Chapter 39: On the Border, at the Public Security Bureau

7 Responses

  1. Melissa
    Melissa March 16, 2010 at 7:27 am | | Reply

    This story makes me have flashbacks of mine and my husbands immigration interview. We had actually prepared very well for the interview as far as paperwork and documentation, but I don’t think anything would have prepared us for the actual interview. I had read a lot online that made me think that it wouldn’t be too bad, but it was quite like a scene from the spanish inquisition. All we were missing was a very bright light pointed our way.

    My husband’s Visa had technically expired in November, however, he had already filed for his change of status and permission to become a legal resident. But, our interview wasn’t until January. Technically he was illegal for a few months. This is a grey area with our federal government. If they really wanted to they could deport you, however the fact that your paperwork is in limbo, most of the time they turn the other cheek. That didn’t keep the interviewer from grilling me. He made me read from a paper on the wall where I was sitting that outlined all the punishments for lying to him or the US government. He not so gently reminded me that my hubby was currently in the US illegally. He also proceeded to ask me questions ranging from what color underwear my husband wore to why we didn’t take a shower together that morning. It was crazy. He separated us early on in the interview and grilled me for about 20-30 minutes. Then he brought my hubby in and escorted me out. We weren’t even allowed to pass eachother in the hallway. 5 minutes later my hubby was done and the guy was stamping some papers as well as my husband’s passport.
    All in all things had a happy ending, but man it was crazy. And it really stinks knowing that your fate is in the hands of a government that might not particularly care what happens to you or your loved one.

  2. Alexis Grant
    Alexis Grant March 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm | | Reply

    Hey — Glad you found my site and left a comment, because it led me here! Sounds like you have some awesome stories to tell. I hope you’ll join us in the Ning group. I don’t think we have anyone writing about China!

  3. Mish
    Mish February 27, 2012 at 2:37 am | | Reply

    That is the best compliment a fluent speaker can ever give to a foreigner! Fantastic!

  4. Laura
    Laura December 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm | | Reply

    I have been in a similar situation in the last months, but not as sad as yours.
    Since when I moved to Shanghai I got a contract with a small size company, we did all the paperwork with an agent.
    Visa agent n.1:
    Popular in Shanghai / They say 100% effectivity
    – Girl speaks no English
    – She did 3 huge mistakes:
    1. She did not handle the papers in time ( She usually finishes work at 1pm so she went home at 1pm, without any paper)
    2. She forgot my papers at home so in the company we printed, signed again
    3. She handled to the Authorities the wrong paper and I got denied, not even permit to apply for visa, my info was in the system.
    I shouted at her boss and told them to give me back all my documentation on Sunday, no waiting, Sunday.

    Visa agent n.2:
    Said she was working for X company, she got me the paper to go to HK, while in HK I call her company to explain an issue and guess..she was not an employee, fortunately the real visa agency helped me anyway (for free), they tracked from their HK id card my visa and told me not to worry cause it was ok.

    When I came back I told her I knew she was a liner, she got mad at me, but she was a liner. The rest of the paperwork (resident permit) I did it by myself!

    It was painful, I needed to stay in Hong Kong 6 days, alone, but finally I was able to return and get the so lovely resident permit, which I hope I can renew easily in Spring.

  5. Fred
    Fred April 16, 2013 at 6:14 pm | | Reply


    I stumbled on your article above and cannot help but to feel the pain that you and John must have felt. You wrote that you were prepared for battle by negotiating with Mr. CEO the next day. So, what happened? Did you negotiate with him? What was the outcome?

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