Big in my life right now is the potential end to my perpetual visa application process! I’ve lived in the UK since 2008 and have had something like 5 visas so far (costing an average of £500 a pop), including a student visa, a post-study work visa, and my lovely marriage visa (part 1).
Now I’m coming up to what will hopefully be my last and the most expensive visa yet (at £1051 big ones!) for Indefinite Leave to Remain. I’m so glad to be nearing the end of this process…
I think before we got married, I’d thought the marriage visa would be my last one, but didn’t realise this only meant I’d have an initial two-year probation period before I could actually apply to stay in the UK indefinitely. So I waited patiently and we had a lovely wedding and happily ever after and all that, and now comes the time for the final hurdle: a 35-page application form, with LOADS of additional documents needed to prove we live together, etc.; plus the really staggering fee.
Not to mention, these visas cause my place of work a bit of stress as it’s extra trouble having to keep up with an employee’s visa status – I mean, they can’t obviously hire/pay an illegal person, and for this visa I can only submit the application 28 days before my visa expires, so it’s highly likely my visa (and passport) will be with the UKBA on the actual day my visa expires… If I get denied the visa, it’d likely mean I lose my job, as well as having to leave the country immediately (since my visa would be expired).
It also means both S and my passports are gone for upwards of 2 months while the application is being processed, and S travels occasionally for work, so he can’t and we can’t make any travel plans at all, until we have the passports back. =(
All that to say! I sent off for my *final* visa on August 29th.
On September 7th, I got a confirmation letter saying they were processing the documents.
On September 9th, I got a letter asking me to get my Biometrics done (again – I’d had them taken for my last visa). Only get 15 days from date on the letter to get this sorted, and costs an additional £20 for the appointment. Fortunately it can be done in Edinburgh! (Last time I had to go through to Glasgow…) So I went and got this sorted at the Post Office on my lunch break, September 17th. I actually went the 16th but of course it was closed for some sort of Autumn holiday. =(
September 21st came and went quietly. This day was giving me all sorts of dread as it was the expiration date on my (previous? current?) Residence visa. Even though I have an official letter on letterhead stating the UKBA is currently processing my paperwork, and I am ‘legally entitled’ to work during this time as usual, I can’t help but feeling nervous now that the expiry has passed. [Namely, should my application be rejected and returned to me, I’ll need to leave the country immediately, as my residence will have expired…]
October 21st while we were at Alton Towers, S got a text from his dad to say a parcel had arrived for me! It was our passports HOORAY! And a letter saying my new Biometrics Permit would arrive shortly.
I’VE PASSED! The letter doesn’t say ‘congratulations’ or ‘welcome’ or anything, but it does say I can stay and live and work in the UK now indefinitely, which is a huge relief. God save the Queen and a’ that!
From sending off the application (on August 29th) to receiving my new permit (on October 27th) it was only two months wait time, which isn’t bad at all. It felt like forever waiting and caused a lot of anxiety… but could have been much worse. Sweet relief!!
Next up – Citizenship. But I think I’ll wait on that one for a while…