Recently, The Canadian One and I took up a new hobby: Filling in Paperwork…and, as a by-product of that, Re-Filling in Paperwork became our next hobby.
But this week, our hobby ended.
Our paperwork got checked, rechecked, checked again, checked just the one-more-time….OK-let’s-just-to-put-my-mind-at-ease checked again, packaged up in a giant envelope, taken out of the giant envelope and put into a plastic document protector package, addressed…readdressed using the correct form this time, weighed and then finally sent.
Exhale and relax.
Wait…Did I check it enough times?!!
Oh yes, it’s IMMIGRATION TIME!!
The Canadian One and I are emigrating. Well, actually, I’M emigrating. He’s just moving home.
Comparatively, the decision to move to Canada was easy. He managed to convince me it wasn’t THAT snowy there and I swear, if one more person mentions the Chinook Winds to me, I may hit them. I know how to use my iPhone weather app!
The paperwork, on the other hand, was a whole different ballgame.
Having briefly considered getting all the paperwork together and filled in correctly to be immigration’s first test of your relationship (‘If they can survive the paperwork, they can survive Canada’ – The Canadian One), we set about the task of locating every form, piece of paper, photocopied document, original document and every last shred of evidence that The Canadian One and I really were a couple over the past six months. By the end of it, I’d felt like I’d destroyed a forest.
We spent two days filling in a form that was only needed if applying from Paris. My bad.
We filled in the barcoded forms incorrectly TWICE and then ran outta ink during the printing stage and had to fill them in and print them out again as the barcode didn’t match the website sample.
I needed a criminal background check from the UK, Ireland and Korea which took time, patience and money (although I know a GREAT place to get UK ones done if you’re abroad, email me and I’ll send the details). The Korean one was the most interesting. Unlike other countries where it’s a 6 weeks or more process, Korea is more of a hand over your ID, wait 10 minutes and get it type of deal. Of course, being in Korea, it wasn’t THAT simple. The check was in Korean, which, by immigration rules, MUST be officially translated into English and then notarized.
To the Google-mobile.
‘Translators in Seoul’
9am the next morning, I headed across Seoul to a church where I’d hired a Christian translator to translate my document. During the hour I spent with him in his old dilapidated building where he explained to me ‘women don’t like to come here’, we discussed religion, Jesus, how I don’t attend church….much (well, ‘ever’, but I didn’t tell him that). We conversed about sights I should see around Korea and about how Ireland and Scotland should join to become one super-country. Then we visited a lawyer together with a very smiley receptionist. I got my translation, stamp and was on my way.
I also needed a full medical check to be done by a specific hospital in Seoul, another morning mission.
And the Canadian One needed a new passport, a morning mission for him.
Together we needed 10 statutory declarations from friends and family as to the fact that we were in a genuine loving and long-lasting relationship. I lied and gave everyone a due date that was three weeks before the ACTUAL submission date going on the theory that at least two will be late. None were late but they cut it close. Real close. Like mere hours before the deadline.
We needed two letters notarized. Not something that’s easy to do in Korea. We hit the Irish bar, got some drinks and I started looking on the iPhone for lawyers in Canada that do notarizations. Found one on Facebook, called him (‘Wow, you’re calling from Korea?!!’ ‘Yeah, I get that a lot.’)and hooked The Canadian One’s friend up with him. Two weeks later, our notarized letter arrived. My mother took care of the other one.
My next obsession became the visa photos. Hair up? Hair down? Is this top too colorful to be in the photo? Should I get changed? Is my hair too fluffy? Wait, lemme brush it just one more time. Is this photo the right size? My head is too big! LOOK, my head is bigger than the example!! OH MY GOD, my head is giant!!! I have a giant head. They’re never gonna give us a visa!
Next problem were the staples. No staples allowed. Only paperclips. Dammit. The Canadian One got tasked with de-stapling all the paperwork while I made a helpful Table of Contents for each section. Then re-made the Table of Contents as I’d both put the wrong name of the visa AND spelled ‘sponsorship’ incorrectly….stupid Word programme on my computer and it’s non-ability to pick up my spelling errors.
My head still looks giant. Do I have a giant head??!
Next up was finding all the evidence that we were actually a couple. THIS was my favorite part. The Canadian One and I have a box FULL of stuff charting our relationship: notes, letters, tickets to things we’ve been to and places we’ve gone, a shamrock he made me for St. Patrick’s day, gifts we’ve given each other, post-it messages we’ve left each other. We gathered it all together, read through everything to make sure nothing that could make us blush was included and put the rest aside to be photocopied.
‘Hey, I’m funny. I’m really funny.’ – The Canadian One, reading a note he left me one morning.
We gathered photos of us together with other people. We gathered our proof of address (his bank statements, phone bills and student loan stuff, my bank statements, mail from friends and magazine subscriptions). We gathered everything that could possibly prove we are a couple.
We sat in Kinko’s photocopying everything.
We rechecked the forms.
We printed our photos.
I labelled the photos.
We bid goodbye to all our paperwork.
And now we wait…
Now we wait up to 13-14 months to find out if I’ve been approved to exchange The Land of the Morning Calm for The Land of the Maple Leaf.
And we wait…
And we wait……….
And we wait……………….