Saturday, 31 October 2009

UK Immigration: Residence Card Application

Philippine passport
Originally uploaded by tony_081983

Immigration is such a very complicated process especially for Philippine passport holders. There seems to have wall that we have to climb over in order to get admitted in another country whether as tourists, job seeker or immigrant. Whereas for Europeans, Americans and other developed countries they can just go in and out without a fuss.

After my wedding I had to extend my visa. Naturally, I asked other Filipinos who got married to a British for advice aside from looking for information from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) website. So I gathered that I had to apply for a definite leave to remain which is valid for 2 years and costs around £400? I have yet to verify this. However when I was skimming through the application form it said that "if you are a family member of an eea national this form is not for you." I got confused and there was no follow-up link pointing to the right form. Again, I had to ask some reputable people and agencies like the Citizen's Advice Bureau but they are also daft on immigration issues. They can only advice on financial and employment matters. My visa expiration was getting closer and I was getting frantic. I tried to call UKBA support but it was just ringing and the number was not free to call. I was getting more and more frantic. Gladly after a week of poring over online leaflets I found a landline number, called it and took me about an hour to be finally put through. When I heard the voice from the other end of the line I quickly asked what type of visa application I needed and he said EEA2 otherwise known as the "Residence Card Application by Non EEA National..." and the best thing about it was that it's free compared to the other visa application I earlier was going to fill up. A couple of days later, my application was sent to the Home Office (HO) or immigration as we know it in the Philippines.

Two weeks later I received a letter of certificate of application from the HO stating that I could already "seek employment" while my application was on process. I was ecstatic. Work at last after more than half a year.

Well, I thought I was lucky that I didn't have to pay for the application but  six months later and there was no sign of my passport I began to worry. I couldn't get a proper job, couldn't leave the country, couldn't open a bank account, I felt so helpless. I tried to ring the HO but they couldn't address my question. Seven months had passed and I was getting desperate. By the eighth month I decided to write them and told them that my passport was expiring in a few months so I pleaded that they resolve my case as soon as they could. Two weeks later I got a packet containing all my documents and my husband's and my passport with the Residence Card Documentation.  Whew! I could jump up and down for joy. I couldn't contain my happiness.

This experience made me mull over it. It is actually against the law for them to keep my passport longer than six months. And it was so inconvenient on my part. I asked the wind and the moon why the hell it's so unfair. Europeans, Australians, Americans and the rest of them go through immigration as if they were invisible. This is actually never-ending issue for Filipinos who are married to Europeans, Americans, Australians having to go through the loophole when moving to another country. I even came to the point of cursing the Philippine passport. If I had UK or European passport things would have been so much easier especially with immigration matters. I don't regret being a Filipino, I just hate having a Filipino passport. I can't wait to have it changed.

UK Entry Visa

Okay, I should have talked about this at the beginning but I didn't think it was originally going to be part of this blog because I meant only to write about "Life in the UK". Then I realized it's actually an integral part of it because without a visa, I couldn't come here.

Applying for UK visa, one needs to go to Visa Facilitating Services (VFS) where enquiries, applications and submissions take place. Applicants don't get to go to the British embassy unless they need to answer some queries.

When I was in Bangkok the VFS staff told me that the application was free for me because my proposed husband is an EEA national. However, this wasn't clear to me because the website says "Family member of an EEA National -- Free of charge" and we were not married yet so technically, I wasn't a family member yet. Interestingly, there was a visa agency next to the VFS in Bangkok so I went in and enquired of their service. The visa agent confirmed that it was actually free. But if I would want to use their service I would have to pay them  to the tune of 40,000 Baht. I said in my head, "No thank you. I already got the answer to my question and that's all I want."

In VFS Manila a supposedly highly trained staff advised me to fill up a visit visa-marriage which cost  £65. But after reviewing my application, the embassy called me about 3 weeks later and told me to change my visa application to fiance and pay an additional Php42,000+. I didn't have to wait long. Soon I had my marriage visa, multiple entry and valid for six months, during which I wasn't allowed to work and no recourse to public fund.

Friday, 30 October 2009

2nd week of postal strike

Like last Friday, I came home early again today. I could have stayed all day to go to work in another room but I wanted to grab this opportunity to be home early because I wanted to do some shopping before the sun sets today at around 4:30 pm.

The city centre was full of busy shoppers today probably they are preparing for the Halloween.

As I was filling a box to send to the Philippines I wonder what nice things I should buy and I thought hyacinth, daffodils and other spring bulbs would be good. So I bought some and hopefully they stay good in the box all the way half-way across the globe.

At the bus stop in St. Stephen Street in Norwich, there was a very drunken old chap who occasionally raised his right hand as if to mean "Hail, Hitler" ooopss....sorry no blunder intended here, I'm just trying to make the scene as clear to you in words. Anyway, this old chap when he was not raising his hand would point to the babies in the trolley. I wonder how my bottles of beer he had had.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Not so bad today

So far it wasn't that bad today because we were occupied until about the eleventh hour and the weather was good. It was foggy in the morning but the sun was out early and when I finished work at four pm the sun was still quite visible. However, when I going about in the city just an hour later, darkness! confused

I just feel worried about this postal strike. Of course I understand the plight of the posties and the plan of Royal Mail to modernize. Unfortunately, someone or something has to suffer or give way to embrace modernization. As the strike goes on, many are affected especially online business such as ebay sellers and buyers and other online retailers. Also for people who are expecting important letters it puts them in some kind of uncertainties.
Here's a few tidbits about the postal strikes

Oct. 29 (Thursday) 43,700 Mail centre staff and drivers walked out
Oct 30 (Friday) 400 Sorting office staff are going on "self-declared holiday"rolleyes
Oct 31 (Saturday) around 80,000 delivery and collection staff will rest from work rolleyesrolleyes

Watch this video from bbc to get more details of the postal strike news.

Posties began strike today at 4 am

Just a quick post for today, Postal strike has begun so I might not have anything to do again today at work. It's 6 am and I have been ready to go to work since 5 am. I feel very sad. Communication Workers Union (CWU) went ahead of their planned 3-strike and I'm worried that there would be no work for me and the other temporary staff for a couple of days.

For details about the news go to Sky News Online.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Days are getting shorter

When I went to work on Monday morning it was rather brighter than the previous days because of the time change. Although it's favorable in the morning because I get to get up later but my body clock is still set to the previous time setting so technically, I've been awake since about half past four am.

However nights begin to fall so much early. When I came back from work yesterday the moon was already luminous at around 5:45 pm as I got off the bus.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

March 21, 2008 Part2 of 2

For the first part click here.

o we headed towards the exit and got on a lift. I don't remember if we went up or down...actually did go up and down because Frank couldn't remember where the bus station was and I don't remember anymore either. When we finally got out my misery started as I felt the freezing wind. My bright pink coat, shown in the photo could help but little. Also as I was wearing sandals, my feet were starting to get frozen. No one else was wearing sandals but me. They were all wearing trainers or boots. I almost wanted to cry. That's how bad I felt with the weather. My muscles were constricting and I couldn't walk comfortably .

After 30 enduring minutes the bus came. At last it was warmer inside. It was a 3-hour bus ride from Heathrow airport to Norwich. On the bus I stared rather gloatingly outside the window and all I could see was dead trees confused. I also noticed that most cars are small and surprisingly there are not many mini coopers neutral.

Another sight I couldn't ignore was the ubiquitous daffodils. This time of the year they all come in bloom trumpeting the coming of spring.

Along the way, we passed by small cities and towns and I was rather surprised how small the communities could be. Houses are made of red bricks, built together called terraced houses and they got very small windows. It seemed like an endless journey. I' had been sitting for the last 24 hours on the plane and at the airport and this bus ride was definitely not something I welcomed. I felt so exhausted. I wanted to lie down and catch up on all the sleeping time I lost.

Finally our bus came to its final destination, Norwich Bus Station. If I felt cold in Heathrow here I was going to feel glaciated. It was snowing. Although it was something I had been dreaming of--to experience snow--but it was too early and I was totally unprepared. Once alighted, Frankie had to call Felipe, his tenant, to pick us up. Ten minutes standing outside seemed like a decade. It was almost unbearable.

At last we arrived at home and right away I threw myself on the bed.

Today ends the British summer

That means we move one hour backward and it's a good thing really. Time to celebrate over an hour gained which means one hour more to stay late in bed. (Grins)

Well, technically autumn started about a month ago when temperature started to drop and the leaves started to fall. But it's today it officially started when we go back one hour.

As it is Sunday I went to gym (I only get to gym on Sundays now because of my j-o-b) and they announced last week that they're closing at 12 noon. So I went there at 10 am and when I arrived I was a bit surprised the clock said 11:20. I asked the staff to make sure she was aware of the daylight saving time (DST)? And she was. I had just been on the exercise bike when Shaun, the manager arrived and reminded me of their closing time. I confirmed I knew and he said that I got thirty minutes. I told him "No, it's only 10:30 because we went back one hour today." Surprisingly he wasn't aware and insisted it was 11 then checked his phone which apparently didn't have the DST turn on . I also insisted it's 10. So he turned to the guy on the tread mill just across from me and asked as if to get an ally, "It's 11, right?" But the guy put a smile on his face and said it was 10. So Shaun went around the room and asked everyone who confirmed I was right. I had a big grin on my face as if I won a great debate.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

I just don't know how to dress up for winter

This morning as I ponder on what to wear I once again came to a painful realization that I simply don't know how to dress up for winter. Two Sabbaths ago I was wearing my black suede boots and trod on dry leaves along the path enjoying the sound they make under my feet. When I arrived at the church and looked down on my boots my jaw dropped open. There were bits of leaves sticking all over. I think some of them looked like letters I-D-I-O-T. I brushed off the bigger bits but the tiny ones. Then I spotted someone throwing a quick glance at my boots. I felt all the more abashed and wanted to disappear quickly but I pretended to look calm and confident.

Today I decided to render justice on myself for the embarrassment I had just experienced. Black skirts, thick block stockings, white top, brown coat matched by brown leather boots. Oh no, I changed my mind and wore the another suede but brown boots this time. But I didn't feel all right. I asked my hubby how I looked and he said it was okay because my coat and my boots match. For the first time I went out there feeling comfortable.

Not having worn winter clothes all my life until I came to the UK, I find myself perplexed about dressing up appropriately for the weather. Sometimes I feel that I overdress--like wearing too many layers of clothes and then find many people in the city wearing only a t-shirt whereas I usually am bundled up. LOL!

British have a good sense of fashion and I love the way their women dress up especially during winter, autumn and spring. They look so smart with boots on, scarf and sometimes a hat. For me who prefers to dress up simply I always find myself floundering in this area especially at this time. With my height and size, I usually find clothes in the children's department. But that would mean I would look like a girl with my chosen attire. Another thing is I don't want to look like a posh. On the other hand I don't wanna look sloppy either.

I remember when I first arrived it was the beginning of spring but still snowing. With all of those clothes I brought from Thailand, I couldn't find a single piece of clothing that was appropriate for the weather. I didn't even have a pair of socks. How diputs (spelled backwards) you say.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Special Thanks to Reit Wrecks

I just want to thank Reit Wrecks for the third-column tutorial. So far his is the easiest instruction I have ever found for converting a minima to three-column.

Postal strike made me come home early

All of us temps were sent home early today because there was not much to do at work. Why? Because around 80,000 postal workers are on strike.

Working for an insurance company, I am one of those who send back original documents sent by clients for identity verification. Of course we don't just send them back like that. We have to send a letter along telling the clients we are now returning their documents blah blah blah.

Normally we get hundreds and thousands of letters a day but today there were only tens and ones and I think this postal strike might cause some people's job moribund. Maybe I'm just exaggerating or I just worry too much. But really, it is a bit viral. Well, I am not really blaming them. These postal workers are just fighting for their right.

Anyway, I didn't really mind going home early because I had been wanting so much to render our house a good clean and floor polishing which I had not done for months. Also I wanted to visit some shops. You see, I go to work early in the morning and finish late in the afternoon and when I get back to the city most shops are closing already. But this is life in the UK. Shops close at 5 or 6 pm so for me who works 15 away from the city when I come home in the afternoon there is not much to do really. And I think it sucks! It's always like this all year round.

Meanwhile At work while I was slowly doing my job my mind was already here where I am sitting on the bed with laptop on my lap and blogging about this. But I didn't do it right away. Like I said, I visited some shops and quickly bought a pair of black pants labelled "12-13 yrs old". Yea I have to shop for clothes in the kids' department because of my petite size. It actually favours my pocket because it's cheaper (grins).

Thursday, 22 October 2009

March 21, 2008 Part 1 of 2

his was the day I first stepped on UK soil. When we touched down at Heathrow international airport, the pilot announced that it was 9 degrees. I was a bit unmindful of it. I had no idea how cold it was going to be. I just came from Manila and it was around 30 degrees. Nevertheless I shrugged and said to myself it should be okay. But really I was regretful that I didn't collect the trainers my cousin was going to give me. They could have kept my feet warm.

From the airport, it wasn't really bad at all. It was not cold but it wasn't warm either. And oh, so many Indians there. At the immigration, like in any other major international airports, passport control is divided between foreign and local passport holders and there was a sign that I couldn't ignore. It read "EU Citizens". And on another sign it said, "All other passports" and I followed it. It was rather crowded and the queue was about a mile long. I sighed when it will ever be my turn. Like me, many of those who were in the queue couldn't help but glance at the other sign and wished we belonged there. I watched with a little envy at the citizens who looked rather dignified as they rush towards their passport control section. I said dignified because they all held their head too high unmindful of their way. But it was a dignity that was humbled from time to time by a piece of carpet that was sticking out in their way. Looking too far beyond, many of them tripped and I couldn't help but giggle in my head at the sight of them lol.

Finally, my turn came. I was surprised, most of the immigration officers were brown-skinned and dark-haired. Lots of them manning the airport looked like Indians. Some of them wearing turbans like my former employer in Bangkok, Mr. Udom.

Was I nervous? Of course I was. But the lady who interviewed me, whom I'm sure was an Islam because she's wearing a head cover, was actually very nice. She just asked me a couple of questions. "Why did you come to the UK?, and What is the name of your sponsor?" After I answered them she stamped my passport, to my great relief, and off I went to the waiting area.

Still I had not felt the cold. I had to sit somewhere while waiting for my then boyfriend, Frankie. Such a big airport and very busy, Heathrow didn't impress me much as a modern building. I was more anxious than excited I think. But I noticed everyone was wearing black or at least dark coat while I was wearing bright pink! I felt conscious being different and probably standing out from the crowd and you know how I hate that. I want to be inhibited. Finally, Frank arrived and we hugged. The first thing he said was, "I can't believe you're here." Neither did I.

to be continued....

Privacy Policy

If you require any more information or have any questions about our privacy policy, please feel free to contact us by email at

At, the privacy of our visitors is of extreme importance to us. This privacy policy document outlines the types of personal information is received and collected by and how it is used.

Log Files

Like many other Web sites, makes use of log files. The information inside the log files includes internet protocol ( IP ) addresses, type of browser, Internet Service Provider ( ISP ), date/time stamp, referring/exit pages, and number of clicks to analyze trends, administer the site, track user’s movement around the site, and gather demographic information. IP addresses, and other such information are not linked to any information that is personally identifiable.

Some of our advertising partners may use cookies and web beacons on our site. Our advertising partners include Google Adsense, .

These third-party ad servers or ad networks use technology to the advertisements and links that appear on send directly to your browsers. They automatically receive your IP address when this occurs. Other technologies ( such as cookies, JavaScript, or Web Beacons ) may also be used by the third-party ad networks to measure the effectiveness of their advertisements and / or to personalize the advertising content that you see. has no access to or control over these cookies that are used by third-party advertisers.

You should consult the respective privacy policies of these third-party ad servers for more detailed information on their practices as well as for instructions about how to opt-out of certain practices.'s privacy policy does not apply to, and we cannot control the activities of, such other advertisers or web sites.

If you wish to disable cookies, you may do so through your individual browser options. More detailed information about cookie management with specific web browsers can be found at the browsers' respective websites.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Today I start a new blog called, Life in the UK although it includes "this is" in the website name because the "lifeintheuk" is already taken by someone else.

In this blog I will scribble my life, happenings, experiences, joys--and frustrations-- as an alien who has chosen to be domiciled in the United Kingdom.

Although there might be some posts which contains negative essence but I will try not to stereotype all the British people in general. So to my readers please be cautious not to take it in general as well.