We interrupt our holiday posts to give you this special update.
There comes a point where every long distance couple who want to live together must seriously consider – who will be the one to move? Not only who, but when? We have been talking about it for months, years even, the idea of wanting to close the distance within 5 years, which happens to fit in perfectly with when Johan completes his course in June next year. As anyone who reads this blog will know, I want to be the one to move to Sweden, which was not what I had wanted when we first started dating. I am ridiculously shy and could never in my wildest dreams imagine moving overseas. But things happen, we grow up, people change, and dreams change.
Whilst I have glimpsed and read pieces of information here and there in my research about moving to Sweden and applying for different visas, I figured I’d start properly doing in-depth research about a year before we wanted to close the distance. Sort of like a reward, a one year countdown. This changed when we had our first reader submit a question to Ask Us Anything – what were our thoughts on the whole visa application process?
We wanted to give a researched, in-depth reply, and this motivated us to look into it sooner, after all, it’s an exciting prospect, moving in with your partner. And then we found out that the current processing time for a Residence Permit application is 8-14 months, and is only getting longer as refugees in Sweden get their families to apply in order to join them. We were given advice to apply as soon as possible.
It is also our best interests to do so before May 31, as a proposal is being made to change the rules about applying, but the changes won’t come into affect until after this date. I’m not sure if a decision has yet been made, but they are changes which would greatly affect our chances of being approved if they do go ahead. In very basic terms, if we can prove the strength of our relationship, I can get into Sweden on a initial 1-year residence permit simply because Johan is a citizen of Sweden. If the changes go ahead, not only would he need to show sufficient income, he would also need to show that he has a a home of sufficient size and standard for the both of us (that is with kitchenette, living room and at least one bedroom). I’m not quite sure his 1-bedroom apartment with combined bedroom and living room would cut it. And certainly if he is still living there when his course is complete, we would live there only temporarily until we could find a bigger place. But that’s just the thing … I will have 2-3 years worth of savings by the time that comes around, and it would mean nothing if Johan couldn’t show sufficient income, and he may not get into a job straight away. So, we must apply before May 31, so my savings can count for something. So, they say to apply now, and that was already a month ago.
For my birthday in June, I had planned to reward myself by looking at the application forms we have to fill out, and well, filling them out. But suddenly on this side of my birthday, three months earlier, it seems too soon. But chances are, we’ll submit an application and then hear nothing for a couple of months. It may still be a year or more until we receive an outcome. It is a long wait for something you’re pinning all of your hopes and dreams on. It’s a huge stress.
However, as of today, we have completed an application. Well, I have completed an application, because it comes from the person applying. No one else can do it for you. The partner living in Sweden gets sent their own questionnaire to fill out, which is very similar. Also, completed does not mean submitted. Johan still needs to proofread it for me. There are still some finishing touches I want to do, abrupt endings to questions I want to fix, and polishing up to make sure it’s all shiny and perfect. And then it will be done. In the next day, or two or three, maybe. But what is so hard about pressing that submit button? I can tell you this. Filling out a visa application to apply to live with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with … that’s terrifying. And crazy. And exciting and nerve-wracking. It makes it seem all the more real. Putting it down on paper (okay, okay, in an online form), noting all of the specifics of your relationship down … from your first date to the names and dates of birth of both you and your partner’s immediate family for a complete stranger to read … it’s madness, but understandably, required.
The application is sitting at 6 and half pages long, and that’s not even filling up the maximum number of characters for each question – not even close, I don’t think we’ve had enough in-person meetings to warrant it. It almost reads like a documentary because it basically is. It’s a shortened timeline of your growing up, before you met your partner, and then zooms in on that relationship and all the nitty-gritty details of how the mechanics work to make that relationship function.
So, we are soon to join the queue of long distance couples on the visa application waiting wagon. For real. No more dreaming about the day the plans for our future start. They start now, as soon as the submit button is pressed. Forms, documents, photo evidence, in-person interviews with a case officer … it’s all happening. It’s finally happening. Yay!!!