Petition for an Alien Relative

Yep. That’s what they call it. And that’s what I did. 
I petitioned for my alien relative.
After the unfruitful and terrifying previous visit with our lawyer, the second one was all business. We took serious mug shots. Although nothing will make you laugh more in a photo than being told you cannot smile. We answered endless questions. I mean seriously… who knows all their addresses from the last five years? Our lawyer made us both stop when we’d each listed five already. And we filled out countless forms.
A lot of the paperwork had to do with me… the petitioner. I had to turn over my last two year’s tax returns to prove that I made enough money that my “alien relative” would not need to rely on US government programs. I also needed a letter from my current employer confirming my employment and income.
And of course, there was a great deal of paperwork about Billy. We were advised to leave Billy’s work status blank since it could lead to a hefty fine for the company and consequently, Billy losing his job in this whole process. We were informed letters would arrive with appointments for fingerprinting and medical exams. (We could not use our own health insurance to pay a co-pay for a physical. We would be assigned to a federally-approved doctor who would charge a separate, not-insurance-covered fee.)
Then there was the two of us together. Marriage certificate, joint banking statements, you know… the paperwork a marriage is made of.
Our lawyer was awesome. Not everyone hires a lawyer, but one mistake sends all that paperwork back to your doorstep…. application fee already cashed. Oh, did I mention the application fee? I think all and all, the process cost us about $3,000. Once again, our middle class status and ability to procure money from wedding gifts, jobs, and savings goes nearly without saying. But I say it because I am reminded that there are immigrants in this country eligible for legal permanent residence, but they simply cannot afford it.
The questions were answered. The forms carefully printed. The documentation stapled and the checks cut. Our lawyer mailed off our mountain of paperwork, and we were instructed simply to wait. 

If you want to catch up on the full story of how we met and our immigration experience, click here. Or meet us in The Waiting Room for the next post. To stay up to date on all posts from A Life with Subtitles, please subscribe via RSS or email. Both options can be found in the sidebar. Thanks for reading!

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