Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm legal

Just thought I'd share. After 6 months of waiting and phoning and fighting and nagging and being stonewalled, I finally got my permanent residence permit (more correctly known as Indefinite Leave to Remain) on Saturday. It was well-timed as an early birthday present (that was on Monday). It's a huge relief, but the process is ridiculously out of keeping with the requirements of a modern family.

My application was based on the fact that my husband is an EU (European Union) citizen. As a consequence, I had to submit his passport in suport of my application, together with my passport, our original marriage certificate, a letter from my employer, a letter from his employer, four recent payslips of his and four of mine.

The problems started when my husband needed to travel. As the head of IT for a multinational company, he often needs to travel at the drop of a hat. New York, Paris, Carpi... Of course, this means that he needs his passport. Quickly. The process of "urgent" return of documents at the Home Office takes a mere 10 working days. They got very sick of us insisting that we needed it NOW, and my husband had to make many trips to their offices to collect the thing in person.

I can (just about) accept that, as the applicant, I would have to put up with some disruption to my life, and fortunately my job doesn't entail any international travel at present. But why my husband should have endure this nightmare is a mystery to me. Surely we couldn't have been setting a precedent? Surely there must be others in this day and age who travel extensively and who cannot be without their passports for 6 months? Surely!

Since his passport didn't actually need to be stamped, I couldn't understand why they needed to retain it at all. Why didn't they just record the fact that it had been seen and return it to him? In the end, in frustration, we paid £80 to the Swedish embassy for a provisional passport for him and submitted that with my application, while he used the original document.

But what if I had been the one with the jetsetting job? What then? I mean, they can have the payslips and stuff for 6 months if it makes them happy, but the passport thing needs to be reworked to fit in with the realities of life in this age. Surely we have the technology to achieve this?

I was planning to apply for citizenship next year, in order not to have to separate from my family in airports in the future, and not to be the only who has to apply for visas every time we want to go anywhere. But if it means being without my passport for another 6 months, perhaps I'll pass...


Doug Belshaw said...

Congratulations Karyn! :-)

Anonymous said...

Excellent Karyn - you can relax and enjoy the holiday now!