Thursday, 13 January 2011

Dualled

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.”

Fantastic.

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.

Later gators.

13 comments:

Turi said...

Wow, I got a little sympathetic knot in my stomach reading all that "possible deportation" stuff. Glad that weight is off your shoulders...

Jamoosh said...

Oh no, deportation to Belgium, where the beer sucks (not!). Glad it all worked out and you still get to go to Belgium.

SteveQ said...

Another blogger said she was going to get deported from the US unless she married an American, so I proposed... and she said "No thanks." I think that's worse.

Seriously, if a couple hundred bucks stood between you and degree, you'd find a way to get the money (for one, there's a quarter in my pocket you could fish out).

Viper said...

In fuckin' Bruges.

Congrats on your legalized status. Cheers!

Morgan said...

Woo hoo! You skidded through that by the skin of your teeth didn't ya?!?!? I will be keeping my fingers crossed for the J-O-B and can't wait to read that Brussels recap!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Don't fish around in SteveQ's pocket!1! IT'S A FAP!1!!

One of the branches here decided to do a program on genealogical research. It's bad enough they decided to give the program the unfortunate title (I shit you not, X.) Googling Your Granny; but there was no interest in the program so the librarian from that branch just e-mailed me to take the announcement down from the website; and when she did, she misspelled the title Gorgling Your Granny.

I'm pretty sure even Gramps never gorgled Granny, but if he did, that might explain her periodic enigmatic smiles and languid sighs.

Does this make up for my disappointing comment at SteveQ's blog?

Congrats on not being deported.

GeorgiaSnail said...

Maybe that's what hell is, the entire rest of eternity spent in fucking Bruges.

Keith said...

For a minute there I was all excited, thinking you were done, and amazed that you got a job. Then I finished reading that first paragraph. Sigh. Glad one out of 3 has worked out.

Merry said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed that the job comes through too.

Nitmos said...

So happy to see an In Bruges reference! Terrifically underrated flick.

Razz said...

damn foreigners. you're part of the problem.

Jamie said...

way to work the system... or is it the system finally worked in someone's favor? thought I would have enjoyed In Bruges. Good luck with getting the job!

joyRuN said...

Sheesh - I just had gotten a lesson about shady visa regulations from crew members on a cruise ship. Sounds like a hairy process that's bewildering to navigate.

Unless you work for Disney Cruise Lines. They have those ports running like a well oiled machine.