It started in 2007 with an application to the UK embassy to grant me a two year working holiday visa.
That worked well, for a time, until I found myself and great job and a new group of friends while I made London my second home. By the time that happened I was keen to stay, but the visa in my passport suggested that I should be doing more holiday than work.
A quick (three month) trip around Europe and a short stint (one month) back in Australia allowed my holiday to catch up with the work, which then meant that my job could sponsor me to stay longer.
I needed another three months without working for that to be allowed, so off I popped to Australia for that time to work back in my home town, back in almost the same job I left back in 2007.
Sponsorship approved, I was back in London for “The Big Snow Day” of February 1, 2009. It was there I stayed until early 2011 when we ( a “we” since May 2009) decided to move back to Australia.
Eighteen months of living it up in Australia and I was once again filling out the paperwork to get a visa back in the UK, this time a partner visa.
There were some miscalculations on the amount of money I needed in my bank to get this Visa, I read it as £16,000 of cash savings, when in fact it was £16,000 + 2.5*£18,600. Suffice to say the £16k was a stretch to save, the other £46,5000 was another three years away.
The British half of us returned to the UK while I sat at my Dad’s house in Queensland to form a plan on how to get back permanently to the UK.
Lesson learned: always use an immigration lawyer.
Fortunately one of best of friends I made in my first stint in London extended a job offer and three months later I was reunited with now pregnant partner (it’s okay, she fell pregnant before we parted in Australia).
Work sponsored I resumed my life back in the UK, only for an absent minded decision to start a side business with two friends nearly leading to me losing my work sponsored job, and subsequently the visa allowing me to stay.
The misunderstanding was resolved, but I moved onto the spousal visa we attempted back in Australia to take control of my ability to live in the country.
Five years on, and one renewal of the same visa (plus quite a few thousands of pounds spent on Visa costs and lawyer fees) I’m now approaching my interview with the case worker to get my Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This was another ~£3k.
Next step will be Citizenship, another £1.5k or so, and then the UK will officially be stuck with me through thick and thin, even if we decided to move away for an extended period.