Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Immigration Schmimmigration

So, yeah… I’ve been so consumed by getting my cats' immigration papers prepared for their journey to Ireland that I didn’t plan for mine!!  Yes, that’s a major oopsie on my part and completely unlike me!  I’m the queen of lists…princess of organization…how could I forget something so major like that?!  Well, actually, I didn’t technically forget, I just figured I could do all my immigration paperwork once I got there.  Turns out, after a little research, I was wrong.  The paperwork has to be done before I leave the United States (stress level climbs).  Just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore…from preparing my cats to go to Ireland, preparing to leave my job, storing and throwing out my belongings, packing up my apartment, shipping stuff, promoting my book, Christmas shopping and conducting my Zumba classes…I didn’t think I could handle much else.  Looks like I will…my immigration papers. 

Okay, so let’s fill out these immigration forms.  Hmmm, technically, Barry is in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, so do I fill out a UK visa form or an Ireland visa form? I think it is a UK form, even though Barry is considered both a citizen of Ireland and the UK.  Alrighty then, I’ll fill out the UK immigration form for spouses. 

Lalala…everything is filled out, I’ve gathered all my supporting documentation to show that Barry and I are indeed married.  Next, I need to go submit the forms…turns out that they can only be submitted online and then you have to pay to submit these forms.  Once I made it this far in the process, I realized that the payment is $1, 274 to submit these forms…what to the what, now?! One thousand, two hundred and seventy-four dollars?!!!  You’ve got to be kidding me!!  Oh, and another little gem, it could take up to four months to actually get this visa approved!  WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?!  That can’t be!  I’m planning on being in Ireland by the end of January.  I don’t think I could handle another four months apart.  Woe is me!    There’s got to be a better way, right?  I mean, Barry is a citizen of Ireland, so perhaps I can come in under Ireland’s rules, which are not so stringent?  Yes, perhaps. 

After a few calls are made, Barry actually gets to talk to someone who knows what they are doing--The Law Centre offices in Derry, Ireland.  He was advised that since Barry is a citizen of the UK and of Ireland that I could come in using Barry’s Irish passport under the European Union immigration laws.  Hallelujah! Specifically, the European Economic Area regulations of 2006…oh, how I love thee European Economic Area of 2006!  This makes everything sooo much easier!  And, the best part—it’s absolutely free!  Hmm…free versus $1,274…um, I’ll take the free way, thanks.  I still have to submit all this paperwork and get approved before I leave the United States however, it shouldn’t take nearly as long as going in under the UK’s immigration laws and my timeline of January 2011 should still stand.  Here’s hoping!

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