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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

She's Leaving Home : sorting your visa

Okay. So I’m not sure if you knew, but if you ever decide that you want to work or even just visit a foreign land,you may need a holiday and/or work visa. I highly recommend getting your laptop out and doing a bit of research on what (if any) visas you are going to need. Chances are you will need something and it pays to check it out in advance as sometimes it can be a long process.

If travelling to America.....

You will need to fill out an online application form as part of the visa waiver programme.  To be honest it takes about fifteen minutes and costs around $50 New Zealand Dollars. All you need is your passport and flight number handy and also the address of where you will be initially staying. Word of warning- you will have to recall this address at customs in America.

For me, I had no trouble sorting out my American visa (touch wood). Simply visit the website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

I would print off a few copies and tuck it in with my travel documents just in case it's needed.

Okay... so here comes the bad news. Getting your UK visa is not as easy as it should be. In fact, I found it to be extremely difficult for the following reasons:

1. There is hardly any information on the internet regarding the process

2. The only way that you can get advice is by paying a third agent to tell you. I was quoted between $200 to $400 for this 'wee' service.

3. Banks are stupid. Yes, I said it. Trying to get official statements stamped, signed and on official letterheads is ridiculously difficult. (Mind you that may have just been my bank...)

4. I am a scatterbrain and tend to leave things to the last possible moment despite stressing and going on about it for weeks in advance. This surprisingly, does not help.

So all in all, the whole process can be a bit stressful. Maybe it would have been worth paying someone to help me do it....

Well lucky for all of my loyal readers (yes all three of you) I am going to save you hours... nay... weeks of stress and give you a step by step guide to getting your UK visa. I got the youth mobility tier 5 visa which allows me to work in the UK for two years. If you want to work and spend that amount of time in the UK and you are between 18 and 30 years old then this is the visa for you! 

To start with, I would suggest visiting the UK Home Office website and downloading the pdf located on the right hand side of the webpage. http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/working/tier5/youthmobilityscheme/

While you’re doing that, I am going to work out exactly how to advise you on applying for this visa without boring your socks (or mine) off.  Just know that it is a pretty intense process but not actually that complicated once you know what you need to do.

I will add a checklist of things you will need to get, do and supply in order to get your UK visa application rolling. As a prerequisite, make sure that your passport isn’t due to expire anytime soon, you've got some money (say $4000 NZD) in your bank account (or perhaps your parents...) and you've got about 10 to 12 weeks up your sleeve before you plan to depart.

Also it pays to start getting in touch with those long lost friends that may be living in potential travel destinations. I mean what are friends for and how easy does facebook make it to reconnect? Hehehe- no in all honesty, it definitely helps having people over there who are willing to offer their words of wisdom and support (and couch). I have been extremely lucky in that sense and honestly I would be a lot more nervous if I didn't have one friendly face to meet me on the otherside of the world (thanks Sarah !!)

Anyway I shall return after Christmas with the most thorough UK visa checklist that you have ever seen. This might be a good time to save this blog in to your favourites. Because let’s be honest, you don't want to forget the web address or the advice that is about to follow..... So get reading that guide and have a stiff drink. You are going to need it.






I'm sorry I just felt the overwhelming urge to add a bit more 'personality' to this blog. 




Monday, 19 December 2011

London's Calling

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to travel. As a child, my imagination was fuelled with stories of great journeys and conquests. Spanning from Ancient Greece to India, I wanted to see it all. I use to sit in my Grandfather's library as he poured me a shandy and be absolutely mesmerised as he showed me on his wall map of where he had been, or perhaps more accurately, where he had not.  My Mother clearly inherited my Grandfather's love of travel and I was lucky enough to be told bedtime stories of her adventures and the 'time she slept on a beach in Israel.' I knew from a young age that I wanted and needed to see the world and all of the mysteries it had to offer!

Although I have done a bit of travelling before, it has taken me 24 years to pluck up the (dutch) courage to book a one way ticket and finally begin my adventure Hans-solo. I leave 2 March 2012. That is in 73 days to be exact. All of a sudden, I am two and a half months out and I am excited/anxious and ready to get going. I fly to America on 2 March for two weeks and then on to the United Kingdom. I have always wanted to go to America ( I mean who hasn't) and I am unbelievably overwhelmed with anticipation of visiting New York, New Orleans, Washington DC and dun dun dun Las Vegas! I am meeting up with three of my closest allies in America and I have no doubt of the craziness that is in store come March.

I have always been fascinated with New York (Sex and the City anyone?) and to be honest I still cannot believe I am going. In no time I shall be sitting in a quaint but trendy bar, sipping on my cosmopolitan, dressed to the nines. It was what I was born to do.

Now that my quick introduction is over, I would like to start by expressing my intentions and hopes for this blog. Pure entertainment and maybe of some help in guiding future travellers? Probably on what not to do ....ha. I hope that this blog allows you to laugh with (at?) me and share this pretty crazy journey that I am about to take. I also want it to be helpful though as I have really struggled in the last few months in trying to sort accommodation, visas, transport etc. So if this helps any future travellers and by some miracle you find my travelling stories funny (if only for a fleeting minute) then this blog has been a success! 

I welcome feedback and interaction so feel free to tell me if this blog is going south or if you have anything to add!