So… when is all this happening?

In the last post I mentioned the importance of getting a credit score. However, upon reflection I think it’s important to explain some tentative timings of our move. This is essential in understanding the credit score regime we will be undertaking to allow us to move over with a decent score.

From this point on in the journey timing is everything. We go for our medical in Sydney on September 28. This is a key date – it really starts the clock running. While our interview is in Sydney on October 10, the September date for the medical is important. You see, to activate the visa when you enter the US, you must have a valid medical report. That medical report lasts six months. So for us, we will need to enter the US before March 28, 2018.

Okay, so regardless of when we successfully gain the visa in our passports, without a valid medical, we can’t enter the US. March 28, 2018 is our deadline for activation.

At this stage I’m anticipating activating our visa in early February 2018 – and spending a month in the US preparing before heading back to Australia to finalise our affairs.

This brings up another question – how can I return to Australia after activating my lawful permanent resident (LPR) visa. “I thought LPR means you live in the US,” I hear you say.

Technically, that’s correct. However, Green Card holders can leave the US for a period of UP TO 12 MONTHS, without it affecting their status. Stay out of the country for more than 12 months, and you risk having your Green Card cancelled because you can be deemed to have abandoned it (there is a way to push that time period out to two years, but I won’t bore you with those details).

Note the “UP TO 12 MONTHS” bit in the paragraph above. It’s up to 12 months because if the longer you stay out of the country, the tougher the questions will be upon re-entry. They won’t cancel your visa, but you may be hauled in front of a judge to explain why you were out of the US for so long.

Okay, and one final point about leaving the country after activation – it’s not uncommon for people to activate their visas then return home to finalise their affairs. It’s understood that you need to sell your house and car, pack up your life and find a job. Just make sure you do it ASAP.

So, back to our timeline. We’re looking at heading over for a month in February. This means we can activate our visa, get our Social Security numbers (key for building a credit score), open a bank account (also key for a credit score), meet with some recruiters and generally learn to live the American life.

We’ll head back, save a bit more and prepare for the move. And all going to plan, we’ll be settled in the US by Christmas 2018. Well that’s that plan at this stage…..

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