Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I be permanent!

It finally came!

My permanent green card arrived in the mail today! It was sort of anti-climactic, really. I was expecting to have to go to some government office to get it. I couldn't remember if I had to pick up the previous one personally. Now that I think about it, I believe it showed up in the mail.

So, how is this green card different from the last one? Well, beside costing over $300, it doesn't expire until Valentine's Day of 2017. (Alana said she thought it fitting that the card of someone she loved so much was issued on Valentine's Day. Awwwww!) If you get your U.S. green card through marriage, it's only good for two years. The immigrant is a Permanent Resident Alien (Conditional). From 90 days before it expires until it expires you have to apply to get the conditions taken off. (Basically they want to make sure you didn't just get married to work in the U.S.)

Now that the conditions are off, our immigration travails are over for 10 years. Before the card expires, in a decade, I'll have to apply to have the card extended. Assuming, of course, that I don't become a U.S. citizen. Right now I have to admit that I'm leaning away from going the citizenship route. Alana doesn't want me to lose my previous citizenships, so that we'll have a chance of emigrating to a country with health care for seniors when we retire. Now, I can keep my Canadian citizenship and become a U.S. citizen, but I'm already a dual citizen having been born in Scotland. Although it has expired, I have a European passport. If I became an American I'd probably have to renounce my British/Euro citizenship, which is something Alana does not want me to do.

There are other reasons to think twice about U.S. citizenship, including the fact that once you become a U.S. citizen the IRS owns your ass. They want you to pay income tax for the rest of your life (or until you renounce your American citizenship).

At any rate, the culmination of several year's effort and at least $1500 came to fruition today! I am now a Permanent Resident Alien (without conditions)!

As an aside, the picture on the card was the one they took in Jackson, MS back in October. In spite of sending picture after picture in to the government, they didn't use any on my green card. What they did use is hard to make out. Seriously, you'd be hard pressed to say for certain that the guy on the picture was me! At least they corrected an issue on the old card. In all the paperwork I sent in they asked my citizenship and where I was born. I always answered "Canadian" and "Scotland" (which the U.S. government always dutifully changed to "Great Britain"). My old card said "Country of Birth: Canada", which was wrong. This one actually has, "Country of Birth: Great Britain", which is correct. Glad to see that someone in the USCIS is on the ball!

7 comments:

JAM said...

Congratulations! Hopefully you can breathe a little easier for the next few years.

Jason said...

Congratulations, Allan. My ex-wife didn't have to jump through half as many hoops as you did to be a permanent resident alien of the UK. Of course, you came across the northern border so you were far more suspect. The US government understands people wanting to leave Mexico but they take a harder look at anyone who'd leave Canada to come here.
I did a fair amount of research on multiple citizenship when I was trying to find out if I qualify to be an Irish citizen. Turns out I didn't because my family apparently neglected to submit the proper paperwork when my grandfather was born. Anyway, the United States does not recognize the multiple citizenship of any of its citizens regardless of how many they hold or what countries are involved. The naturalization oath requires everyone to renounce any and all other allegiances. Of course, most countries do not recognize such a renunciation since it is made only before US officials. It typically makes no difference to the US that other countries may continue to grant citizenship to such a person. There are exceptions. If a person holding a multiple citizenship works for the US government and requires a security clearance they will usually require a formal renunciation of the other country's citizenship before such a clearance will be granted. There are other problems one may encounter if one is a citizen of two counties at war. A typical person can usually get through life without ever having any problems. I'm guessing your dual citizenship hasn't yet presented any difficulties. Adding the United States to the mix will likely cause no problems at all. In the unlikely event any should arise, a formal renunciation of the offending status will solve almost any situation.
I'm sorry but I obviously don't know of any way of keeping the IRS from owning the ass of any citizen. The only other argument I can make for becoming a citizen is you will have representation along with your current taxation. I don't know how attractive that would be for you because you already have the best thing we all have regarding taxes and that's bitching rights. I know you'll enjoy your new status regardless.

Allan Goodall said...

Congratulations! Hopefully you can breathe a little easier for the next few years.

Thank you! The process has been largely a formality more than anything. I was never at any serious risk of not getting my green card. It's stressful, though, having to hit specific government-mandated deadlines, and never knowing if some public servant might send you into bureaucratic hell by accidentally rejecting your claim.

I'm very happy we won't have to deal with it for some time now. Thank you, once again!

Allan Goodall said...

I did a fair amount of research on multiple citizenship when I was trying to find out if I qualify to be an Irish citizen.

I did some checking after reading your post, Jason. You are correct. The U.S. requires that you renounce your prior citizenship as part of the oath of allegiance, but there's no legal requirement for you to legally renounce your citizenship in another country.

In fact, according to the State Department's own web site, there is no real problem with being a multiple citizen. The only time there's a real issue is if you're a U.S. citizen and you deliberately apply to be a citizen of another country, whereby you could lose your U.S. citizenship.

This wouldn't apply to me, of course.


I'm guessing your dual citizenship hasn't yet presented any difficulties.

The only issue it caused was having my country of birth wrong on my first green card, and that was more cosmetic than anything else.

Before coming down here I had to get a new copy of my birth certificate from Scotland. That was just a little bit more red tape and bureaucracy, nothing major.

My Canadian passport has expired. I need to get that renewed. I should also get my British/Euro passport renewed, too. Canadian passports are only good for 5 years, but Euro passports are good for 10.


The only other argument I can make for becoming a citizen is you will have representation along with your current taxation. I don't know how attractive that would be for you because you already have the best thing we all have regarding taxes and that's bitching rights.

Given where I live, my vote won't count for much anyway. Technically I could have voted in Canadian elections all this time, but I've been hesitant to do that. It didn't seem proper. I've never voted in a British election, either.

The real downside is the IRS thing.

There's also something that strikes me as... creepy about the pledge of allegiance. I think it comes from being brought up in two countries that don't have such a thing.

Michael said...

Congratulations, mate! When do you get your gun?

(Joking, guys! I was joking!)

Sureally, I am glad the bureaucratic stuff will go down a notch.

Allan Goodall said...

Congratulations, mate! When do you get your gun?

(Joking, guys! I was joking!)


Funny you should mention it, as we have talked about it from time to time! *L* They are just so bleeding expensive, though...

Winter said...

Congratulations!