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Thinking about abandoning my AOS application... (from NY)

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So, living in the US has proven to be incredibly difficult. Navigating healthcare, work and housing is incredibly challenging and we are considering abandoning our application and going to Canada.
 
We started the US process in order to finally live together after 6 years and so that my husband could work on his career. We had always planned to eventually settle in Canada and have kids. We decided that we'd wait out the 3+ years so I could get my US citizenship (mostly just to have something at the end of this insane process) and then move.
 
My husband keeps getting laid off from different jobs, and I am still waiting for a work permit. He gets laid off before he becomes eligible for healthcare or they don't offer it at all. 
New York State of Health keeps making clerical errors which they won't take responsibility for, and consequently our coverage keeps getting revoked. We spend approx. 15 HOURS per month on the phone with them trying to sort out error after error. My husband has had to take days off of work to get it sorted it out. We are following their directions perfectly and then they say we have done it wrong. Technically we qualify for Medicaid, but now they're saying we have to pay $400/month...
The affordable house we rent is for sale and there are practically no other affordable housing options in our area. We'd like to stay in the area because of our support network of friends and family.
 
We're pretty discouraged and looking for advice. 
Right now, I honestly can't see the benefits (vs. Canada) to living in the US.... especially when it comes to healthcare. I'm just trying to collect some experiences and opinions from dual citizens to try to round out this incredibly difficult decision....

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Well that's something that's only up to you and your husband to decide. Just do what you think it's best for you. 


K1

29.11.2013 - NoA1

06.02.2014 - NoA2

01.04.2014 - Interview. 

AoS

03.2015 - AoS started.

09.2015 - Green Card received.  

RoC

24.07.2017 - NoA1.

01.08.2018 - RoC approved. 

 

 

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If I were you, I'll continue with the AOS. Stick it out. You're not the first and only person to encounter any hardship. I'm assuming that you don't have kids. It'll be a different story if you have kids already.

 

If I were you, I'll try to get that citizenship before permanently staying in Canada. At least the citizenship will afford you more places to stay after retirement.

 

In the end though it's your family's decision, so no regrets when it's done!

 

My 2 cents worth....

 

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Perhaps a move to a different city would be worth it for your husband's work opportunities? Sounds like you're close to having your EAD also (judging by your timeline...do you know what the hold-up is?) If you think there are job opportunities for you than that will make life so much easier once you have 2 incomes....it was also rough for us when I'd been off since arriving on the K1 and we'd gone through most of the savings we planned to use while I was off but getting the EAD and being able to actually apply for jobs and work made it bearable.

 

I'd consider - if you move back to Canada and apply for your husband's status from within - how long will he be unemployed while he can't work? Would you be able to find work immediately wherever you'd live - you would have a wait period of roughly 3 months without provincial healthcare after re-establishing residency, not sure how quickly your husband would have coverage too?

 

Waiting on AOS can be a strain, I'd stick it out a little longer - once you're authorized to work you can make the decision about whether staying the 3 yrs to get citizenship is worth it for you.....it's a bit of a jump to wonder if it's worth it now when you haven't passed the first hurdle....after AOS its relatively peaceful for almost 2 yrs until ROC - you guys will be able to get back to 2 incomes, make some decisions about where you want to live etc.....


Wiz(USC) and Udella(Cdn & USC!)

Naturalization

02/22/11 - Filed

02/28/11 - NOA

03/28/11 - FP

06/17/11 - status change - scheduled for interview

06/20?/11 - received physical interview letter

07/13/11 - Interview in Fairfax,VA - easiest 10 minutes of my life

07/19/11 - Oath ceremony in Fairfax, VA

******************

Removal of Conditions

12/1/09 - received at VSC

12/2/09 - NOA's for self and daughter

01/12/10 - Biometrics completed

03/15/10 - 10 Green Card Received - self and daughter

******************

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I'd move back to Canada in a heartbeat.  But maybe I'm just homesick since I haven't been back since 2014.  

 

However that said, it does take adjustment here.  My husband didn't know how insurance worked himself so I've had to learn everything myself.  I'm not sure what I would have done without being able to work right away, so I understand how frustrating it must be (it was a main reason we chose the visa path we did.) I was homesick for at least a year after moving.  It must also be difficult without any income, is there another location which would suit his career path better?  


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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4 hours ago, Udella&Wiz said:

Perhaps a move to a different city would be worth it for your husband's work opportunities? Sounds like you're close to having your EAD also (judging by your timeline...do you know what the hold-up is?) If you think there are job opportunities for you than that will make life so much easier once you have 2 incomes....it was also rough for us when I'd been off since arriving on the K1 and we'd gone through most of the savings we planned to use while I was off but getting the EAD and being able to actually apply for jobs and work made it bearable.

Thanks for your input!

No one will give us any answers regarding the hold-up, so we're just waiting waiting waiting. We know that once we have two incomes, we won't be able to afford healthcare... and that's the biggest problem for us. We haven't had a single positive healthcare experience here, even with employers. Co-pays and deductibles are monstrous, even with "good" plans with employers. I simply cannot understand why anyone would chose this system.

 

 

4 hours ago, Udella&Wiz said:

 

I'd consider - if you move back to Canada and apply for your husband's status from within - how long will he be unemployed while he can't work? Would you be able to find work immediately wherever you'd live - you would have a wait period of roughly 3 months without provincial healthcare after re-establishing residency, not sure how quickly your husband would have coverage too?

We would apply from outside of Canada- from what I've gathered it's about 6-8months from start to finish (If we apply from inside Canada, it can take up to 24+ months). Upon entry, my husband would qualify for healthcare and be able to work. I would be able to work, but would have to wait 3 months to establish residency to qualify for healthcare, although private coverage would only be about $80/month CAD. And we would have a free/low cost place to stay indefinitely.

 

 

4 hours ago, Udella&Wiz said:

 

Waiting on AOS can be a strain, I'd stick it out a little longer - once you're authorized to work you can make the decision about whether staying the 3 yrs to get citizenship is worth it for you.....it's a bit of a jump to wonder if it's worth it now when you haven't passed the first hurdle....after AOS its relatively peaceful for almost 2 yrs until ROC - you guys will be able to get back to 2 incomes, make some decisions about where you want to live etc.....

Besides the freedom to live/work whereever you'd like, I wonder what the benefits are of having dual citizenship. Every dual citizen living in Canada that I've talked to has said that having dual citizenship is more of a burden than a plus because of the tax consequences/filing. Despite treaties, I've been told that self-employed individuals are monstrously penalized for incomes made in Canada. This to me seems like a total deal breaker as most of my work history has been as an independent contractor.

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3 hours ago, NikLR said:

I'd move back to Canada in a heartbeat.  But maybe I'm just homesick since I haven't been back since 2014.  

 

However that said, it does take adjustment here.  My husband didn't know how insurance worked himself so I've had to learn everything myself.  I'm not sure what I would have done without being able to work right away, so I understand how frustrating it must be (it was a main reason we chose the visa path we did.) I was homesick for at least a year after moving.  It must also be difficult without any income, is there another location which would suit his career path better?  

I'm definitely homesick! My husband's family is supportive, but the family/friends back home are ten times more supportive and involved than the ones here. That's the hardest part! I think we've made a huge mistake coming here... why should we have to worry about healthcare if we don't have to? Why should medical bills (and we don't have huge medical issues at all!) be bankrupting us if they'd be 100% covered in Canada?

We've had to learn about insurance too.. what a nightmare! I've reached out to community organizations and state employees who are available to help with healthcare coverage, but no one is knowledgeable enough to deal with our situation. Honestly- it's not that complicated! An immigrant non-citizen without a job and a citizen with seasonal/temporary jobs.... it's been a total disaster and there seems to be no one knowledgeable to help us.

In addition, he'd like to change career paths, but we can't afford school right now and he'd have to start at square one again career wise. we've tinkered with the idea of moving to a new city, but since we can't afford to travel and check out new places, we're unsure how to approach that idea :(

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Sounds like number of things are contributing and coming together at the same time which makes it all worse. You mention having more supportive family back home which I totally understand since I feel that way, but I think the shoe would just be on the other foot for your husband in Canada - how would he feel being away from family - he may say fine but we all know here how homesick you get when you can't see family? No way to tell until you do it of course- but there are no instant fixes in this situation. If it's 6-8 months to apply outside Canada, by that time your EAD will come through, you'll be able to find employment. Since seasonal or temporary employment (which undoubtedly doesn't include healthcare) isn't cutting it - what are the opportunities for permanent work - health care isn't necessarily as bad through your employer as you think. We personally pay the same premiums as I used to pay for supplementary care back in Canada for just myself and daughter...albeit we have deductibles, but we're able to handle those. Understanding healthcare is complicated and I work within HR and Benefits - took me a good couple of years to understand it solidly and we answer questions daily from American born employees trying to understand!

 

You don't have to travel there, the internet has so many resources for investigating locations and figuring out cost of living in a  new place....what about commuting an hour in either direction - where does that and him? Here in the DC area, and hour commute would be considered normal, in fact people might be excited.


Wiz(USC) and Udella(Cdn & USC!)

Naturalization

02/22/11 - Filed

02/28/11 - NOA

03/28/11 - FP

06/17/11 - status change - scheduled for interview

06/20?/11 - received physical interview letter

07/13/11 - Interview in Fairfax,VA - easiest 10 minutes of my life

07/19/11 - Oath ceremony in Fairfax, VA

******************

Removal of Conditions

12/1/09 - received at VSC

12/2/09 - NOA's for self and daughter

01/12/10 - Biometrics completed

03/15/10 - 10 Green Card Received - self and daughter

******************

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Just my two cents...I would research the timeframes.  I do not think 6-8 months to process a spousal sponsorship is realistic.  Currently their "goal" is 80% within 12 months - they were heavily impacted by both work to rule during contract negotiations and the huge influx of refugee applications the government committed to accepting.  I looked into it back in 2013 before moving here and at that time the spousal sponsorship applications were taking over 2 years.  They have worked hard to improve those backlogs.  

As previously stated, you will have to wait for your provincial health care to kick in once you move back.  

 

My question then is...could you start the Canadian process without abandoning the USA one?

 

Only you can decide what is best for you...so much depends on your family support, your community (whether it be your neighbors, church, friends) and jobs are very regional. 

 

Good luck

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Canada and the US are pretty sticky on this.  Other countries may not be and others have argued against me because of this.  But with Canada, you must be a "resident" of a province for 90 days before you can get provincial health care.  You must be a resident of Canada to get any provincial or federal benefits beyond EI.  Once you are a US resident you are no longer a Canadian one.  The US is pretty sticky on this subject too as they consider taking up residence in another country to be in violation of the green card. 

 

However her application to adjust status and her husband's application to become a Canadian PR are two separate things.  She has legal presence.  It is much faster for him to remain in the US and process his application from here. There is a concern with her ability to cover the minimum income guidelines for his application however.  I'm not sure if Canada allows joint sponsors or if the Canadian spouse can be out of the country when processing.  Those are questions for a Canadian immigration forum or lawyer.  

Edited by NikLR

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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My American husband moved to Canada a few years ago and filed from the U.S.  The filing time was approximately two months and the processing time was approximately four months.  However, we used an immigration lawyer to ensure we were doing everything properly and did not have any unnecessary delays.  The lawyer anticipated what forms, etc., we would need next, so they were ready to go when the request came.  Filing yourself may take a bit longer.

 

I know this is an incredibly personal issue, so I don't mean to overstep or be insensitive in offering advice.  It may be worth examining underlying causes for your issues rather than lumping everything in with your move to the U.S.  And, perhaps more importantly, it might be beneficial to determine if these issues would truly be improved by moving back to Canada.  For example, why is your husband continuously being laid off?  Perhaps you live in an economically depressed area, he works in a declining industry and/or he needs to upgrade his skills/education.

 

While this is just one of many options, if pursuing higher education is a goal for either of you, New York State now offers 'free' (I don't think it's quite so simple) undergraduate tuition to middle-class families.  And most colleges/universities offer health care plans and services.  For example, I am pursuing graduate studies at The New School in New York and would be able to utilize a group insurance plan through the school if my husband lost his insurance.  Just a thought in case it interests you.

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