Al's life is now in the hands of the US Department of Homeland Security.
It turns out (much to our and now probably your surprise) that getting your hands on a United States Green Card is a very simple, inexpensive process. All it takes for a spousal petition is roughly three forms and a $420 money order. Comparatively, to obtain my Canadian equivalent, it was unending forms, photos of our wedding, interviews, many hours spent in a lawyer's office and about $5,000 total. It could be because we had just gotten married so they need to make sure it's not a sham, but from what I understand about the same situation in the US is that if you've been married for under two years, you're just put on a "probation period" while waiting on the card, whatever that means. Because we've been married for almost five years still made no difference in the forms filling out. Still the same easy forms and the same $420. This makes me wonder why people come in illegally all the time when the process is so simple! Obviously, you have to wait on approval as well, but come one, at least fill out some papers and try. (btw, I'm not one of those right wing nuts who wants to shut down the borders, I just never understood how easy it was to work legally in the US)
It's about a 6-12 month wait, depending on how smoothly your approval goes. Because Al is simply Canadian and we've been married as long as we have, we should have it in a shorter amount of time. Al told me that one guy on some message board applied in late summer and had it in his hands before Christmas. Brilliant!
We've also recently had to apply for one more year on our visas here in Korea. As we're sitting in the immigration office, a place we've come to know well in numerous countries, we start to talk and laugh about the things that we have to deal with in our daily lives that average people would never even have to think about. Forms to stay in the country, forms to leave the country, what size "passport style" photo do we need to attach? When does my Alien Registration Card expire?, What is an I-130 form? Does anyone at all speak English? What's the exchange rate from Yen to Baht? My passport is almost full, I need to get new pages put in pronto, the Won is up!? Send money home NOW!!
It gets pretty exhausting, keeping tabs on all of our immigration issues and currency exchanges and a plethora of other things, but it's definitely worth it to live the lives we do right now. Next up, should we go to Vietnam for summer vacation?