Friday, November 18, 2005

At An Immigration Office

Have you ever been in one of the immigration naturalization service offices? I believe that it is one of the most stressful places. If you are there even once, you probably know how I felt when I was there a few days ago: Being treated like a criminal.

You need to make an appointment on-line ONLY before visiting there.
You get there too early. Then, you have to wait until it is15 minutes before your appointment time. You stand outside of the building and wait.
You go in the building and get checked all over: a cell phone with picture-taking function is not allowed. Metal detector is so sensitive that even your little hair bow sets the alarm off. A palm pilot gets checked. Your key chain gets manually checked.
You pass the security check and go to a corner of a large waiting room. A front desk lady behind bullet-proof-glass asks you “What do you want?”
You show your paperwork to her. She looks at them briefly and gives you a number card.
You sit on a hard plastic chair about 30 minutes to one hour in the waiting room.
You see some signs on the wall, “No foods” and “No drinks”. You also see a sign warning you that someone is watching you through security cameras.
Your number is called up. You go to a specific window. An officer asks you “Why are you here?”
You show your paperwork to the officer.
You get nervous whenever the officer points out a little shortcoming on your documents because you know it is too much trouble and too time consuming to get anything straight with the immigration office. The worst case scenario is that you have to leave the US or are put into jail.
If paperwork goes reasonably well, you sign them and put your finger-prints on them. You can now exit the building.

Your new green card will be mailed to you in the next 6 months to one year. Good Luck.


Maria Elisa said...

I am soooo glad I don't have to deal with that anymore. I still remember having to go to the immigration office in downtown LA. You're right. It IS like being in a jail setting. The people that work there are surly and rude. The people waiting to take care of their business are scared and intimidated. Are the walls still that sick shade of green?

Coppertop said...

It is simply a good thing that you don’t have to deal with them any longer. I don’t remember the wall color, but I DO remember: small banners here and there with a message, “power of teamwork”(They need to acquire this); GWB’s picture; and one middle size TV hanged from a ceiling with CNN on -- volume was turned off and subtitles were too small to read.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine going there and not knowing how to communicate with the people there? I once had to escort someone there, b/c they did not know how to read or write. Imagine not being able to sign in or read the document you are supposed to fill out, or fill out the document for that matter. How Frustrating! As if having to go talk to immigration wasn't bad enough.