At the start, I was confident the timing would work out. At the start, I had more faith in the system than I do now.
After reading an online account of how a man in England struggled over a 3-month wait during the petition portion of the K-1 fiancé(e) visa process before hearing word, I've only just removed my finger from my mouth in disgust. We got you beat, man! So far, Yume and I've waited eight months, and still no word!
Here's a funny story. When we submitted the form on July 27th of last year, we were fully aware that the wait-time posted on the USCIS website was estimated at 5.5 months. "Great!" I thought. "By January or February of next year [i.e. 2013] her visa application will be processed and she'll be on her way!" Ha ha. That time has come and gone. With each month that passes, I check online to see if the process has moved enough to warrant giddy laughter, but there has to be a much less frustrating way to get your kicks online, am I right? Ha ha. The wait is now at 10.2 months. I'm left little option other than to think the process is intended to keep lovers apart as long as possible to see whether or not the relationship will hold up under the strain, thus saving immigration staff the trouble. Ha ha. It's torture, and time is turning the screws. Don't you get it?
What. A. COLOSSAL. Joke!?
Yup, that's our immigration system. (I can see why people come in illegally.)
What's more, all our careful planning, budgeting, and scheduling is starting to unravel. Yume is quitting her job at the end of the month all in preparation for what we were certain would be her imminent arrival. Now she's confronted with looking for supplementary work until a decision is rendered on her visa (and what employer is eager to hire someone for undetermined short periods like that in this economy?), or go into hibernation or carbon-freeze to avoid spending any money until her time comes. And when will that be exactly? Trying to plan by the posted schedule is proving impossible. At the current rate, I might as well plan on making the bridal suite our retirement home.
You see, her soon-to-be previous job was a municipal position—low pay, but with a very secure future based on a renewable contract (and virtually no one is fired or laid off in Japan). What that means is that the employment cycle for such a position is quite fixed, and that once you leave such a position it's not easy to get back in. It rewards loyalty and hard work, not a desire to leave the country and marry a foreigner.
But Japanese hiring practices are not the problem. Nooo sir-ee! Seemingly punishing obedient and patient visa applicants is the problem. Remember that one? Ha ha. Do I need to tell it again?
So that pretty much brings us to the other day. As I celebrated my 32nd year, I called USCIS to check-in on things again, and ultimately filed for an expedite on our case. On that, at least, they were prompt. The email explained what to do, at the bottom of which it requested to fax supporting documents to a separate authority. Obviously, if the scenario you're claiming is "financial hardship," you have to provide proof. Naturally, they would ask me to FAX it. Something about reading that word made me think they might as well have asked me to contact them by semaphore when the agency plane flies overhead at 3:25 am on the sixth Saturday of the month. I don't have a fax. Fux. "Okay," I thought, "I can make this work," and tried not to make the statement sound like a question in my mind.
Ridiculous. (Does any of this seem sane to you?)
So now I'm having my fiancée and a former coworker in Japan who volunteered to help scramble to put together some documentation of her impending financial doldrums to prove to the Department of State that we've waited long enough already, get the gears movin' already, and let us get on with our lives, thank you very much—already! That or it's more waiting.
What are we waiting for? No, I'm serious. What are we waiting for?! O-negaishimasu!!