Pink Phizz

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Looking good in the old passport.

So Thursday we took a drive to Croydon, leaving around 10 a.m. so that we would have plenty of time to get there seeing as we hadn't a clue where we were going. After a lunch of cardboard tasting burgers, we moseyed over to Luner House (Home Office of Immigration and Naturalization), which by the way is the easiest building in Croydon to find since, not only is it one of the largest around, but it's outlined in purple ~ nice and gaudy for the whole world to see.

Anyway, 1 p.m. finds us at the doors, shuffling in the cold like all the other people, just trying to stay out of the snow and wet, waiting for the magical 1:30 to come around so that we can be ushered in like cattle in the middle of a cattle-drive.

Finally, 1:30 arrives, we go in through security, a procedure much like going through security at an airport, arriving at our first of three stations in the process of getting my resident visa. The first station (window) is a nice guy requesting my application and all paperwork of proof of our living together (as man and wife in our case) for two years; then on to station (window) number two, which is the payment of that much needed £500 pounds for the privilege of processing said resident visa on same day. After these two stations is where all the fun began.

The time it took to go to window #1 and window #2 was approximately, what, ten minutes or so. Just about the amount of time we figured it would take. So far, so good.

We get to the final part which is our 2 p.m. interview, review of said papers, and visa stamp ~ all which is suppose to take about one hour tops. Which is exactly what happened.

So what's the problem you ask?

It's the four hours that we wound up waiting for that 2 p.m. interview. Our number was finally called at around 5:45 p.m. They were running late. Technical fault is what it was called. We wound up sitting at the Home Office of Immigration and Naturalization for five bloody hours.

Five hours.

I do have to say that they saw every single person that was there, everyone behind the glass was very nice. I haven't a clue what time everyone finally went home. All I know is that we were there at 1:30 p.m. as directed, and we got out of there at 6:30 p.m. It does make one wonder how late the people with 4 p.m. appointments got out.

And by the way, that little trip down there to Luner House (Home Office of Immigration and Naturalization) actually cost us £514.00 pounds. The £14 pounds was what we had to pay for parking.

However, in hindsight, who really cares. I have my Indefinite Leave to Remain, which means I am a full fledge resident now of the United Kingdom. And after two years (and five hours longer than anticipated), I am very much delighted that I don't have to do this again.

Now I have to think about whether or not I want to go for Naturalization in three years. Hmmmm.

15 Comments:

At 4:54 PM , Blogger Mike's America said...

500 pounds for "expedited" processing and you have to wait for four hours?

I would ask for a reduction.

 
At 6:37 PM , Anonymous alison said...

Congratulations Alice! And glad thats all over. Cheers and plenty of beers!

 
At 10:29 PM , Blogger Fred said...

Congrats! I remember when I had to go into London to change my passport from temporary status to 2-year residency. I waited for hours, had a surly person wait on me, then found out I was missing a document.

On the way home to Gerrards Cross, I had two beers for the 25-minute ride. It calmed me down.

I had to start all over the following weekend.

 
At 4:03 AM , Anonymous the letter b said...

:)

the smile says it all, Alice!

erm, so i should get ready 500 quid - or more by then - if i decide to take up UK residency then. no wonder em third world types [read: the peopre's lepubrik, vietnam, cambodia, et al] are hard up for residency over here in singapore - it doesn't cost them a single penny. even by marryin local twits.

 
At 10:14 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

mike: And that's $873.105 US Dollar, makes it sound even more doesn't it.

alison: Well, actually it wasn't beer, but rum and coke. Thanks!

fred: Now if you don't have all the documents, you don't even get to the pay window. What happened to you, as far as not having enough documents, happened to one young American that I came across. She wound up waiting all those hours like we did - except it was her second time around.

b: Thanks! Hmmm, wonder how long it will take those officals in your country to figure out it's a lot more fun to make one pay. Honestly, don't know what it would be like in your case. If you can prove ancestory, it might be a whole different kettle of fish.

 
At 12:39 PM , Blogger Shooting Parrots said...

£14 to park in Croydon? That's daylight robbery!

 
At 5:47 PM , Blogger "Alice" said...

polly: Well, it started as daylight robbery, ended up with us just feeling like we got fleeced.

 
At 9:57 PM , Blogger DV said...

Congrats "Alice"!

 
At 6:34 AM , Blogger MonicaR said...

Congratulations Alicenot! What an ordeal and I'm glad you're through it.

 
At 8:32 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

Thanks everyone for thinking of me. :)

 
At 4:35 PM , Blogger Wolfie said...

Welcome to your new nationality, now sit down and have a nice cup of tea dear.

 
At 8:34 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

wolfie: Only if the tea is ice sweet-tea cause you can take the girl outta the South, but you can't take the South outta the girl. ;)

 
At 12:17 PM , Blogger Jo said...

Dear, isnt it? I had no idea.

What is the cost for the equivalent process in the US for a UK citizen?

 
At 12:20 PM , Blogger Jo said...

Oh I forgot to say Congrats.

I hope you find it worthwhile :)

 
At 7:59 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

jo, I haven't a clue. Nor do I know how long it takes; but, seeing as the UK is playing "catch-up" with the US, I would imagine it is still longer (and who knows who expensive) the other way around.

p.s. And thanks for the congrats, jo :)

 

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