A little over a week ago, we completed our visa applications for our move to London. The application process itself was an ordeal. Recalling 10 years of travel history was no easy matter. And there were problems with making revisions to a partially completed application. Finally, after some choice words and several attempts, the online visa applications were complete.
Next step – go to the visa application center, submit materials, get “biometrics” collected (fingerprints and pictures)… and pay lots of money for the process, and even more money to expedite the process to get our passports back within 5-9 business days, so we could travel on our next scheduled business trip. In fairness, the people at the visa center were friendly and helpful, and it wasn’t really a bad experience. And so, we were all set for getting our visas in our passports, and moving ahead.
Well, not quite. We promptly received an email from the UK visa centre that they had received our materials. Then, shortly after, another message. Your applications are not as “straightforward” as expected, so the process may be delayed. Delayed? After paying nearly $1000 each for expediting?? Delayed for how long?
Today, the 7th business day after application, I called the UK visa office. The guy was friendly enough (although they charged me 69 pence per minute for consultation). After several minutes on hold, I was informed that generally, it takes up to 15 business days after receipt of an email notification of “delay” to get the process complete. That would put our visa application approval at around April 4… well past the time of the next business trip to Paris, and threatening the next trip for my official start date in London. Of course, the kind man said it could come “sooner.” Argggghhh
So, we’re now in limbo. Probably we will get a visa at some undefined time in the future. We’ve started the process of listing our house and selling our worldly possessions. We’ve started the process of arranging to transport our 3 kitties and proceed with all the red tape to get them to London. We’ve scheduled a time to look at apartments in London and find a place to live. But none of that can really move ahead until we have some certainty about our visas.
Of course, we knew there would be considerable challenges to this kind of international move. And a few months from now, I’m sure we’ll look back and say, yes, this was all worth it.
As for today, we are just feeling like we’re slogging about, making little progress. Hopefully, things will get “unstuck” soon, and we can again get excited about the future.