I didn’t really want to post on this but it’s been such a huge part of this process and is taking up almost all of my time and thoughts. The paperwork involved in moving to France for a job is intense. Add to that, I’m a Canadian citizen living in the US with no status here. I think I’m pioneering new territory. With my last day at Nike, my H-1B was pulled and I’m now a squatter in this country. Now, it’s highly unlikely that the immigration police are going to roll up and force me out but I’m on borrowed time right now. I was earlier led to believe I could easily go to Canada by driving to Vancouver and re-enter the US as a visitor, giving me up to 6 months to sell my house, contents, car, etc. After talking to an immigration lawyer, her counsel is that there is less risk in staying here and wrapping up things as fast as I can then leaving once. No facing immigration at the border, no risk being denied entry, no passing Go and collecting $200. In her words, “you are not legally authorized to be in the US”. Yikes. Forget the fact that I’ve lived here as a student or worker for half my life. That I’m a taxpayer, a property owner, and have roots here.
Backtrack to some of the things I’ve already done. To start my French work permit and qualify for social security, I had to provide several documents, including a long form birth certificate which I ordered online. I didn’t know this even existed for me but it did, at the hospital I was born at. It includes a lot of detailed information, the crucial part being both parents’ names. This had to be translated into French. There’s only a few people in Canada that are authorized to do this. I felt like I was looking for unicorn tears harvested during a blue moon. Luckily my family lives near Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, where you can find all this stuff. The translator that is, not unicorn tears. I had the long form sent to my Mom and she sent it to the translator who then sent the finished work to me. Her name is Francine and she’s been so kind and helpful and I told her so. I sent the docs to France, only to find that I missed having the birth certificate apostilled by yet another authorized government body. Add that to my “to do” list. After all this is done, the work permit can get started. When it’s complete, 2 months later, it’s sent to the closest French embassy to my house where I’ll make an appointment to pick it up. In this case it’s in San Francisco. However in light of my rush situation to leave the US, I may have it sent to the embassy in Toronto. Thanks again, Toronto!!
Backtrack even more before that, I realized that my passport expires in Feb 2014. This would put me right in the middle of my move to France. There was some anxiety involved in the best way to renew my passport but I opted to do it by courier and staying here in the US. The turnaround promised to be 20 biz days but I got it back in two weeks, hooray! I also lucked out because as of July 2013, Canada had a simplified way of renewing passports that didn’t require a guarantor–another situation where you have to find someone that fits a very small and precise description.
So that’s what I’ve been occupied with these days, now with more urgency to exit the country. The last thing I want to do is jeopardize future entry into the US, whether as a visitor or as a worker.
I wish I had more interesting pics to share on this topic. I inserted one of Cleo who got tired of waiting for me to finish this post and went upstairs.