Besides finishing my dissertation and obtaining gainful employment, I’ve had another major issue to worry myself silly over—deportation.
My student visa expires at the end of this month and the money-grubbing English government wanted hundreds of pounds for me to extend the damn thing for a few months. My response? Hell to the NO!
As I mentioned once a long time ago, I’m actually a dual citizen. This was officially obtained in 2007, but I needed to apply separately for a passport. Obtaining a passport hadn’t been a big priority then since I had my student visa at that time. Obviously now my situation has changed, especially since there is a possibility of me staying in the UK to work.
In September, I contacted the embassy to set up an appointment for my passport application. They called back and gave me an appointment in November. So off to London I went in mid-November. The process should have taken no more than 20 minutes to complete. It ended up taking over two hours. At the end of the whole thing, I asked when I could expect to pick up my passport. To quote the embassy official: “This varies. The materials are submitted by embassy courier. Unfortunately for you, he left yesterday. He goes again in two weeks.”
Over the holidays, I’d been thinking through worst-case scenarios if the passport didn’t come through this month. Basically, I’d have to exit and re-enter the country and promise to stay in the UK no longer than a regular tourist visa allows (either 3 or 6 months—can’t remember at the moment). However, this would make me ineligible to work and possibly invalidate me for the NHS (National Health Service). Also, it’s technically illegal to finish your degree here whilst not on a student visa. Oopsie.
I have a friend in Brussels who is more than happy for me to come for a visit, so not only would I get to see an old friend and avoid violating the terms of my visa, I’d also get to visit a new country and possibly even title a blog post “In Bruges”. That sounds like a win-win to me minus the whole unemployed and illegal status thing.
Things took a turn today though. After waking up at 1 pm (f*cking jetlag), I turned on my mobile and five minutes later I got a call from the embassy to say that my passport is in and I can pick it up as soon as possible. YAY!!! So unless there’s a dissolution of the EU (never say never), I can no longer be deported from Europe unless I commit a heinous crime (never say never). WOOHOO!
I will head into London tomorrow to pick up my new passport. In theory this should only take five minutes. I’ll expect to be there for five hours anyway. You never know with these people.
Oh, and that trip to Belgium? It’s still going to happen. Only now I won’t be worried about being refused re-entrance into the UK. Sweet.
Now if I could just stop worrying that I’ve used up my allotment of good luck on this and now won’t get that job, all would be well. Guess I’ll have to wait a little longer to find out about that.