Don’t Throw Away the Green Card

I threw a pile of junk mail in the recycling corner of our kitchen and a plain white envelope slid out from it.

I picked it up and saw that it was addressed to Good Man and from Lee’s Summit, MO. It was stiff. I know that Lee’s Summit location.

“[Good Man]!” I started jumping up and down.

“Why are you doing like that?” he said.

“I almost threw it away with the recycling!”

Good Man opened the envelope and there was his green card. There was also a little Tyvek envelope.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

We recommend you use this envelope to protect your new card.

Nosotros recomendamos que usted use este sobre para protegar a su tarjeta.

Good Man grinned. “This is good.”

The card isn’t green. It’s white with a terrible photo of Good Man, his thumbprint, and a series of numbers and codes across the front. The back is shiny enough to be used as a mirror and has the presidents (through the last Bush) across the top. Across the bottom it’s got the 50 US state flags.

So now we’re clear to travel to Stockholm. No need for an Infopass appointment to get a stamp in his passport.

Two weeks ago we found out that Good Man was denied in-state residency because he didn’t yet have his green card. We did a second level appeal but the Not Idiot Turned Idiot in the international student office wouldn’t accept our letter from USCIS as proof of his residency status. Tuesday when Good Man goes to school, that should change. He should be approved for in-state residency. “Should” being the key word here…

Thursday we received a letter that my bank needs Good Man’s SSN before the 21st or they’d close the account. Now that he’s got his green card, he can apply for an SSN—one time. (He could’ve applied with his EAD, but there would’ve been restrictions that he would’ve needed lifted when the green card arrived. Since the EAD card arrived so close to the interview date, we decided to wait.)

Today is our six-month anniversary (legal wedding). What a nice gift to receive.

For all of the horror stories I’ve read and heard about USCIS, from the date we mailed the application to the date we received the green card it was only 96 days. Nothing like the six to twelve months we were expecting. We got no RFEs (request for evidence). He didn’t get stuck in name check hell. The interviewer didn’t ask any really personal, inappropriate questions. We didn’t use a lawyer (just Fiancé & Marriage Visas: A Couple’s Guide to U.S. Immigration, which I highly recommend). And just like all of our friends and family said it would—it all worked out fine.

Happy anniversary to us!

Operation Immigration: Timeline
* To make this easier to read I will use * for new info.

6/1/2009: Mailed AOS/EAD/AP to Chicago Lockbox
6/3/2009: USPS reports rec’d
6/9/2009: Green registered mail with return receipt postcard rec’d
6/10/2009: I-485 check cashed (with no readable receipt number on the back of the check!)
6/11/2009: I-130 check cashed (with no readable receipt number on the back of the check!)
6/12/2009: NOAs rec’d for petition (130), green card (485), employment authorization (765), and advance parole (131); we now have his A-number; rec’d date 6/3, notice date 6/8
6/13/2009: Biometrics appt rec’d for 7/1
7/1/2009: Biometrics appt, in and out in 15 minutes
7/17/2009: USCIS website says that AP/EAD approval notice sent
7/22/2009: USCIS website says EAD card ordered
7/23/2009: USCIS website says EAD sent
7/24/2009: Rec’d notice for interview on 8/27 (Washington, DC location—which is actually in Fairfax)
7/27/09: Rec’d AP
7/29/2009: EAD rec’d
8/27/2009: Interview, approved on the spot
8/31/2009: Rec’d email notice that green card production was ordered on 8/27
9/1/2009: Rec’d email notice that green card production was ordered on 9/1 (again?)
9/3/2009: I-797 NOAs received for I485 and I130
* 9/4/2009: Rec’d email notice that the NOA for the I485 was sent on 9/4 (um, already got it, USCIS)
* 9/5/2009: Rec’d green card