I am sooo stuck. I feel lost. I really never thought I'd be in a position like this in my life. How far in do you wade into the river before deciding you can't make it and turn back, when that's just as difficult a trip? Ian and I have been anxiously moving through the different steps of the PERM application, which is how we would be able to transition from a temporary work visa to a green card. It's not going so well.
A bit of background, for context if you're interested:
Ian works for a big company with lawyers that are facilitating this process, and he's been able to continue working his daily job in the meantime on his existing temporary work visa. I'm in a bit of a trickier situation. When we moved to Seattle, I had plans to become a graphic designer, and luckily for me there was a job classification for that to get a work visa. After a few years working design roles, however, I became more and more invested in illustration and realized that my true passion, and the way I would be happiest, would be as a freelance illustrator, working for myself. Unfortunately, there is no accessible visa that would enable me to do that....so it became a waiting game for the green card. I became unhappy working full time as a designer and decided to quit and pursue my illustration skills with more focus, while staying in the US as a dependent on Ian's work visa (meaning I can't work without a new visa). We started the process of acquiring a green card.
This was fine for a while, but as we got further into the many steps required before you can even submit the actual green card application, it felt like we weren't having the best luck. Everything has been taking longer than average times to process (possibly pandemic related), and we'd been waiting on overdue results for the most recent step to come through for over 130 days. This was the last step before I could apply for work authorization, the one that would let me finally start a proper business. Today we received notice from our lawyer that we have been selected to audit.
This means, on average, an additional six month wait. But I've already been waiting ten long months. I had rationalized, in my head, that I could handle a year. But it's feeling more and more uncontrollable, as it seems time can just be heaped onto our wait at random and at any stage in the process.
On top of that I feel such little support from our "lawyers," corporate machines churning out applications for Ian's company. I am not a part of the conversation, I can't advocate for myself, everything is through my husband, and that's a position I've rarely been in. It's been a real exercise in patience and learning to sit and wait. But man, it is hard to keep my spirits up. Just one more thing piled on the emotional wreck that is this year. I know I have so much to be grateful for, I'm lucky we have anyone helping us at all, but this setback really makes me wonder if sticking it out in the US is the right choice. After being here the past four years, Seattle is my home, and leaving would be just as hard as staying.
The only thing making it remotely okay is the amazing support system I have in my friends, family, and partner. If you're going through something even remotely similar, let's chat. I feel pretty alone.