Tag Archives: immigration

Immigration Update #45208

There isn’t much to say other than we are not getting our visas. Yep. Simply put, apparently they no longer process these visas and we have to go for Green Cards necessitating more waiting and more nail biting and more freaking forms. Forget about the fact that we paid a lot of money in fees for the visas.

I could go on and on about the awful treatment we have received, and the incompetence of certain people in official capacity. But I won’t. I could complain to you that after we paid all our money they told us they weren’t issuing the visas. I could witter on about KoD’s extremely disappointing visit to the consulate to try and talk to someone and get someone to help us.

I could even whine and moan that my apartment lease is up at the end of the month and we have nowhere to go, and that we are still waiting for our passports to be returned to us – but why would I want to yank you into my mire of self pity?

Well, we have now become people who have hired a bevy of lawyers to help us out, because any way you look at it, life has become even more difficult. Hopefully we won’t have to resort to selling our organs in order to settle these bills.

For those of you that want to help us out with $ (see what I have been reduced to??) I have set up a a paypal account – from this page enter the following email address to donate MilnerLegalFund at gmail dot com . If you wish to donate in Canadian funds go to the same page but use the address of MilnerLegalFundCa at gmail dot com. The Facebook page can be found HERE.

I want to take the opportunity to thank those of you who have been extremely helpful and supportive in many different ways – don’t stop, ok? We need you.

This has been a long journey already (15 months married this Shabbat) and it so isn’t over. But as I was telling my girlfriend the other day – I am not in this mess alone. I have the KoD by my side, keeping me focused, keeping it real, making me feel loved every single step of the way. Yes this is an annoyance. It’s frustrating and I want to cry and scream and howl at the moon. But at the end of all of this crapitude I will be living FULL TIME with my husband (I know, what a concept) and kids. Just have to get through a few more doses of yuck to get there.

(There will be more detailed posts on this insanity to follow. I simplified it because I am so sick of thinking about it and dealing with it and living and breathing it….)

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Border guards

I always seem to flummox them to some degree. See, in my head it makes perfect sense that I am going to NY to see my husband, and that my kids are back in Montreal with their father. Apparently, if you are not HSM it is not that obvious what the family dynamic is!!

On my way down to NY on Friday the border guard looked like he was just about old enough to start shaving, but was very stern and asked me a whole lot of questions. Then he asked me what I do. What do I do? I am a mommy – I always say this proudly. (Someone once asked why I don’t tell the border guards I am a writer – I said, my writing career isn’t paying yet. They pointed out, however, that I also don’t get paid to be a mom. Hmm). So saying one is a mommy leads to questions about why I am travelling alone. Where are the children? I am always so tempted to say “kids, what kids?” but one does not joke at the border.

I need to work out a brief paragraph that explains the situation, without the border guard getting all confused, and me tripping over my words to try to explain. I came up with this “Visiting my husband – second marriage. He lives in NY, I live in Montreal. Kids from my first marriage live with me and are visiting with their father this weekend, he lives in Montreal too”. Coherent enough, right? But who can be coherent when you have just been grilled about what your husband does for a living and where and how much money does he make and do you have any weapons on you or 10,000 dollars?

The dude finally understood, wished me luck, and have a nice day.

I cannot wait till this border crossing thing is over and I don’t have to deal with heart-in-mouth syndrome on a regular basis.

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Lessons can be learnt from everyone

Yesterday, at that interminable day spent at the consulate, the clerk we dealt with was a wonderful lady. We had to review all the forms etc with her, which for five people, was a lot of work. We were missing some photocopies, the medical for one child had gone AWOL and the reply paid envelope we brought apparently wasn’t big enough (and I did call in advance to find out!) plus there was one form that we had not filled out for the kids, and it had to be filled out for all four.

With every little set back at this initial stage my heart plummeted and panic probably showed on my face. But this lady, she was awesome. Her attitude was that none of this is major stuff, it could all be sorted and fixed, no point in sweating it. Here was a bureaucrat with an awesome attitude. She suggested that KoD go out to get the photocopies, the reply envelope and pick up the medical, while I stay and use the computer terminal to fill out the forms. She could not have been more helpful.

Her work is repetitive – she’s been there 33 years!! She must have seen some interesting things and witnessed stories that make our story look benign in comparison. Her cheerful tone and can-do attitude made this whole experience easier to bear. We ended up joking about children, and she told us a story about her son climbing into the washing machine at 4 years old. She really helped me to feel better.

The lesson I walked away with, after spending some time with this lady was that when it comes to paperwork and bureaucracy there is nothing so major that it cannot be fixed with a little time and patience, that there is no need to sweat the small stuff.

Today is a fresh new day. Every new day that we have is a gift. I sit here, marshalling the kids through showers and breakfast, preparing coffee for the KoD, and I know I am blessed beyond belief. So, the paperwork is a little held up and delayed. We can deal. Look what I have – I have love surrounding me, from my kids, my husband, and from my awesome friends. It will all be good.

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Immigration Update

I guess I am finally able to be rational and report on our disappointing appointment today. We arrived at the consulate at just gone 7 am and left around 2 pm. It was a long day with only snack machine food and drink, as you cannot bring your own food and beverages, a challenge when you keep kosher. The kids were really good considering….

The company that did our medicals messed up. They neglected to include one of the kids’ medicals in the package. Strike one. Luckily their office was not too far from the building and the KoD was able to go pick up a copy. Which we were later told was not acceptable  – they needed the original – and this was a reason for our visa application to be denied.

The consular official also decided she didn’t like my legal documents – custody etc – they were not official enough for her purposes. Strike two. (I had been told that they would be acceptable).

Strike three – the British police certificate that I had paid through the nose for was not from the company that they (the consulate) recommend, so it had to be redone.

Once I do all that they will be pleased to grant me the visas.

Such a let down. I have to say that I know these people are just doing their jobs but boy does it smart. When we left the consular building the KoD drove us to the office where we did the medicals where I raised Holy Heck! And lo and behold the missing medical was right there, in his file. Why the heck could they not have given it to the KoD when he was there earlier??

I got home, had a huge meltdown, emailed the police certificate forms to a friend to print for me, picked them up, did passport photos for that, photocopied some bills and my passport, spoke to lawyers office to get the officially official legal papers that no consular official can quibble with. First thing in the morning I will get a bank draft and send off for the new police certificate, and by 1030 am tomorrow all the paperwork that I have to redo will be on its way here.

As soon as they get the papers the visas can be issued.

It was such a long and stressful day, and we started out so hopeful. Having the KoD here really made it feel better. He sees the good in everything and was able to tell me that it’s all happening for the best. There is a reason that this all came to pass. We may not know it now, but when you have faith you know it’s all for the good. KoD helped calm me down just by being there for me. He is so supportive and totally my rock.

It would have been so easy for us to point the finger at each other and lay blame – “I told you to do this” or “why didn’t you do that?” and totally get into a fight. I am so proud that we didn’t behave that way. We are a unit, a couple, and we stand together. When one is weak the other is strong and vice versa. I have never felt so loved by another person in all my life.

I have faith that we will be together forever very soon – just a bridge or two left to cross.

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Immigration Questions

Our immigration interview is coming up real soon, and I have spent the morning printing out photos, making sure I have the right documentation (criminal background checks from everywhere I have lived since the age of 16, medicals for all of us, birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees etc) and putting it all together in a file. I have been told by others that it’s important to also provide any paperwork that shows the KoD’s name with mine – for example: bank statements, bills etc, even though it isn’t asked for specifically. I have to take more passport pictures tomorrow for myself, luckily I still have two each for the boys from when we took photos for the medicals.

Over the weekend I spent some time talking with the boys about how to conduct themselves at the interview. To only speak when spoken to. To speak politely. To answer the questions posed – but not add any additional information. To tell the truth only. I could apply for the younger boys to be exempted from the interview – but I think it’s important that they are there and take part. One of the older ones told the youngest that if he is as annoying as usual they might not let him into the States. Brothers can be so nasty.

One thing I couldn’t tell them was what questions we will be asked. I have absolutely no idea what kind of things they will want to know. I know the documentation will tell them most of what they want to know. I know they are looking to see if this is a marriage of convenience. Let me think about that for a second. Living apart, managing two residences, juggling 7 kids between us, car issues, driving up and down the I-87 every other weekend for over a year, missing each other – this has hardly been convenient!!

If you have knowledge of this kind of interview – will they ask the boys any questions? What questions will they ask me and the KoD? Will they even ask the KoD anything as he doesn’t have to be there, but chooses to come? Does what we wear matter?

None of us has anything to hide – so I am not too worried, I just want to be adequately prepared and have the kids ready for anything that might happen.

Thanks in advance.

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Photo Album

One of my Montreal Mommies suggested I put together a photo album for the immigration interview. Pictures of family events that the KoD and I attended together, pix of me with his kids, pix of him with my boys. Pictures of us together at different locations.

I have a wedding album that I plan to shlepp along, but how many pictures do I put in my extra album? What exactly does the immigration officer want to see? There are pictures of me with KoD’s mom and brother, KoD with my mum and brothers…. Professional pics from Squiggy’s barmitzvah. Candid shots of us all just hanging out….

Should I upload our wedding video onto a USB drive, or will that be overkill? I wonder if they’d even let me bring that in to the consulate….

If you any experience with these types of interviews please give me the benefit of your wisdom.

Thanks.

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WE HAVE A DATE!!! (Immigration Update #654)

I hold in my hot little hands a love letter from the USA Consulate in Montreal. Well, it’s a bit impersonal, but it’s asking me to show up and visit, and to bring the kids!!

We have our appointment in April (of this year) which is further away than we had imagined, but still at least we have something scheduled. It means that we may be free to move by the end of April. There are a lot of decisions to be made, weighing up the pros and cons and everyone’s best interests.

Apparently the interview is the final stage, and that’s when they decide whether or not to let us into the country. It’s really a formality from what I understand.

So I have two months to make sure I have all the paperwork together (that I had ready 6 months ago!!), take more passport pictures, and make some decisions about a moving date. (But technically we are not supposed to take any steps whatsoever to sell houses or end leases or give up jobs, until we possess the visas.)

I have been sitting on this news until the KoD and I could inform the kids together, which we did tonight. I have to say the whole thing has been rather anti-climactic at this point. The kids were excited but seeing as we still don’t have a final moving date it’s hard for them to conceptualize. We just want to be there already. By the time of our appointment it will have been 14 months since we got married. 14 months of waiting. 14 months of limbo. It’s soon over though. Yippee!!

But we are looking at the positive – we have a date, we have an idea of timing and we can start to move forward and plan for happily ever after in Monsey.

Just wanted to let you all know.

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Dear Mailman, Monsieur Le Facteur

You are this close to being fired. Your job is to bring me the mail I want, not stuff I don’t want. Fine, bring me bills. I’ll pay them. Sure. Like I have a choice?! Just bring me a letter from the US Consulate! Is that so freaking hard for you??

If you won’t do it I will find someone who will.

Stomp stomp stomp!!

Signed a very disgruntled customer who is beginning to hate her mailbox.

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Immigration Update

My KoD rocks. I am so blessed to be his wife. He has spent hours upon hours trying to get someone / anyone to pay him some attention and help us out with our immigration time line. The onus of these calls was all on him as he is the American who is sponsoring us. (Plus I am apt to get highly emotional and sometimes that gets in the way). We were told that this Haiti earthquake took priority, which I understand, and we have to be…..all together now…..PATIENT. Finally with his dialing finger about to fall off he reached someone who not only was able to help but actively wanted to. Someone helpful in government? Must be KoD’s charm.

Montreal is so popular especially with people applying to move to the USA. Yep. That’s why we are so darn delayed. Too many people going through the Montreal consulate. We have been told that it’s likely that we won’t have the visas until the end of March, possibly a little earlier. End of March is Pesach time. It’s another two months away. Another two months being away from our KoD. Another 2 months lost of decent schooling. It means spending our first wedding anniversary apart from each other and possibly my birthday, and my son’s. (It’s on the same day).

But at least we know. At least we now have some idea of the time frame we are dealing with. It has been sheer hell every day wondering will today be the day we get a letter? Will I be writing a rent cheque next month? Do I accept this wedding invitation or commit to going to that barmitzvah? At least we know now more or less what we are dealing with.

I am going to try to look at this as good news. Yes. Silver lining. Mmmhmm.

And btw KoD – you are totally awesome. Thanks for working so hard for us all. We love you. Counting the days till I see you again.

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Letter Writing Update

So many of you emailed me for the text of the letter to send to the Senator. By my count at least 50 people faxed him. Maybe more. There were several reports of the fax machine being busy, so that was a good thing. Thank you all for participating.

Last night around 5.30 I was emailing back and forth with my friend who lives 3 houses down from us in NY. All of a sudden she writes me that Senator Schumer’s secretary just called her, told her she received her fax about the Milners, could she please have phone numbers for me and the KoD. OMG! Maybe, just maybe, he wants to help in some way??!!

So I was in the midst of cooking supper and dealing with kids and my heart was pumping a mile a minute. What did this phone call mean? Of course I immediately texted the KoD and got a reply back of WOW!! For the next hour I heard nothing from the KoD. I texted him to no avail. I managed to convince myself that he was on the phone with the Senator or his people. I was on shpilkes (tenterhooks)!! Turns out the KoD was eating dinner and put his phone to charge!!!! No senator. I don’t know how I managed to convince myself that he was on the phone….Excitement I guess. I barely slept last night.

I really don’t know what this means, if anything, but I know it means we got the Senator’s attention. So today could be just another ordinary day or our lives could totally change…

Stay tuned….

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