Just Remember to Breathe

Tell us about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong — and then, suddenly, you knew it would be alright. — WordPress Daily Prompt, “Exhale” 7/10/13

There is a point, when you are in the midst of something so vast, that you reach an epiphany, and the epiphany is this (to paraphrase Shakespeare in Macbeth): “…it would be ever more tedious to stop and venture back than to continue on.”

Sometimes, the only option is to just keep trying. Just keep going; you don’t have to like it, it doesn’t have to be fun, but know that there is no going back – there is no reset or undo button – and stopping is equally impossible.

What do you do? You’re feeling in over your head. I can’t speak for this moment, but historically, telling myself: “Just remember to breathe,” and then following the advice helped at least a little bit. Just enough to give me some focus so that I could plunge in and tackle pile number one.

But I can’t do that now; there is no mountain of work for me to take care of – I am at the mercy of others; their whims and whimsies – and dealing with that is hard.

I have my questions lined up for Citizen’s Advice, as I was prompted do to so by the fellow I spoke with at the walk-in location. I got the call and while the woman who answered (a lady by the name of Penny) was nice enough, I didn’t get much of an opportunity to ask many of them before she concluded that she needed to do some research and then call me back.

It didn’t take long to get a call back, which was nice. After giving answers to my initial questions, we went down the list and answered the rest as best as possible (requiring an additional callback while I took down my notes)

At this point the questions covered are:

  • My passport is being held with my application at the PEO and has been for 3 months; I have been told that I need it to register with a GP – is this true? If so, are there other forms of acceptable identification that may be used?

If you have a copy of your passport/visa you can try using that; otherwise, you can contact your GP and see if it is possible to be arrange for a temporary registration until eligibility can be verified.

  • Currently I am on a Fiance(é) Visa which says I am not allowed recourse to government funds. I will not be eligible for funds until I obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status – which will take a minimum of two years. I have been told that, because of this, I am only eligible for limited coverage under the NHS: what specifically is covered?

Benefits and NHS are governed slightly differently. Once you have been in the UK for 12 months, you are eligible for the full scope of NHS services offered to normal citizens (additional information can be found on the UKBA website and at http://www.nhs.uk – under “information for overseas visitors”). Prior to that, you are limited to emergency services, family planning/contraception (translation: “Don’t get pregnant; here’s some pills”) along with a couple other items (information is on the Citizen’s Advice website).

  • Under my current Visa and, pending approval, my next Visa (which would be FLR-M, or Temporary Leave to Remain) as I mentioned before, I have no recourse to public funds; how does this effect my husband – who is a born citizen of the UK? Do my limitations extend to him as well? If so, how do governing bodies differentiate between members of the same household?

A UK Citizen is still eligible for benefits. The Government at this time has no way of tracking how benefits are spent once they are distributed. A Sponsor would file a joint application for benefits with the non-UK as a dependent.

  • I had my biometrics taken on the same day I submitted my application at the PEO office 15 weeks ago. To this date, they are still holding not just my passport, but that of my husband and all of our documentation. After 14 weeks, we are allowed to phone up Croydon and enquire about the status of applications, however; when I called them they only would tell me that my application was “awaiting additional consideration,” and they would not elaborate. Is this normal? If so, what can we expect in the coming weeks?

Unfortunately it is normal and the only thing that can be done is to keep checking with them and being patient.

  • It is quickly approaching 4 months since it was submitted and, according to the Home Office website the average Queue times for mailed is 8 months. What are the queue times for PEO applications? We expected to have our documentation back on the same day, or shortly thereafter, but for all intents and purposes the only thing that appears “faster” about the special service is the taking of the Biometrics – what are our rights as applicants in terms of requesting a refund of the difference in cost for the two services?

We have no additional information on either of those. You would need to check with UKBA.

  • Are we aware of the number of cases where a judge has overruled the Home Office?

There is no way for us to know, UKBA would be your best source.

The criteria for that is very limited and unfortunately there does not appear to be an actual application. Someone wishing to apply under Zambrano would need to contact UKBA and let them know that they would like be be considered under it.

All in all, the conversation(s) were informative. She was, I think, both grateful and amused that I tried to spare people time and energy by asking the questions on call instead of some dozen or so people asking the same ones repeatedly into infinity. I may make a routine out of this – let me know in the comment section if this is something you guys would like to see.

It also occurs to me that I should try following up with the original contact with Citizen’s Advice to let him know what I learned – though I’m not certain that would improve his disposition any. 😛

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