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East London and UK Immigration/Visa Advice

My partner and I are currently in the process of applying for a partnership visa in the UK in the hopes of moving to London this fall. We had hoped to be living together in London by January, but life and so much more got in the way. But in the meantime, let me give you some advice for applying for a visa to the UK:

UK Visa Advice and information

1.) Get a lawyer
This is advice I wish I had done in the first place. It wouldn’t have taken all the work out of the process, but a lot of the burden would have been lifted through our confidence in our lawyer’s knowledge and experience. I had a lot of questions that couldn’t seem to get answered which brings me too…

2.) No one will answer your questions
You can pay to call their phone service, but you will just pay for someone to tell you they can’t answer your questions. There is a email service for all your visa processing stages, but if you ask a question you will without a doubt receive a form response along the lines of “Please read our FAQs,” even if you point out there is not answer to your question on the website. So don’t bother trying, and just use a lawyer instead. Or get used to not knowing.

3.) There are a lot of hidden fees.
From paying for the visa, to the new Immigration Healthcare Surcharge, to the printing of the visa application, to mailing your visa application, there are a lot of smaller fees on top of the visa that begin to add up. If you’re applying for this visa, or any UK visa, you should have the finances to cover these fees in the first place, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a nasty shock. So prepare yourself for the cost of the visa to double during the application process.

4.) You can make the process faster by months… but you’ll have to pay for it.
You can expedite your process and visit a processing centre person and receive an answer the day of your meeting. If you have the cash and you’re confident in your application and you are sick of the waiting process, do this for sure. It is usually double the cost of the visa fee itself, and you will still have to pay for plenty of hidden extras. It’s no guarantee you’ll receive your visa in the end, just that you’ll find out your answer faster.

But enough about visas…

East London

I was lucky enough to live next to the Regents Canal when I lived in Haggerston. While the canal could sometimes seem very ominious in the fog, for the most part it was a great path for a sunny run to Victoria Park. The sides of the canal are dotted with house boats, and in the summer some of these boat homes turn into cafes and tiny shops. It’s also a regular path for bike commuters, so if you hear a little bell dinging, move out of the way or risk falling into some very stagnant and opaque water.

And Victoria Park itself is a far cry from its past. As I moved to London after the 2012 Olympics, I’ve only heard stories of the parks more unsavoury history, but by the time I moved to East London the park was always filled with families, cyclists, and people playing footy.

East London became a huge part of my heart while I lived there and I keeping my fingers crossed that I will be there again very soon.

Wish me luck!

Foggy East London
Foggy East London
Foggy East London
Foggy East London
Foggy East London
Foggy East London
Foggy East London
Foggy East London

Photography and words by Diana Eastman
For more from Diana, follow her on Instagram at @thedianaeastman.

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