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British Expat Newsletter:
13 October 2004

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • BE server transfer – an update
  • This week: Visas
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Joke and quotation

BE server transfer

British Expat’s planned move to new servers was due to take place last weekend but unfortunately had to be put on hold while our domain registration company sort out some technical difficulties at their end. We’re hoping they’ll get it sorted out in the next couple of days.

Visitors to the main website will be unaffected by the change, but it will mean some temporary disruption to users of our fora and webmail services. It will also mean that the newsletter will in future be sent out using a different system from the one used by our current hosts – but it should still appear on time!

You can find a technical explanation of what’s involved on this page:
[Obsolete link removed]

This week

As you’d imagine, one of the biggest topics of conversation among expats (round here, at least) is the rules and regulations surrounding visas. One thing which strikes me is that so much of the chat about visas – and particularly about the regular runs to the border for those on multiple-entry annual visas – seems to be based on rumour. Will we need to show means of financial support at the border or not? Are the police clamping down on cigarette imports? Which consulates are granting annual visas, and which send you away with nothing more than a lowly tourist visa? How many times can you come in on visa-free entry before they tell you you have to go back to your home country?

Dave and I have never had to think too much about visas in the past – either we’ve been granted diplomatic visas because we’re on a posting or Dave’s on official business, or the country we’re visiting grants visa-free entry to British Citizens. However, things are different for us this time round. We entered on tourist visas. But even they only last for sixty days before you have to leave the country or seek an extension.

Well, as it’s exactly 60 days today since we arrived here from India, we took ourselves down to the Immigration Office yesterday (leaving a day’s leeway just in case of unforeseen difficulties – not that we expected any). We’d already heard some of the horror stories about expats encountering problems over proving that they weren’t working, or being refused extensions because they’d displayed a disrespectful attitude. So we collected our ATM slips together – proving we were bringing money into the local economy, not taking it out – put on tidy clothes and nice pleasant smiles, and headed off to the IO with our passports and extension fees. (What we didn’t do – despite one friend’s well-meaning advice – was take an extra couple of quids’ worth of “tea-money”. We reckoned it would make us look suspicious if we felt we had to bribe our way through a routine procedure.)

In the end it was all very straightforward – although we had to go outside to a handily-placed photo-booth because none of our friends had thought to mention we needed photos of ourselves and photocopies of our passports. We handed our papers in, collected numbered slips in exchange for our passports, and were told to come back at three o’clock. Sure enough, when we did we’d both been given our extensions. It couldn’t have been easier.

Let’s hope it stays that way…

Virtual Snacks

Just a couple of suggestions if you have a little time to spare:

Lots of Flash animated films and other weird stuff on Albino Blacksheep. Dave particularly liked the Tiny Plaid Ninjas for some reason.
Albino Blacksheep

With the US Presidential election less than three weeks away now, the Guardian’s stepping up its coverage. The latest initiative is aimed at getting non-US citizens to encourage voters in a particular county in the swing state of Ohio to vote. I wonder if they’ll succeed?
Guardian US election initiative

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • hangwoman (4)
  • birch sap wine(4)
  • polish jam (3)
  • fyrom must be called macedonia (3)
  • buy soju online (3)
  • dublin zoo treacle (3)
  • how to be a good cabin crew (2)
  • ballet ghana accra (2)

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

Kay
Editor
British Expat Magazine

Quotation

“It has been said that a pretty face is a passport. But it’s not, it’s a visa, and it runs out fast.”
– Julie Burchill, columnist (1959-)

Joke

(which may or may not be a true story – told on thehumorarchives.com)

A tour group was visiting the UK. As they filed past the immigration officer at Heathrow, each one showed his passport, was asked why (s)he was visiting (“Well sir, I’m with this group that is visiting your lovely …”), and got a one-week tourist visa stamp.

One of the group fancied himself as a bit of a wag. When it came to his turn, he said he was going to topple the oppressive government and the entire class system, teach everyone to cook like the French, and free the masses from their servitude, but since he didn’t want to stay and experience the ensuing chaos, he might as well get a tourist visa too.

The IO said, “Normally I’d tell you such a job is rather a large undertaking, and stamp you for two weeks, but I suspect you’re kidding,” and gave the wag the same as the rest.

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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