Thursday, 7 July 2016

Preparing to Move: Of Visas & Shipping

Moving countries is a real pain when it comes to trying to figure out what to do with your stuff. And I've got plenty of stuff. I've left a suitcase and bag with a mate in London when I was up in May for the Admits Weekend, but that's hardly made a ding in the amount of stuff I've managed to accumulate over the years.

So I've spent the last month researching shipping options and getting various quotes. The cheapest I could find in NZ was Seven Seas Worldwide Shipping, which allows me to ship 2 large boxes (61x51x41cm) door to door from Auckland to London for NZD$209. There is a landing fee charge of £55, now cheaper in NZD thanks to Brexit. The shipment takes between 83-101 days to arrive according to their site. Probably the best thing is that you can change your delivery address prior to the shipment arriving in the UK - very important if like me, you don't know your permanent London address yet. Given the long shipping time, I should know my new London address long before the boxes arrive.

I figured I'd get organised and aim to get my shipment out by the end of June so that I'd get it on the other end by around end September. I booked the shipping with Seven Seas, got the boxes delivered, sorted out what I could wait till end of September to receive, packed my boxes, started filling in the paperwork..........what?!! I need to include a copy of my student visa?!!

It's been almost 3 weeks now since I sent in my visa documents and I still haven't gotten my passport and visa yet. The UK immigration in NZ is very bad at communicating what happens - you send in the documents and it's silence from them unless you get in touch and ask what's happening. This is probably the most painful part of the visa application process.

The LBS visa office puts together this great document on the Portal discussion each year that tells you specifically how to apply for the visa online and precisely what to fill in the form. The biometric appointment takes 5-10 minutes in NZ just to get fingerprints and a photo taken. Once that's done, you're meant to post a printout of your visa application and documents, a passport sized photo, your passport and a self-addressed return envelope to the UK immigration office. Then wait for them to send you your visa.

In the meantime, my boxes are still packed and waiting, and it looks like it'll be end of October before I get those boxes. :(

P.S. Having a UK mobile number beforehand comes in handy when filling in forms where they want your UK contact details. See my previous post regarding picking mobile service providers if you're in the UK beforehand.