Kevin and I had a long conference call with the immigration lawyer last night, and the upshot of it was that there really is no visa that it is sensible for me to apply for. There are always options, but they would be very expensive and by no means guaranteed to succeed. As we have spent a lot of money already and got nowhere, we are not inclined to pour good money after bad.
This does not mean that I am banned from the US. It just means that I have to be a lot more careful how I come and go. If I can steal a phrase from Douglas Adams, I am going to be spending a year or two dead for immigration purposes. Fortunately Worldcon will be outside the US for the next two years, so finances permitting I will still be able to go, and by 2011 I’m hoping I’ll be allowed to make short trips to the USA again.
Of course that “finances permitting” is a worry. Fortunately Kevin and I both still have work. However, due to a variety of complications, neither of us can really afford a home of our own. Together we are fine; kept apart we have financial problems. We are OK for now, but we both need to look for new places to live. Kevin needs somewhere in the Bay Area. I can live pretty much anywhere in the EU, as long as I have access to high speed Internet. If anyone has any ideas, please let us know.
This is also going to affect what I do with my time. Obviously I can’t attend a lot of the major conventions. Serious critical writing will also be hampered because most of my books are in California and I can’t afford to get them shipped back, and don’t have anywhere to put them if I could. We’ll be looking for help with running SF Awards Watch, and I’ll be putting a lot more effort into getting paid writing work. It is a tough business, but it is also about the only thing I’m likely to be considered for given my age and skill set.
Once again I am closing comments on this. It would be nice to vent, but it won’t help at all. If you have some positive suggestions, email me. Obviously Kevin and I are both very upset, but there’s not a lot I can do. The good news is that I have been in far worse trouble than this twice before in my life and survived; and this time I have a lot more friends and contacts.