Saturday, March 16, 2013

Plans and immigration

In a previous entry I pondered on whether we should stay in Finland or move back to the U.S. It seems the latter option is now on the winning side and we have started collecting the paperwork needed for my visa. It's a long and arduous project, so it'll take us quite a bit of time and we won't be moving to the U.S this year.

Since I've been married to my American husband for over two years by the time of the planned move, he'll be petitioning an IR1 visa (Immigrant Visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen) for me. Getting an immigrant visa to the United States is no small feat, it takes time and money. I've previously had four U.S student visas and applying for those was a piece of cake compared to what an IR1 applicant will have to do. Not to mention that it takes 8-12 months to get the immigrant visa. On the other hand, I had to reapply for student visas several times, whereas the IR1 gains me the so called green card for the next 10 years. After 3 years of permanent residency in the U.S, I'm allowed to apply for a citizenship. I'll be posting more on the visa process as we move ahead with it.

As to where we are moving, it is still under debate. I would like to move somewhere where my family could easily travel to (mainly the east coast), but where we are moving depends on where my husband finds a lucrative job. We've been checking out the job situation and it seems Florida has a lot of jobs that would interest my husband. 

source: wikipedia

My husband's current employer has a Chicago office, so he might ask to be transferred there, although it is very unlikely that they would agree to that. The location is something we'll have to seriously start thinking later this year, when the visa process goes forward. After I receive the visa, we have 6 months to move to the U.S, giving us ample time to get things sorted here in Finland, so I'm not too worried about that.

Hope everyone's having the most amazing weekend! :)

21 comments:

jersey_girl said...

Voi tuota prosessia ei kyllä ole ikävä. Me tehtiin se täältä käsin ja olihan siinä odottelemista. Vuoden päästä saankin sitten hakea kansalaisuutta.

Muuttakaa tänne Philadelphiaan :)

M-K said...

Me tultiin just Floridasta ja ihanaa oli :-)!

Meillä on green cardit ja saamme ruveta kansalaisuusprojektin hakemiseen myöhemmin tänä vuonna. Huoh, ihana urakka edessä... Jospa sen jaksaisi kuitenkin vikan kerran, green cardinkin hakeminen oli työlästä.

Sugar said...

jersey_girl: no tosiaan rasittavan pitka prosessi on edessa, mutta onneksi samalla on aikaa suunnitella tulevaa. Philadelphia-ehdotus kerrottu eteenpain miehelle :)

M-K: Floridassa on kylla mukava lomailla :) Me olemme miettineet, etta jaamme tosiaan ainakin siksi kolmeksi vuodeksi rapakon taakse, jotta saan kansalaisuuden. Sen jalkeen ei enaa tarvitse taistella naiden viisumien kanssa.

Pilvi said...

Onnea matkaan! (Ja sitkeyttä. :))

Jenni B said...

Me aloitettiin viisumianomusprosessi aika tarkkaan 5 vuotta sitten. Saimme juuri muutama viikko sitten kuulla, että paperimme ovat nyt matkanneet aivan täysin uuteen toimistoon uudessa paikassa, mutta niille ei edelleenkään ole tehty mitään, vaan ne pyörähtelevät siellä pitkin Usaa sinne sun tänne... Ei olla edes vaivauduttu ilmoittamaan niille, että Mike asuu nykyään Suomessa... eivät ole tainneet itse huomata :D Ei paljon kiinnosta mitä ne niillä papereilla tekee, ei sieltä mitään viisumia kuitenkaan selvästikään ole tulossa.

Usassa asumisessa olisi puolensa, mutta byrokratia siellä on niin monessa asiassa niin tuutista, että ei hirveästi houkuttele lähteä sitä prosessia nysväämään... Mike ainakin tulee joskus hyvin todennäköisesti hakemaan itselleen myös Suomen kansalaisuuden, jolloin Euroopassa kulkeminen/muuttaminen helpottuu.

Jenni said...

Täältä kanssa onnentoivotukset prosessiin. Vaikka viisumisäätö kuulostaa ikävältä, asuinpaikan miettiminen ei niinkään. Teillähän on koko maailma avoinna, tai ainakin sellainen Amerikan kokoinen maailma. ;)

Nisha said...

Onnea matkaan! Mulla on just tuo 10v green cardin hakeminen meneillaan, tiistaina pitaisi kayda otattamassa kuvat ja sormenjaljet. Mulla meni 8 kuukautta alkuperaisen viisumin saantiin silloin pari vuotta sitten kun tanne muutin, mutta sen jalkeen asiat on rullanneet aika nopeasti. :) Jos ette viela ole loytaneet, niin ma olen aina kayttanyt http://www.visajourney.com/ sivustoa. Sielta loytyy kaikki tarvittava tieto ja aktiiviset foorumit, jossa voi kysella jos on jotain epaselvyyksia.

Minna said...

Hienoa, että olette aloittaneet tuon projektin. Florida olisi varmaan kiva paikka asua, ainakin olisi aina kauniit ilmat. Tai muuttakaa tänne South Carolinaan. Täällä me olemme ikkunat ja ovet auki ja ulkona on niin ihanaa, että.

Sugar said...

Pilvi, kiitoksia, kumpaakin tarvitaan :)

Jenni B, on kylla tosi kasittamatonta mita tuolle teidan hakemukselle tapahtui! Jos se joskus selviaa, niin olisi kiinnostavaa kuulla viranomaisten selitys. Mekin mietimme, etta jos mies olisi hakenut ensin Suomen kansalaisuutta ja sitten vasta aloitettu tama Yhdysvaltain viisumiruljanssi, mutta kansalaisuuden saaminen rapakon takana on (ainakin teoriassa) nopeampaa, joten se hoidetaan nyt ensin pois alta :)

Jenni, kiitoksia :) Tuo on kylla totta, etta Yhdysvalloissa kylla riittaa valinnan varaa tuon asuinpaikan suhteen. Olen miettinyt, etta pikkumiehella on tosiaan melkein koko maailma avoinna kaksoiskansalaisena :)

Sugar said...

Nisha, kiitoksia! Olenkin vilkaissut tuota visajourneyta, nayttaa olevan tosi hyodyllinen tiedonlahde. Ja onnea sinnepain myos tulevasta 10v g:sta! Oletko ajatellut hakea kansalaisuutta vuoden paasta?

Minna, itsellanikin on vahan helpottunut olo nyt kun paatos on tehty. Hauska juttu muuten, mies katseli juuri eilen jotain tyopaikkoja SC:sta :)

Kata said...

Jännittäviä aikoja! Amerikkalainen viisumipaperisota on kyllä ihan omaa luokkaansa. Itse olen hakenut vain työharjoitteluviisumeita, jotka ovat hoituneet sinänsä nopeasti, mutta vaatineet kyllä paljon paperityötä. Hyvä, että teillä on aikaa hoitaa asia järjestykseen ilman mitään erityistä tulta hännän alla.

Vaikka paperisota tuntuukin Yhdysvaltoihinpäin erikoisen hankalalta, ei Suomenkaan kansalaisuutta näyttäisi olevan ihan helppo saada. Mieheni on joskus asiaa tutkinut kun on ollut oikein harvinaisen turhautunut oman isänmaansa Italian menoon. Suomen kansalaisuuden saamiseen vaaditaan ainakin riittävää suomen tai ruotsin kielen taitoa. Mieheni ei näillä näkymin kumpaakaan kielistä tule oppimaan, eli hänen täytynee tyytyä italialaisuuteen :) Sehän ei sinänsä ole ongelma kun on kuitenkin kyse ihan EU-maasta eikä etenkään nyt kun asumme joka tapauksessa täällä maailman äärissä.

Tampere_Mama said...

((Hugs))) I'm sure it's a tough thing to imagine leaving your family behind. I'm an American living here in Finland for many years and it's so hard not seeing my mother more often, and her not getting frequent access to her only grandchildren. Especially as my original relationship to my local spouse ended, it's pretty bitter, the situation, as I don't have any legal right to do anything but just stay here in FInland until my children are adults, whether or not I have a support network, job, employability, language skills, or whatever. Being a stay at home mom for a local man's babies in a foreign country does not necessarily set you up in a good position for what would happen after a divorce.
I hope that your marriage lasts longer than the typical relationship in Finland does (8 years) and that you don't find yourself in ten years in the same situation I'm in, and you will never know the problems I have. Just thought I'd contribute another way of looking at it to be 100% sure you've thought about possible longterm fallout of leaving your home country.

But I vote Florida. The year round sunshine will be a perfect lure 9 months of the year for your Finnish family and friends to come see you, and it's a nonstop flight to NYC and then one more little 3 hour jaunt south from there to get to you, so it's not the worst, and really worth it to get to warm weather and sunshine, for a vitamin D deprived Finn. Hopefully your mom can come for a month or six weeks around the holidays to be with you and your son, and then in the summers you could come for 6 or even 8 weeks to Finland to soak up the majority of the brief Finnish green and sunny season. Hope it works out for you!

Sugar said...

Kata: joo, muutoksen tuulia ilmassa :) Meillakin olisi miehen Suomen kansalaisuuden saaminen kylla saattanut jaada tuohon kielivaatimukseen, mutta ehkapa han joskus viela sen suomen kielen opettelee :-)

Tampere-mama, thank you for your comment! I think you brought up some important points anyone moving to a foreign country for a foreign spouse should consider. I'm sad to hear things didn't work out the way you planned here in Finland, I can only imagine how frustrating your situation must be :(

Realistically speaking, everyone should always have a backup plan, but on the other hand no one should live expecting the worst. I assume most of us marry our spouses thinking it's for forever, as have I. I didn't, however, marry him believing he would support me forever financially, so I'm fortunate enough to have an education, experience and language skills that allow me to work in multiple environments and countries. That is my back up plan :) Sending you much strength in your difficult situation!

Tampere_Mama said...

I also have a prestigious education and had an amazing career in the states, earning lots of money. Trouble is, I didn't arrive in Finland speaking Finnish and everyone happily speaking English to me makes it hard to master it (although I speak at a basic level), and my prestigious college back in the states is unheard of here, and at the moment i divorced and tried to enter the job market, a massive global recession hit also in Finland and made it pretty tough even for us skilled/educated foreigners, even in Helsinki (where I lived when I was divorcing and seeking work) to find a job.
I'm just saying, that you can't predict the future circumstances, or all the ways that living as a foreigner might trip up your plans and make life harder in ways you never imagined or thought could be allowed (when we are talking about first world countries which should treat women the same as men, etc). It isn't always fair and if things go badly with the marriage (you're right no one thinks it will at the beginning but half or more do end), you might find it unpleasant for MANY reasons to have to stay permanently in a foreign country away from your family, whether you like it or not. It's just....EASIER to deal with curve balls in life when you're in your comfort zone, where you know just how things work and what to expect. Not easy, but easier. Lifelong friends, family, familiarity, contacts, colleagues.... this is a LOT to give up.
Just trying to give you some food for thought, and point out that a great CV and fancy university degree isn't maybe the protective shield you think it is. It sure wasn't for me.
Tip: Do get a job that you are excited about, lined up BEFORE you leave, if possible. If not, then as soon as you get there, and make pursuing your OWN place in the society you both chose your #1 goal. Staying at home and being a full time mom and homemaker felt like such the right thing to do when my kids were little, but in retrospect it was my second biggest mistake (after coming to Finland in the first place). Get out there and find your own place in that city you guys choose.

Sugar said...

Tampere_Mama: I almost feel like I somehow insulted you with my comment? If that is the case, I do apologize, that was not my intention. I don't have a "fancy" degree, I just have plain old degrees and I have studied and worked in both Finland and the U.S. I have already lived away from my family (for six years actually) so that in its self won't be something new to me. I do feel like I'm compromising when we move back to the U.S, but so did my husband when we moved to Finland. I also feel that I'm well equipped to live in the U.S, since I've lived there before. I might feel differently if I moved to a country completely foreign to me. Perhaps I seem too optimistic, and perhaps even naive (although at my age people usually are no longer naive), but I tend to think in the end things will work out. And if they don't, then it's not the end.

Tampere_Mama said...

I wasn't offended. :)
I Liked that movie too, the Exotic Marigold Hotel. :)

Sara said...

Onnittelut päätöksen tekemisestä! Suosittelen myös visajourneytä, ilman sitä emme olisi urakasta selvinneet. Vielä viime vuonna ulkomailla asuvien jenkkien puolisot saivat nopeutetun käsittelyn ja koko prosessi oli heillä ohi noin kolmessa kuukaudessa, eli varautukaa tähänkin :) Plus Suomessa oleva suurlähetystö käsittelee viisumeita todella nopeasti. Visajourneytä selailemalla selviää helposti onko asia yhä näin, ja jos kasaatte kaikki paperit valmiiksi ja lähetätte paketit heti kun saatte luvan, nopeutuu homma entisestään. :)

Sugar said...

Kiitos Sara! Taytyy tosiaan toivoa, etta meillakin menee nuo kasittelyt nopsaan :) Kuulemma sellaiset 8kk on se kasittelyaika viime aikoina ollut ja se sopisi minulle oikein hyvin, kunhan ei pidenpaan!

Elli said...

I don't really know you, so maybe you don't want the same things from a place you live in...but I have to warn you: don't move to Florida.

At least if you're an outdoors person. It's way too hot and humid most of the year to go out, even the beach in my opinion.

The other thing is the people - they are generally only interested in their southern culture.. being from somewhere else does not make you interesting to them.

Or if you move close to Miami you'll deal with car accidents, insurance frauds, illegal immigrant gangs, other criminals etc.. Not to mention that Florida has the highest amount of pedophiles in the whole US. :/

Getting from one place to another always takes forever so you'll need a car for everything. It's too hot to walk or ride your bike anyway. The landscape is pretty, sure, but it's so flat and after a while just looks boring. And don't forget the sinkholes..

Most importantly, I don't know what your plans are for your son, but the Florida daycare and school system is not ideal from a Finnish perspective. You'll want to at least find a private or charter school, but even that's not a guarantee of quality.

Great place to visit but don't recommend living there. Then again, some people love it so maybe you will like it more than I did. :)

What other states are you considering? I haven't lived in other states outside of FL, so I'm sure each of them have their own problems, and you probably know what you'll be facing.

But good luck anyway with your move back - hope you find a great place to live and get settled fast and painlessly. :D

Sugar said...

Thank you for your comment Elli! You bring out very valid points! I'm especially hesitant to put my child through Florida school system and if our plan stands that we will be there only for 3 years, that would mean lil man would start school in Finland, which would be ideal :)

Husband and I also looked at the crime rates in Florida and it was appalling. We were also disgusted by the real estate prospects; a bunch of mold-y rundown places. Not many things speak for Florida, but the jobs are there.

I would prefer moving to North Carolina, but the DC area has good job prospects as well. Either way, I hope that this will be a temporary solution and by the time lil man goes to school we'll be back in Finland :)

Thank you again for your insightful comment, it is much appreciated!

Elli said...

You're welcome! I had some good times in FL too, but some things really bothered me over there.

If you're sure you'll be only staying for 3 years, I guess you could always try it. In that case I wouldn't even consider buying a house though, as reselling might be difficult. (Though maybe the housing market will get better.)

But anything more to the north would be my pick. You can have a pool and beach in North Carolina too. :)