Tuesday, May 15, 2012

296. Four Weeks Later...

I'm sure you did the math. April 16th would have been, oh, four weeks ago from today. And anytime I leave you on a cliffhanger like that, I always pull you back off the ledge with something upbeat and heartwarming, right? So you're probably expecting me to say, "We heard back two weeks later and Cayden's visa came in the mail today! He's moving here June 1, as planned! I'm the happiest bride-to-be on the planet!"

As much as I wish I could tell you that, I can't. I'm not the happiest bride-to-be on the planet. I'm not the happiest bride-to-be in this country, in this state, in my house. Granted, there aren't any other bride-to-bes in my house, but you get the point.

It's been four weeks and we haven't heard a peep. No call. No email. No bicycle messenger, telegraph, or singing telegram. Cayden called the Embassy last week (which costs a whopping $2/minute, by the way) and they wouldn't even open our case. All they said to him was, "additional processing can take anywhere from 2 to 22 weeks depending on the case."

Twenty-two weeks. I did the depressing math. Twenty-two weeks equals five months. And what would we hear in 2-22 weeks? Approval? Refusal? A request for more information? Well, they couldn't tell us that either. Clearly customer service isn't at the top of their list. Either is urgency, sympathy, compassion or sensitivity for that matter.

So, what does it all mean, anyway? Refused under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act? Section 221(g) prohibits the issuance of a visa to anyone whose application does not comply with the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act or related regulations. Translation: His Pakistani last name, 9/11 birthday and military background made someone at the Embassy shit their pants. Red flag. Red flag. Red flag.

That's our best educated guess, anyway. Lord knows they won't tell us anything.

I get it. I truly get it. The US Embassy is just being cautious. They have every right to be paranoid about who they let in this country and who they don't. But they knew about his last name, military record and birthday from the get go, so why even approve our petition? Why schedule his final interview? Why get our hopes up if they knew our case was going to require "additional processing"?

Cayden fought for his country and AGAINST terrorism for six years in the Royal Air Force. After that he spent a year working for the London Police department and three years working for the UK's leading youth homeless charity. He's a model citizen, yet that's not enough to comply with the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act or related regulations.

I'm sorry I sound so bitter. Tonight's an off night. I've gone from heartbroken to pissed to livid to exhausted to hopeful to depressed to optimistic to enraged and then back through that cycle again. If you'd caught me on a hopeful or optimistic night, I'm sure this post would be a lot less Debbie Downer.

The hopeful nights came when I thought maybe, just maybe, we'd hear back in time to stay on track for his June 1 move and our June 16 wedding. But four days ago I had to let go of that sliver of hope as I sent out my Un-Save the Dates. I couldn't handle it anymore. The questions, "Should we do the bachelorette party or hold off?" "When can I buy my plane ticket?" "The wedding is still on, right?" Each question felt like salt in an open wound. I know no one meant any harm in asking, and I don't blame any of them for their curiosity. I would have been asking the same things. But I was too exhausted to answer anymore, so four days ago, Cayden and I decided it was time to officially postpone the wedding until further notice. As depressing as it was, at least my Un-Save the Dates were pretty. (Mad props to my little sister for the design!)

Enough boo-hooing, I really want to thank you all for your love and support through this and through the past two years of my relationship. Y'all have no idea how much your emails, tweets and comments give me the strength I need to get through all of this. You've all been wonderful, and I don't know if I've ever thanked you for it. So from the very bottom of my slightly battered heart, thank you, thank you, thank you. Also, I love you.

I'm sure there are a handful of questions running through your head that I failed to answer, considering the fact that I did nothing but mope and rant in this blog post. I plan on waking up tomorrow with puffy eyelids and a renewed outlook on life, making tomorrow an optimistic night. Therefore, I'll be answering any questions you might have in tomorrow's blog post. Actually, Cayden will have to answer most of them because he understands this better than I do. A few questions I'll be sure to include in tomorrow's Q&A are:

1. Well, why did you plan a wedding before he was approved in the first place, ya big dummy?
2. Can you get a lawyer?
3. Can't he just come over for a visit and you can just marry him while he's here?
4. Can you go over there and marry him and then bring him back?
5. Didn't Cayden already put in his notice at work? Does he have to un-quit?
6. What's Cayden's reaction to all of this?
7. Ummm.... so now what?

Please add any other questions in the comments section below!



  1. I have no questions because i do not want to make you feel worse than you already do but being engaged myself with a june wedding i could totally see how excited you were. My heart is a bit broken for you.

    I truely hope your dreams get to come true sooner rather than later. I don't blame you for planning the wedding when you got that little "approved" go ahead or so you thought for the pre-app.

    1. You won't make me feel worse. I promise! The questions don't bother me now that the wedding is postponed. Now I just want to talk about it to everyone, haha.

  2. I'm sorry to hear this Whitney!! I feel so frustrated for you. I can't imagine how you feel, but I just want you to know there are a lot of us out here thinking about you and hoping this all sorts itself out sooner then later. I can't believe the possible issues (as if a person can choose their birthday or family nationality!) that the government might have. Especially considering Cayden's past service. All the best to you guys.

    1. Thanks! We're trying not to get too up in arms about it. Not much we can do for now but hope for good news!

  3. What rubbish news!! I have been following your blog for about a year and it never occurred to me that things could turn out anything other than exactly as planned, it seemed so perfect! Also I can't believe how difficult it is to marry someone from another country, you always hear about these green card weddings, and people getting married after only being together a few months so they can stay in the same country, who knew that it's actually such a long and arduous process - I can't imagine anyone going through it unless they were totally sure they wanted to be married to the other person forever!

    1. It NEVER occurred to us, either! Seriously, once we got the initial approval, we never once thought we'd have a problem after that. Let's just say I totally understand why there are so many illegal immigrants in this country.

  4. I'm really sorry for this. It's crazy how a person is judged by his heritage. The birthday thing is also unfortunate. I was born on 7/7, so in 2005 I spent my birthday trying to reach all my friends in London (day of the terrorist attack) to see if they were safe. Twice I've been stopped at Heathrow airport. Once because I was wearing a very cheaply constructed leather jacket, it had no lining and the sewing was fairly poor but hey it only cost 5 pounds and it was real leather, :) I do understand where they were coming from but still they had me waiting there until they dealt with the rest of the passengers. I remember this english man joking, you really do have the face of a terrosrist. Second time, I was stopped for a body scan. Yes that highly offensive machine where they have you stand with your legs spread apart and your hands in the air while they scan your body. I felt terribly violated! So I politely asked the security officer, policeman or whatever he was, " Excuse me sir but do I look like a terrorist?". He answered, "What does a terrorist look like, as far as I'm concerned you could be carrying for one." Oh well, that's just lovely! I don't know if it would have been the same situation if I had my mother's green eyes and pale skin (she's french) instead of my father's brown eyes and olive tone (he's cypriot). Anyway, I could be completely wrong about this. :)

    1. Ugh, it's the worst, isn't it? Cayden's been stopped a number of times and they even pulled him into a private questioning room at the airport once and asked him if he sympathized with Al Qaeda. Needless to say, he was pretty offended.

  5. Being denied for your last name is just blatant racism. Some people may not see it as such, but I do. I really really hope everything gets approved. But I do have one question which I really don't want to ask: what would happen if the visa gets refused? Would you consider moving to the UK?

    1. I've definitely thought this same question a few times since we got the bad news. If he's still denied after the additional processing, we can file an appeal and try to get the decision changed. Or he can try to find a company to sponsor him here and get a work visa instead of a K1 (at least, I think this is still an option). Cayden doesn't even want to stay over there. That was never his plan. So I think we'll exhaust all of our options to get him here before we think too much about that. For me to go over there, we'd have to go through the same process where he'd have to file for a petition to bring me over and then I'd have to file for a visa. My last name is cuban, so I'm assuming that's better than Pakistani, so it's possible that I could get approved. We'll have to cross that bridge when it comes :)