Lara is officially in the UK. She does not start school until the 20th of September and has been transported to our friend’s house in London for an extended stay in UK (more on that later). When she chose to go to school in England we (not Lara, not Dave and not certainly Ms. Family trip planner) could have imagined the challenges that she would face when choosing a foreign country for said school.
Lucky for her, Dave’s father was born in England. With his official birth certificate she was able to apply for a UK Ancestry Visa which will allow her to stay in England for up to 5 years. There is no restriction on this, such that the Tier 4 Student Visa would have. She applied from Vancouver. Had her passport shipped to New York. A Visa was put in that states such and voila done and dusted!
NO WAY CANADIAN – BACK UP A BIT – LARA NEEDS A BRP CARD!
Now look here,,, don’t ever get too excited at any point when you get a VISA approved and put into your passport. That’s just the immigration office outside of that country fucking with you! What they fail to tell you is this “Congratulations, you have just jumped through the first hoop. Now if you are a good little doggie, we’ll hold out a ring that’s a wee bit higher and give you a treat (perhaps) if you jump through that next hoop!”
AND that leads us to the BRP card. Simple right? It’s a Biometric Residency Card that will ensure that Lara travels and stays in England freely during the entire “APPROVED” 5 year Visa. This was given the green light in Vancouver & New York as finger prints were done, RCMP clearance check done and all that needed to happen was rely on the UK government, “Home Office” as they like to call themselves, print the card, use the Royal mail (ahem – another government service) and to send it to the pre-approved post office location.
<insert here, Lara standing in line at least 5 times and calling the post office daily for over 2 weeks to locate BRP card>
Nada, Nada, Not
Now we come back to Lara’s extended stay in UK and not travelling with us to experience Paris for a week. When, as a family, we landed back in England to buy sheets, towels, bedding and leave at the school a week prior to her starting; immigration had a lovely recommendation that went something like this: “Welcome back Lara. I see your Visa has a stamp that says it’s good until the 18th of September. Do you have a BRP card?” When the answer was “no”. Their next response was, “Well, I guess you’ll be staying in England and not travelling out until you get the card then?” And I add again:
Which brings me back to the fact that Lara is now having an extended stay in London with our kind and gracious friends – Noyan and Fernur whilst Dave and I have stuck to for VISA reasons, travelling to Paris.
YEP you read that right… VISAS!
Day One of Janine & Dave’s Visa process for “Long Stay Tourist Visa for Schengen Zone”. We took a chapter out of “UK Visa 101”. We got up early, got our butts to the OFII office in the 11th arrondissement, passed the people standing waiting in the very long “asylum seekers” line, to personally hand over documents for the Step Two process Visa issued by France.
So far… we have a date for our medical exam (that’s a requirement we were aware of) and to re-produce all the documents that we already handed the French Consulate in Vancouver! Oh the redundancy of that… but that I shall leave for another blog (or not).