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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Not settling in the UK just yet. [20090903|17:26]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[the weather today is |sniffly]

I spent a portion of last night and today collecting information for my application for settlement in the UK. (I decided to wait until after our upcoming trip to the States in case my passport wasn't returned in time.) While I was putting together a list of my absences - and thank goodness for my LJ addiction or I should never have managed to do it* - I discovered something that made me check over the guidelines again. Firstly, that I've been outside the UK for 222 days during the past five years. Technically, you're not supposed to spend more than 150 days outside the country, even for work, during the period your application covers. Secondly, buried in a bunch of information about settlement on a web site for a company that fills in visa application forms for a fee, I found the following sentence:

"A work permit holder can only apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after they have spent at least 4 years and 11 months as a work permit holder. Any periods of unemployment or periods when the individual was working without a valid work permit (or leave to remain) will not count toward the qualifying period."

(Note that this information does NOT appear in the settlement form guidelines or on the official UK Border Agency web site. I had to phone them to confirm it, which involved spending nearly 20 minutes on hold. WTF.)

Although I had a work permit for the entire time I've been in the UK, for the first year and a half I was on a partner's work permit. Since I wasn't actually working, that time doesn't count towards settlement. This makes perfect sense to me and I'm not quibbling with the rule that requires you to be employed for the full five years. I just wish that that had been clear to me two months ago.

The upshot of the story is that I'll be applying for an extension to my HSMP (highly skilled migrant) visa, now called a Tier 1 visa, and waiting another two years for settlement. I admit I cried a little when I discovered this.

On a more upbeat note, check out the table of all the places I've been since I moved to the UK!

Absences from the UK over the past 5 years


Duration (days)



Los Angeles, CA, USA


29 September 2004

9 October 2004

Dublin, Ireland


19 January 2005

22 January 2005

San Diego, CA, USA


26 January 2005

9 February 2005

Prague, Czech Republic


1 March 2005

3 March 2005

Amsterdam, Netherlands


16 March 2005

18 March 2005

Los Angeles, CA, USA


23 May 2005

8 June 2005



16 August 2005

31 August 2005

Barcelona, Spain


24 November 2005

29 November 2005

San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA


27 December 2005

10 January 2006

Cologne, Germany


15 June 2006

23 June 2006

Cork, Ireland


26 June 2006

1 July 2006

Paris, France


14 July 2006

16 July 2006

Los Angeles, CA, USA


17 October 2006

10 November 2006

Budapest, Hungary


26 December 2006

2 January 2007

Los Angeles, CA, USA


6 January 2007

15 January 2007

Dubrovnik, Croatia


3 July 2007

13 July 2007

Olympia, WA & Los Angeles, CA USA


31 August 2007

10 September 2007



18 January 2008

26 January 2008

Paris, France


16 February 2008

18 February 2008

Olympia, WA, USA


5 July 2008

20 July 2008

Berlin, Germany


22 September 2008

25 September 2008

Vienna, Austria


4 October 2008

7 October 2008

New York, NY, USA


21 January 2009

27 January 2009

Olympia, WA, USA


5 September 2009

26 September 2009

Also on a more upbeat note, I discovered a whole bunch of postcard stamps that I bought the last time I was in the States. So, if you want a postcard while I'm on holiday (assuming I don't get exploded by a volcano or eaten by bears while in Yellowstone), fill out this poll. You have until noon on Saturday (5 September).

Poll #1452719 Postcards from the wilderness

Do you want a postcard?

Yes please!

Do I have a current snail mail address for you?

I just gave it to you in the last poll, dummy.
I've given it to you before.

What about your "real" name?

What about it?
My DW/LJ handle will do.
Make something up. As long as it's not Scroogy McFiggins.
I like Scroogy Mcfiggins. You can call me that.

Real name & address go here please.

* This is partly because not all US airports used to stamp our passports on entry, so I have a lot of return stamps through Heathrow & Gatwick with no start date. It's also partly because immigrations officials tend to stamp on whatever page they happen to find most appealing, which means I have a number of pages with stamps from, for example, 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2008. *headdesk*

[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2009-09-03 16:59 (UTC)
Huh, that sucks. Paperwork!

You've been a lot of places! You're going to Yellowstone? It's very nice - I liked it there. It was frosty overnight when I was there, mid-September some years ago, so you might want to take a warm coat! I wish I had...

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-03 20:20 (UTC)
Yeah, honestly that's mostly what I object to. It takes ages to fill out these darn forms and I had the settlement ones almost ready! :-P

The last time I was in Yellowstone, I was seven years old. Fortunately, the recent Beeb series on Yellowstone reminded me that winter arrives very quickly there, so I've got my thermals and warm socks all packed. Now I'm thinking the parka might not be a bad idea...
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2009-09-03 20:41 (UTC)
How recent? I don't recall that series. Is it on iPlayer do you think?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-03 20:44 (UTC)
Hm, five or six months ago? I doubt it's on iPlayer any more.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2009-09-03 20:45 (UTC)
Oh, shame - I must have missed that when it was on :(. Oh well, I'll look for repeats.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2009-09-03 20:46 (UTC)
Oh, I found it, but it's not on just now. Oh well.
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[User Picture]From: smallfurry
2009-09-03 17:20 (UTC)
Very envious of the places you've been over the last five years, especially compared to mine! :)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-03 20:21 (UTC)
All those cheap airlines have helped a good deal. Going to Prague from the States is a much more expensive venture.
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From: pbristow
2009-09-03 18:09 (UTC)
[ANGRY_MOTHER_MODE] You fly in, you fly out... You just treat this country like a doss-house! [/ANGRY_MOTHER_MODE]

([HUGS] for the disappointment.)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-03 20:22 (UTC)
Funnily enough, visits to my parents constitute exactly 72 of those 222 days. 222 - 72 = 150. Hmph!
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[User Picture]From: dizzykj
2009-09-03 19:50 (UTC)
If only immigration was done in the best way possible

Q: Are you a generally nice person who wants to come here an do positive things to make your life better?

A: Welcome!

If I ruled the land, I'd make a special holiday to commemorate the day that you asked if you could stay.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-03 20:24 (UTC)
Once I can vote here, I shall write you in as a candidate. "dizzykj for QUEEN please."
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2009-09-03 23:32 (UTC)
In regards to the postcard, you could deliberately tell me NO with no ramifications, as I've been terrible with returning the favour. I *mean* well, but squeaky wheels & all that.

Woah hey there?! *eyes location & dates & whatnot* *whistles*
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-04 10:26 (UTC)
Aw, no worries. I don't do this with the expectation that people will reciprocate. If I did, I'd stop because they very rarely do.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2009-09-04 23:26 (UTC)
Okay, that's horrible. Please to be sliding me your new addy, yis? talulla dash girl at comcast dott net

And...and...do you know which bits of the trip you'd be in Oly? Will you pass through *here* on your way anywhere & have forty minutes to spare?? I could bring the coffee? ;)
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[User Picture]From: chibaraki
2009-09-03 23:46 (UTC)
My boyfriend, NOT an obsessive livejournaler, spent a lot of money on international calls to family trying to figure out every international trip he'd been on in the last 10 years or something absurd so he could fill out the application for his work visa. It was nuts. Also a good argument for demanding that they stamp your passport EVERY TIME.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-04 10:25 (UTC)
Ten years?! Egads. I think I might have just given up and started sobbing at that.

Not only am I going to start demanding that they stamp my passport every time, I'm going to start dictating politely indicating on which page they should put the stamps.
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[User Picture]From: bellelaqueen
2009-09-04 17:53 (UTC)
I actually had to lodge a complaint with the UK Border Agency because...

*Despite calling >10 times a day I could not get through on the phone to request my passport back (for over a month)
*Any other departments I managed to get through to would not tranfer me nor process my request, even after I said I needed to get my pasport back as my uncle was dying and I had to travel home "you need to call....."
*You are not allowed to email to request your passport back in an emergency, even when you can't get through on the phone - emails re: this are auto deleted
*I therefore missed both going home to say goodbye to my uncle, and his funeral
*UKBA broke EU (and UK) law and did not issue me with my visa within the statutory timelines.

Thank god when I apply for citizenship I can go to a Nationality Checking Centre and keep a hold of my papers.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-05 10:11 (UTC)
Dude. That kind of stonewalling is just wrong. I'm sorry you had to go through it.
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[User Picture]From: senusert
2009-09-05 13:13 (UTC)
Aww. Damn them rules. And the paperwork.

On a bizzare coincidence note....I was in Dubrovnick (it's lovely, I want to go back) almost exactly when you were there.
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[User Picture]From: mysti77
2009-09-14 11:14 (UTC)
Only now catching up on reading journal entries. MY GOODNESS I really need to try to figure out how much time I've spent outside the UK. I have no clue how I'm going to remember this, but I don't want to end up in a silly situation later on.

PS when you get back I think we really need to go out for a coffee or something!! I know we keep saying that but I've finally got the time and could do with meeting up :)
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