When we started the process of immigrating to Canada, I knew we’d probably be lucky in some ways, and unlucky in others. Our experiences so far have been mostly lucky. We found a beautiful place to live, both of us have had successes with employment, we got a good lawyer, and of course, we speak the language and brought enough funds to begin with. We’ve filled out the forms, gotten a clean bill of health and have generally been able to jump through all of the hoops that the bureaucracies of the US and Canada have put before us.
The problem is my wife’s fingerprints, or rather, lack of them. It seems that a small percentage of the world’s population can’t produce a readable fingerprint. Besides the obvious ones without hands or arms, there are others, like my wife, who simply have dry skin and don’t have much in the way of ridges on their fingertips. While this characteristic might come in handy if you were a murderer or burglar, it does pose a significant obstacle if you want to immigrate. After three consecutive sets of prints sent to the FBI and three sets subsequently rejected, the FBI has finally flat-out refused to say that she isn’t in their database. Reaching this dead end has taken about 4 months and a couple hundred dollars in fees and postage.
All is not lost, though. Our lawyer was able to determine that we could in fact get around this seemingly impassable obstacle to ever getting Landed Immigrant status by obtaining a Police Certificate (like the one I got from Cambridge, England) from every state that my wife has lived in since she was 16. Fortunately, she only lived in 3 of them. If she had moved around a lot, we would really have been out of luck. So we now have yet another obstacle, but after another few months, we may finally see the day where we’ll get Landed Immigrant status (and hence Permanent Residency). That Holy Grail of Permanent Residency means that either of us can work where we wish, put down roots and plan for the future far more than day to day. I’m not holding my breath, though. There have been so many times when we thought were were nearing the finish line, only to have it moved further into the future again.
I have learned that the one thing that you need to immigrate, more than money, influence, talent, friends, family, or anything else is patience.