The countdown on my phone tells me there are only 56 more days until I set off for a summer internship in London. This seems like so long away, but at the same time it’s kind of nerve-wracking because there’s so much to do before I leave. I received the news today to begin my application for my Tier 4 Student Visa, which will allow me to work in the UK during my stay. This process is more grueling then I could have ever imagined.
I mean, let’s face it, immigration/border agencies are never fun, no matter which country you are dealing with. However, I’ve traveled to the UK once before, and because I was on a short-term student program, I never had to apply for a visa. I just needed my passport and showed up to the UK Border Agency at London Heathrow, where I was [unamusingly] grilled about the details about my stay. All I really had to do, however, was show my papers proving that I was actually attending in London, and they gave me the eye and I was out of there. Done. Simple.
Not this time.
Working in the UK is a whole other process, and this one requires the hair-pulling, teeth-clenching before I even leave the U.S. I’ve had to send passport copies, financial statements, paperwork detailing my job, paperwork detailing my residency, processing fees (which I’m almost positive they didn’t need $250 from me to “process” my visa), interview appointments, etc.
It’s a hassle, let me tell you.
Maybe the point is for the Border Agency to make the process so grueling that you just give up on moving to the UK. However, I’ll never give up, but don’t be surprised if you see me lying on the street in the fetal position, rocking back and forth, because these 56 days have a lot more in store for me.