I am so excited that I have received my residency permit! I woke up early and read the email, I instantly sent a very animated text to Rasmus. It’s happening!
A lot of people think that as soon as you marry someone from another country they can stay here, or you can just go there, but that’s not really the case. Because we got married in the US Rasmus could have stayed here, but he wouldn’t have been able to work (or therefore have health insurance (some exceptions)), and the same if we had married in Norway. I can also go to Norway for a maximum of 90 days every 6 months, but without the ability to work or receive health insurance (and the same for him here).
Now that I am approved for Norway via a family reunification visa, I can legally work there, and be a part of both their healthcare and education systems. I will be in the temporary residency permit program for 3 years, then move into the permanent residency program, and after 5 years have some options for citizenship although it is very hard to receive.
Rasmus is also in the process of applying for an American green card. The American system is fairly similar to the Norwegian one in terms of residency permits, but we have only just begun the process so it’s hard to say just yet.
For me to get my residency permit after marriage, choosing to change my last name, I had to:
- Hand deliver my signed marriage license (5 minute drive, no wait), then wait 4 days
- Pick up my official and notarized marriage license (5 minute drive, 10 min. wait) (3 copies)
- Go to the Social Security office and change last name (30 minute drive, 20 minute wait), then wait 10 days for new card to be mailed to me
- On same day as Social Security office, they told me I could get my new drivers license just by showing my SS receipt and marriage license (20 minute drive, 2 hour wait)
- Went to local post office with driver’s license, birth certificate, existing passport, and applied for a new (expedited) passport with my name change (5 minute drive, no wait), then wait 10 days for new passport
- Within 2 weeks I had all of the paperwork I needed, and was able to pay the application fee and book an appointment at the appropriate agency in NYC to hand deliver my application
- I realized that my birth certificate, marriage license, copy of my new passport, headshot, copy of social security card, and all of Rasmus’s income/vital statistic/and property documents needed to be notarized (5 minute drive, no wait)
- We realized that my birth certificate and marriage license needed to also have an apostile stamp (2 hour drive each way to Trenton, no wait), then drive back the next day to pick them up
- Go to NYC to the agency for handing in my paperwork (1 hour ferry each way, 20 minute walk, 30 minute wait)
- Then wait.
- Total time (with absolutely every “expedited” option taken) for the residency permit: just under 3 months.
I was very lucky that I had the ability to have time to get all of this done so efficiently (and have Rasmus with me to do it, he was a great help!).
I am so excited about my new life in Norway – it hasn’t quite set in yet! Once I receive my packet in the mail I will update you with my next steps 🙂 I am waiting to go to Oslo until January because I have a work obligation to fulfill, and then we will be spending 3 weeks at the end of December beginning of January in Florida. I look forward to using these next few months to GET FIT and work on my Norwegian!