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An Invitation from Foreign Affairs Canada [-]

Canadian Expatriates, its contributors, and readers have been invited by Foreign Affairs Canada to participate in a series of eDiscussions. The current topic is “Showcasing Canadian Culture and Know-How Abroad”.

We are asked to consider the following questions:

  • What role does Canadian culture and know-how play in our foreign policy?

  • How might the government best promote Canadian talent and expertise in the world?

    The eDiscussion runs from April 4 to May 6, 2005. At its conclusion, a summary of the discussion will be sent to senior policy planners.

    The Expat admin team encourages its readers to join in the eDiscussion at the Canadian International Policy website.

    Posted by Admin

  • Call for Contributors [-]

    The administration team is currently searching for Canadian expatriates who would be interested in contributing to the Expat Blog. The subject matter is wide open, but must remain family friendly.

    If you are interested in joining our blogging team, please send an email our way!

    Thank you!

    Posted by Admin

    Monday, February 06, 2006

    by Expat

    Looking at the projected wait times on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, reality hit us. It did not matter what deadlines were promised to us by our lawyer, it was likely going to be an additional year and a half before my paperwork was processed. As we clicked on the links to see the estimated wait times for other locations, it became clear that it was a matter of geography that was holding up our lives. Had we filed my paperwork anywhere else in the country, it would have already been processed and our lives would have returned to normal long ago. I felt even further insulted by the knowledge that had I been born with grace and a set of skates, the President would have taken a break from his New Year's Eve festivities to address my case.

    "You know, we should really consider moving to Alberta," I told the Yank. "It could be considered US North. The ideology there lines up pretty closely with your own. In fact, you would quite likely be facing less of a culture shock there than I have faced here."

    "If you want to apply for some jobs on my behalf, go ahead."

    I grinned at having been given the green light.

    "Besides," I continued with my sales pitch, "it will require a plane flight for your family to visit us no matter where we reside and we could probably find an employer who is willing to sponsor you."

    I looked at my husband. He had a distant look in his eye. I wondered if he was pondering the thought of moving to Canada with the same degree of gravity with which I had considered my move to the US. I wondered if he felt the same undying sense of loyalty to his country as I felt to mine when I last crossed the border.

    He finally opened his mouth to speak, "Just think of how nice it will be to swing past Tim Hortons on the way in to work!"

    My heart burst with pride. This man knew exactly how to set his priorities.

    Posted by Expat at 8:49 AM

    Alberta is a lovely province. Here's hoping... :-). No matter which way it goes.. here's wishing a quick resolution to these citizen issues.

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9:21 AM, February 07, 2006  

    Immigration limbo is fun. I was extremely lucky with my petitions etc.(370 days from first app to GC in Boston/Vermont Service Centre) Now I am just waiting for the removal of conditions. Which type of petitions are you applying under?

    As for Tim Horton's, the first time I saw one down in CT I made a beeline off the exit(I drove normally). Though I have yet to find Timmy's that serves a dutchie. I have check in ME, RI and CT

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6:08 PM, February 07, 2006  

    Thanks Coll! :)

    Alex, it is amazing just how much of a difference geography makes. At this point, 370 days would have been a tolerable period to be in limbo! LOL

    I am wondering if we can apply to have our case moved to another office? Probably not, but it would be nice to go somewhere with a shorter wait time. I am not entirely sure which forms we filed as we left that in the hands of our lawyer. I could probably look it up easily enough on the website though.

    I have yet to see a stateside Tim Hortons, but when I do, I will definitely be stocking up on coffee and cruellers. The doughnut shoppes here all serve a dense cake variety of crueller. It is not the same thing at all. :S

    I just received my paperwork for my green card filing (the list of doctors to go to for my physical, the application questionnaire, etc.). Some of the questions on the application/worksheet made my jaw drop. Have I ever "procured anyone for the purposes of prostitution"? Have I ever "been a member of or affiliated with the Communist Party?" Seriously, these are the things they're worried about with regards to immigration?

    I also found the medical forms (to be completed by a doctor), to be rather twisted. All the questions seem to worry about is whether I'm insane, an alcoholic, or am carrying any sexually transmitted diseases. They also want to know if I'm a "sexual deviant". They don't seem remotely concerned about other communicable diseases, say, any of the forms of hepatitis, although they worry about tuberculosis so much that I require a chest x-ray. I guess if I come into this country and and all I've got is ebola virus, I'm a-ok to be here :p

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1:09 AM, February 09, 2006  

    It took us 4 years to get our Green Cards and it was a total pain in the ass. An expensive pain in the ass. Part of it was paid by my husband's employer but once he was laid off we were left to foot the bill.

    Some fun things were having my husband try to track down his vaccination records, getting the full form birth certificate, doing the medical exam which included an HIV test for our 5 year old, travelling to be fingerprinted (twice!) and getting all the photos taken where you're not supposed to smile so you end up looking like a drug addict anyway. Some fun. Glad that's all over with.

    Best of luck!

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9:12 AM, February 10, 2006  

    Don't those forms just give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, Leigh Ann?

    The trip to the doctor's office to be tested for all of that crap is a real treat as well, especially since the lab workers have no idea that you are getting the testing done for immigration. I swear that they doubled their gloves thinking that I was being tested because I actually had all of those diseases! LMAO It really is not often that they have to do immigration exams in our neck of the woods, so if they test you for something, they assume that there is a reason for the test. :P

    Lonestar, you have completely described by experience with immigration. In addition to what you outlined, I had a great time with the fingerprint portion of the process. After a few hours of waiting, being barked at as though I were a criminal, and then completely manhandled during the fingerprinting (three times – as they did it twice electronically and then by way of ink and paper), I was told that my application would likely be rejected because my "fingerprints are worn off". Rather than providing me with a further explanation as to what that meant, I was told that they were finished with me and to leave. I have not heard a thing since and it has been months and months since then.

    The whole thing has been a pain in the butt - an expensive pain in the butt, as Lonestar pointed out! LOL

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