Carla Linkous Maxwell

Sunday, March 12, 2017

International Travel -- Keeping My Fingers Crossed!

My husband, Adrian Kosky, and I have been commuting between the U.S.A. and Australia since 2012, and we are preparing to travel from Australia to America again this week.

I know it is a privilege and a blessing to have the ability (legally and physically) to travel like we do. We have worked hard at following all the rules and regulations of our home countries, in wanting to maintain relationships and businesses that span two continents. We pay taxes in both countries -- with two different fiscal year calendars to deal with -- and we manage most of our business, tax, and residency requirements on our own, seeking help from professionals (i.e. accountants, attorneys, and realtors) when necessary. (Managing things ourselves, without hiring others to do certain detail work, saves money and helps us afford the lifestyle we have.)

A couple of years ago, Adrian filled-out and submitted the forms to the American government to achieve his "green card," or permanent resident, status. We did not then and do not now have specialised help regarding immigration laws. 

The American immigration procedures have been difficult for my husband and stressful for both of us, but we have followed all the instructions given to us by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). In September 2014, Adrian received his two-year green card approving his permanent residency. As I understand it, he is awaiting the next level of immigration status to be approved, that being a ten-year green card. I also understand that there is some delay in his actually receiving that new card, because the USCIS is about a year behind in their process/approval. 

There is a website for green card applicants to check the status of their applications online. Unfortunately, the information provided on the website regarding Adrian's status, doesn't give me too much comfort, as Adrian and I prepare to enter the United States together on our upcoming trip back to Clarksdale, Mississippi. It just states that he has a green card. Although it has been more than two years, he hasn't received his renewed green card. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and praying that all goes well at the United States border, as we go through customs. 

In the past couple of weeks, we have heard stories about Australians being denied entry into the U.S.A., even though they have had a good history traveling to and from America for over ten years. One of those stories relates to a friend of ours who has helped Clarksdale tremendously for over a decade. The VISA waiver program that allowed our friend to travel to America, has not been approved for an upcoming trip to Clarksdale. I don't understand all the legal details about immigration, but I think goodwill should be encouraged, supported, embraced, and promoted on a worldwide level. Stories of people with good intentions (combined with histories of good works) being denied entry to America are disheartening for me as an American citizen.  

I wish all people could easily travel all over the world, if that's what they wish.

I wish any country would want my husband and myself to travel to visit it; I wish that we could do that and that we would be welcomed with friendship, wherever we go. Likewise, whether we are in Australia or America, I wish we could host people from all over the world, sharing friendship, music, art, food, fun, and laughter. (Okay, maybe we could share work with people from all over the world, wherever we are, too….if we have to.)

To keep myself from being too worried about what might go wrong during our international travel this week, I'm sharing some photos and videos below. These memories make me smile and help me want to keep moving forward, living life with my hubby, the way we do, in two countries and on two continents.

When Adrian received his green card in the mail, I got excited and accidentally filmed sideways!

In 2014, Adrian sang a little song in celebration of his permanent residency in the U.S.A.

I have hope and faith that everything will go well on our trip to the United States this week. (I don't think there is any reason that Adrian should be denied entry at the border.) The decision is up to the actual border patrol personnel to judge whether Adrian is approved to enter the U.S.A., even though he has been issued a green card and is a permanent resident. So, I'm hoping the immigration agents will see him as I do: all cute, cuddly, and full of gentle goodness, working hard to peacefully enjoy life with his American wife.

Our "Plan B" if the worst happens and Adrian is not allowed to enter the U.S.: We will go right back to Daylesford, Victoria, Australia, and do our best to continue enjoying life together.