I had the pleasure to interview Lindsay from Canada about her journey through immigration as part of my Success Stories series. She shared a lot of valuable information not only in this interview, but also in her personal blog, that you will find at the end of this interview. Enjoy!
How long have you been living in the United States?
Lindsay: I’ve been in the US for a little over 2 years now!
Why did you decide to move to America?
Lindsay: My husband! Once we realized we wanted to be together, we knew it would be best if I moved to the US, instead of him moving to Canada. At that time, he had a full-time job, whereas I was unemployed and not in school. He also was very close to his family and he had a huge family to boot. Me on the other hand, there were only a few family members close to where I lived and I knew I’d be able to live away from them as I had previously lived in the US for 2 years (on a derivative work visa of my mother) from 2005-2007 and I was able to handle it then, so I knew I’d be able to handle it again. Plus, I lived in Quebec, where the language spoken/written is predominately French and my husband doesn’t know any French. Whereas I spoke English, the language predominately found in the US, so I’d have no issues communicating.
How did you get your visa and green card?
Lindsay: Through my husband. We applied for a CR-1 visa (spousal visa). We sent off our petition in August of 2010. That was approved in January 2011 and our case then moved onto NVC, where we spent February and March sending more paperwork and paying bills. Finally had my visa interview at the beginning of May. Within a week of receiving it, I immigrated to the US. I obtained my green card in the mail a few weeks after going through the border. I’ll be eligible to apply for US citizenship early next year, but as of now, I have absolutely no plans to apply for it.
What was the most difficult part of your immigration?
Lindsay: The 9 months spent away from my husband. At the very beginning of the process, I was denied twice at the border to visit my husband in the US (due to having immigration intent), so it became harder for us to see each other as he had a full-time job and had limited vacation time (whereas I was unemployed and could have easily visited as often as I wanted, money permitting). So, in the 9 months it took to send off our petition to getting approved at the visa interview, my husband visited me a total of 5 times. Each visit usually only lasting around 4 days. And it took a toll on our relationship as we basically spent 9 months out of our first year of marriage apart.
You’ve been living here for 2 years. What do you like the most?
Lindsay: Hmm. There’s not that big of a difference between here and Canada, so to me, it was like just moving from one city in Canada to another city in Canada. Maybe the absence of French? *laughs* I was never fluent in French and had a tough time with EVERYTHING being in French back where I lived, as I really spoke only English.
Oh, here in South Dakota, everything is flat and there’s no high buildings (the highest building in my town is only three storeys!), compared to Montreal where everywhere you look, there’s a tall building. And because of this flatness, you can see soooo many stars at night. It’s absolutely beautiful! Back where I’m from, you’d be lucky to see the moon sometimes!
Is there anything that you miss from home other than family?
Lindsay: Besides family, public transportation (trains, buses, metros)! I’m in a tiny little town of around 20,000 people now, compared to Montreal with around 3 million. I miss the busy city life. I miss all the excitement that comes with that. There’s not much to do here if you want to go out (like museums or amusement parks, for example).
Looking back at your migration to the US, would you have done anything differently?
Lindsay: Nothing that I can think of. It was a pretty smooth process, besides being away from my husband the entire time. I guess the only thing I can think of would be that I would have waited a little longer to cross the border that second time after being initially denied and perhaps I would have been let through, giving me an opportunity to see my husband longer and more often.
Do you have any advice that you would like to give other immigrants about life in America?
Lindsay: For Canadians, it’s very similar in many ways, so establishing yourself here shouldn’t be that big of an issue. For others though, especially those from non-English speaking countries, it’s going to be very different. Not only the language barrier, but also a cultural difference. My only advice would be to take one day at a time. And communicate with your American spouse (if you came here on a spousal visa like myself) often so they can help you transition. And if possible, learn English BEFORE immigrating. It’ll make things a lot easier once you get here. I’d also like to suggest trying to make friends, so they can help you out. But, I know this can be tough. I’ve been here over two years and don’t really have any friends here yet. I’m friendly with my co-workers and fellow classmates, but I don’t have anyone I hang out with on weekends or evenings like that. I just have my husband for that!
If you would like to learn more about Lindsay’s journey through immigration, check out her blog at http://journeythroughimmigration.blogspot.com and read all about it. Reading her posts will walk you through every step of the process.