Quite a day today.
Just over two years ago we moved lock, stock and dog (sans baby at that time ;) from sunny San Diego to the unknown of Durham, NC. I had been offered a new job, and I had cheekily asked on condition if they'd sponsor me for my Green Card - that ultra-magic credit card-sized piece of plastic that many an alien has craved for and some even died for, that allows me to be a permanent resident, and free to move about the country. I'd been working for the previous five years on an H1-B work visa, but like all good bits of paper, they invariably come to an end, this H1-B being October 2007.
So nearly 20 months ago my employer's attorneys started gathering the pile of information necessary to file for the Green Card. We had a few blips along the way (never let your daughters marry or become a lawyer, unless they own the practice); but never thwarted, often as worried as hell, I gathered certificate after certificate, reference after global reference (all a bit sad when you find previous employers' senior management - invariably good friends - have passed away) and grey hair after another.
Hey, a couple of years ago I even ended up under a San Diego cat scanner with a suspected TMI from this pressure. Would I get the Green Card? Would I be partnerless if I didn't (of course not, I was later told in the recovery room)? Would I lose a job I really enjoyed? After six years of living in the US, it's amazing what emotional and fiscal roots one ties oneself up in.
Nine months ago, everything was filed with the USCIS.
Last Monday I received an e-mail from the USCIS that my permanent residency had been approved and my "welcome to the USA" letter was in the mail. I cried in my office as I read that simply written message from the feds on high. Bottle of champagne that night.
Tuesday another e-mail arrived. The actual Green Card was being printed and should be with me in three weeks.
Thursday last week the official welcome letter arrived.
And today, the Green Card arrived. The USCIS outdid itself on its timing. Thank you.