Basically, it takes serious determination. Our experience has taught us that the US has a purposely Byzantine system of application for an immigration visa specifically to weed out those who are not full-throttle determined to get one. And really, you can’t blame the US. Just look at all the people trying to get into the country every day.
I neglected to mention it, but last month we received a package from the US Consulate in Guangzhou, where they process all the immigrant visas. They had received our application via Beijing (where it had been approved) and therefore had sent us “the next step.” See, information in this process is given out on a need-to-know basis, and until you reach any given step in the process, you don’t need to know about it.
So, we get the package and it’s full of papers, one of which is an “application for immigrant visa.” Forgive me if I thought we’d already filled that one out and had it “approved.” With it is a list of documents which we are to procure, including Yoyo’s birth certificate, passport, and something called a “police certificate” which basically asserts that she has never been arrested. But the wording is not clear on that and we weren’t sure whether she needed only one certificate, or one from “every locality” in China, or just one from each place where we had lived for more than 6 months. A call to the Consulate (for which one has to pay $6.50 for 12 minutes, including time spent answering questions by pressing numbers) gave no answers, as the woman on the other line kept saying things like “I think…” until I had to blurt out, “Is that what you think or is that the real answer? Because I’m not interested in what you think. I need to know the truth.”
Luckily, when we received the police certificate from Chengdu, which was procured by Yoyo’s parents (as were the rest of the docs, bless them), it stated unequivocally that Yoyo “has not been arrested in the whole of China through September 4, 2006.” So that seemed to clear it up.
This week I went to the Consulate to have my “affadavit of support” notarized. This is a crucial part of the application, as it seems the number one worry of the government is not that the immigrants it allows to enter the country will become terrorists, but that they will end up on welfare. The affadavit is therefore a way for them to reduce this risk by legally obliging me to take care of Yoyo (which, as her husband, I believe I already am. But not all immigrants are spouses…) I actually had to raise my right hand and “swear or affirm” to support her! Well, if that doesn’t get her into the country, I don’t know what will. Maybe we’ll have to go with Sascha‘s plan…
“Man, just bring her into Canada and take a dinghy out into Lake Superior. I’ll meet you there at midnight. No customs, no red tape, no problem.”