When The Clock Stopped Working
My visa settlement story.
February 2021, I was preparing some stuff to bring home to the Philippines...
My flight was booked. The quarantined hotel has been booked too, but I was hesitant to leave due to COVID restrictions.
If you're wondering why I was on a visit visa entering the UK, the pandemic had challenged us from staying together. My husband and I were both working in a sandpit for several years, unfortunately, my husband's job was the first to hit with the global pandemic.
I was not happy with the decision of my husband to leave me at the sandpit, but he had to. (For those who had previous experience working in the middle east, the work visa is connected to the residency. In short, no work visa means you have to leave the country too). Without a UK job, we couldn't fulfill the requirements for the settlement visa, so we had to separate. It was by force, and I was crying non-stop. He assured me that this will be temporary.
After a few months of my husband staying the UK, he called via FB messenger and said, ‘this is ridiculous; you need to come here.’
So I did.
I have decided to resign because I have been in the sandpit since 2005, so I knew it was time to leave the country to join my husband — even for a bit. (To anyone who knew me, I did not quit just because my husband told me to. At the age of 40, I'm not holding anything back. I want my marriage to work.)
And just like that, I applied for the UK visit visa and quit my job.
As I was preparing for my flight departure to the UK, I found myself, starting to gather some knowledge about the spouse visa requirements from some of my newfound friends online from the Fil/Brit community. They’re extremely helpful. I was mentally preparing for what I needed while I’m in the UK.
October 2020, I arrived in London Heathrow with a golden glow. I finally saw my husband at the airport. I missed him terribly.
As soon as we got home, the condition of the house was in a bit of a state. The good thing is that my husband was money-savvy, so we owned a house in the UK. It wasn’t big, but it needed to be arranged and cleaned well. It was made to looked like a student accommodation. After a few days, I started arranging stuff, and we started painting the house. I cheerfully told my husband, 'I'm going to start a YouTube channel and start working on my life in the UK.' He amusingly said, 'do whatever you want.' So I did.
Fast forward to Feb 2021, I knew I had to leave to go back to the Philippines. I was only on a visit visa. I was mentally preparing for what to do during the quarantine period and was really asking for help from fellow YouTubers who did the hotel quarantine.
The plan was once I got home and waited for a few months, we would prepare to apply for a spouse visa in the Philippines. But news with COVID is still progressing, and the virus is spreading rapidly.
"Let's called the COVID hotline," he blurted out.
On February 23, 2021, my dear husband called the Coronavirus Immigration Assistance Team. We requested if there's a way to extend my visit visa. The next day, we received an extension of my visit visa for one month.
February 25, 2021, my husband told me, “let's prepare to apply for a spouse visa.” I told him, “but you just got your job.” However, we got savings saved. We got everything else. We just needed to apply.
We start researching online. I have sent several queries to the Fil/Brit groups and dear friends asking how-tos. We focused on completing the documentation and filling up everything online.
We submitted all documents on March 1, 2021, and on March 8, I had my bio done.
Waiting time was crucial.
April of 2021, the Philippines had been added to England’s ‘red list.’ A red list means a travel ban. This means I really cannot leave.
May to July — time stopped for me.
I was in tears most of the time.
I had panic attacks.
I just stopped everything that I loved doing. I was not happy.
July of 2021, I started a movement talking about what I loved and was hungry for more knowledge, which is cryptocurrency and NFTs. It did help some people — which made me a bit happier and not think much about the visa.
August of 2021, my family in the Philippines got severely infected by the COVID. I wanted to go home to the PH, but I did not have any option to leave. I don’t even have my passport. I was so anxious because my daughter back home got infected too. I called her daily to check on her. Thank God we got the means now to call our dear loved ones without the need for long-distance calls. Unfortunately, we got relatives that passed away.
In September of 2021, we started calling the Home Office. They just asked for my application details. After a few days, I received an email saying my application had not been completed yet.
October of 2021, we called the Home Office again. This time, they gave us directions to send a letter by post for a follow-up, and we did just that.
November of 2021, finally someone called from the Home Office around 11:00 am. He asked for some questions about my previous job, and he also requested for additional documents. The next day, we have submitted the documents that he requested but did not receive any response.
December of 2021, we started emailing our local MP (as suggested by a dear friend).
We used the website called WriteToThem.com. After a few days, our local MP emailed back with a response and an attachment sending a correspondence to the Home Office.
Christmas approached, I was in mixed emotions. Most of the time I was not in a mood, but my husband's family had cheered me up.
Evening of New Year, I spoke to God.
I told Him about my worries and I will accept whatever happens, and just like that, I heard HIM, and I just started singing, 'thy will be done.' I cried.
Day of January 18, my dear husband surprised me with a trip to Scotland for our 2nd wedding anniversary! He told me to prepare for the road trip tom. I was ecstatic. Being just at home, I know travel would do good for us.
We were halfway to Scotland. I was sleeping in the car because I had several sleepless nights. My husband was driving, and he was saying something about another driver. I sat up, looked at my phone, check my emails, and then read these lines from one of my emails which reads — Important Information from the Home Office. Dear Applicant….
I opened the attached email, and there it was. I blurted out, 'I got my visa!'
During the first few months, I did try to understand that with the pandemic situation going on -everything will be taking longer than usual, but then, I envy some wives who post that they got their spouse visa about a few weeks or a few months. Instead of being happy for them, I was envious. It wasn't a happy thought, and I've admitted that I was jealous.
That jealousy only made me miserable and it's hard to think about something that I was not in control of.
When I talked to God and prayed solemnly, I told HIM that I do not want to feel this way as it won’t help me solve problems. Instead, I've focused on motivating myself to help more people. I've reached out and talked to younger adults about NFT and cryptocurrency. We've built a community of teaching how to forward kindness. With that contribution to my life, I stopped contemplating and started giving.
I hope this article will help the restless in the same situation. Praying to God has helped a lot.
“It is at the place of surrender that we find God’s power prevailed. Thy will be done.”