How to keep a Sword in the country

In this case, I mean Sword as my Mr. Sword, not the actual weapon.  At this point, most of you know Mr. Sword is from Scotland, because let’s face it, I talk about Scottish stuff all the time!

obligatory photo of Scottish castle by Miss Sword

Mr. Sword has been in the US since early 2009 and is able to work here because of his L1 visa, which is all fine and dandy, but when you are here on a visa you have very limited control on where you work, live, and can move.  While he’s happy at his job, it’s scary to think that they are the only reason he’s able to stay in the US.

However, after March of 2013, we can begin the process of applying for a green card because Mr. Sword will be married to yours truly.  We are looking forward to being able to make decisions for our new little family based on what is best for us and not because we have no other options.  The process of applying for a green card is daunting to say the least.  I know it can vary from taking a year or so to about five years depending on what country you are from and how long the paperwork takes to get through the system.

I have no idea where to start but I’d like to begin compiling the necessary pieces before the Big Day if at all possible, and that is why I’m thinking of purchasing THIS book:

It looks like it could be very informative but also very long and boring.  And not every section applies to us.  Case in point, “If you are getting married for legitimate reasons, you can skip this section and continue reading at Section D.”  They want to make sure you’re not trying for a “sham marriage.”  NICE.

This books appears to cover things like collecting and managing your paperwork, how to prepare to meet with US officials, navigating the two-year testing period, what to do if you’re rejected, how to renew green cards and visas, and tons more!  While it seems like it’d be helpful, I’m still undecided on whether or not this book is worth purchasing… isn’t there a blog I could read instead?

In the meantime I have some FAQ’s of the Swords…

What is a green card really?  According to this website called USA VISA Express, “A Green Card holder is a status that grants a person authorization to permanently live and work in the United States.”

Does this mean Mr. Sword will become a U.S. citizen?  No, having a green card is different from being a citizen.  From my limited understanding, Mr. Sword will still be a Scottish citizen and unable to do things such as vote while he’s living in the US.  And to be honest, Mr. Sword has no desire to become a U.S. citizen, he’s proud of his heritage and so am I; we want him to be able to live here full-time while still embracing the culture he is from.

How much does it cost?  A billion dollars!  (I’m kidding.)  Too much.  I have no clue at this point, but I heard from a mutual acquaintance who married an Englishman that it’s 500 dollars for me to sponsor him and 1000 dollars for him to apply.  But this number depends on whether or not we hire a lawyer or an online source to help guide us through the process, which could add a few more thousand to our overall number.  Right after paying for a wedding too!  Puke.

Will they interview your friends and family?  Possibly.  I hear that could happen.  I’ve also heard we should start saving old emails, photos, and cards from our life together, as well as utility bills with both our names on them.  Umm, maybe we can submit our wedding video as evidence?  🙂

Will your kids be duel-citizens?  Yes, I think so!  I guess even though our children will most likely be born in the US, because Mr. Sword is Scottish and I’m American, our kids will be citizens of both the US/UK.  Some resources say you need to register them with the British Embassy and others say, just get them passports from both countries and you’ll be  set.

Mr. Sword has the best way of describing it, which always makes me smile.  He says when our kids fly over to Scotland, the customs people will be like, “Hey, welcome back!”  When our kids fly home to America, the people in customs will be like, “Hey, welcome back!”  Currently, when Mr. Sword and I travel abroad we go through different custom lines, so it’ll be nice for the kids to be able to hop in the “welcome back” line instead of the “What are you doing in this country?” line.

So that’s what’s on my mind today.  Does anyone have any tips or resources I should consider besides the book I’m looking at currently?  Please be kind if I have posted misinformation, I’m still learning about all of this stuff!

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