The sample above is an example of what my coveted identity card will look like…well with a few changes like my face and details instead of Susanna Sample’s student info.
This little card is good for two years and confers more than a few benefits on the person to whom it belongs, chief of which for me is the right to stay in England with John. Additionally, with my new status I can now work in the UK. For someone like myself who tends to be a bit of a workaholic, getting this card yesterday was reason for a celebration on multiple levels.
John and I traveled about five hours north to Birmingham on Tuesday in order to meet with the UK Boarder Agency office staff on Wednesday for a 10:00 am appointment. Once there, we were interviewed and had our documents reviewed quite carefully and after a I submitted to another biometric scan of my face and fingerprints, we waited about a hour or so to receive the official word that I had been approved. Total time spent with the appointment about 3.25 hours. Everyone was very polite and helpful, but as I told John while waiting, the spartan office environment reminded me of the calls I used to make on physicians who worked in public health clinics in America.
It could have been the plain utilitarian furnishings in the various waiting rooms or the crying babies and small children running around, but I think it was something about the white tile floors that made me feel most like I was in a free clinic waiting to see a doctor. The biggest difference was the on site security screening with guards and the way the chairs were chained together. Additionally, the staff was tucked safely behind the kind of protective glass one usually sees in an open all night convenience store in America and every where you looked were signs saying that you could not abuse the staff. It made me wonder if the chairs were chained so they couldn’t be thrown in a fit of anger. It’s probably more likely they just want them to stay where they’re placed instead of having large groups come in and rearrange the chairs for convenience. More signage that was very prevalent was that which spoke of their commitment to a respectful exchange and their desire to provide good service. I’d say they accomplished all of that and not just with the two of us, but with all of the interactions I observed with others as well.