After an almost sleepless night spent thinking about all that needs to get done, Albie and I took some time today to talk through our priorities. Do we build a deck or finish the kitchen? Do we put in hardwood floors or buy a new refrigerator?
A few hours ago, I sat down in front of the computer determined to get to the bottom of the greencard application stuff - a higher priority than even floors or a new blender. I'd started looking up some stuff a few months ago, but there were so many forms mentioned and I wasn't in the mood to start looking for them.
Today I started from scratch at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the INS) web site, where one form directs you to another, that leads you to yet another... until the end of time. But at least all forms are there, with the instructions, in downloadable pieces with clear information about the excessive fees for each one.
After making a list of the I-130, I-864, I-485 (by far the most expensive one), and G-325A, I started reading the instructions for the scariest one of all: the I-693. This is a medical exam, where you are required to submit to an HIV test, a TBC test, and a test for syphilis. But no worries. You will get counseling if it turns out you have any of these diseases (that you have to pay for, of course). Oh, and they'll tell you if you have lepracy as well. Of course, none of these will automatically get you kicked out of the country - you just may have to file a waiver or two in order for your initial application to still be considered.
The tricky part - of course, you thought this would be easy? - is that you can't just go to your primary care physician to have these tests done. Oh no! They have to be completed by a "civil surgeon," a person authorized by USCIS to conduct said tests for this specific purpose. And how many of those are there in my area? None.
The closest one is about 20 minutes away, but there's one about 15 minutes away from my office. But will my health insurance cover these visits and these tests? I guess I'll just tell them to put it on my immigration tab. It'll surely add up anyway between the $80 biometrics fee for fingerprinting and the $70 bonus for the Department of State for the processing of the required affidavit of support. And those are the small fees.
Have I lost any readers yet? I'm surely lost somewhere in a pile of papers, wandering around aimlessly wondering which way is up and where to go next. Almost. Maybe. Well, we'll find out.