On My Green Card

My history with government interviews isn’t great. I remember…oh how I remember…a hot day one summer in London 10 or so years ago. A whole day spent in a US Embassy waiting room packed with others keen on making their way to the land of dreams.

I sat there for hours, watching others come and go, beginning to wonder, eventually, if I’d be able to sleep in the waiting room or if not being called for interview was the US government’s way of telling me I wasn’t wanted.

The news when I finally got to see the man behind the screen wasn’t great. More hurdles thrown in my way. But as I am now here, 9.5 years an American resident, many apparently insurmountable obstacles can, in fact, be surmounted.

And so, this November, I had to visit another government building to renew my Green Card. I was anxious…memories of London 2008 weighed heavily.

The anxiety lessened when I got to the appointed location – it was a one-story affair, kind of like a small, open plan office, with cheap chairs and one end designated for business. It was between an Asian market on one side and an empty unit on the other. What I’m saying is, it lacked the gravitas of the London Embassy.

Inside, three government officers worked their way through the queue, taking fingerprints and photos, filling in forms, ignoring those who were themselves ignoring the instructions not to use their mobile phones.

I had taken the whole morning off, at a time when there was more work than I knew how to complete on time. But I was in and out in less than an hour. Somewhere in America, my photo and fingerprints are now in a database. Some FBI minion was – or will be – ensuring my fingerprints don’t match any in their files. Of everything in this whole process, I’m quietly confident that I won’t show up in the FBI database. If I do, I’ll look forward to telling that story in a blog post or three.

After everything up to now, apparently no one is in a rush. My Green Card now has a year-long extension. My new GC will reach me, if the gods are kind and the wind blows in the right direction, sometime before November 2019. Now, back to work…

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