Joys of expat life – dealing with uncertainty

Just thought I’d write an update on our move to UK, which proves to be the hardest and the longest one out of all our previous international moves.

My husband works in UK since the beginning of August and I’m managing life in CZ with our 2 daughters and no family around for more than 3 months now. My husband’s employer tried to take care of all the relocation issues – the tickets are paid, the shipment is covered, relocation company providing help at every step. Yet, they cannot help with one thing – a visa for myself.

With 3 Brits in the family I am the only Ukrainian, who needs visa for any country we go to. So far, with our moves to Germany, China, Russia and CZ, I only had to wait for a month maximum, to get a visa and join my husband. This time, even though he is British, our kids are British and we’re moving to UK, it got way harder.

Initially we thought that our case is straight forward and we can apply for a visa just following the guidance we could find on internet, not involving a lawyer. Apparently, we were wrong. After waiting for two months, without any means of contacting a visa office, I received a reply, saying that my application was rejected as I didn’t supply enough proof that my husband can support me in UK. The thing is – he can. But ‘computer says no’. Anyways, I get that, procedures and rules, can’t argue with that. Doesn’t mean I cannot get frustrated about it. Especially that being alone with the kids alters my stress levels a bit.

This time round we contacted an immigration lawyer, who told us that he thought our case was pretty solid and wondered why indeed I couldn’t get a visa. He advised us to use a different route, since we’re relocating from within the EU. After filling in the online application I could book an appointment and the nearest date was in 2,5 weeks. Not that I count anymore. While helping me to get all the papers ready, the lawyer said that he’s pretty sure it would go without any problems this time, but in any case in 3 months we would have more financial proof from my husbands work in UK and can apply again then, if needed. Yay, that suggestion gives me so much hope.

The thing is, following my husband for the last 10 years means that my only home is not an exact address, but a place where he lives at the moment. Should I wish to go and stay with my parents, I can only do so for a short period of time – they live in China and I would need to get a visa to stay with them longer. Staying with my mother in law? I can also do that for up to 3 months, then – I would need a visa to stay in Russia. Going to Ukraine and staying in our family home? About a year ago, my town became a war zone. It’s quiet at the moment, but the conflict is not settled, there’re still occasional shooting just outside the city and there’s no way I’m taking my kids there with me. CZ? Well, we will need to move out from our current flat in mid December, transport company is picking things up on the 1st of December and my current visa application might be ready by the 18th of December. If I get another rejection, I would look for a temporary accommodation with a couple of suitcases and two kids in tow. Good luck to me, right?

So, here’s another side to exciting expat life – dealing with uncertainty.

14 comments

  1. I appreciate yo sharing your struggles but also your hope. My husband and recently started what will probably be a lifetime of expat life and international moves. It is so good to hear about the process from someone who’s experienced that life. I love the expat life, but the challenges sometimes make me feel like I’m on an island figuratively as well as literally!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am also in what looks to be the expat for life boat which is very exciting. But I understand how difficult it can be when you did all you can, things are out of your hands, and waiting is all you can do. Things find a way of working out at the end, but it can be very frustrating. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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