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!
4 Good Years
8 months ago