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Profiles in Immigration – Maine Couple Builds on Similarities, Celebrates Differences

Nick Grant and Mehak Bhalla Grant were born a half a world away from each other, but from their very first meeting, it was their commonalities that stood out to the newlyweds. Nick, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Mehak, born in Chandigarh, India, met when Mehak was working a summer internship at Wex during graduate school.

Born a world apart, raised with similar values

Nick and Mehak Bhalla Grant pose at a Diwali festival.
Nick and Mehak Bhalla Grant celebrate their first Diwali together. Diwali is held between mid-October and mid-November, and celebrates the victory of light over darkness.

“We were both raised with very similar values, but in very different cultures,” Mehak said. From their chosen career paths – Mehak is a Business Intelligence Analyst and Nick is a Metrics and Reporting Analyst – to the make up of their families, they knew very quickly they had found someone special.

Mehak and Nick went on their first date on June 26, 2018. Mehak almost cancelled the date after a bad day at work but decided to meet Nick for a post-work drink – and ended up spending 4 hours with him. They were so smitten with each other, they had their next date two days later.

In August, Mehak and Nick decided to continue a long-distance relationship while Mehak returned to Babson College to complete her graduate degree. A little more than a year later, on September 20, 2019, Nick proposed to Mehak on Willard Beach in South Portland. The couple eloped on September 23, after spending the weekend with Nick’s parents. They plan to have a traditional Indian wedding in December of this year, and a wedding party once they settle into their newly purchased home.

Celebrating cultural differences

While similarities might have created a strong foundation for Mehak and Nick, they also celebrate their cultural differences.

“You get to pick and choose the best of both worlds,” Mehak said. “We follow traditions of both cultures, celebrate both holidays and have twice the fun! There’s a lot to learn from each other.”

“For Christmas, we do Chinese food for dinner and Cinnabons for breakfast with a day dedicated to family. For thanksgiving, we spend the entire day with the family too,” she said. “We always spend a week together at Mi-Te-Jo campgrounds over the July 4 holidays, which is always so much fun.”

The couple’s visit to India in December will be Nick’s first, and he is getting prepared now.

Nick and Mehak hiking in Acadia National Park.

“Nick is trying to learn Hindi by the time he visits India. We will be celebrating our wedding with a very traditional Indian ceremony,” Mehak said. This will include traditions that don’t happen in a lot of American weddings. “He thinks it’s hilarious that part of the wedding traditions in India require my sister to steal his shoes- and that he needs to pay her money to get his own shoes back.”

Navigating the spousal green card process

While Nick and Mehak introduced each other to their families and started to envision their life together, they also began to realize their loves story would entail navigating the U.S. immigration landscape. Because Mehak is a citizen of India, Nick would need to sponsor Mehak for permanent residence status (a green card) in the United States. For that, Mehak and Nick turned to FordMurray Senior Counsel Aga Asbury.

Mehak said Aga’s calm but confident demeanor fortified them on the day they interviewed with USCIS for Mehak’s green card petition.

“The most stressful part of the petition process was before Aga met us on the interview day. We were incredibly nervous and stressed, but Aga made it all so smooth and easy,” she said. “Aga is a very principled person and a force to be reckoned with.”

Mehak said Aga helped streamline the petition process with clear and prompt communication.

“It was incredibly smooth!” Mehak said. “We could provide all the documents needed online which was so convenient and Aga and her team were very prompt in answering all our questions. Aga took all the stress out of a very complicated and stressful process. We loved working with her and would recommend her to everyone.”

To learn more about sponsoring a spouse or fiancé for immigration to the United States, contact FordMurray for a complimentary consultation.