When he started chatting with Kellie Carns on Twitter, Oscar Power didn’t expect he’d someday move across an ocean to live with her.
The two were introduced by a mutual friend on Twitter about six years ago. They were fans of the British comedy game show QI, and initially struck up a friendship talking about that.
Eventually, it progressed into a romantic relationship. They talked over Skype and saved up money for plane tickets to see each other about once a year.
“We flew back and forth,” Carns said.
In June 2015, the pair got engaged. Power decided after they were married, he’d move to Spokane to live with Carns.
But thanks to quirks in the U.S. immigration system, they found it was actually easier for Power to come over as Carns’ fiance. He applied for a visa and had to go to London for an interview, where he was asked questions about how he met Carns and what her parents did for a living.
“I was expecting like a very sort of Stasi-esque interrogation,” he said, referring to the former East German secret police. “It was surprisingly informal, really,” Power said. He had a medical examination, including a chest X-ray, and certified that he was not a member of the Nazi or Communist parties.
The couple planned a wedding ceremony in England for July 2, and plane tickets back to the U.S. on July 4. Power didn’t get word his visa application had been approved until June 25, which made the months leading up to the wedding nerve-racking.
The couple got legally married in Carns’ father’s livingroom in Ellensburg after arriving in the U.S. After marriage, Carns changed her last name to Power.
Now, Power is in the process of turning his visa into a green card. He’ll have to have follow-up interviews with U.S. immigration officers to make sure he’s living with his wife and that the marriage wasn’t a sham to get him to the U.S., a crime known as “marriage fraud.”
Carns also had to show she earned enough money to support Power while he’s ineligible to work, to prove he wouldn’t become a burden on American taxpayers.
In total, the couple spent about $5,000 on the visa application, other paperwork and hiring an attorney to make sure they did everything correctly.
“It’s not like on TV where you just get a green card,” Carns said.
For more stories from the series go to: Coming to America
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