Posts tagged ‘immigration’

FLR(M)

* The FLR(M), for those of you who are not immigrants to the United Kingdom, is the name of the form used by the spouses, civil partners, and long-term unmarried partners of British citizens (UKC) or permanent residents to apply for “Further Leave to Remain” – i.e. temporary residency, i.e. the first step towards citizenship. If you get FLR, you are given permission to remain in Britain for two years. At the end of these two years, you must either apply for SET(M), which is “indefinite leave to remain” – i.e. permanent residency – or return to your country of origin. After living in the country as the spouse/partner of a British citizen or settled person for three years, you are then eligible to obtain British citizenship.

Because all the rules change in April, and according to all sources we’re looking at major changes to make things more restrictive, Dom and I will be applying for FLR in March. I would say we have a decent chance of getting the visa. I am, however, very worried about the maintenance requirements. At the moment, neither of us have a job. We’re living off my student loans and hoping one or both of us will be able to find a job soon. For me, getting FLR will make that much easier, as I’ll then be allowed to work as many hours as I want whenever I want. Right now, the student visa limits me to 20 hours/week during term-time, which is very unfortunate as there are many more full-time jobs open around here than part-time.

But, I met someone on the immigration forums I haunt who was in a similar situation two years ago. She is a US citizen (USC), and her husband is a UKC. At the time, she wasn’t working, because immigration rules didn’t allow her, and he was an unemployed student living off of his student loans. They also had £5000 in savings. They applied for, and got, the visa. My student loans give me more each term than they had in savings, so it probably evens out. I also have a budget drawn up to show that we can afford our rent and council tax without recourse to benefits, so I’m really optimistic that our application will be approved. I’m also hoping to include a letter of support from my father-in-law.

I’m trying very hard to not be too optimistic, as that usually leads to disappointment. I really don’t know what I’ll do if the application is denied. Continue on as I have been, I suppose, but out £550. The process is very stressful, so I’m sure I’ll be posting updates along the way. I’m not yet sure if I’ll do the in-person appointment or not. If I do, then I’d know on the day whether or not the application has been approved or denied, but those appointments are only for straightforward applications, and I’m not sure if ours would count as “straightforward”.

Since we’ll be using all our “extra” money to apply for the visa, I’m going to have to hold off on getting my birth certificate corrected. *sigh* All the more reason for me to find a job as quickly as possible, I suppose. I do, in fact, have a job I’d really like to get that I’m applying for soon. But I really don’t think I will get it. And if I did get it, I’d have to have the spousal visa, since it’s full-time.

But… That’s where things on the immigration front are now. There will be updates, I’m sure, probably about how I can’t find some document or another that we need to apply or how the banks are being dicks about giving us the proper statements (they do it to everyone). 😀

* Massive changes to immigration rules will be put into place in April 2012. I believe these rules will apply to me, since if I get the visa, I’ll be considered already in the pipeline, but if someone randomly happens upon this post looking for information, these rules are NOT CURRENT. The best source of information is, of course, the UK Border Agency.

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Broked

I think I’ve finally broken under all the stress of the last three years, and this visa application is what pushed me  too much. I don’t even know how to feel right now, other than vaguely sick. I’m trying to turn my mind off so I don’t think or feel.

I submitted my visa application on Monday. Took it to the mailing place and shipped it UPS next day air. It arrived at the British consulate in New York at 10:12 yesterday morning, signed for by Blythe in the mail room. I received an e-mail later that day saying it had reached the UK Border Agency and that I would get another e-mail when an ECO (decision makers) was reviewing it and another when then decision was made.

I spent all Monday night tossing and turning because I couldn’t stop obsessing over my application and trying to think if I’d done anything wrong. I ended up waking up far too early because I did, in fact, think of something I’d done wrong. All in all, what I realised I hadn’t done right was only a very minor mistake and not something anyone thinks they would refuse a visa over.

However, I didn’t make any mistakes like that last time. And I’ve been making a lot of stupid mistakes in recent months, so I was now even more concerned that I’d fucked up something else, something far more important. Usually, I have these concerns, and they’re unfounded. Just me worrying and obsessing. This time, however?

Yeah, I did fuck up something more important than a fill-in-the-blank box on an appendix sheet. The dread started to choke me last night as I tried to sleep, and I had to get up to check.

I left off one of my trips to the UK in the immigration history field. We left the UK to go to the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas last August and then came back. You don’t have to give trips back to your own country, but you are supposed to list any that come to the UK (or any other foreign-for-you country).

Now, that may not sound important to you, but to an ECO… if that ECO thinks you left that off on purpose or are potentially trying to lie about it (they can and do check that field with their files on you), not only can your visa get automatically denied, but you can get banned from the country, possibly permanently but the usual term is for 10 years.

As we all know, governments are not particularly known for being fuzzy, warm, kind souls who make allowances for things like human error or who assume the best of people. That is why I’m worried/scared shitless. Besides hopefully getting a kind ECO who will think I didn’t intentionally leave that off, the only other thing I think might save me is the fact I listed 01/09/09 – 30/10/10 as my “in the UK for study” trip. I have the time listed on that sheet, I just forgot the Vegas trip.

I can’t even cry over this, though I’ve come close. I don’t have the emotional energy left. I hope I’m making this all bigger than it is, a mountain out of a molehill, but I have no hope left and I’ve seen stories of others being denied for stupid things, too, things similar to this.

Whether wonderful news or devastating news, I should have the decision by the end of the week. Hopefully I’ll survive the wait.

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