Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Wrinkles, or The Immigration Rant

I wonder which is more annoying: wearing a dress without lining that gets stuck on your tights while walking, or wearing one that gets really badly wrinkled every single time you sit down? Considering that today was one of those days where I had to do a lot of sitting down in waiting rooms, the latter option rings more true to me right now.

I spent more or less four hours today trying to get my immigration paperwork sorted. It is not that the paperwork itself is all that difficult - if you follow the official instructions closely (VisaJourney is a great help, too), things fall into place relatively quickly. However, when you have to deal with people who know less about the immigration processes than you do, that is when things get tricky. Just an example: I spent almost 400 euros in Finland to get my medical records straight for the US immigration, only to have to deal with incompetent people today telling me that I needed to get tested for tuberculosis, even though I had had that done back in November already, and I had the supporting paperwork with me. There I was, explaining to them which parts of the I-693 they have to fill in for me, and instead of a 5-minute paperwork conversion, I ended up spending an hour at the civil surgeon's clinic, teaching them how to do their job.

I know that immigration is a tricky business, and I am sure that people who work within immigration get a lot of BS on a daily basis from people who are not familiar with the common procedures. However, the whole thing is awfully frustrating for someone like me who has spent a lot of time and energy getting familiar with all of the necessary documents and practices. I know what I am doing, and the more I know, the less I feel everyone else knows.

Oh well. It has just been one of those days. And my dress is all wrinkly, too.

Red sweater: second hand / Salvation Army
Dress: second hand Part Two / flea market
Tights: H&M
Belt: second hand / UFF
Brogues: second hand Gabor / Fida
Brooch: Max&Co.
Watch: 1950s Hamilton, present from Chris


petya said...

Oh, Tiia. I soooo feel your pain. It's days like yours that had me start my blog.

I have a conditional green card because Kyle and I had only been married for about a year when I was applying. All went well, now in couple of months I need to apply to have the conditions removed. I am trying to do little by little to prepare myself and not have to rush with the paperwork in the last minute. But, like you said, it's not the paperwork that makes me nervous. It's people who don't know how to do their job and are trained in such a way that they completely refuse to think on their own. Argh.

Amy G. said...

Well, I think you look adorable, wrinkles and all. Once you've got the paperwork all sorted out, you can go for a job at immigration as manager! As someone who has dealt with social service agencies her entire career, it amazes me how little the employees know about their own services.

gina said...

Immigration is really frustrating. Crazy frustrating.

Cute outfit.

Milla said...

Hahaa! Are you kidding me? It's humiliating enough (not to mention harmful to your personal health- all those vaccinations and the x-ray) to have to go trough the 3rd reich style examination, but to have to explain it to the health professionals, nice.

I mean thank god for visa journey, or I would still be sitting at home wondering where my k-3 visa was.

It's not just that the people dealing with the paperwork don't know what they're doing, it's that the whole system is based on NOT letting people immigrate.

And the fact that the government contracts the work out to companies that have people riffling trough your personal information on minimum wage.

I have two middle names and because that apparently is highly uncommon in the US they had spelled my 2nd middle name wrong since the beginning. We didn't find this out until I got my green card, because all the paperwork just uses initials.

It took them 3 months to replace my green card and they never even bothered to apologize for the mistake. When I called after 2 months they stated that it was none of my business how long it took them to process my application since they weren't even charging me.

Okay, obviously I still get angry just thinking about it. Can't wait to adjust status later this year. I'm sure it's gonna be a picnic.

At least you looked collected and graceful wrinkles or no wrinkles ;)

Oranges And Apples said...

yeah, immigration is a mess wherever you go! I've never moved anywhere where I need a visa, but I work in government doing research on demography, so I've had a few dealings with the immigration arm of the (UK) Home Office and all I can say is that I am glad I don't need papers to live here! Stuff gets mislaid all the time, and it's such an opaque bureaucracy that it is usually impossible to find the responsible person. Ithink a possible reason for the confused staff is that the immigration rules change every two minutes for political reasons, so it's hard to keep up. Although this may be more of UK issue than US.

NYC Fashionista said...

Reading you post brought back so many memories - not good ones - of the time that I was applying for green card in -97. It took me about 5 years to receive the actual card in the mail!!! I was so traumatized by the experience that I have not applied for citizenship even though I live here permanently and have 2 (soon 3) children, soon own a home, have a good amount of retirement savings in my 401k, and have no plans of ever moving from the US. One of these days I have to get my courage up and just do it.

Margaret Meyer said...

My brother-in-law is going through the same thing right now. He can't seem to make any progress, and he has the benefit of his company's lawyer! I can't imagine how people do it. It doesn't even seem to help his case that he and my sister have been married several years AND have a baby. Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

you're so beautiful when you smile! don't worry about the immigration. all this pain will just make you stronger!