One of the things I have never blogged about in the past is Charito’s (my wife) immigration status.
Charito’s home country is Peru and as some of you may be aware the process of moving over here to the UK and obtaining the relevant visas is a complicated one. First you have to get a matrimonial visa that covers the first 6 months then you get a temporary leave to remain, which in our case ended up being a complicated issue and initial they refused the visa, for reasons I wont go into here in detail, but it was a mistake by the border agency. I had to appeal against there decision but couldn’t get a solicitor/lawyer to represent me in the case as I kept getting told that I wouldn’t win and she would have to go back to Peru – I didn’t except this and decided to represent the case myself under the European Rights Act. I’m glad to say that the Judge could the sense in our case and ruled that the Border Agency should reverse it’s decision as they were in the wrong and recommended that the leave should be extended.
So that has been the situation for a about 5 years, waiting from one Visa to another and applying for each one as and when required, all of which cost a considerable amount to apply for.
The last stage in the Visa process is a permanent leave to remain, which means she can stay here for as long as we want to and return to Peru and the UK at any time.
Although I could see no reason why they should say no, it is very worrying to have the thought hanging over us that I could be in the situation where my wife is deported back to Peru when I need her the most. With me not being well, there would be no way I would be able to represent the case again at court.
With this application, it isn’t just a matter of having to fill in a form and sending it off with your fee. Charito has not only had to pass recognised qualifications in English; which she has done to a higher level than they required, but also to pass the ‘Life in the UK test’
Now I challenge anyone that is British from birth and has lived here all of there life to take this test and see if they pass. I know I wouldn’t! The test covers all aspect of life in the UK and the asks questions like ‘who appoints life peers in the house of lords? Although I know the answer now, I certainly wouldn’t if I hadn’t been helping Charito. Charito didn’t pass the first which I can understand as it is so difficult, that and it turned out that one of the books that was recommended, doesn’t cover all of the questions. After trying again, she did pass and that was another big hurdle for us. Remember this is at the same time that she is working at three jobs and caring for me when I needed her as I was in and out of hospital with my Chemo and side effects. All added burden to the both of us and a very stressful time.
We got all of the documentation together, which as you can imagine is quite a lot to cover all of the criteria that they ask for…. bills in both names, letters, marriage certificate, wage slips etc etc all of which is need to prove that she really is my wife and that we are living together. We sent it off over a month ago and have been waiting for the notification to arrive in the post. Every day checking the post to see if there was any news. Charito would ring me up from work each day asking if I had hear anything.
Well finally yesterday I got a knock on the door from Nigel our postman asking me to sign for a document for a name that he couldn’t pronounce. It was in Charito’s maiden name – Maria Del Rosario Egocheaga Casas. I knew exactly where it was from and couldn’t wait to open it, although it was with some anticipation.
I read through the letter on top, which was written in the usual cryptic way that these people write things.
I am returning the enclosed passport with an extension of stay in the United Kingdom
Now as I read this, I wasn’t sure what that meant! have they given the permanent residency or another extension visa for some reason. After having read through all of the documents though and dug out the Visa, it is in fact a Residence Permit, which means she has been given permission to stay permanently.
So we are both really pleased and at least one thing less to worry about.
There is one minor problem though that we have to deal with and this again seems a bit stupid!
One of the letters says:
As your passport is not available we have endorsed your leave to remain on an Immigration Status Document (ISD). You should make arrangements to obtain a new passport from your Embassy.
Now what seems so stupid, is the the fact that the passport that they say was not available, was included in the documents that they sent back and was included with the letter saying it wasn’t!!! How intelligent it that?
So my next job is to find out why. They go on to say that once we have the passport they can transfer the ISD into the passport for a fee (now there is a surprise)
I will let you know how I get on. Overall though we are very happy.