Everybody knows the old saying “time flies when you’re having fun”, and usually it’s true,  but this time we are stunned by the fact that 01 Feb 2018 has already come and gone – so why was this date important to us?

Before I answer that, let’s back up a bit.

As South African passport holders, we currently live in the UK on visas that were issued for an initial 5 years. This means we can reside in the UK for as long as our visas are valid for. When our visa term comes to an end, we basically have 2 options – extend our visas for another 5 years or apply to become permanent UK residents. As we are aiming for the latter, I feel I need to point out the difference between a resident and a citizen as most people tend to confuse the two.

When we apply to become permanent residents, we’ll still be South African citizens. Whilst keeping our green South African passports, we will have the permission to settle permanently in the UK and will no longer be subject to strict immigration laws. After 12 months of obtaining permanent residency, we may apply to become British citizens, get a British passport and enjoy the associated benefits and privileges. To be eligible for permanent residency, you need to have lived in the UK for a continuous 5 years and meet a whole set of requirements (income, employment status, health checks etc etc).

So coming back to question of why the 1st of Feb 2018 was important to us – well, the 1st of Feb was the halfway mark of our visa term! That means we now have less than half the time left we’ve already spent in the UK before we’ll be eligible to become permanent residents – and we find that idea really exciting! Before we apply for settlement, we hopefully have one or two more surprises in the pipeline, but more on that later 🙂

We know that the 1st of Feb was just an ordinary day for most, but for us, it surely was a day to celebrate!

Much love from the north,

Andre