Q: Well, why did you plan a wedding before he was approved in the first place, ya big dummy?
A: Well, the first part, getting the petition approved, was supposed to be the hardest part, seeing as how it had to pass FBI checks. Approving the petition meant they believed our relationship was legitimate and neither of us had a criminal background. The rest was supposed to be smooth sailing. Neither of us thought even for one second we'd be denied after that. Also, we had to get married RIGHT after he moved here (explained below), so if we waited until the visa was in his hand to set a date, it wouldn't give anyone enough notice. We were sure our June 16 date gave us more than enough time to finish the process and get him over here, which would have been the case if not for this enormous speed bump.
Q: Wait, why do you HAVE to get married right when he moves here? Doesn't he have three months?
A: Yes, he has three months to get married once he gets to the US to comply with his visa, but the sooner we get married, the less time he'll spend unemployed. So get this: They say you're allowed to work on a K1 Fiance visa, but not until you get your Employment Authorization Documents. The fucked up part about that is that it takes about 90 days to get your EAD after you send off for it, by which time the K1 Visa is expired. Someone please tell me how that makes any sense. So the sooner we're married, the sooner he can apply for his EAD and the sooner he can start working. Either way, it looks like he'll be unemployed for at least 3 months. Yes, they make you dish out thousands of dollars to get the damn visa, and then they don't let you work once you get here. Awesome plan, guys.
A: We decided against getting a lawyer initially because, frankly, we just couldn't afford it. We were sure we could figure out all of the paperwork on our own. And we did (and by "we" I mean "Cayden"). So we didn't need a lawyer. Right now, even if we had a lawyer, it wouldn't speed our process up at all, but at least he'd be able to give us his best guess as to why the visa was refused. I talked to a friend of mine who had attorney friends who worked in Immigration Rights and they said basically anytime you have a military background or you're from or have descendants from certain countries, your case requires additional processing. I'm going to go ahead and guess that Pakistan is on that list of certain countries. Would I consider getting a lawyer now that we're facing this crap? Possibly. Cayden read on a forum that this one guy who was denied even had his congressman call the Embassy for him and they gave the congressman the same answer: "We can't tell you anything except additional processing can take 2-22 weeks."
Q: Can't he just come over for a visit and you can just marry him while he's here?
A: Sadly, we don't think he can even come here to visit until this is all resolved. The US Embassy worded this as a "refused visa, requiring additional processing," which is more or less a place holder pending further action/checks. But the US Customs and Border Patrol class this as a visa refusal and it's on their system now. They apparently ask 'why' the visa was refused, but because the Embassy won't tell us why, he can't give them an answer. So he can't get in to the US.
A: I could, but here's the problem. To get married in the UK, I still need to go there on a similar fiancé visa. So he'd have to apply for the petition to bring me over. Once approved, I'd have to apply for the visa. This takes months to obtain. If we got married there, I would have to come back to the US and apply to bring him over as my husband, similar to the Fiance Visa, only it takes LONGER. Yes, go figure. You're already married, so the government makes you wait even longer to be together when you're married. Now, at the end of this visa process, guess what they have to do? SECURITY CHECKS, which, surprise surprise, equals Additional Processing, AGAIN.
A: He did. He had to put in three month's notice, actually. Luckily, they weren't ready to see him go, so they're letting him stay on a month-by-month contract. Originally, he told me he'd have to give one month's notice, but I told him that as soon as that visa is in his hand, he better be on a plane to Texas, no questions asked. We compromised with a two week's notice.
Q: What's Cayden's reaction to all of this?
A: Cayden can be a teensy tiny bit of a control freak, as evidenced by the fact that his next 20 years are already documented Excel sheet formatted with constants and variables and backup plans. SO the fact that this is completely out of his control is not sitting well with him, as you can imagine. He locked it up for the first week, but then that Friday night he stayed out drinking until 7 am, got shitfaced and cried himself to sleep in a hotel room. I hope he doesn't get mad at me for telling y'all that! He said he felt much better after he had a good cry. He hadn't cried in years. But, just as I go through my cycles of frustation, depression, optimisms and so on, he does, too. I feel awful for him because he was so ready to move over here.
Q: What's my reaction?
A: NO WONDER THERE ARE SO MANY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN THIS COUNTRY. Who would ever sign up to go through torture? I really wish I hadn't read the Hunger Games and reread 'The Giver' right before all of this went down. I seriously feel like those books aren't our future. They're right now. The government (also known as the "council of elders" in the Giver and "The Capitol" in the Hunger Games) can decide who we can and can't be with, who we can and can't marry, where we can and can't live. May the odds be forever in our favor, right?
Q: Ummm.... so now what?
A: Now we wait. If you think we're going to wait quietly, think again. This whole thing has pissed me off so badly, I want the whole world to know how ridiculous this system is. The 33 News is interviewing me tomorrow, and I can't wait to tell our story.