10° 40' N, 61° 30' W

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Overstays

For those few of you wondering here I've been, well, up to yesteday I was in Limbo thanks to some bureaucratic snafus. My work permit for the United Kingdom expired two weeks ago, so I had to stop working and rush around trying to get my college to give me the letter I needed for a student visa. (The Home Office even rejected one such letter.) I requested this weeks ago, and did a lot of pleading the run up to 9/11 (my last legal day; also the day I got to London two years ago) to no avail. I have also yet to receive my registration papers, so I can't pay my fees, and I was kind of stuck without income for two weeks as well.

Last week an immigration officer told me I had to leave the country and then return. I took that opportunity to take a day-trip to Brussels and see the Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts, but in the end there were no immigration officers at Waterloo (as there usually are on Eurostar arrival) to stamp me back in; security just waved everyone through. In the end, after I explained the situation to another immigration officer, overstaying was not a problem , who was quite pleasant. She even told me that I did not have to leave, as it was only for a few days. The Home Office has, to some extent, adopted a "customer-service" focus, with greeters and other service staff. It's not perfect, but it was much better than my last run-in with them in March.

Frustration ends, normality returns. Well, almost; I have a statistics exam next week. Off I go to learn moment-generating functions.