Monday, April 28, 2014

Green Card Medical Examination Day!

Today was doctor day in the ongoing process of us getting our green cards to stay in the US permanently.
I have had problems obtaining all of my vaccination history as no where in the UK seemed to still have my medical records. The doctor in England denied having them and the doctor I went to until I was 21 no longer had any records either. I was given some sparse information before we left the UK and had to rely on that. I knew I was missing some vaccinations and that I would need to have them done again. So on Friday I went to see my own doctor for my annual well check and had her give me a Hep B shot and MMR shot. As it was part of my check up I will not be billed anything. (I also had the usual blood sugar check and cholesterol check).

This morning we checked, and double checked, all of our paperwork and got it ready to go. The kids went to school as they normally do but with a note for their teacher that we would be picking them up at 9am to go to the appointment. I had been told on the phone that it would be about 30 minutes per person, so 2 hours in total. We arrived at the office at 9:15am and our appointment was scheduled for 9:30am. For the green card medical you can only have it done with a Civil Surgeon listed on the USCIS website and there are only about a dozen in the whole of South Carolina so there was not much to choose from for us. In the end we went for the one closest to us as it was just easier. There was one slightly cheaper and that did a different rate for kids but calculating gas and time to get there and back, it made more sense to go to one closer to our home.

We went into it with me telling the kids they wouldn't need any shots and I was really hoping that I would not be proven wrong. I would have really moany/whiney/complaining kids if they did end up needing to have a blood test or a shot. Ben ended up needing to get a MMR shot also but this one would need to be paid for ($125) as the Civil Surgeon did it. As neither of us had any proof we have had chicken pox we also needed to have a titre test to check our blood for chicken pox, this is $55 each. If it comes back saying we need the shot then that will be another $175 each. Fingers crossed we don't need the varicella vaccine.

Both Ben and I had the BCG vaccination when we were teenagers, although only my records had the date for it, but we all, including the kids, needed to have the TB skin test. The kids had a regular test but Ben and I had a milder skin test due to having the BCG vaccination. K really did not like having the skin test. She. Freaked. Out. She was not a happy bunny. Z on the other hand just lay on the bed and asked the doctor when she was going to be doing the test only to be told that she had done it already.

At this point I thought we were all done. I was wrong. I had got a list of the kids complete vaccination history from their pediatrician and it showed they were up to date on everything. There was even a box checked showing they had had chicken pox and when they had it. This should be enough right? Nope. To make sure USCIS are happy with it all, I was told to go back to the pediatrician office and ask for a letter on headed paper saying that the kids have both had chicken pox and as a result do not need the varicella vaccination or titre blood test. The doctor could have just done the titre test on the kids but after K's hissy fit following the TB test the doctor didn't want to. I went to the pediatricians office and asked them to do a letter and they said they'd do one with a particular wording and would let me know when they have faxed it. I have not heard anything from them so will check up on it when I call tomorrow to get a prescription for Z's meds. We are due to go back to the Civil Surgeons office on Wednesday afternoon for the results of our TB skin test, the titre tests for chicken pox and the blood tests to see if either Ben or I have syphilis!, so I hope I get the letter sorted before then. I REALLY don't want to tell the kids they need a shot! I want to go there and be told all is good and leave with the sealed envelopes that we can send off to the lawyers. I want that to happen because then it will be done and out of our hands. We will have done everything we can do. The only thing left after that we would need to do is go for finger prints.

Keep your fingers crossed dear readers!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quiet Week

Now that Spring Break is over, it is time for a quite week.

Now a lot is happening over the next 7 days. I'm getting my hair dyed. I decided I am really not a fan of the color my hair is turning. We are getting the photos taken for our green cards. We will have the medicals for our green cards. I am going to try to convince my doctor that the information I have about the vaccinations I have, which is not a lot, is sufficient for them to put it all on my file so I can show it to the Civil Surgeon. I'm getting a new wire on my braces. Did I mention I had braces fitted? Yeah, I decided as I am nearing my 40s that it was time to straighten my teeth! The kids have MAP testing at school and are due to have their Spring photos taken. K has actually not had her Fall photo yet that we ordered. We've had her brothers photo sitting in the dining room since before Christmas! The photography studio seem to have their own time zone different to everyone else.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Getting Closer to Green Cards

Yesterday was a bit exciting. 

Yesterday Ben got an email.

He gets hundreds of emails every day but this email was very special. This email told him that the PERM application filed for him had been certified.

It has been a long 208 days since it was filed by the lawyers with the Department of Labor.

Next up is hopefully a straightforward, but expensive, process. I am not going to take anything for granted and assume it will all go smoothly, but I am going to remain positive and hopeful that soon I will have a little piece of plastic in my hand that means I can get (apply for) any job I want and we can live anywhere in the US we want. 

If all 4 of us have medical exam at same time and all adjust status at the same time, it will cost around $4,150. Just to adjust status. It will be more if any of us need any additional vaccinations, and I think I will. Plus there will probably be lawyer fees added on, unless we do the I-485 ourselves and the company only do the I-140. 

For my own sanity, and so I know what needs to happen next, I have worked out what needs to be done, what needs to be filed and how much it all costs. I think I have got it right.

I-140 (Petition for Immigrant Worker)
Fee - $580

I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status)
Fee - (over 14) $1070    (Under 14 if 1 parent also filing) $635

I-765 (Employment Authorization)
Fee - $0 if filed with I-485

Optional - I-131 (Application for Travel) In case want to leave country before GC comes through.
Fee - $0 per if filed with I-485

We need to get a medical from a Doctor who is on a list provided by USCIS. There are 14 in all of South Carolina and there are 3 near us.

1 is on Isle of Palms charges $185 per person
1 is in Charleson charges $180 per person if over 14 or $145 per person if under 14
1 is in West Ashley but there is no info on their website about cost of immigration medicals.

14 year olds & Green Cards

Did you know that you need to get a new green card when you turn 14? Do you know the reason why? No really, I'd like to know why. ...