Friday, February 28, 2014

A Canadian in the Making

I'm going to preface the below whinging by keeping the end goal in mind. Two years from now when I'm a Canadian permanent resident, I want a chocolate mocha cake with a Canadian flag on it. And Qu├ębec tuition rates.

Because I was slated to work for AmeriCorps through Citizen Schools for two years, Patrick and I submitted paperwork to apply for his green card last February with the hope that he'd be able to join me in the States in the late spring of 2014. Well, the partnership between Citizen Schools and the school I was serving was put on hold for the 2013-2014 academic year, so I decided to jump ship and run away to Mother Russia with Patrick.

Even though his green card was in the works, at least the first part of the lengthy process was, we've more or less scrapped the idea of living and working in the States in the near future. Now we're thinking Canada. The only hitch is that the process of applying for Canadian permanent residency seems like a bigger pain than applying for a US green card. I guess Canadian peace, order, and good governance don't come cheap.

Before we mail in our application, I need to undergo an upfront medical exam and get police certificates from the FBI and from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. I'm anticipating that the FBI Criminal History Summary will be the most frustrating, especially given that I've had problems with fingerprints being rejected multiple times in the past. Also, the FBI claims that the current processing time is 28 days, yet the CIC website says that it takes 16-18 weeks. On top of that, I have to get documents to and from Russia of all places. However, the kicker is that police certificates are only valid for 3 months and the results of the upfront medical exam for 12 months according to the CIC. If the six fingerprint cards that we're shelling out for are all rejected and the FBI really takes 18 weeks to process them, I may actually need another upfront medical exam and another Russian police certificate.

I don't know why my colleagues call me an optimist.

Anyway, I plan to document our immigration journey here in hopes that someday it'll be useful to someone else seeking Canadian permanent residency while living and working in Russia. It also gives me the opportunity to bemoan the woefully inefficient and outlandishly expensive immigration process.

Patrick and I are off to Moscow on Wednesday for my medical exam and fingerprinting on Thursday at the International Organization for Migration in Moscow. Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly.