I’ve been absent. I know. It’s been intentional.
To be perfectly frank I’ve been so p—ed off I haven’t felt like writing here.
For over six years now, we’ve been on the often tortuous visa journey of making it ‘legal’ for my husband of almost ten years to be ‘allowed’ to stay with me in the country of my birth for longer than six months.
I’ve posted many times previously about the complexities and costs of this process to date, and realise we’re ‘fortunate’ to even have the ability to apply. We’ve heard many stories of families torn apart who aren’t able to fulfil the requirements made by a certain Mrs May in 2012 – which have exponentially increased since then. I’ve read about people being ‘sent back’ recently too, with tragic consequences. Oh yes, thank you, it’s certainly feeling like a ‘hostile’ environment 🙁 To all of you reading who ‘complain’ about ‘immigrants’, be careful what you wish for!
Barry’s final application for ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ was submitted at the end of January. Foolishly we chose not to pay the extra £700 on top of the £2,400 to ‘Fast Track’ the application, despite previously fully intending to (as the goal posts had changed – AGAIN!), in order to be sure we could travel abroad this year in the run up to celebrating my 60th birthday in September. There was also the £1,300 solicitors fees (it’s rather complex living on a narrowboat!). The first two applications were successfully returned within six weeks. Strangely we imagined the same would happen, or maybe a little longer.
Four months later and we’re still waiting. The process can take up to six months. SIX MONTHS!!! Seriously. We gambled on that being unlikely. Surely it can’t take that long? It’s a simple process. Seems we were wrong. Possibly EU applications to stay in UK have taken precedence, and the Set (M) applications are a lower priority. Who knows the answer 🙁
Sadly there’s nothing we can do but wait.
A Solo French Trip
It’s looking likely I’ll be travelling to France alone on Tuesday 4th June.
Firstly to stay with French family friends, in Cabourg, who I haven’t seen for many years. Nearby the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings are being held on 6th June. Barry would absolutely adore to be present for them. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but it’s worth stating again, Barry’s father fought FOR BRITAIN in the Second World War that will be commemorated then. I hear that Mrs May will be present in Normandy to ‘celebrate’. Hmmm, not sure I will be …
I’ll stay until Friday 7th June, when I’ll travel the breadth of France alone (to make up for it I’ve booked a First Class ticket for a mere £30 more!) from Caen to Strasbourg, via Paris, to meet Tony and Kerry Fox from Gisborne. We’ve got a week on the Canal de la Marne au Rhin (Alsace Lorraine) and Barry is the nominated ‘Captain’. Last year Tony and Kerry asked us to come with them, as they wanted Barry’s boating expertise.
Basically we’ve got five days next week for Barry’s Indefinite Leave to Remain visa to be returned to him in order for him to join us. The chances of it arriving on Monday are slim. But if it comes by Friday 7th he could potentially fly to Strasbourg and join us.
Otherwise it’s looking likely that the Captain will be Sandra Walsh instead!
After the canals we’re heading by train to Venice. So IF it comes anytime after 7th June, he still ‘could’ find a way to join us.
Yes I know. I hear you. We ‘should’ve’ just paid the extra money. Because it’ll cost us more anyway now IF it comes back after 4th June and before 16th June (when we travel to Venice).
Yes I know. I hear you. We ‘shouldn’t’ have booked any holidays abroad unless we have Barry’s visa. That’s what they advise.
So. To anyone in a similar predicament – don’t try and beat the system. They have you over a barrel, and once in the ‘system’ you’re helpless. Just pay to Fast Track as friends of ours did and got their decision within a week 🙁
Au revoir! I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything … And if anyone has any influential friends in high places now is the time to call in a favour!
Cross your appendages for Barry please 😉