Friday, December 19, 2008

Stories of a Visa Application - Part II: Rejection

Fast forward to Part III:
On 25 November 2008, I received a letter from the Home Office. Here is what it said:

"In view of the fact that you have claimed 75 points under Appendix A of the Immigration Rules, but the letter you have provided from the London School of Economics and Political Science does not confirm that you have been awarded your MSc degree, the Secretary of State is not satisfied that you have provided the specific documents as required under Appendix A of the Immigration Rules... Therefore you do not satisfy the requirements of the Immigration Rules for this category and it has been decided to refuse your application..."

What a blow! But how expected it was. My premature application was rejected and I felt disgusted at the Home Office, then reconsidered my thoughts, then got disgusted at the LSE not being able to provide me a proper document and also at myself as having gotten a rejection by applying a bit too early.

The same letter advised that I could not appeal to this decision as I still had a valid Student Visa until 5 January 2009 and that I should re-apply within the United Kingdom before 5 January 2009 once I got my University Degree.

After being depressed for an evening, I stood up against the shitty weather of London and the shitty circumstances and decided I would re-apply. I sent a few emails to the LSE Registry who were the correspondence for getting me a proper letter for the application but did not hear anything useful from them. I went as far as to send an email to the Director of the school about the inconveniences I had to face and how I though the Students Service (where Registry is located) has an effect in it. I actually got an official reply from the Head of the Students Service on 15.12.2007 saying that they apologize for how they misled me and confused me with the emails we have exchanged back in October when I asked help for them. Well, too little too late for me, I had already made up my mind to go for a second application.

The shittiest thing about this second application was going to be the fact that when I applied in December, I would be stuck in the UK for all of December (see previous chapters for a similar potential problem I was trying to avoid by applying in October in the first place). I started to get used to the idea that I would spend the Christmas and New Year's in the UK. F. was going to come for a 10-day tourism trip to London, S. said she would come down around the New Year's to entertain herself and I started to believe that maybe I could get through this depression with a different New Year's agenda, in London.

In the meanwhile I had been working quite heavy at my research work at the Urban Age, helping a compile a document for an urban design briefing competition held by the Paris Municipality. On 3 December 2008, a week after my Degree was officially announced, I printed out the Application Form once again whilst working on a late night shift for the deadline of the document.

!!! Vıtally significant note: As I started filling in the Application Form for the 2nd time, I immediately noticed some changes from the 1st one. At the "How would you like to pay the Appliation Fee?" section, there was a missing part: The words writing "If you are exempt from Fees please proceed to section A21" was missing !!!

Some research on the Home Office website revealed that there has been change of laws on 27 November 2008, and the dual state of the UK had removed the exemption from application fee for some citizens of some nations, includıng Turkey (please refer to this exemption note from an earlier chapter). This changed the rules of the game and the circumstances under Sub-Heading 5 of the Applicaton Procedure and now I would have to pay £400 for my application within the UK or £205 for an application made from Turkey.

Considering I did not want to spend Christmas and New Year's in London, that I would save £200 in application and more by not renting a room for December and living for cheaper in Istanbul in the meantime, I decided to go back to Istanbul to make my 2nd application.

There were some things to consider with this new idea:

1. Exemption Fee: Now I would pay a £205 application fee compared to £0 before, but at least I wouldn't pay £400

2. Proof of Funds (Maintenance): This would be the tricky part. Now I would have the 3-month backtrack of a bank account with my name in it instead of the earlier 1-month deal before the 31 October. And what is more important is that, applying within the UK I would have to show £800 in my bank account, but a huge £2800 when applied in Istanbul would be waiting for me. I've had the £800 in my English bank account already but I would only have the chance of submitting a joint-account (with my Mother) to show a £2800 in Turkey. This proves vital for the rest of the story.

After a few telephone calls around 3-4 December, I decided I could do the application in Turkey with my University degree papers in hand, and a joint bank-account provided with my Mother. After getting used to the idea of spending New Year's in London, I booked a one-way ticket to Istanbul and re-started getting used to the idea of spending some nice time with my friends in Istanbul.

I would be back home on 18 December 2008, and having completed the online application, I would attend my Visa Appointment on 22 December in Istanbul and hope for a succesful visa application, to be finalised some time around mid-January.

I took the British Airways 16:05 flight from the impressive Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport on a very mild (11 Degrees C.) London evening. As we passed through the clouds into the upper sky, the orange lights of the setting sun in the far west shone into S.'s eyes as I started dreaming about the night lights of Istanbul...

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