Having acquired all of the necessary supporting evidence to make my case for being issued a spousal settlement visa by UK immigration, last week Tuesday James and I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to submit my application online and see if we could make an appointment at the British Consulate in Chicago for Monday morning given that we would be in the vicinity anyway on our way back from a weekend with my family in Iowa. We were able to schedule an appointment for 10:00 on Monday morning, even at such short notice. So at the appointed time we made our way to the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue, took the elevator to the 13th floor of the south tower, made our way through security, and sat ourselves down in the rather stark waiting room, listening for our number to be called.
When they called our number, we went up to the window and turned in our packet of evidence, then sat and waited for another 20 minutes or so. We had Martha Stewart for distraction, cooking up some lovely looking cauliflower orrechiette and cucumber salad with her guest chef. (Mmm. Must give those recipes a go…) We were finally summoned for a second time only to be told that everything looked in order but we were too early. They are unable to issue visas for more than three months out which wouldn’t be that much of a problem, but since we’ve been married for fewer than four years, the visa would be a provisional one that would have to be renewed after two years. Thus I’d essentially have two months of a valid visa that I wouldn’t be able to use. I appreciated their desire for me to get as much use out of my provisional visa as possible before having to renew it, but I wish they had been a little more clear about the timing limitations on their website. In any case, we were told that I wouldn’t have to reapply (or pay again, thank goodness, given that the application fee is a hefty USD $520!) but we still need to bring our packet of evidence back to the Chicago consulate in a few months to get the actual visa.