Around Christmas of the Year 2000, when my employer told me that they were sending me back to Japan, I had prepared to change my visa status from E-2 (Investor Status) to H visa. My lawyer was confident that it could be changed and could be changed in relatively short time. I waited, waited, waited, and received rejection notice. My former employer's Human Resource tried to fix me to be re-hired by one of the group companies in, but they could not get me a position. Economy was starting to experience so called "dot com company recession". Nobody hired me without proper authorization of working in the US.
My wife, girl friend at that time, offered me to marry so that she can sponsor me for Green Card. She hoped that I continued to stay with her so that we could be together instead of 3 months in US and another month in Japan. If you continue to do this for a long time, so many times, US Immigration starts to notice you and give you a warning. Several times in re-entry, the officer of immigration sent me to separate office and could not re-enter to US for 2-3 hours.
So we married. We hired a lawyer and applied for my Green Card. It took us almost another whole year to get to the point of interview. We were so happy and ready to go to interview. We went to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Service) and took interview. We thought it should have been no problem. Our marriage is real. We did not see any flaw. Still they sent my case to a higher level for re-examination. We needed to wait to take next interview.
We took another interview 8 months later. Here, the point is that if you apply for Green Card, you need to obtain temporary work permit and emigration (traveling out from US) and re-entry permit for working and even traveling to outside US. Since they expire in every 12 months and needed to re-apply for them, it was troublesome process. USCIS was not friendly. Even my lawyer advised me not to be angry no matter what they say or do. One day, in USCIS office, waiting for my turn, I found curved cursing words on a seat of a chair. I would not have done that, but I could easily imagine the feeling.
The 2nd Interview was not so terrible as 1st one. Interviewer was helpful and cooperative. Since it took me so long time, I could get Green Card valid for 10 years immediately. Usually, they issue 3 year valid Green Card. Applicants need to re-apply for next 10 years, after 3 years.
The lesson was, "We need to be prepared, study all the possibility, and make sure that we are comfortable and confident. Still, we need to be flexible enough to cope with unexpected happenings." So the words, I came across in a movie, undoubtedly helped. It was "Knowing the Path is Different from Walking the Path."
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