When I decided to move, there were so many things going through my mind: ‘How often will I see my family and friends?’ ‘What if I don’t actually make friends?’ ‘I have a career here, what am I going to do over there?’ etc. I didn’t stop to consider how I’d actually move over.
My fiance (Christopher) told me it wouldn’t take long, we’d figure it out when he’d moved over ( which ended up being two weeks after he accepted the new job). I told all my family and friends in January, ‘Oh I’ve decided to move in May, that’s when our rent runs out so it just makes sense and gives me time to say a proper goodbye’. Turns out, I was very misinformed (or, delusional!).
Four weeks after Christopher moved, we were told his employers were willing to help us in the process of attaining a visa for me. We were assigned a lawyer who gave us two options 1) The quicker route, with a higher risk of being rejected or, 2) the slower route with a smaller risk of rejection, i.e. the K1 Visa.
I’m not a high risk person, the thought of going through the stress of a process to be turned away made my palms clammy. We opted for the K1 visa, although, I had no idea what that involved.
Christopher and I were asked to provide our passports, birth certificates, family history, work history. This I expected. The request for an account of our relationship story and evidence of our relationship, at this point, was less expected.
I began to panic as I looked through our photos on Facebook (sending the lawyer the link to my Facebook page would have been much faster). We’re not particularly ‘smooshy couple photo’ sort of people. I looked through so many: ‘does this just look like we’re just really good friends?’ ‘this looks like a couple, but I’m in a bikini; who will actually see these?’ ‘do they want one with us kissing? Do we even have one of those?!’. In the end, I sent over 20, concluding that more was definitely more.
Next, the relationship stories.
In real life, I’m the nostalgic one. I ask Christopher (probably more than any normal person would stand), ‘when did you know you liked me’ ‘do you remember that time you ate that thing in that restaurant?’ ‘tell me something nice’ … Christopher, doesn’t remember as many of the little details, and I tell myself that’s why I ask all the questions, as a nice wee reminder of our time together…
When the requirement for the relationship story appeared, I decided to stick to the facts. I wrote five lines (I did just go back and check!) about how and when we met, move in date and holidays we’d taken. Done. Sent.
A few days later, I realised I hadn’t seen Christopher’s version- to make sure there wasn’t anything we had explained differently (a wee moment of panic). He took a while to send it over, and then, it came. The two A4 pages with quotes such as: ‘I didn’t think it was a date, but Ruth obviously did, she wore a really tight dress’ and ‘I needed to hurry up and put a ring on her before I left’. Whilst I was touched that he’d remembered some smaller details, I started having visions of our lawyer shouting to his colleagues ‘listen to this…!’. And then it dawned on me, that document will probably be shown to my visa interviewer… still mortified.
Relationship stories submitted, photos chosen, information provided, I waited another month to hear back from the lawyer. This time, we were sent documents and asked to provide a passport photo and signature, easy! It was at this moment I realised nothing in this process was going to be simple. I had to sign the papers in blue ink, providing the hard copy. Understandable. But, I had to provide the documents on US sized white paper (not the standard UK A4) and provide a two US sized passport photos. I didn’t even know there was a difference!
I genuinely considered cutting down A3 paper, as suggested by a colleague, but couldn’t risk it all being sent back. So, a search on Amazon and I had paid £20 for 500 sheets of US sized paper- bargain! I was lucky enough that one of the four shops to take US sized passport photos in Scotland was in Edinburgh and managed to get a rather unflattering photo (‘you look like a man in this, would you like me to take another?’ Genuine quote from shop owner. A tub of ice-cream eaten that night). Three weeks after the request, I had sent the additional paperwork over via tracked mail so I could track the progress every 10 minutes.
On 24th April 2017, we received confirmation from the UCIS that they had received our application. On 6th June 2017, I haven’t received any further information.
I did look up the estimated time for processing and have found the standard answer to be 3-6 months. I’ve also read that I’ll be required to complete a medical examination and final interview.
I guess this blog will keep you posted of how accurate that is!