Even though the first part of the process was done very quickly, we did not hear back from USCIS or the American embassy in Brussels for a very long time. After two months of waiting, on July 26th, I wrote to an immigration caseworker at MN Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office. I had been an intern at the Minneapolis office in 2014, and witnessed our staff helping numerous people in all kinds of situations. Within 10 days the American Embassy in Brussels broke the silence. They had contacted me to announce my application package was on its way. This means I can apply for the green card!
Protip: Tap into the vast resources your government officials have to offer. Your local legislative office does more than take in complaints over the phone, they can also take compliments and help you solve things.
The green card application package required the following items:
- My birth certificate with English translation
- Background check from Brazil and Belgium
- Court and prison records (if any)
- Military record (in Brazil everyone must enlist the year they turn 18)
- Passport photograph
- I-864 Form: Evidence of support (this is pretty much Nick saying that he will support me if necessary and that I will not become public charge)
- Confirmation page of DS-260: Immigrant Visa Electronic Application
- Marriage certificate
- Medical results (from a doctor’s appointment to make sure I am in good shape and do not have tuberculosis)
Once I had all the documents, the American Embassy in Belgium scheduled my appointment for Tuesday, earlier this week. I got there at 14:05 for my 14:00 appointment. When my number was called, at 14:35, they collected my documents, charged me some fees, and collected my fingerprints (a woman who works there was walking by and told me I have BEAUTIFUL FINGERPRINTS). After they confirmed I had all the documents and beautiful fingerprints I proceeded to the interview.
The green card interview was not in a special room like I imagined, I did not sit down, and I was not asked about the color of Nick’s toothbrush (my answer would have been “I don’t know”). Instead, it was just like when you apply for a visa – we were talking through a glass window and the interviewer asked me 3 questions pertaining to our relationship:
- ‘How did you and Nick meet?’ He asked.
- ‘O.K. Cupid.’ I told the interviewer about how two of Nick’s best friends from high school had met their girlfriends through the website. I told him about our first date on a Sunday evening at Northbound, a restaurant between my office and Nick’s house. I did not tell him that I had found out where Nick lived after I creeped on his voter profile and found his address/birthday/voting history (let’s just say that Nick happened to be on my voter contact list). I told him our first date was fine, but we really hit it off the following Wednesday, at our second date at the Riverview Wine Bar.
- ‘How was the wedding?’
- ‘Intimate.’ 32 people, including my host families and his family, and just a handful of our friends. I went on to say I had pictures of the wedding. He told me he had already seen them and that we looked like a great couple. ‘I know, right? We are interracial!’ I told him the after party was a bar called Cowboy Jacks because my mom likes to ride the bull.
- ‘As one does.’ He said while laughing a little. ‘What do you plan to do once you get the visa?’
- ‘Move back Minnesota.’
Protip: The Riverview Wine Bar is a great place for dates. It has nice mood lighting, comfy couches, delicious cheese plates, and a nice jazz trio on Wednesday evenings.
The interviewer then said he only had two final regards about the application:
- ‘I see here that you said you were arrested…’
- ‘Whoa whoa whoa. Hang on there, I was not arrested.’ I quickly interrupted hi; before he could finish his sentence. I got a misdemeanor when I was 21 for having a bottle of tequila with a broken seal in my backpack in a public park. There was no court, no judge, just a ticket. I paid it, and that was it. ‘It is one of those things that make you feel very dumb that it happened,’ I said.
- ‘I understand it. The final thing is that the I-864 form that Nick filled out seems to be a copy. We need a real signature before we can issue you a visa, so he needs to mail you that and you can bring it to the embassy on Thursday.’
- I’m going to kill Nick.
- ‘Please don’t!’
- ‘I’m just kidding.’I got closer to the microphone and said it again. ‘I’m just kidding. But, does this mean that if I bring the form on Thursday, I will get the visa?’ I asked.
- Yes. Congratulations!
Protip: Do not kill your partner. Just make them sleep on the couch for a month. If you kill them you do not get to keep that green card.
I called Nick right after I left the embassy and asked him to mail me the signed form. It arrived this morning at 9:30 Central European Time. I went to my appointment at 14:00, arrived at the embassy earlier this time, and handed the final document. I was told that I could pick up my passport with the immigrant visa starting next Thursday, September 22nd. I signed a paper and left.
That’s it. No champagne, no confetti, no balloons.
Not yet anyway. The party will start when I move back to Minnesota in December. 7 and a half years after I first got off the plane at MSP Airport. Until then I will be writing papers and reading books.
PS: I think I can change my blog’s name now.