Tuesday, August 16, 2011

US law again treats expats as second-class citizens

From this article regarding a new law about an American wishing wishing to move back to states, but with their non-citizen spouse or child:
The U.S. immigration authorities say the new [law], which involves the processing of a visa document known as the I-130, allowing the entry of a citizen’s alien relative, will be more “efficient and consistent and centralized”; most applicants abroad will now mail their applications to a central office in Chicago, as Americans in the United States with foreign-national relatives now do. The authorities predict a five-month maximum for processing there; applicants then have to apply to the U.S. State Department for the actual visa.
Actually, what it means is that the new is designed to save the government a bit of money without caring about the realities US expats face.

If I was to accept a job offer in the US, I naturally would want to go there with my wife. It would have just been a walk down to the consular's office, fill out some paperwork and wait a few weeks. Often that "few weeks" would be the time it takes for me to get packed and ready to move back to my native country.

Not any more. Now I would have to mail my documents to Chicago, hope my critical legal documents don't go astray, and wait many months hoping my wife can join me in the US. In the meantime, where does she go? What does she do? Do I try to pay rent in the US and Amsterdam? Not bloody likely.  Do I convince my new employer to pick up the tab? That doesn't exactly make me an attractive candidate. Do I send her home to her parents with a pat on the head and tell her to stay put until Uncle Sam says she's worthy of joining me?

Of course, reading further into the article, we see that some immigration lawyers are stating this process is going to actually take nine months to a year. I believe this is more accurate than the government estimate. Now all such applicants have to go through one bottleneck. And that's hoping there's no issue with the paperwork. By heading down to my local consular office, if there was a problem,  they could point it out and we could correct it on the spot. That's no longer possible.

I really get tired of my government treating me like I'm not as important as someone who physically resides in the US.


  1. But they still expect you to pay expat tax! Don't forget that!

  2. @KENTNL: yes, yes they do. I'm still trying to figure out why I am paying for services not received.