of forms to fill out, supporting documents to provide, and money to pay, and I must say that sort of thing is not in viewing distance of my Favourite Things list. And there was a lot of waiting: Send one form in, wait weeks or months, get a letter about the next thing.

Got married in the US, but moved wife to UK a week or so after the wedding, and the Immigrant Visa process was a few years after that. At the time I got married, I had no intention of moving to the States, in fact.

Had to visit the Embassy a few times (don’t remember how many were for the visa, at least once, had to go for things for Oldest and Middlest, too). Towards the end of the process, had to go for an interview. Bit intimidating, but went ok. Also had to travel to London for an Embassy-approved doctor’s visit, make sure I was in good health, had certain injections, and so on. Was glad I lived in London’s commuter belt, made things easier.

Though working nights, and having to go into London for one of these things very early, my tired tired brain went wonky at the train station, and I lost my bank card into the wrong slot of the ticket machine. Had to trek through London to find a branch of my bank, and had to withdraw some money using the account number, that I happily remembered. Thankfully they believed I was me enough to give me the money.

Despite the process being full of the kind of bureaucratic things I’m particularly unfond of, for the most part (the occasional Stupid Question that’s par for course when you’re dealing with Forms) the process was, at least, straightforward.

And they decided to take me, so for my part, I can’t have done too bad, right?

Forms

I’ve never really liked forms at the best of times, there’s something about the rigidity of them when the question cannot be answered in the manner asked.

And that’s more true when living abroad.

Of course, you can’t fault the forms in the host country being geared towards people from that country. You kind of laugh at them when they say things like “We do not discriminate on the basis of…. national origin.”

The biggest pain in that regard is the educational systems are different. A-Levels being roughly equivalent to Associate’s Degrees or Advanced Placement, depending who you ask.

Addresses and phone numbers being entirely different formatting, of course.

The most annoying one I have to deal with is forms that only take one middle name (basically the forms where it Really Matters, like bank accounts, Social Security cards and the like) when I have more than one.

One of those parts of life that I find less fun.