Varun and I are engaged in a long and epic battle: pursuing permanent residency in three countries. Armed with passport-sized photographs and birth certificates, we are applying for American, Canadian and Indian immigration. At this point, we have no shared citizenship and every border crossing involves holding our breath and hoping someone’s visa is accepted. At this point, we call Canada home but even here we are only guests.
Last week, I was on the phone with USA immigration to ask a question.
Me: When my husband and I began applying for our greencard we thought we might move to the USA soon. But now it looks like we’ll be in Canada for at least 5 years. Should we still continue applying?
Immigration Officer: As long as you come to the USA every 11 months and 29 days, he can maintain his greencard.
Me: Great. So, we don’t need to live in the USA to maintain the greencard?
Immigration Officer: Well, it’s up to the border officers. They can decide whenever you cross the border if he keeps it or not.
Really? How are we supposed to plan our life with that kind of capricious reasoning?!
Anyway. This whole process has given me a lot of appreciation for the frustrations many face when immigrating. It can be scary to know that fine print and complicated processes can result in being separated from loved ones for months or forced to move out of a country one has come to call home.
But, the good news is I’m eligible to apply for 15 year permanent residency in India. And I’ll be called a “Person of Indian Origin”. Perhaps this title will subconsciously help me to cook Indian food better and be a better Bhangra dancer. Maybe.