Days 308 – 325: Green Card Countdown

Day 308: Aug. 17—Green Card In Production

We finally had gotten back to having work and school schedules that lined up with each other, meaning we would get to spend mornings and evenings together rather than the tumultuousness of him dropping the car off to me mid-afternoon, his taking the bus to work, him working until 2-4 in the morning and either taking a bus home or getting a ride home, and my having restless sleep until he got into bed.

So today I was driving around in circles downtown, waiting for him to cash out his register and for his replacement to come so he could leave, looking for a parking spot, which is like winning the lottery at that time of day. I finally, FINALLY, had found somewhere to park and wait, so I started checking my email and, as usual, compulsively checking facebook. I realized I had an email from USCIS:

“Your Case Status: Card/Document Production. On August 17, 2015, we ordered your new card for Receipt Number XXXXXXXXXXX, and will mail it to the address you gave us.”

I thought, finally, his EAD was coming. But then I decided to re-read the email from the beginning, and realized it was in reference to our I-485, the Green Card application. I was a bit in disbelief. I thought I had read it wrong and just kept reading it over and over again. When Efrem called and told me he was ready to go I was still so stunned that I had to tell myself out loud to put the phone down and stop reading it so that I could pull out into traffic without causing an accident.

I picked him up, handed him my phone with the opened email, and told him to read it. He just got this big stupid grin on his face,  and said, ‘My green card is coming?!’ I told him, I’m pretty sure that’s what it means. We probably both should’ve been happier, but with all the disappointment around the EAD getting lost and having to reapply, we both viewed this with cautious optimism. We’ll wait and see what happens.

I checked visa journey to see if it really meant that the green card was approved, since we never got an outright notice of approval, but  the forums confirmed what we thought–he was finally getting his green card.

Day 310: Aug. 19—Green Card Decision

I got another email from USCIS this time saying Your Case Status: Decision. I guess this is the notice of approval. These emails are unlike any we’ve received previously, but I guess they just get funny around the green card. It said to expect his Welcome Letter in the mail and to follow the instructions given in that letter.

Day 316: Aug 25 —Welcome Letter Arrived

His Welcome Letter arrived! I guess it’s really happening then, he’s getting his green card. We’re really happy that the letter was written to and arrived at the correct address, which gives us hope that our green card won’t get lost in the mail like our EAD. Although our EAD notice of approval came to our house while the card never showed up…The letter wasn’t any clearer about what we were supposed to do aside from wait. So we’ll wait

Day 323: Sep 1—Green card was mailed

I got another email from USCIS saying  “Your Case Status: Card/Document Production.On September 1, 2015, we mailed your new card for Receipt Number XXXXXXXXXXX, to the address you gave us. If you do not receive your card by October 1, 2015, please go to…” The green card was mailed!!!!

Day 325: Sep 3—Green card in hand

Efrem was chatting with me on gmail asking if I could call him while he washed the dishes so he wouldn’t have to text. I told him 5 minutes, I was busy writing a new entry for this blog. About five minutes later he started writing (in Amharic), “My love,” “My beautiful.” Then there were two pictures of a large envelope from the USCIS. I already knew what it was. Then there was THE picture. The picture of his green card next to a brochure that said “Welcome to the United States: A guide for new immigrants.”

FINALLY!!!!! I jumped out of my chair in excitement. I wanted to scream and jump up and down, but alas, I was at work. 325 long days for a permanent resident card. We can finally breathe a sigh of relief—a temporary sigh, but one nonetheless. This is, after all a temporary green card, with conditions. In order for him to get his conditions lifted, we have to wait almost 2 years, file more paperwork, and pay more money. To get his citizenship, we have to wait 3 years from the date on his green card, file more paperwork, pay more money, and take exams. But we’ve got some time before we have to worry too much about that.

Finally he’s LEGAL!