i. Fee payment checks of $325 USD per family member, and a soft stash of miscellaneous dollars should costs add up beyond your initial math.
ii. Passport photos: Immigration Services now uses candid shots of you from Google images. However, we require twenty-four (24) 2”x2” passport-sized color photos of your face, apathetic, in front of an off-white background. We must see your ears. Do not wear glasses in the photograph if you don’t wear them every day.
iii. Two original copies of your birth certificate or whatever form the record of birth takes in your country. You must have been born in a hospital.
iv. Arrest and Criminal History: whether or not you did it, the record expunged, the case dismissed; whether or not you stole a bra of all things from Sears of all places and cried so hard when they took you to the holding room for thieves that you got the hiccups, but they let you off with a fine to teach you a lesson, little girl—you must provide documentation of innocent.
a. Secure one police report for each state you’ve lived in for longer than 6 months. Consult an immigration attorney if you are unsure whether a particular incident was considered an arrest.
v. All I-94 cards used to enter the US within the last ten years, or other record of every arrival and departure from and into the US. Some may be lost in pockets of odd years, others fallen from staples in your passport, your only form of ID because doormen at bars don’t believe your Jamaican driver’s license is real—I can’t know if this is fake, miss. You may find one or two easily, but for the rest you will have to search.
vi. A passport valid for two more years, issued from the country whose smallness you will only miss during Olympics medal ceremonies. You must be familiar with the boroughs of New York even if you are living elsewhere, because when you go back, if you go back, everyone will ask about New York.
vii. A medical examination, signed and sealed by an approved physician, of whom there are only three (3) in your country. Do not expect to see the results. This will include a comprehensive evaluation of your physical and emotional health. When was the last time you cried? What do you smoke? Where do you draw the line?
Gizelle was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. Her work has appear or is forthcoming in Muzzle, For Harriet, Moko Magazine and elsewhere. She does not own a cat.