Expat life / Immigration

Expat Life: Living in Limbo

Take Off

The waiting game

For the past 6 months I have been patiently waiting for the UK Border Agency to make up their bloody minds and decide whether I can stay in the country.  For a quick recap on my visa history so far: I first entered the country on a Student Visa in 2008, then switched to the Youth Mobility Visa in 2010 and then applied for a Partner Visa in 2012.  The UKBA website states that most applications, in fact 99% of them will be decided within 6 months..clearly not the case here nor the case for many others.  I’ve combed many an immigration forum and it seems as though the majority are doing the same waiting game and often for much longer than I have been before getting an answer.  It is not surprising really as the border agency has had to cut staff.  Still – This.Is.Ridiculous.

The goal posts have changed

The UK has been cracking down on immigration ever since I moved here.  Whole categories are now gone, or capped or have been revised.  Two months before I submitted my application there was a change to my visa.  In an attempt to stop people from settling in the UK through fake relationships and sham marriages the rest of us must suffer.  It is always the way though isn’t it?  Those who exploit the system means rules are tightened and the rest of us must jump through a few more hoops.  I am fairly confident that I will be issued with a visa but the incompetence displayed by the border agency here and here doesn’t help.

I am starting to feel trapped

This whole time I have been passport-less meaning I’ve had to miss trips to Reykjavik, Venice, and soon Cinque Terre.  Yes, travel is a luxury but fellow travellers know that it becomes a part of you and for me it is just that.  Something that I’d rather not live without in my life so I budget accordingly.  To get up and explore somewhere completely new recharges me.  It was after travelling to Senegal in early 2008 that I decided I would finally become an expat.  I’m mostly fine with exploring just the UK as there is still so much I want to see but what bothers me most is I wouldn’t be able to return home if I needed to under any circumstance.  Well, I could but that would mean forfeiting my application to get my passport returned.

Light at the end of the tunnel

When I sent in my application last year it was a mere day or two later and the fee was taken out of my account.  I then received an acknowledgement letter (with my name entered incorrectly) a few days after that.  In November I received a letter instructing me to give my biometrics: facial scan, signature and fingerprints.  Then nothing.  Until last week a letter came through the post asking for even more information!  While it is frustrating to be asked to produce some of the same information already given at least someone is looking at my application right?  Fingers crossed.

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15 thoughts on “Expat Life: Living in Limbo

  1. Oh that must be super frustrating!

    There is something incredibly binding about not being able to make plans with no idea of how long that will persist.

    Sending good vibes your way in hopes that you’ll hear of progress soon!

    • Thanks Jay, I need all the positive energy I can get. That is exactly the main problem, they give no indication of how much longer it will take. I’m assuming they will make their final decision in the next few weeks with the additional information, but I have no clue. They could sit on the application for a few more months.

  2. Hopefully things over there aren’t as bad as they are here. Immigration is positively terrible and it can take decades for approval.

    I’m wishing you get your approval soon!

  3. Pingback: A Short Break to The Isle of Wight | Wanderlust

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