I-140, I-485, EAD and Green Card
Since last thursday our lives have revolved around these four terms in the title. For most of humanity, its some combination of numbers but for a few hundred thousand desis in the USA, these are magical combination numbers to a rosy picture.
The USCIS all of a sudden announced that as of last Thursday the filing status for Green Card applicants is current for all countries.
The green card life cycle goes something like this. First comes the labor application or PERM as it is now called. Once that clears, you can apply for the 1-140. This is basically showing the USCIS that the company has the financial musclepower to pay the salaries. Once that goes through, it was a loooooong wait to get to the I-485 which is the Adjustment of Status from Temporary Immigrant Professional to Permanent Resident Alien. And then one would get the Authorisation to work without any kind of visa restrictions. And finally the “coveted” Green Card.
For years the I-485 stage was backlogged beyond belief. As of early June they were processing applications from 4 years ago. So all of us who had applied for the Green Card were resigned to a long wait. So imagine then that we get the news that this is all current.
The lawyer asks us to submit a plethora of documents, including our birth certificates, marriage certificates, tax statements etc. As I start gathering all of that for Shirrin and myself, I realize that both our birth ceritificates are in India. A couple of SMSes to both our families and thanks to my sister, shirrins mom and my best friend Homiar, DHL delivers the certificates to us in NYC exactly 48 hours after the request. Needless to say they had shown up in my inbox in a matter of hours. Thankfully I didnt have to make a family member travel half way across India for it.
So now we go and get our medicals done. Blood tests, shots against Mumps, Measles, Rubella, and a TB skin test all make me feel like a pin cushion.
With that out of the way, we now have our documents and the lawyer will forward them on to the USCIS.
This whole flurry of events has changed a lot of this for a lot of people. Many people’s lives were in a state of limbo as everything depended on their immigration status. People did not have kids, or buy homes or property because their future was uncertain. Personally I find that such helplessness is not a good thing. Its an escapist attitude. Its as if you don’t get the Green Card and your life will end and yo will die.
When I started my green card application I was ready for a long wait. However it was in no way a means to my end. Shirrin and I were sure and are sure even today that we are applying for it not to hold on to life in the US. Yes it will enable us to be here with a lot less H1-B visa hassle, but in no way does it mean that it seals our roots in this country.
So the next time you see your desi friend either here in the US or someone visiting the motherland, just ask them if their i-485 is filed and then sit back and enjoy the story.