I should be happy, but.
Today Bill and I went down to the Atlanta District Office and got the interim Employment Authorisation Document that I’m entitled to because the Service Centre hasn’t processed my initial application within the specified timescale of 90 days.
We got up early and must have arrived at the office at about 7:45am (erm, small timewarp between the alarm going off and our arrival?!) expecting long queues. Instead we were pleasantly surprised to find that, unlike our experience around New Year’s, we could walk straight in and join the moderate queue inside the building. At reception I proffered my receipt notice and the man knew what I was there for before I even had to say anything. He gave me a form (the exact same form I filed with them in December) and told us to go to a waiting room and return when I’d filled it in. Cunningly however I already had a fresh copy that I’d completed in Acrobat and printed out yesterday so was able to return it to him immediately. We were then waved off and told to wait in room 111.
On entering room 111 we were greeted by rows of other customers waiting for service. Most of them had numbers and were waiting to be called to the booths at the front of the room. I was initially concerned that I hadn’t been given one until I noticed the sign saying that EAD applicants are instead called by name.
Thus followed over three hours of interminable waiting in a hell of muzak blasting down from numerous speakers in the ceiling. I wanted to shoot those cursed things. Wasn’t able to concentrate on reading my book, instead had to numbly stare at pictures of the Statue of Liberty and worse, irritatingly could barely hear the staff when they intermittently appeared at the door with a list of names.
Eventually “Kay Allen” was called and I had to go to another room with a batch of other interim EAD applicants. Here, my Notice of Action was handed back to me and I was told they could only issue the EAD in my maiden name. The explanation was something along the lines of, that my name was already in the system as Downes and that as many people don’t stick around they don’t bother to change such things until Adjustment Of Status. Am now highly frustrated and pissed off.
I had to provide passport ID, sign my (maiden) name and provide an index finger print (proper ink variety) onto a small record card, and then have an ADIT (3/4 side view) photo taken before returning to my seat and a short wait for the card to be issued.
I was already pretty fecked off that I was at the offices in the first place, afterall, we’ve paid for the service and already attended the biometrics appointment in March, and if the Atlanta office are able to provide a card on the spot why couldn’t the real card have been issued in the correct time? (I’ve also read reports that some other District Offices can do so.) Now, I’m aggravated and frustrated about this name issue. I’m worried that although I now have the EAD I needed to go to the Social Security Office and get my file updated to my married name, I have a sinking feeling that I won’t be allowed to do so because my EAD is not in my married name. This I fear will then be compounded when I attempt my driving test and I won’t be able to get my license in the correct name either and thus will have no ID in the name of Allen. Aaargh. The marriage license I signed asked me to state what name I will be legally using after marriage and I put Allen, so why the hell do I have to be stuck in a stupid sort of limbo now? I especially don’t understand the issue with the USCIS today when the Notice of Actions I received from them are quite clearly in my married name. Good grief, it’s not like women taking on their husband’s surnames is a new conception!
So to sum it up I have made a little progress today (actually I suppose it is a leap, just too fed up to be excited) and can now legally charge for my services *cough* but I feel like shit and want to cry because the USCIS have once again proved their ineptitude and inefficiency, and created yet more shit to make life over here far more troublesome than it should be.
Oh, and because we were at the immigration offices sat around twiddling our thumbs for most of the morning we are currently sat at Bill’s office while he races to finish his workload for tomorrow’s deadline. Joy.