Our I-130 petition for Jon's visa has been approved.
This is good news - it really is, and I keep reminding myself of that. The I-130, if you remember, is the spousal visa that will give Jon his green card, allowing him full legal rights as soon as it's granted. He won't have to wait in the States, prohibited by law from working, submitting further forms and applying for an adjustment of status until he's awarded a green card. Once the visa is in his passport, he can move over and we'll hit the ground running with real life. We're no longer in limbo; our marriage has been deemed bona fide by the United States government.
The bad news, though, is that Jon probably won't be moving over for four to six months. That's an estimate of how long it will take for the steps between the petition being approved and the visa being granted to play out.
There was a snowball's chance in hell that our I-130 would be approved before our I-129F because of the delay in processing time for the I-130. (Just to remind you, you cannot file an I-129F without having first filed an I-130, and we filed the I-129F in addition to the I-130 because it would have gotten Jon here sooner though he wouldn't have had the full legal rights of an alien spouse upon arrival.) As I noted a few weeks ago, the wait for I-130 approval is supposed to be five months but it was 12 months at the time we filed and when I wrote that last post it was eight months. It somehow only took five and a half months from the date our application was received to the date we were given approval.
That's good news. It is. It really is.
But we were so aware of the infamous delay in the I-130 processing that we hadn't actually considered any other possibility than that we'd get the I-129F approved first, around this time, and that the next steps would only take six to eight weeks.
When I moved back from London, we knew we'd be long distance for more than 18 months and, over the past year, we've more or less made our peace with the fact that we'd be apart for longer than we'd expected because of delays and misunderstandings on our end. Honestly, though, we never prepared ourselves for more than two years of this, and it's really hard.
That's all I've got for you, dear readers. It's really hard. I know it's not fair - thank you to everyone I speak to who confirms that - and I know it could be worse - Jon could be from a suspect country rather than one with which we have a special relationship - and I know that the approval of our I-130 is good news and there are couples who would do anything to be in our shoes. I'll remember soon enough that things are moving forward, but that's all I can say right now. It's really hard.
photo by Tarah Coonan