Friday, December 19, 2008

Stories of a Visa Application - Part I: First Attempt

Fast forward to Part II:
I sent my Post-Study Work Visa Application to the Home Office on 31 October 2008 around 17:20, on the day of the deadline for 1-month of proof of evidence for funds (Maintenance) (please refer to the previous chapter). Not only I have sent the post 10 minutes before the Post-Office closed, implying another 'last-minute Turkish strike' attempt, but furthermore, I had to send in a premature application. This means I had a 'weak application' regarding some of the documents I sent in. Let me reveal how this has happened so:

I decided to make use of the 31 October 2008 deadline because it meant I only had to show my bank details for 1 month. I had to show I had £800 (refer to Maintenance and how it relates to where I apply from in the previous chapter) for at least a month. After returning to London on 2 September 2008 after my summer holidays and Thesis research in Istanbul, I put money into my personal UK bank account, and therefore had enough money for the last 1.5 month or so.

Otherwise, if I missed the 31 October deadline, I would have had to show sufficient funds (£800 when applied within the UK) for 3-months. This would mean I would have to wait until December 2008 to complete the 3-month period. Here is another important note:

!! My current visa (as explained under 'Visa Application Procedure') runs out on 5 January 2009. It means that I can stay in the UK and apply for this visa before 05.01.2009 or I go back to Turkey and apply for the visa before 21 November 2009, which is the end of 1-year after I get my Award degree. !!

Waiting until December to apply had 2 problems for me:

1. It is too close to the end of my current visa,

2. It means I have to stay in the UK for all of December as the application process takes at least 3 to 6 weeks.

So, providing my Maintenance proof, the Application Form and all other application documents, I had 2 other boxes to fill: The UK University Degree; and the Application Fee.

Let us learn a bit more about the Application Fee:
Again, depending on where and how you apply, there are various different fees:

1. If you apply within the UK you have two options:

A. Send your application via post and pay £400 as an application fee.
B. Get an appointment at the Visa Application Centre, apply in person and pay £600.

2. If you apply from Turkey, you can fill in an online application form and get an appopintment at the Visa Application Centre and apply there in person with the £205 fee.

!!! Another important note: There was one sweet rule eligible for citizens of some nations such as Turkey, Croatia, Armenia, etc.. who have ratified the European Social Charter. The rule is that the citizens of these countries did not have to pay application fees.

These countries are obviously far from random. This is, basically countries who are not part of the EU but are somewhat attached to Europe by means of social and economical rights. Do not think that this is a privilege that
these countries have been given by Europe. It obviosuly comes with many responsibilities as well, one of which is manifested and known well by Turkish citizens; the abiding rules of the European Court of Human Rights over the Turkish Legislation with regards to cases dealing with social issues.

However, on 27 Novebmer 2008, the dualist state of the United Kingdom decided that they lift this exemption and make a note of this please, because this is an essential information that will be referred back to in the next chapter !!!

The other thing I had to deal was the UK-University Degree. This is where it got all tricky. I completed my program at the LSE on 2 September 2008. That was the date I handed in my Thesis. Apart from the Thesis, I had completed all my exams and other duties back in June 2008. So, as a decent human being I would expect to get my grades by some time in September or October. Of course, the awkward English (or LSE) system decided that I would get my results only in November. So, this is a problem when you want to apply by 31 October.

At this moment I happened to come across a web page on the LSE website where they said they could give me a letter that helps me with my application. A letter not confirming my degree but telling the Home Office that I will get my degree.

This letter never came about. Through extensive e-mailing I was only told that I could not get this letter before November. I fought and fought and fought to get a decent letter in the end on 30 October and so were all my documents ready with the exception that my Degree document was a bit weak.

I was confident at the Post Office on the evening of 31 October 2008 at 17:20. I made a big application concerning my life and sent away my passport for an indefinite time. I walked out of the Post Office into the dark and chilled evening of Brixton. I called D., told her that my application was sent on time and we started discussing about the night plans for the Halloween Party.

The wait had begun...

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