Saturday, 19 May 2012

" I don't want you to worry, but..."

...don't you dread those words?

I sort of know that it's nothing too terrible, but my heart still stops for a second as my brain tries to work out just how much worrying I will be doing in the next few seconds!

If you lived with my husband, you would hear those words quite often....

He is what is commonly known as a bit of an accident prone individual. If the best china is going to be smashed, it will be Neil that drops it. If there's a nail on the driveway Neil will either stand on it or reverse the car over it. If it's going to go wrong, then Neil will be involved in some way....

(In his defence it's not always his fault...and by the way, he's the best dad, husband and friend and he knows I love him dearly   )

The latest episode in the "I don't want to worry you, but..." conversations happened whilst he was travelling overseas during the last couple of weeks. Now when it comes to travelling Neil has a truckload of tales about his adventures.

....There's the time when I was at home and pregnant and he got stuck in Bangkok and I had to sort out all manner of bureaucratic nightmares...

...Then the time he got on an express train with just his ticket in his pocket and 'forgot' to get off at the right stop and ended up having to stay on until the end of the line which took him to London - (hours South from where he should have been.) It was before mobile phones and I was just about to report him as a missing person!

There's more, lots more, but I won't embarrass him too much!

Anyhow his latest escapade involved a visa issue....

Neil leaves Australia for a quick trip to France and Italy. As he is leaving the "nice man" at the airport points out that his Return Resident Visa has expired. "Don't worry" says that nice man, "as long as you sort it out before you return, you'll be fine".

So I get the "Don't want to worry you, but..." phone call from Neil and he asks me to just get the details for the Australian Embassy and he will pop down during a break in his work and get it sorted....

Hmmm, not quite so easy buster!

After many hours of telephone calls and pressing 1 for this and 2 for that and 3 for the other (ahh, SO frustrating!) I finally sift through the conflicting bits of information and get some sense of the project ahead. Here's the gist of a few days worth of research.

  • The Australian Embassies in France and Italy do not handle visa issues. When in France you contact Madrid and when in Italy you contact Berlin!
  • He will need to post an application ....along with his passport....which will then take around 10 days to process. (Longer than the trip!)
  • Australia would allow him entry into the country on a temporary 30 day visa. However, there's a possibility that he will not be allowed to board his return flight as the airlines do not want to risk a possible ''no entry' passenger.
  • It's very easy to renew a Return Resident Visa whilst in Australia.-  Each time I was told this I had to take a very deep breath to stop myself from shouting saying "this-does-not-help!"
The time difference didn't help the situation here either. So on an evening when  I should have been baking the pledged goodies for the school fete I was on hold to London, or maybe that was Paris??

Eventually it transpired that he could provide a colour photocopy of his passport and send this by post along with a lengthy application form and keep his fingers crossed that it would be processed in time. The Australian Embassy in London were amazing and extremely patient. Providing that he could use a UK address as a constant base they would process his application.
Anyhow, off went the application and we waited....and we waited....

Talk about eleventh hour, this was getting a bit close to the eleventh minute!

At last a text from Neil - "Approved".

Two minutes later "Do you want an Italian leather handbag...?!"

Panic over....until the next time!

5 Comments and thoughts:

  1. Oh the stress! I hope you said yes to the handbag!! X

  2. You are an angel Beth.
    I really do think you deserve a beautiful handbag after all that drama!!

  3. My brother was flying for a lightning quick trip to Ireland for a wedding. He too was told at the departure gate that his visa had expired. He opted to stay and get a flight 24hours later but I know that 24 hours was stressy trying to arrange things between Irish and Australian embassies. Bottom line was that he made the wedding by the skin of his teeth and then applied for citizenship when he arrived back in Australia!

  4. Too funny your husband! Good thing you are his angel Beth.
    sleep tight and have a good week!

  5. Yikes! How stressful! Years ago we had hassles with my hubby's re entry visa, we ended up having to stay put and apply for his citizenship papers because he had left and returned so many times! All good now! Happy week! X