After many years, I am currently applying for my permanent residency here in England. Let me put it this way, setting up a lunch date with the Queen in which we sit pond side at the palace and talk pop art and jeggings would be easier. Yes, the message couldn’t be more clear no matter where you live, if you’re not from your country of origin, the government does not want you and will make damn sure to give you as many deterrents as possible!
I’m sure many of you are thinking, but you are married to a British subject and birthed British royalty – I'm referring to The King of course. You’d think it would be that simple, wouldn’t you? I mean honestly, if they met the King they’d let me stay in a heartbeat. Without boring you to tears, the process is not this straightforward, and depending on what you enter a country on (which visa specifically) will determine the route you must take to stay there permanently. So for now, I’m bouncing down an ancestral channel that requires a boatload of paperwork, a test and a shedload of money for application fees and what not (the what not would be the homes I’m apparently paying for in St. Tropez for government officials).
My first hurdle is the test that every person wanting residency must pass. Now when one thinks of a citizenship test, or when I do for that matter, I think of my mother getting her U.S citizenship all those years ago when she had to answer a few patriotic little questions about the flag, statue of liberty and what Americans like to BBQ. As she described it, it wasn’t that taxing and was more about her, hand on heart saying America was a really groovy country. In this day and age, things have become a little bit different. For the last three weeks I have been studying a 200-page book like I’m cramming for the NY flipping bar exam. I literally walk around with 400 index cards in my purse, or my UK test app (cause they have an app for everything!!!) loaded and ready, as I shout out which King follows (or beheads, betrays or conquers) which King and on what date, to whomever will listen. My husband – who secretly loves this process as he begs me to test him 24/7 so he can see how smart he is – laughs as I walk around spouting facts about British law, history, inventions, the judicial system and so on…and on and on and on. I mean, they leave nothing out and no stone unturned.
In fact, I’m confident that most English people (not to be confused people with Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish who are not English damn it; look at your handbook already!) have no clue who fought in the Battle of Agincourt (1415! Whooop whoop) or what monument is sitting in the middle of Trafalgar square and why (Admiral Horatio Nelson cause he helped to defeat Napolean, even though he croaked in battle; Hoollllaaaa!). Ahem, I do, and hence why after this sodding test, I plan to hit every Quiz night from here to the Edinburgh (capital of Scotland, BAM) to win me some prizes, damn it! In fact, the one thing this test has done for me is prove that my brain isn’t as much of a bowl of oatmeal as I thought it was. Then again, I may forget all this stuff 10 minutes after the exam.
So after this test, which I will pass or else I will resort to parading the King around parliament in all his cuteness, I must set about filling in a 35 page application and finding reams of documents (originals of course, not copies) from the recesses of my past that prove I am upstanding, financially able and am not a menace to society. Throw in a boatload of money, an interview, some photos, some birth certificates and maybe just maybe I can call this country home. Officially. Now don’t get me wrong, the same thing happens over on the other side of the world as well for those wanting to settle there. The moral being: these days, if you’re born somewhere, you better want to leave real badly cause there is a sh*tload of paperwork and hassle waiting for you on the other end.
God save the Queen!