Can anyone give advice on moving to US/Canada for relationship?
June 6, 2012 8:02 AM Subscribe
He's American, I'm Canadian; we're not married - anyone have advice or experience with immigration either way to be together?
posted by Serendipitous to human relations (26 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
So, we're currently living in our respective countries and we take turns doing a 9 hour drive (each way) to visit each other for a weekend once per month. This has been going on for a year and a half now, and we're pretty ready to make some changes to actually live with each other.
The problem we're facing is that we're not sure which way to go. There are good reasons for both. Immigration is complicated, and it seems as if it will very likely involve one of us not working for some period of time. Here are the items we have had to consider:
-He has a slightly better job than I do and could support us both easier if I couldn't work at first. His job is in the private sector as a systems admin for a medium sized business. He didn't finish school and is concerned that if he moves to Canada, he won't be able to get a job that gives him the flexibility, autonomy, and pay that his current one does (he does all the planning, budgeting, etc. for his current job).
-I work at a University in Canada which is unionized. I will get pay increases steadily, but I don't get bonuses like he does. My pay cap is definitely lower than his, though I have a bit more security in my job due to the Union. Working at a university offers the perk of being able to take courses for free.
-We both receive good benefits packages.
-As he works in the private sector, it is potentially easier for me to get a job there since he can work with connections and I have my BA. For me to get him a job here is more complicated since we have to go through HR and union issues, despite any connections I may have.
-I am almost finished paying off my student loan (less than $1000 to go!). I just bought a new car and have car payments to make each month. I have a little debt on credit cards, but nothing serious or that can't be taken care of with reasonable payments within 6 months.
-He is still paying some of his student loans but has no car payments and no credit card debt.
-I have a degree; BA Cross-Disciplinary Studies.
-He started a degree but due to financial complications was deregistered.
-With where I work, I can take courses for free. If he could get a job here as well, he could finish school for free too.
-He is not in contact with his family, and would have no one to fall back on should he uproot to Canada and have things not work out. We don't want to plan for failure, but it IS something to consider.
-My family lives within a few hours of me. I am not extremely close with them, and in a few years my parents plan to move pretty far north. However, I do have people to fall back on should I really need it if things were to not work out if I moved to the US and had to come back.
-He is a traditional sort of guy who takes pride in being able to "take care" of me. I'm ok with this; we see eye-to-eye on it really, and I don't want this particular point to turn into a feminist-type debate. For him to be out of work, I fear will really do something bad to him emotionally, and he is already very prone to depression and high anxiety due to being an overachiever and perfectionist (I suffer the same issues).
-I have 2 cats I'd have to move, while he has no pets. Not really a huge deal, but just another item on the 'to consider' list.
-While neither of us is really particularly crazy about our own country (no die-hard patriots kinda thing), we both take some amount of pride in our citizenship and we aren't sure if we should try for permanent residence or actual citizenship change.
-Canada's choices include being able to live in the opposite country while you're waiting for your visa - but not being able to work. It also involves potentially applying for a conjugal partner permanent resident status, which would mean we could do the move without having to get married.
-We really want to live together, and we're willing to get married. We both see each other as "the one" but it would be nice if we could do the immigration in a way that would allow us to get engaged and married on our own terms, and not by a government deadline as is offered with the US K1 option.
-We're concerned about the K1 option because of the burden of proof for the relationship. The border won't stamp our passports when we go through, so there's no real record of our visits. We talk online every day using Gtalk and on skype using video chat. However, to prove your relationship they are asking for letters and phone calls, which we have very few records of since we use the internet for almost all our communication.
Has anyone made the move either way? Can you give me any details or advice on the process, or even an opinion, given the information above, on which way we should consider going? I have looked at the visa sites and while some of the information about the actual technical process is helpful, it would be really great to hear from people who have done it.
Much appreciated. :)