After receiving the new L1b-visa back in May I'm able to stay in the USA until July 2008. After working on that visa for a little over 3,5 years the time has come to take a next step and commit towards a Permanent Residency permit (better know as a 'Green Card'). It used to be a green-colored card but after they changed the color the nickname kind of stuck in the minds of everybody. Even the Visa Diversity lottery being held every year is unoffically still called the Green Card lottery.
Penske has offered to start the process. It is a long and drawn-out process which is expected to take at least 1,5 years. The biggest hurdle for the process is the 'Labor Certification'. That used to take over a year but a few months ago this process changed to an all-digital, 45-day process. I'll believe it when I see it. Anyway, since my current visa is valid to 2008 I've got some time.
I'll keep everybody updated on the progress, but I don't expect too big of an issue getting the certification and the subsequent approval of the permanent residency application.
This permanent residency was something that was always in the back of my mind as a possibility to explore once I was working in the States. Most co-workers in the Maastricht office joked that as soon as I left Europe I would probably not come back. I guess they were right... To be honest, I might have lead them on a bit to that thought.
Like I said, I'll keep everybody posted on any progress.