I know the exact distance I would go for love, it’s 3364.9 miles. This was the gap between me and Mrs G when we first got to know each other. I was living in a flat in Birmingham (UK) and she was sitting in her apartment in Briarwood (NY). The distance may have been large but all that separated us was one body of water.
Well one significant body of water and the bureaucracy that involves trying to begin a relationship with someone living in a different country. From the rantings of the more right-leaning media you would think the immigration system in the United States or Kingdom was as easy to get into as Republican race for President (*Boom* Satire).
In fact the question isn’t how far I would go for love but how hard will I work for it.
You would have thought that it would have been easy, but from the moment I proposed it became a fight against paperwork and fees of every kind. If we wanted to get married in New York (to make it easier to live there) we would have had to file paperwork (inc. Lawyer’s fees) to register that we wanted to get married, a process that could take up to nine months. As soon as we were granted permission we would have had 90 days in which to have tied the knot.
This seemed an impractical situation so we decided to look to get married in the UK. This was slightly easier as getting the visa to be married was not the issue, it was the staying afterwards. Still just the process of bringing a wedding dress over from America caused an inquisition at the Border for Mrs G, which required finding the invitations in her suitcase to prove that she wasn’t getting married just yet.
After the rings we still needed to decide where to live. To go back to the US I would need to apply for another visa, again with a potential nine month delay. During this time I may have been able to travel to visit my new wife but I could have been refused entry because travelling on a temporary visa while applying for a permanent one is full of potential problems (so said the embassy).
So in the UK we planned to stay, one trip to Glasgow (only 300 miles) to apply for residency was rejected because we didn’t have a letter with both our names on. This resulted in another trip a month later to allow Mrs G to stay in the UK for two years. Unsurprisingly this was also a costly exercise as the government take a hefty administration fee.
The final step, for permanent residency carried another large settlement to Her Majesty’s Border Agency. However this was the easiest step. We had prepared all the documents necessary and more, we had seen enough ‘Form IM 702b’ and the like to last a lifetime. We had funds and agreed she would have no recourse to public funds.
We sat next to each other in a bland waiting room in a non-descript building and waited for the final stamp.
Now I don’t have to travel eight hours for love. She is right next to me, that is as far as I ever want to have to go again.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take Me to the Moon.”
How far would you go for someone you love? How far would you want someone else to go for you?
Thank you for the prompt suggestion, amommasview!