20 In Expat Life

Big News | My Return to Scotland

Today we’re celebrating my imminent return to Scotland! Whaaaat!

You probably saw if you follow me on social media, but last Monday at about 3pm EST I received my passport with my spouse visa inside of it! I’ve talked at length about my heartbreak facing visa issues, separation, and waiting times, but it’s finally over!

return to scotland receiving my visa reaction

I left my life (and the Brit) back in Scotland to come back to Canada on the 1st October 2016, as my youth mobility visa had come to an end. Our immigration lawyer had advised us to wait until the 5 November to apply, just to be sure. We applied on that exact date and got an appointment at the visa centre a few days later. And then the wait began. We expected it to be quite quick, but the wait became so long that I stopped hoping. It was always on my mind, but it felt like it had been so long that it would never happen.

Last week, on the 2 February, I finally got news that my application had been processed, but not telling me what the decision was. Finally, my passport arrived on Monday 6th February, exactly three months after our application.

I heard the door bell ring and ran to see the DHL delivery guy. I gasped (and he seemed to think I was nuts) and signed the most illegible signature ever before running back into the house. My parents were home that day and both waited anxiously for the verdict. 

‘Yes, it’s my immigration documents!’

My mom grabbed the camera while I ripped open the package. It wasn’t even fully open when I saw that the passport was open to a specific page, a page with a visa printed on it. I proceeded with bursting into tears. 

receiving my visa reaction

I’m an emotional girl, but I never expected to get this emotional. At first, it was happy tears and then the realisation that it was finally over flooded through me and I started sobbing. I cried for a good 3 hours in a row.

When I finally got over the hype of getting my visa, I had to start planning. The UK immigration only gives you a month-long window to return to the UK to ‘activate’ your visa. When I read the details of my visa, I realised that I had received my visa halfway through my window (my visa was actually approved on the 25 January, even though I wasn’t told for a week after that….I know). This means I have to fly back to Scotland ASAP.

I booked a flight to return to Scotland in five days’ time. It’s so quick, I know! I cried for yet another hour after realising that I had to get my stuff together and say goodbye to everyone in only a few days. But I know once I’m back home in Scotland and with the Brit I will be happy again!

flying to scotland

Finally, I wanted to share a little something more with you today. It’s only been a few days, and I still find it hard to express my feelings about this process, but bear with me.

Many of you who read are also immigrants and will understand my feelings, but it’s difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t been in this situation. Not many people can understand the strain that immigrants go through by putting their lives in random people (immigration officers)’s hands and at a high monetary costs as well. It’s not done lightly.

I consider myself lucky. After all, I’m a ‘white’ immigrant who is not fleeing bad life or economical circumstances. I’m just a Canadian girl who fell in love with a British boy and chose to uproot her life. But it was a tough experience, the money, the wait, the uncertainties and not having access to my passport for over 3 months (which is the longest time I’ve been sans passport since I was one year old), and yet I was lucky. So damn lucky! I have to always remind myself of that. We have to remind ourselves of that.

Most people that I talk to don’t realise that immigrants go through so much just to apply. In this climate of fear, hate and ignorance toward ‘the other’, I hope that by sharing my experience and my feelings, there is a bit more understanding and empathy. 

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

– From Jack Layton’s last letter to Canadians 

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