The UK Visa – Traveling around Europe on Peanuts

Visas are a pain. Anyone who has ever had to apply for a visa knows the struggle. But it is more of a struggle when you have a Nepalese passport. I love the Nepalese passport, let’s be clear. It is one of the prettiest passports there is; one Norwegian air hostess even stopped me and told me about it. But when applying to travel to Europe, a Nepalese passport is not the best.

I knew all about it and I knew it was going to be super hard so I started planning in January. I researched all about the UK tourist visa and the Schengen Visa and I was R-E-A-D-Y! YES!

Alas! Life is not as easy as it seems. I was flying to the UK from Sydney and returning to Sydney from UK because that is where my boyfriend’s mum was. So in order to travel to Europe on my beloved Nepalese passport, I had to plan everything out beforehand. So that meant paid trips and accommodation and paid flights. And the flights aren’t cheap, my biggest dilemma was, do I pay extra and make the flight cancellable or pay less and keep more money in my bank account so that I can spend more when I travel. When you’re backpacking, of course, you’re going to pick the cheapest flights and the cheapest accommodations. We had most of everything booked and planned; I say most because I had no idea how much money I was going to have left by the end of the trip so I had some days empty so that I could bludge around and just travel around.

You can only apply for a UK visa 3 months ahead of the date of arrival. I started filling out my application in February – knowing all of this and also knowing that I need to be on top of all of it, I started filling it out. I was PREPARED! I booked my “interview” in for March, which was more of a documents handover than an interview. I booked it just on that brink of 3 months. So that I would have all the time in the world to prepare myself for any setbacks.

I submitted my payslips, my paid for tickets from Sydney and back to Sydney from London and let’s get this straight they were not cheap! When I got to VFS, that is how the UK processes their visas, the very kind lady told me that I cannot submit the application because I had started the application in February and I was planning on getting there in June and the gap was more than 3 months. I was furious – I tried explaining to the lady that I thought the day that I submitted the application would be when the 3 months would be counted for. She said that she can’t promise or advise me anything but if I really wanted to submit it, I could but it might get rejected on the sole reason that I started it earlier than 3 months. I decided to not take the risk and cancel that application and start another one. I mean can you believe it? I hadn’t even submitted my application and it was considered too early. TOO EARLY!

Almost two weeks later, I went back in again with a new application this time. Paid the $169 for the visa application and paid another $20 to get it delivered to my work. I was so excited. One visa down another one to go. I had already started researching about it and filling the application. They said that I need to call in a few days ahead and then book an “interview” in and then submit my application. Easy. I would be living my dreams sooner than I would know it. LOL!

Most of this whole planning is just a blurred rage because of all the anger and sadness and anxiety it caused me. It took 21 working days for me to get my passport back, that is roughly a month. I open the letter and the application had been rejected. Crushed and devastated are understatements. I could see all of my planning just going down the drain. My tickets, my accommodation bookings. What was even worse was the reasons that they gave me:

  1. My payslips didn’t show that I still held the job or I had approved leave to go away.
  2. They don’t think I have sufficient funds
  3. There was no evidence that my bf was willing to support me or if he even existed. Even though we had tickets flying together.
  4. They didn’t think I was returning, even though I had attached a return ticket and my enrollment into uni.

The UK embassy really does think highly of themselves. Why in the world would you think that I would rather be an illegal immigrant in your country than hold a valid visa and stay in Australia, a country which has better weather and better beaches than them! Nonetheless, I was devastated. Actually devastated is an understatement. I was crushed I had decided to drop the whole plan. There was no way that I could afford to spend another month for the visa and still have enough time for the Schengen visa. I mean 21 working days for a rejected visa. I could’ve just killed someone then. Then I found out that VFS does an express visa thing for an extra $300. I would get a decision in 5 days. So instead of sending my passport to Manilla, Philippines where the UK embassy is, they’ll send it to the UK consulate in Canberra and send my supporting documents to Manilla and it would be prioritised. What a scam! The even greater problem was that the rejection letter said that unless I had a dramatic change in my application it would still more than likely be rejected. So was I ready to sacrifice another $469 for a visa which was possibly going to get rejected? I mean I needed to take a chance.

The even greater problem was that the rejection letter said that unless I had a dramatic change in my application it would still more than likely be rejected. So was I ready to sacrifice another $469 for a visa which was possibly going to get rejected? I mean I needed to take a chance otherwise, all of my bookings and flight tickets would go down the dump. I didn’t even know if I could refund it at all.  I had my mind set on proving the jerks who rejected my visa wrong. So I gathered all the evidence I could. I got a letter from work saying that I had paid leave and that I would still have the job when I came back, I got my boyfriend to write a letter and get his mum to send us a letter and a photocopy of her passport and visa, I also got my bank statements, proving that I had enough money. If this wasn’t enough to prove them that I was coming back I don’t know what would. So I booked in another interview for the fourth time. $638 and 5 days later, I got my passport back and this time with a Visa. But, I wish that was the end of all my problems.

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