Becoming British

We had a day trip to East Croydon today to sort out some stuff for British citizenship. This is the last step you need to go through prior to the naturalisation application being sent off.

We’ve never been to Croydon. It’s a shame the first impression was of a hobo asking for £2. Wow, inflation much? What happened to “spare change please”? They go straight to £2 these days.

The experience at the Home Office (or was it SopraSteria?) wasn’t great but not awful. The email, confirming the appointment, stated that we needed to show up with ample time to spare. We showed up around 9:20 for my 10 AM and my girlfriend’s 10:30 AM appointments.

It was easy to find the building. It was the one with the queue out its door. We’re in lockdown now and hardly anything else was open on the street.

It was cold and we all had to wait outside as we slowly made progress in the queue. I disliked that people who didn’t show up early but right on time always got to cut to the top of the queue. An old chap in a high-visibility vest was calling out “anybody here for 9:30” and then all the 9:30 people went straight to the top of the queue…

That was frustrating. What was the point of instructing us to show up early – to spend the time in the cold? Why was the queue needed at all? I’m glad it wasn’t raining.

We were also instructed to bring all of our original paperwork along with us to the appointment. However, they only checked our passports, nothing else. I spent around £30 printing everything in a Ryman having already uploaded all the documents to a portal. What a waste of time and money…

I’m glad the appointment was free of charge. I can’t believe that if we opted for an earlier appointment (i.e. not in 4 weeks’ time) it would have cost us £90 each. All they did was scan the passport, take fingerprints, record a signature and take photos – no more than 10 minutes per person.

Anyway, we’re glad we’ve dealt with the bureaucrat. Let’s wait and see to hear back from them. Fingers crossed the Home Office doesn’t need any additional information and we get a positive answer soon (apparently this can take up to 6 months, Covid-19 will probably increase this timescale further).

Also, I hope Joe Biden wins and Donald Trump goes away. The stock market seemed to like the idea of Joe winning – this almost reversed all of my drawdown from the last two months and I’m back at £140K net worth.

Bye now!