A couple of months ago, we began the long process of Vernon’s naturalization. According the The UCIS website, “naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act.” So basically…if all goes well, he’ll become an American citizen.
It may seem strange embarking on a citizenship path when he is so disabled, and we don’t even know if he will make it through the ten months it usually takes to get one’s application passed. But in a funny way, this is giving him a reason to keep going…whether he remembers it or not. We’ve talked about it enough that he seems to want this in the moments we can connect. Some of the things I’ve written down are: “I want to be an American so I can be with you, Alli. I don’t want anyone taking me away from you. I want to be an American because this country gives (jobs) and also because my daughter is American.” Ok, he may be confused as to the rights he already has or where we are in the scope of our relationship, but it is almost always tied up with a positive message. And so we’ve moved forward, even if its a complicated process and a complicated starting point.
Only once in our conversations, has he expressed a fear of losing his British citizenship, but the cool thing is that both countries allow duality (not that I expect him to ever return there.) Whenever I bring up the subject of naturalization, his responses are consistent. It is something he wants to do. It turns out also that one of my sister Cambria’s best friends is an immigration attorney in San Diego. She has been a great help in immediately responding to the tens of questions I’ve sent her. When Vernon and I decided to move to the US, it took a good ten months of processing paperwork and many visits to the consulate in London just to allow Maki and Vernon to move here, so I know how daunting the process can be. In fact, I had to go through a similar process for my Spouse Visa when we first married, and later, when I tested in for an Indefinite Leave to Remain. (If we had stayed longer, I might have opted for citizenship eventually.) Needless to say, immigration paperwork is something I have a history of working through. But every time, it is completely unique…with a different set of rules and hoops to jump through.
One thing that his struck me through the research process is that Vernon is absolutely eligible to be a US citizen despite his disability. The biggest obstacle, obviously, IS his disability. I was happy to learn that there is a medical waiver form for his doctor to sign, which allows him to forgo the written exam and swearing in ceremony. I believe that someone will be sent to him for his biometric interview once this application is reviewed, which will make things much easier for us.
I started filling out the forms about two months ago, but last Thursday (ironically the day of the EU Referendum) Vernon signed his signature on the finished packet. He knew what he was signing. This is something he wants to do.
Though I’d asked Vernon’s doctor several weeks ago to fill out Vernon’s medical waiver, he hasn’t got it back to me. So the other day, I called our beloved Dr Dan, whose number I still have tucked away for emergencies. Within two days, Dr. Kruse had it finished. They are still the best doctors we’ve ever had…even when they aren’t officially working for us, they still deliver! I picked that up today, so pending our attorney friend’s looking over all the paperwork I’ve scanned and emailed to her, we should be ready to send these forms off at last.
“As stated earlier, loss of executive function—loss of attentional control, working memory, cognitive flexibility, reasoning, problem solving and planning.”
Now, Vernon has to hold on for at least another ten months. It’s good to have a project and a plan…especially a big one!
On a semi-related note, here are old passports belonging to Vernon, Maki, and Justine. Relics from another time, if you look closely. As of last week, they will cease to become European Union citizens. But I still think of them as citizens of the world.