What Goes Up

Must come down. Oh, and how the mighty fall.

Got the letter from the UKBA with a detailed notice of “The Decision.”

The key points include:

– I am single with no children.

– I have only been at my job for 10 months with no expressed plans to return to it.

– I have only been in my apartment for about the same amount of time.

– It is not clear from my application “what family [I] have in the US or what [my] domestic circumstances are.”

– They are “not satisfied that [I] have sufficient ties to the US which would prompt [my] timely departure from the UK” nor are they satisfied “that [my] reasons for going to the UK are those of a short term visitor” which they previously state are “tourism and travel.”

In conclusion, I have not provided “compelling reasons to return to the US within six months.”

Okay, besides my job, my apartment, my car, my belongings, my parents, my brother, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my second cousins, my best friends, my hometown, my home country, my life, my money, my school, my citizenship…

No, they’re right, I’ve got nothing to even tempt me to want to come back.

It sounds like they’d allow me to go if I were married with kids, a house, a yard, and a picket fence – because then it would totally make sense to up and abandon my responsibilities for no more than six months. Got it. I’ll work on that.

In the mean time, I don’t get it.

Luck of the Swedes

Thanks to some St. Patty’s Day magic, a plan is in motion. Well, it is soon to be in motion, barring any complicated reasons as to my visa application being “unsuccessful.”

I had been putting off checking my school email all week and finally decided I should do something productive this weekend. In my inbox, I found an eight-email long chain between my classmates about graduation. Why the hell are we talking about graduation already? The program isn’t over until August…

Then I notice the email from the director about graduation details. It looks like commencement is June 2nd in Boston.

We are invited to walk and will receive some sort of dummy diploma until we actually finish. I had always planned on going (sentiment), but getting a false sense of completion is going to be annoying now. Whatever.

I was planning on jumping the pond on May 27th, but now I’m faced with a better plan, I think.

June 1st, I would fly to Boston with my mom, dad, and brother, we could enjoy some sights for some of the day, go to graduation in the morning, enjoy some more sights and then have a nice dinner together to celebrate. The next morning, June 3rd, I would hop a plane for London and my family could fly back home.

Perfect.

Now I have a purposeful date in mind and I can start making arrangements.

That is, if the “detailed notice” doesn’t tell me to stay my Yankee ass home. Hmm.

Lovely March We’re Having

Isn’t it?

Lots of relaxation, things going right, good health, etc.

Oh wait, I’m mistaken, it hasn’t been that way.

I just received an email from the UKBA starting with “We regret to inform you…”

They’re shipping all of my documents and passport back to me with a “detailed notice explaining exactly why [my] application was refused and information on [my] appeal rights.”

I’m a bit taken aback. I thought I had it in the bag.

I’m struggling to look on the bright side.

But I think I might have an explanation – I got on the UKBA website and it says that an American can travel in the UK for up to six months without a visa…

Maybe that’s why they rejected my six month visa, because it’s redundant?

I’m praying that’s the case.

My sails have officially lost whatever wind they had regained.

Depending on what my rejection- I’m sorry, they use the pet-friendly term “unsuccessful”- letter says, I’ll go anyway without a visa (since apparently I can go up to six months without one anyway).

I hope.

 

I guess, as soon as I read the “detailed notice” as to why I was “unsuccessful” and, with any luck, learn that it was just because I can go without it, I’ll go ahead and book my plane tickets and find a flat to stay in for the time.

I have to go. I can’t not do this. It is imperative that I do this.

I’d love to go sooner, since the new Star Trek film is premiering in the UK first… but that would only give me a month here and that’s not enough time. I’ll stick to the end of May.

 

 

Jesus Christ.

 

Maybe This Time

So, rather, embarrassingly, I sent off all of my Visa stuff without including my physical passport. Granted, I thought the point of the biometrics and passport verification sheet was to ensure that my passport was good, and not requiring me to actually send it in.

Anyway, I was super excited when I got something in the mail from the British Consulate in New York, only to be told to send in my passport next time.

However, having done that now, I got an email from the UKBA telling me that they’ve now got everything, and it’s being organized in preparation for consideration by an Entry Clearance Officer. They also tell me that 90% of applications are completed in no more than three weeks, 98% in six weeks, and 100% in 12 weeks.

I’m pretty damn sure that I’ve proved my ability to support myself in the UK while being unemployed, so that shouldn’t be a problem. I hope to hear back within three weeks… It’d be the beginning of April, which would give me about two months to get everything settled, booked, and ready to go by the end of May.

That sounds delightfully soon 🙂

Well.

My anxiety wasn’t all for naught.

Got to the Department of Homeland Security about 10 minutes before my appointment, checked in, and was told to go to a waiting area.

After about a half hour of waiting, I started talking to the woman next to me, turned out she was from Canada getting her US citizenship. She said I was supposed to have a print out of my appointment time, but if I didn’t, I could write my name on a slip and put it in the same box. Go figure. Did that.

After some more waiting, the man came out of the office and called the other woman up. She said, “her appointment is before mine” (very Canadian of her); but the man had already pulled up her information.

Shortly thereafter, he came out and asked me if I was sure I had an appointment.

My heart sank.

Why yes, I signed up on Tuesday to come down here and turn in my supporting documents and do biometrics, etc. He had me wait some more while he went and asked where I need to be.

When he came back, he asked me if I had my appointment print out. No I did not. He said I had to have this print out so that they can pull up my biometric information.

“If you can go print it out and come back…”
“If you can find a library near here and print it there…”
“You don’t even have to come back today…”

No thanks.

I felt a bit defeated, trudging out to my car having accomplished absolutely nothing but wasting my time. I noticed, as we were close to the airport, that there were several hotels in the area. I took my chances with a Holiday Inn Express.

The lady at the front desk was on the phone and distracted, so I slipped into their “Business Center” (containing one ancient PC and a printer), and proceeded to print out the document that I need.

Feeling a bit better, I trekked back to DHS, this time having proactively removed all of my jewelry and metal items from my person in prepration for security, and got sat in the waiting room of the biometrics department.

Luckily, that wait was only about five minutes and then I got to watch nerdily as the woman electronically took my finger prints. Another woman signed off on my passport and told me to mail everything to the address on the sheet.

 

In essence, out of all of the paperwork and passport photos and supporting documents I brought, the only thing they needed was my passport.

All I had to do was print that damn form.

 

HOWEVER, my supporting documents (paystubs, letter of leave, potential flight itineraries for there and back, proof of funds, executed application, and the damn form) are sat in an overnight FedEx envelope – so by tomorrow or at least Monday, they will be in the hands of someone in New York who matters.

Big sigh.

I was much more frustrated at the start of this post, but I can see that I’ve done all I need to do at this point, and I feel better.

It’s Friday. I’m getting a drink after work at my favorite bar/lounge where there is a drink named after me (containing lilac gin) and I get to sleep in tomorrow.

And my visitor’s visa approval process is underway.

Application: Submitted

So after an entirely stressful and distressing day, my saving grace is being able to submit my visa application online.

I’ve filled it out, paid for it, and set up my appointment for Friday to do my biometrics. I’d have done it tomorrow, if I could; but alas, there were no open appointment times.

Actually, though, Friday is when I was going to start going gangbusters on getting my ass in shape, so maybe it’s perfect timing.

T-minus three months.

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