It's sheer laziness to blog that "we've been busy recently" without enlightening the world as to what exactly we've been up to, so I thought I'd fill you in on some of our recent activities, specifically focusing on how Joce is settling in to life in Blighty.
Monday evening we had Jocelyn baptised into the Church of England at York Minster by the Bishop of Selby, after which we were both confirmed. It's one of those things I've half-intended to get round to doing for many years, and our marriage and regular attendance at All Saints was the catalyst I finally needed. It was a really nice service, and special thanks should go to my mother and our vicar Simon Stanley for coming along to support us.
Earlier on Monday Joce also had her first UK job interview for a Teaching Assistant position in York, and although I don't wish to tempt fate, it seems almost certain that she has got the job! We just need to wait for confirmation that York Council will actually make funds available to pay for the position (which is always a bonus, I find). So I'm currently feeling very proud indeed of my Jocelyn, as well as a little surprised that she found work with such apparent ease.
Tuesday we got our passports back from the Home Office, along with a two-year residency permit for Joce, which also allows her to take work in this country (useful, then). Let me dispel a myth here and now - getting residency (and eventually citizenship) in the UK is a long, protracted and costly process involving many years, many forms, and many hundreds of pounds. Getting married to a Brit does not mean that you automagically become a British citizen, or even a resident, or able to work here. Likewise with the converse (me moving to the US). Yet I'm constantly amazed how many of my most erudite friends and colleagues believe that through marriage we should now both have dual US/UK citizenship. It just doesn't work like that - the movies have been lying to you for years. Let me briefly explain the approved process for Joce to settle in the UK:
Firstly, last October, Jocelyn had to apply at the British Embassy in Los Angeles for a fiancee visa (application fee was around £250). This involved taking along a plethora of documents to prove our relationship and that we were financially able to support and house ourselves in the UK.
A fiancee visa allowed Joce to enter the UK for six months and get married here, but still prohibited her from working here. The next step (which we have just completed), was getting limited Leave To Remain (i.e. temporary residency permit), which does allow Joce to work, costs £335, and lasts for 2 years. This was obtained by mail from the relevant Home Office department, and was easier to obtain (fewer documents required) due to our having first obtained the fiancee visa.
In two years' time, assuming she's not fed up of me by then, Joce will be able to apply for indefinite Leave to Remain, at a further cost (currently another £335 but no doubt it will have increased by 2007). This allows Joce to stay in the country permanently and do pretty much everything except vote and go through the quick queue at the airport! For that she would have to wait a further year and apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
There, I hope that's cleared that up! For anyone interested in a more detailed description of the processes involved, along with details of all the other transatlantic issues faced when moving from the USA to the UK, I continue to recommend Lisa Nelson's (no relation) excellent website, although as this was written in 2001 you may find some of the procedures have since changed, and you should of course always check with the relevant governmental agencies and departments before making any plans of your own!