*dusts off the old blog*
Turns out I have something to write about again.
I’m moving to Scotland!
More specifically, my fiancé Lloyd, my two kids, and I are moving to Scotland.
Not yet, sadly. The process is… complicated. We’re looking at a timeline of about two years – at least. There are sooo many things that need to be gathered first. things like,
If you know me at all, there’s a chance that you’ve seen me swearing lately about Home Affairs. I’m applying for an Ancestral Visa, which means I have to prove my Granny was really born in a manor house in England and that my family hasn’t been making that up, even though it totally sounds like we are.
It all means documents. Lots and lots and lots of documents. Specifically, I need:
- My vault and unabridged birth certificates
- The vault and unabridged birth certificates of all my dependants (this includes Lloyd, a fact that is never not funny to me)
- My unabridged marriage certificate (we gotta get married first)
- My Mom’s unabridged birth and marriage certificate
- My Granny’s unabridged birth and marriage certificate
Fortunately, I’m not the first in my family to move to the UK (or the second, or the third, or the fourth, but I do come in at a respectable fifth) which means I already have access to my Mom’s (sorry, she’s a British citizen now, my Mum’s) and my Granny’s unabridged certificates.
Unfortunately, there’s no short cut to getting the vault and unabridged birth certificates for four people.
(Oh, your vault certificate is the original birth certificate signed by your parents that’s been stored in a vault. It’s not the one you have. Your unabridged birth certificate is what it sounds like – a birth certificate that’s not abridged. It’s also not the one you have. Believe me.)
Home Affairs has… not been fun. But more on that another time. All I can say is this journey with them has only just begun.
Estimated time-line – six weeks (HA, in my dreams) to a year (If it takes longer than that, we might be required to throw money at the situation. Talking about money…)
We need it. Lots of. This probably comes as no surprise to anyone, but moving countries is expensive. Just some of the major costs we’re looking at (based on 2019’s numbers):
- Costs for the Ancestral Visa: R10 000 for me, and R10 000 per dependant. No refunds. If they reject the Visa and we have to apply again, we’ll have to pay again.
- NHS costs for the four of us. You have to pay five years up front – which seems fair considering what you get. This is probably the biggest cost though – weighing in at about R40 000 per person.
- Proof that you can survive the first few months in the UK even if you don’t get a job right away. In other words, I have to have a certain amount of money in my account, and it has to have been there for about three months before I apply. Again, this seems fair enough, but it’s the second biggest cost – weighing in at about R30 000 per person.
- Moving the pets. You can’t take pets to the UK without going through an agency, and even the most reasonable ones charge about R20 000 per pet.
Thankfully, some pet travel places do seem to offer discounts on multiple pets of the same species. A fact I would never have discovered without gathering as much as I can of the final important, needed thing,
Something I found out when I was pregnant: There are whole worlds out there where almost everyone involved seems to possess a huge amount of very specific information, and you’ll never have heard most of it until you’re part of that world and discover it’s very important you know everything there is to know very quickly.
What’s more, you’ve gotta be careful with information. Someone told Lloyd he would need 1.5 million rand in his bank account for 6 months before the move, leading to a mild (read: severe) panic attack as we tried to figure out how exactly we would go about organizing that. (From what I can tell, and I’m still slightly worried, that person was wrong.)
Thankfully, a huge chunk of my family have already done this, (seriously, 4/6 of my parents’ kids will be living in the UK within a few months, I’m the fifth child to go through this process) and they’ve found out a lot of the information I need already.
There are also some pretty fantastic resources available out there – namely Facebook groups. The ones I’ve joined (that have already been astoundingly helpful) are:
- South Africans Immigrating to the UK
- South Africans looking for work in the UK
- South Africans in Edinburgh the Lothians and Fife
- South Africans Emigrating With Pets
In honesty, I expected pretty toxic places, but these groups are very helpful and friendly, and they have some strict rules that I welcome because the last thing I wanted was to belong to a group where people spend all their time slagging off South Africa.
Which brings me to the question everyone asks.
Why are we leaving?
There are a few reasons.
- The biggest one: a lot of our family and friends have moved already, to such a point, I’m almost spending more time Skyping people in the UK than I am seeing the friends I have left here. And while it’s heartbreaking to leave some people here, at least Skype is still an option.
- My kids. My son is already 14. If I don’t take him to the UK as my dependant soon, he’ll lose the opportunities that could provide him with – maybe forever.
- A sense of cabin fever. Lloyd and I have both lived in Cape Town, South Africa, for almost our entire lives, and while it’s possibly one of the most beautiful places in the world to live, and we both feel so incredibly lucky to have lived here, we’re ready to move on and see more of the world. To face new challenges and experience new things. And we don’t necessarily believe the grass is greener, (I mean, it literally is because it’s always raining in Scotland and we just had a drought in Cape Town but you know what I mean) we know it’s going to be a difficult adjustment and there might even be times when we question what the hell we just did (I can barely handle the cold in sunny Cape Town so learning how to cope with Scotland’s weather should be a real trip) but at least it’ll be different.
- I’ve wanted to live in the UK, Scotland especially, ever since I was a little girl. It’s a desire I’ve tried to suppress because I’ve never wanted to be “the idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone, all centuries but this and every country but his own”, but now that we actually are moving, I’m letting myself geek out. If all goes well, we’re going to settle quite close to Edinburgh, which looks absolutely incredible.
- Look. Not gonna lie. The latest round of load shedding contributed to this decision. But it would never have been made if not for all the other points.
And why Scotland?
This one’s pretty simple. We’ll be renting at first – can’t even hope to buy before we’ve been there at least two years – and we’d really rather live somewhere near family. Which gives us two major options: Tonbridge and Fife. And, well, Fife is just so much more doable.
Also Lloyd’s surname is Scott, and I’m taking his last name, which means we’ll be the Scotts moving to Scotland. You just don’t pass up an opportunity like that.
So that’s the plan, and I’ma blog all the way through this process, because it helps me actually cope, and who knows. Maybe some of the information I share will be helpful. Maybe we get some helpful information by someone who reads this and lets me know how wrong I am – Lloyd actually does need 1.5 million rand in his account for six months before we move. (But please don’t tell us that) This is the biggest thing I’ve ever done. The next two years have a strong chance of being hell on earth, on account of us taking the “high road” (as opposed to the low road, which’d get me to Scotland affore ye, but not without me true love I’ll shut up now)
But at the end of them?