Saturday, February 15, 2014

Things to know before you leave on a dependent visa

In this post I am repeating some old concepts that I have already discussed earlier in other posts. But instead of talking about the conditions of women who are currently abroad or have returned to their country, I feel it is important to share some tips with others before undertaking this adventure..so here it goes!
There are a couple of things absolutely worthwhile taking into account before leaving on a dependent visa to the USA. If you are considering the possibility to leave your country to follow you significant other to the other side of the world, don't rush into a hasty decision, mull it over for a while...better be safe than sorry!
In the frenzy and excitement of starting a thrilling experience abroad, most spouses tend to forget or overshadow the purpose of their departure. What they haven't realized yet is that the experience abroad and the opportunities that can derive from it are NOT meant for them but exclusively for their partners. I always refer to legal ways, of course, and your visa status is quite adamant about it. If you are about to embrace this experience you must think of yourself as an accessory to your partner's life. Don't you ever forget the reason why you are leaving! The only reason for you to be there is because of your partner. You are following your spouse's dreams and aspirations, not yours. If your own culture teaches you to be a submissive wife, I guess you are used to be doing as told, so nothing really changes for you. But if you are independent, you must realize for your own sake that your life will take a sudden turn, downwards. When I applied for my dependent visa, the clerk at the Consulate looked at me and asked half smiling half inquiring "What will you be doing there?" I underestimated his question and all its implications; but I found out too late, when I was there. I wish I had known ahead the type of life I would have been living on a dependent visa. 
Another important aspect concerns you and your partner. All this visa issue will test your relationship even more than you could ever anticipate. Your husband, as the person taking you on a dependent visa, must be aware of the sacrifices and all the implications deriving from that visa status you will be sustaining. Your partner should be involved and informed about your life abroad. Concerned partners will take care of their spouses in the best way they can and they will listen attentively to their concerns. Together you will be able to assess priorities and best options for you as a couple and a family. Some people want to spend a couple of years abroad and that can be managed with some sacrifice. However, if the plan is to stay a few more years or forever, that can have an impact on your married life in the long run. My attitude was "let's wait and see how it goes", I tried to be flexible and not to preclude any possibility but the truth was that I would have been still waiting and seeing nothing happening.  
Another aspect which is not secondary is the State you are heading to. There are 50 States and each of them has its own set of rules and some are even stricter than others. Do your research before electing one State over another as your future residence and find out as much as you can. For instance, applying for a driving license can be a huge matter. Without it, you will be even more limited than ever. Check all these details before picking a State as your final destination.
As you can see, the decision to apply for a dependent visa is no business for a one-person only; it has to be seriously considered by both parties. Immigration law puts you on the same level as a carry-on that can travel along with its owner; the person who loves you won't. It requires an open and honest confrontation about all the pros and cons of a half-life abroad for one of you and both of you must be fully aware of it.