So yesterday I joined Expat Blogs and submitted my blog to be approved for expat-ism. I was really excited to be a part of Expat Blogs because that is where I discovered the very awesome blogs of Liz and Vegemite Wife (two people I hope will be my very best online friends) (I just creeped myself out with that statement). I felt a wee bit guilty about submitted my blog since I’m not technically an expat yet, but I tried to justify it to myself by saying that people reading my blog might forgive me if I gave them lots of posts about the process of becoming an expat. Apparently the fine people of Expat Blogs agreed with my inner thoughts and approved me for a listing. I can only hope the UK Border Agency is as quick and forgiving but I’m not holding my breath.
With that said, I thought I would give all the hopeful young people (or old people who feel young) (or the young people who feel old before their time) wanting to move to the UK a little update on what the process has been for me thus far. Not wanted to exclude everyone else, I’ll make sure to throw in lots of references to previous posts that only you will understand because you have been there from the beginning and are Totally Awesome and are totally my best online (and real live) friends forever, kisses and hugs. (gag!)
I want to begin by saying that I am lucky. I am married to a British citizen. The process for me getting to the UK is relatively easy compared to those who are trying to get a Student Visa or a Working Visa. You could probably compare the my process to yours as I have to locate the magical mermaid gem of Princess Hebbiezambia of Poland which is guarded by 18 furious half canine\half human guards who shoot lasers out of their eyes and you have to do the same thing but do with Kleenex boxes for shoes and lobsters clamped to your ears. I get to apply for a Settlement Visa which allows me to work right away and which allows me to apply for British citizenship after 3 years. It also includes the very helpful notes that: “You can not apply for the Settlement Visa until at least 3 months prior to your departure date.” “Please do not plan for a departure date as we cannot guarantee your visa will be approved by that date.” “Processing times may take 3 months.”
Makes your head spin, doesn’t it? I’ve reviewed the application for this visa no less than 20 times. I get through the first couple pages being very meticulous. I read every line and make a mental note of what I need to fulfill the requirements. By the third page my brain starts to get cloudy and confused and by page 20 I’m so frustrated that I make Andy look at it for me as he’s very soothing with his, “Oh, this is easy…no problem.” Fact of the matter is, I have almost all the paperwork I need to complete the application except for Andy’s work stuff – which we are still patiently waiting (and have been since July) for his company’s HR department to get to us. We’re suppose to have it by the end of this month but I’ve never been one to trust the department whose main job it is is to send out chocolate covered walnuts on employee’s birthdays. Regardless, we have to leave by the end of January or else I’ll be no longer able to fly as the airlines are terrified that I’ll add another screaming baby on board somewhere over the Atlantic which I failed to purchase a ticket for.
There is a section on the application that I’m a bit concerned about. The application asks us to state the date and place where Andy and I first met. We can’t remember that. We know it was at the Harp but neither of us can remember the year, much less the exact date. I just know that when I first met Andy I hated him and continued to hate him for a year or so and even went as far as to avoid the Harp because I thought he might show up there. I don’t suppose I should put that on the application, should I? Andy says that it won’t matter because I’m not a mail order bride from Russia (little does he know) or part of some sort of arranged marriage (he obviously didn’t get the shipments of goats my father sent). I no longer hate Andy by the way. Anyhow, Andy and I have decided to make up a date which I’m a bit paranoid by as I am unable to lie in front of Government Officials, or even give answers that make any sense. Last time I was crossing the border from Mexico back to the US, the border agent asked what nationality I was and I shouted, “United States!” Crossing into Canada the border agent asked what I had in the cooler in the back seat and I said, “Um…um…there’s 3 cans of soda…um…half a bag of beef jerky…uh uh uh…maybe some ice left…um…OH! There’s yogurt!” Like yogurt was an illegal bag of pot flavored elephant ivory or something.
Shit! I forgot the references! Um…um….um…..GIRAFFE HOLDING THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA! Bloody Marys!
So that’s where I’m at right now - still waiting. Once the paperwork is collected, there’s a lot of form filling, fingerprint taking, humongous visa fees to pay, and interviews with Government Officials (“I like yogurt! Let me in your country!”). I’ll keep you posted. Until then, happy Friday everyone. Have a drink or 6 for me – preferably whiskey.