Prints Charming

RejectedWhen 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.

Until now.

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.

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  • By Loud Murmurs » Wet Ground, Losing Ground on November 6, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    […] Because our prob­lems with Pam’s fin­ger­prints, I’m now hav­ing to do the unusu­al step of try­ing to get a renew­al of a work per­mit. We thought this would be a sim­ple rub­ber stamp on a form at the bor­der or some oth­er office, but at this point, it does not look either sim­ple, or even like­ly, in that it involves lots of more paper­work, and some oth­er details involv­ing my employ­er that I’ll leave out for the moment. […]