It has been a very long, busy week, so this is the first chance I have had to talk about our trip to Glasgow Tuesday. I am happy to say that we are no longer on Josh's student visa! We now have a residence permit (limited leave to remain) for 2 years.
Tuesday we had to pack up all of our important documents: passports, marriage certificate, birth certificates, bank statements, leases, proof of employment, everything you could possibly think of. We didn't want to miss a thing. We didn't want to shell out the payment and have them say "Oh, you don't have such and such" and lose that large wad of money (yes, they keep it if you are denied the visa). Do you know how unnerving it is walking around with all of the important stuff on you? If we didn't have this done in person we would have to send it in and not have it in our possession for up to 14 weeks. No thank you!
Anyways, we trecked over to Glasgow where we had an 'appointment' (arrive between 1 and 3) at the Home Office. We had to go through airport security. They kept our Motrin and my compact mirror. They kept Josh's mobile, but not mine (guess I look innocent enough). Then we had to sit in this room on metal parkbenches. No music. No TV. It was so cold and uninviting...and BOOORING! And, of course, no mobiles so I couldn't play my games. :( We waited for ages for our names to be called.
While waiting we were able to hear everyone else's business broadcasted through this speaker. Well, it wasn't intended to be broadcasted, but we could certainly hear what was going on. They had speakers on either side of the glass so you could hear what the person on the other side of the glass was saying to you. We felt bad as they denied one guy his visa, but we also wondered about his IQ level. He was getting his PhD and working full-time (strictly forbidden). Things seemed to be going smoothly with most people, so our fears of being denied arbitrarily were dissiminating.
When our names were called a nice man looked through our documents. He was funny and eased the tense situation. He told us what we already know about this visa: only 2 years, no recourse public funds. This was just a step to make sure we had our documents together. Then he directed us to a window where we could be rid of my 3 1/2 week's wage. Then we waited again. When our names were called our documents were looked over again and we were told the same important information: only 2 years, no recourse to public funds. We were told to wait another 30 minutes to get our passports back.
So we waited a total of 3 hours for this wee piece of paper in our passports. It's good to have that done. Our employers are relieved (and so are we!) as our visas expired 31 Jan. If we were somehow denied we would have had to pack up in leave in one week!
We were told one thing I still think is funny. The Fresh Talent Initiative is a Scottish program and rather contraversial because it doesn't include England. Englands population is not suffering like Scotland's, so Scotland came up with this initiative to allow graduates of Scottish universities to live and work in Scotland for 2 years. Brilliant plan. They get educated people to work and pay taxes in Scotland. They are buying products in Scotland and such and such, helping to boost the economy. Anyways...the thing I thought was funny is that while Josh is only allowed to work in Scotland, I am free to work anywhere in Britain! :) It was a bit more relaxed with me on his student visa, too. He was only allowed to work 20 hours during term, but I was allowed to work full-time.