Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Process of Becoming an Expat

An expat wouldn't be a true expat without some immigration fun thrown in the mix, right? I think the extra lines on your forehead and blood pressure points as a result of the immigration waiting game can be compared to getting a gang tattoo or experiencing some bizarre hazing ritual.

Contrary to popular belief, the following statements about immigration in Canada are entirely and egregiously false:
  1. It's super easy to enter/work/live/stay/get healthcare/become a citizen in Canada
  2. Getting married solves and/or expedites everything
  3. Being an American makes it easier
  4. Having a degree and being employable makes you a shoe-in
  5. It is a fast and straightforward process
From the start of our relationship, we both knew the immigration 'fun' would be part of the gig and for many reasons Canada was, and is, the best place for us. What I did not anticipate however was the amount of angst involved in the waiting. A common statement in response to the process is, "don't worry, everything will be fine" and I sincerely, with every ounce of my being, hope that is the case. However, one does not dare get hopes up, raise expectations, or think just because you've done everything by the book, everything will go as planned because no one knows, do they?

I've never had paperwork dictate my life as much as it does now and I cannot convey in a silly blog post the amount of stress such paperwork has caused. Can I do anything about it at this point? Nope. Does that make me think about it any less? Certainly not. 

Being an immigrant, even one making a rather slight move from the US to Canada, my eyes have been opened to the arduous process. While the news would like to make it appear every criminal, crazy person and unemployable boob can gain entry to Canada or the US, I can tell you first hand it couldn't be farther from the truth. Additionally, by assuming these blanket statements you thus discredit every person who has spent years going through the channels to do it correctly and their many sleepless nights... nights like this one for me. 

I hope all our friends and family are right and everything will be ok. I hope I wont have to recompile the 2 inch thick stack of documents I spent 8 months assembling which included two background checks, blood work, urine work, a chest xray, and a 37 page synopsis of our relationship. I hope a year from now I won't be obsessively checking my application status twice a day. 

I hope by reading this post you have gotten a tiny glimpse into the less than glamourous bit of what goes on for expats and all the people you meet with those fabulous accents.

Peace and Chicken Grease,


1 comment:

  1. Interesting to read. Some friends are working on this issue but in reverse (He's a Canadian trying to get into the US) and it's such a huge headache. For a time they weren't even sure if he'd be able to be present at their wedding this summer! But I think I saw on FB that you have this settled now? I bet that's a huge relief!