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mandyu1

Adjusting to America

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Egypt
Timeline

Hi all

We are in the final stretch of this visa process and my fiance will be having his interview soon. As time gets closer I feel him becoming more nervous, although he insists that nothing is wrong and he is ready for this. I'm just looking for some insight from others who have gone thru this process, and how their fiance/spouse felt prior to coming and their initial feelings after setting foot on U.S. soil. How well did they adjust, did they experience culture shock, and what things about America were the hardest to adjust to? Also, any suggestions on how I can help settle his nerves, make the adjustment a little easier, or interview tips would be appreciated.

Thanks everyone :)


~ Our Journey ~

10/27/09 - Met online

04/21/10 - Travel to Egypt to meet in person

05/08/10 - Sent I-129F

05/10/10 - VSC receives I-129F

05/11/10 - NOA1

05/13/10 - Touched

05/14/10 - Touched

05/17/10 - Received NOA1 in the mail

07/06/10 - NOA2 - Approved!!!! :)

07/12/10 - Received NOA2 in the mail

07/13/10 - Received at NVC

07/16/10 - NVC changes embassy per our request

07/19/10 - Told we are in AP @ NVC

07/30/10 - Case sent to Cairo embassy

08/05/10 - Case received at embassy

09/07/10 - Received packet 3 - FINALLY!!!

09/15-10 - 2nd trip to Egypt, returned home on 10/5/10

12/14/10 - Received interview date

01/09/11 - 3rd trip to Egypt

01/12/11 - Interview - APPROVED!!!...but AP

01/24/11 - Returned to the states without my habibi :(

04/06/11 - AP was completed!! :)

05/10/11 - Visa has been issued!!!

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Morocco
Timeline

My advice - prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Some people have an easy transition and others rough. Personally my husband's transition was very very hard for him and on our relationship. We've been married almost 5 years now and we are just at a place where we feel like equal partners moving forward in life in the US. There were lots of adjustments, understandings, and realizations he had to come to and there were sacrifices on both of our parts. Getting him here was the easiest part of the journey.


May 11 '09 - Case Approved 10 yr card in the mail

June - 10 yr card recieved

Feb. 19, 2010 - N-400 Application sent to Phoenix Lockbox

April 3, 2010 - Biometrics

May 17,2010 - Citizenship Test - Minneapolis, MN

July 16, 2010- Retest (writing portion)

October 13, 2010 - Oath Ceremony

Journey Complete!

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Filed: Country: Morocco
Timeline

My advice - prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Some people have an easy transition and others rough. Personally my husband's transition was very very hard for him and on our relationship. We've been married almost 5 years now and we are just at a place where we feel like equal partners moving forward in life in the US. There were lots of adjustments, understandings, and realizations he had to come to and there were sacrifices on both of our parts. Getting him here was the easiest part of the journey.

I would echo this. I didn't even know how rough it was for him when he first arrived because he put a brave face on it, but it was extremely difficult for him, and I found out later he seriously considered going back almost as soon as he arrived. For me, the worst of it didn't seem to show up until about a year after his arrival. It's much better now, and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat, but MrsAmera's advice to prepare for the worst and hope for the best is right on, in my opinion.

The one thing I can put my finger on which seemed to help the most was when he got his driver's license and the autonomy that came with it. There were other things, but that seemed to be the biggie.


I'm the USC.

11/05/2007........Conditional permanent residency effective date.

01/10/2008........Two-year green card in hand.

08/08/2009........Our son was born <3

08/08/2009........Filed for removal of conditions.

12/16/2009........ROC was approved.

11/05/2010........Eligible for Naturalization.

03/01/2011........Separated.

11/05/2012........Eligible for Naturalization.

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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Egypt
Timeline

if your husband drives in egypt and has a license, i would check with your state to see if they allow foreign drivers to drive with their foreign license... where we live, my husband had a year from the date of his arrival that he could drive with his Egyptian license (and a translation of it into english), which was helpful for us because it took a while to get his social security card, ID card, and all that. he still doesn't have a US driver's license (but will when he passes the drive test on Thursday, inshaAllah) but he's able to drive to and from work with his Egyptian one.

The hardest things for us were as other people have mentioned... a job (took 8 months), driving, friends (he's made a couple, but really wishes we lived closer to a mosque) and being so far away from his family. he uses skype and yahoo messenger a lot to communicate with his family back home, though.

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Egypt
Timeline

My fiance is coming soon, October Inshallah... and I am also very worried about this. It is obvious that he is already very nervous. There is going to be a lot to adjust to. :unsure: I really hope he is ok, my stomach is in knots over this. But I do think that getting a Job is a great step in making things better for both him and I, so this is going to be our priority Inshallah.

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Egypt
Timeline

We had a similar experience. In our case, I completely agree with your last statement about getting him here was the easiest part (only I didn't think that way back then). We've been married a similar amount of time, as well. I can't say that we're exactly equal partners yet due to the fact that we're not young (we're in our 30s) and that I was well established with work, home and children by the time my husband got here. My husband has had a rough go of things as far as jobs and establishing himself are concerned and this continues. A lot has to do with his stubborness and also a poor economy. We've had some cultural difficulties in the beginning mostly due to his view on how women should dress and act (not going out without "permission" and the like). This part has been resolved for the most part and in that respect things are much easier now. But yeah, some have had a lot easier transitions than others like Mrs. Amera has stated. My best advice would be (other than echoing the prepare for the worst and hope for the best) to keep an open line of communication, have lots and lots of patience, keep an open mind, try to compromise and be supportive even when things are rough. Oh and try not to take things too personally in arguments or disagreements. Due to the language barrier (even if the English is superb) some things may come out wrong in translation or it may sound harsh when it wasn't necessarily meant that way.

My advice - prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Some people have an easy transition and others rough. Personally my husband's transition was very very hard for him and on our relationship. We've been married almost 5 years now and we are just at a place where we feel like equal partners moving forward in life in the US. There were lots of adjustments, understandings, and realizations he had to come to and there were sacrifices on both of our parts. Getting him here was the easiest part of the journey.


"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Egypt
Timeline

Those 3 things are KEY and in that order. Doesn't make everything better right away but it helps immensely. Like caybee mentioned, my husband also considered (I don't know how seriously) going back to Egypt the first few months he got here because things were so rough for him. No job, no car and no friends for several months, yeah that's rough, real rough.

I would say the Big 3 are;

1) a job

2) driver's license

3) friends outside of you and your family


"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Egypt
Timeline

Thanks for all the advice. I know the job is the biggest concern for him, but he is also considering going back for his masters when he gets here so that should help with keeping him busy. As for the license, I have been talking a lot with And_Sam since we live in the same state, and I know the only way he can drive here right away is with an internatinal license, which is good for 6 months, so this is something he is looking into. Another good thing I think is good, is that I attend a local Mosque and there are actually many egyptians there too, and he has spoken with a few of them already. I think thats a plus so he will feel a little more comfortable when he meets everyone in person. I have also met a lot of great ladies on this site, and their husbands have been kind enough to talk with him, so he feels he has already made some friends here, and fortunately some live close to where we will be living.

But I think one thing he will struggle with the most is the culture. My fiance is a very strong, faithful Muslim, and he's use to walking to the mosque 5 times a day and praying. Here he can't do that, the mosque isn't that far, but its not walking distance. And I tell him that although to Muslims, Friday is the most important day of the week, here it is still a work day, and if he has a job he just cant leave when he wants for prayer or have the day off. And when I tell him how you really don't see people walking places here he is shocked. Also, the Imam at the mosque that will marry us, refused to agree to perform the marriage until he counseled both of us, as like a pre-marital counseling. He made us both lay out on the table everything we expected from each other, and if there was something we could not come to an agreement on then he wouldn't do the marriage. I know someone made a comment about needing their husbands permission to do anything, and Mohamed is somewhat like that, but more just wants to know what I'm doing. And i've already gotten into the habit of telling him or sending him a message and letting him know whats going on, but at the same time when he comes I'm sure it will still be an adjustment because I'm so use to being independent.

Edited by mandyu1

~ Our Journey ~

10/27/09 - Met online

04/21/10 - Travel to Egypt to meet in person

05/08/10 - Sent I-129F

05/10/10 - VSC receives I-129F

05/11/10 - NOA1

05/13/10 - Touched

05/14/10 - Touched

05/17/10 - Received NOA1 in the mail

07/06/10 - NOA2 - Approved!!!! :)

07/12/10 - Received NOA2 in the mail

07/13/10 - Received at NVC

07/16/10 - NVC changes embassy per our request

07/19/10 - Told we are in AP @ NVC

07/30/10 - Case sent to Cairo embassy

08/05/10 - Case received at embassy

09/07/10 - Received packet 3 - FINALLY!!!

09/15-10 - 2nd trip to Egypt, returned home on 10/5/10

12/14/10 - Received interview date

01/09/11 - 3rd trip to Egypt

01/12/11 - Interview - APPROVED!!!...but AP

01/24/11 - Returned to the states without my habibi :(

04/06/11 - AP was completed!! :)

05/10/11 - Visa has been issued!!!

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Egypt
Timeline

Those 3 things are KEY and in that order. Doesn't make everything better right away but it helps immensely. Like caybee mentioned, my husband also considered (I don't know how seriously) going back to Egypt the first few months he got here because things were so rough for him. No job, no car and no friends for several months, yeah that's rough, real rough.

I agree with everything here .Yeah those 3 things are the magic keys .

Try to keep him busy as much as you can .He is going to miss his family,friends,workand his country .If he will come from a big city to a small town in the country side '' like me '' LOL its going to be harder .

Well i see that most of Egyptians who moved to USA said the same thing '' We want to move back to Egypt'' .Me and some of my Egyptians friends here in the US always saying that .

One of my friends who is Egy/American and he lives in NY for about 12 years .He told me when you will first move to USA you will be like what the heck i did to my self ?! Why the heck am i here ? I want to go back to Egypt to my family ,friends and to my work and he was right LOL .

And he also said that things will be better .

Maybe find a job its the most important part cause he will be busy and he also will bring some money to the home .

Getting a DL its also important espc if you live in a small town .But it will be kinda hard to get one not cuase of the drive test but cause of the insurance that he will have to pay to get one .The cheapest company here in NC wants to charge me 100 $ !! yeah its exp cause i have never drived before in USA and im from another country !

Good luck and my best wishes for you .


Nothing's impossible . Nothing's unreachable .When I am weary you make me stronger

This love is beautiful .So unforgettable . I feel no winter cold when we are together .

Will you stand by me ?!!!Hold on and never let me go .

Will you stand by me?!! With you i know i belong . When the story gets told .

When day turns into night .I look into your eyes . I see my future now .All the world and its wonder

This love wont fade away.And through the hardest days . I will never question us .You are the reason my only reason.

I'm blessed to find what i need in a world loosing hope. you are my only believe .

You make things right every time after time.....

Will you stand by me ?!!!

I love you so much and i miss you so much more .

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Morocco
Timeline

The hardest thing for my husband has been adapting to the American mentality, specifically when it comes to punctuality and accountability. Sometimes I wonder if he would have been better suited to life in the south where it's a little less fast-paced, but that comes with a different set of challenges for an immigrant.

Being five minutes late to your job is not "no big deal", instead it can mean you lose it. A parking ticket has to be paid, or you WILL suffer consequences. A credit score will follow you and affect everything you try to accomplish. There's not a lot of forgiveness in our culture and you can't just wipe the slate clean because, "now you understand how it is".

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Egypt
Timeline

The pre-marriage couseling is actually a really good idea.

I made the comment about my husband expecting me to get his permission. How do you feel about your fiance expecting that of you? Is it a huge issue or do you not mind it? You don't have to answer here but answer it to yourself and completely honestly. You may not think it bothers you too much because he's not here yet but it may bother you when he gets here to the point where it causes problems. If you think it may cause problems, try to address it now. I didn't fully address it before hand and it did cause problems with us. I basically laughed it off and did what I wanted without telling him because he wasn't here yet so he wouldn't know (not that I did anything "bad"). I didn't realize how much that particular habit would affect us. I look at it this way, I'm a grown woman who is responsible for children, myself and a home I no longer need to get "permission" to do anything such as go shopping after work without alerting him first. After several months of issues and discussion he finally realized that #1. I wasn't doing anything wrong and #2. his behavior was seriously affecting our relationship unnecessarily. I guess what I'm saying is, don't pacify your fiance if his desire for you to seek permission bothers you in any way.

Thanks for all the advice. I know the job is the biggest concern for him, but he is also considering going back for his masters when he gets here so that should help with keeping him busy. As for the license, I have been talking a lot with And_Sam since we live in the same state, and I know the only way he can drive here right away is with an internatinal license, which is good for 6 months, so this is something he is looking into. Another good thing I think is good, is that I attend a local Mosque and there are actually many egyptians there too, and he has spoken with a few of them already. I think thats a plus so he will feel a little more comfortable when he meets everyone in person. I have also met a lot of great ladies on this site, and their husbands have been kind enough to talk with him, so he feels he has already made some friends here, and fortunately some live close to where we will be living.

But I think one thing he will struggle with the most is the culture. My fiance is a very strong, faithful Muslim, and he's use to walking to the mosque 5 times a day and praying. Here he can't do that, the mosque isn't that far, but its not walking distance. And I tell him that although to Muslims, Friday is the most important day of the week, here it is still a work day, and if he has a job he just cant leave when he wants for prayer or have the day off. And when I tell him how you really don't see people walking places here he is shocked. Also, the Imam at the mosque that will marry us, refused to agree to perform the marriage until he counseled both of us, as like a pre-marital counseling. He made us both lay out on the table everything we expected from each other, and if there was something we could not come to an agreement on then he wouldn't do the marriage. I know someone made a comment about needing their husbands permission to do anything, and Mohamed is somewhat like that, but more just wants to know what I'm doing. And i've already gotten into the habit of telling him or sending him a message and letting him know whats going on, but at the same time when he comes I'm sure it will still be an adjustment because I'm so use to being independent.


"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.

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Filed: Other Country: Egypt
Timeline

I think a lot of it has to do with the individual. My husband transitioned pretty well. That's not to say there haven't been bumps in the road because there definitely has been. Due to a USCIS error my husband didn't get his green card for 7 months and that delayed many things such as job search, driver's license and even getting his credentialing done so he can teach. He has finally landed his first job (10 months into it) and I can already see that it is a relief to him. Being a househusband has certainly been a new experience for him. I have to say though, he has really taken it all in stride and rolled with the punches. When I read you ladies writing that your husband wants you to ask permission to leave the house etc that really floors me. That would not work for me AT ALL. I am the breadwinner here, I own my own home, 2 vehicles, have multiple degrees and I would have to be single before I let any many dictate to me where I go or what I do with my life.


Betsy El Sum

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Egypt
Timeline

Hotguy, I appreciate your perspective as a newly immigrated Egyptian man. I hope other MENA men can contribute as well. It helps us as the wives to understand what you're going through in order to try to understand what our own husbands are going through or have gone through because sometimes it's not as easy to tell your own wife/husband what you're feeling. ;):)

I agree with everything here .Yeah those 3 things are the magic keys .

Try to keep him busy as much as you can .He is going to miss his family,friends,workand his country .If he will come from a big city to a small town in the country side '' like me '' LOL its going to be harder .

Well i see that most of Egyptians who moved to USA said the same thing '' We want to move back to Egypt'' .Me and some of my Egyptians friends here in the US always saying that .

One of my friends who is Egy/American and he lives in NY for about 12 years .He told me when you will first move to USA you will be like what the heck i did to my self ?! Why the heck am i here ? I want to go back to Egypt to my family ,friends and to my work and he was right LOL .

And he also said that things will be better .

Maybe find a job its the most important part cause he will be busy and he also will bring some money to the home .

Getting a DL its also important espc if you live in a small town .But it will be kinda hard to get one not cuase of the drive test but cause of the insurance that he will have to pay to get one .The cheapest company here in NC wants to charge me 100 $ !! yeah its exp cause i have never drived before in USA and im from another country !

Good luck and my best wishes for you .

Edited by je veux ton amour

"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.

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Filed: Timeline

There has been a lot of excellent advice given here, but one thing that I don't see, which I really feel a lot of petitioners do not think about is the shock that you will experience yourself. Yes, the immigrant has culture shock and needs help getting use to life in the USA, missing family, friends, his or her way of life, etc. However there is also a period of drastic change in your own life. You're going from living alone (or living with children, etc) to having someone new in your home full time. Yes you love him and you've waited 6, 9, 12 months or more to have him with you, but things just are not going to work the way that you use to. One poster touched on how her husband didn't accept her coming/going as she pleased, but there are other things as well. You have your own schedule ; when you wake up, morning routine, work, kids, friends, dinner, tv shows, etc and now there is going to be another person who has to be incorporated into that. If you're a person who doesn't do well with change, this can be a huge deal and I experienced my own "shock". I love my husband dearly and the last few years that he's been in the US with me have been a blessing, but it hasn't been roses and rainbows. We had to learn to live together. It's no different than if you marry someone in the US and after marriage live together. I was very accustomed to my quiet evenings, reading, television shows, books, going out with friends, etc. After his arrival I was excited and wanted to entertain him, show him his new home, make sure that he felt comfortable, etc. But after a while it starts to feel taxing ; all those creature comforts that you were use to just aren't the same anymore. Again this might have been only me as I don't deal as well with change as some people do. But it's definitely something to think about and prepare for. In some ways the first few months to year can feel very much like having a new child. No, I'm not calling your husband a child, but he is unfamiliar with the area, has no close family or friends, doesn't know how to get from point A to point B, might not understand how a debit or credit card works, is overwhelmed by the selection at the grocery store and can't wrap his mind around 40,000 versions of the same item, doesn't understand slang terms, and the list goes on and on. You have to take him by the hand and guide him through all of this. From teaching to drive and getting a license, to ordering at a restaurant, to using his new ATM card at the MAC machine or credit card to purchase something, etc. I even had to explain the credit process (credit scores, how to obtain credit, how to keep good credit, )

Keeping an open mind and being very patient are probably the two best pieces of advice that I can give.

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