July 2004 was a turning point for me. I arrived in Colorado USA, having never stepped on American soil before. My boyfriend was there to meet me and for what I hoped was a peaceful and relaxing holiday turned in something quite different.
Two days later, at Hanging Lake ( I70 west and follow the signs) one of the most beautiful places I've even seen, he proposed marriage. Which I accepted.

Minefield!!!!! I was in the USA on a travel waiver. As too many folks to count, will tell you immigration is a potential minefield. We found ourselves seated in front of a formidable attorney, who turned out to be a kitten, filling out numerous forms and paying out over $1000. We had to file the following forms:

I 765 - Application for Employment
I 485 - Adjustment of status or application to register permanent status
I 130 - Petition for Alien Relative
I 131 - Application for travel documentation

A full doctor's report had to be done, another $360. Then the waiting game began.

We got married on September 12th 2004 at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at 7am. After the ceremony we took off in a hot air balloon. It was possibly one of the most romantic days of my life, how had I got to be so lucky finding my soul mate?

However, this did not help financially. I was unable to work and tempted as I was to work "under the table", I dared not take the risk. So I waited and I waited finally a letter came saying that my fingerprints were to be taken on December 16th. Plodded on down there and did that. Waiting again. Then the unexpected happened, a letter arrived stating that the INTERVIEW was scheduled for March 21st at 10.45am. Yikes!!!!!!!! Immediately we called out attorney and whilst he said that this was a good thing, "there is always the possibility that Lizzy could be deported. Although rare it could happen." If I wasn't nervous before hand, I was terrified now.

March 21st came round all too quickly for my liking and as we sat outside that office, my hands shook and tears welled in my eyes at the thought of being separated from my husband. Maybe the angels were smiling that day but they choose the hardest interviewer for us (ain't that always the case?) but also within an hour, not only had she mellowed but she processed my green card there and then at her desk. There are no words to explain the happiness I felt and the first person we called was my Mum, holidaying in Australia and the time was 3am!!!!

Employment time: I got my resume together quite quickly. Prior to coming out here I had worked at the Halifax PLC as a mortgage advisor and prior to that at Experian for 5 years, on the dreaded credit reference department. I started researching the mortgage market and found it lacking for ex-pats. Then I was invited to meet the president of a company called CLEAR CREEK FINANCIAL SERVICES and here my work has really begun in earnest. I am finding products that will help/benefit ex-pats on a daily basis. Companies that will assist new members of the American society (that being EXPATS!!!). On top of that I also have contacts to both the UK and US Experian offices, A direct line to Halifax PLC, a direct contact to the Non-Residents department of the Tax office.

So if I can help anyone out there with a mortgage / finance etc? Or not sure which way to turn, I seem to have acquired a mine of information.
You can contact me via email at ljuster @ clearcreekfinancial.com
Or Visit the website www.clearcreekfinancial.com and if you decide you want to apply for your mortgage with us and have a Northern lass deal with your house purchase, choose my name (Lizzy) for the loan officer drop down option or you just want to touch base and find someone who knows just what you are going through..

If my little essay has helped anyone then, I shall be really happy.
Have a lovely day and Welcome to America.

Posted 07May05