Sometimes life as an international couple is a massive pain in the arse.
I would love to say that it is a glamorous existence, where your significant other has a sexy accent, and your partnership allows you to gain another passport and live freely in another country. All you need to do is simply marry the bloke, and ta-da, you’re free to stay!!
In reality, the life of an international couple is more often than not fraught with complications and compromises. Not only do you have to manage the complexities of a long-term partnership – balancing each other’s life goals, education, family situations and career aspirations with one another – but you have the additional fun of managing these factors within the context of two different countries. This means immigration visas – and all their multitude of stipulations, fine print, and timelines – start to dominate your life.
Because of the looming realities of immigration visas, my lovely Englishman and I are trying to map out our lives together. This is proving to be the most significant hurdle in our relationship yet – how we can be together, in the place we want to be living, and still fulfil educational and career goals, all while keeping within immigration requirements. It really feels like a violation – your decisions are not really yours – if you want to continue to have a life with your partner, you have to work within the rigid parameters of Border Agencies and Immigration Offices.
So an update on our immigration situation. My application for an extension on my UK visa (Further Leave to Remain, or FLR) has been denied, with an option to appeal. The news came yesterday as an absolute shock to both me and my partner, and we are devastated. In that letter our world fell apart, our future plans went on hold (yet again) and I feel as if we’re back at square one.
The stress which these applications put on couples is insane – I think these processes are far, far more committing and much more taxing then simply running out and getting hitched. Jack and myself have to get lawyers and prove our relationship in minute, ridiculous detail to a government body who, from what I can gather, cares about the technicalities over the actual ‘genuineness’ of the relationship in front of them.
We are appealing, we have 10 days. 10 days to amass all forms of documentation and evidence that may have been missed the first time around, 10 days to get said documents from Canada to here, 10 days to hire lawyers and book appointments, and 10 days to make sure Jack and I don’t get split up.
I am desperate for the day where Jack and myself can just be a normal couple, planning within normal parameters, who don’t have to worry whether our relationship is going to be compromised by a government agency we have little control over.
If we were only so lucky to have ‘normal couple issues’ to deal with – like who didn’t do the dishes last night – rather than having to worry about whether we can be together long term.
I could just cry and cry.