Monday, April 02, 2007

Live-blogging the immigration process

Question #23: Give details of all visits (including short stays) to countries outside Australia for the last 10 years.

This form was totally not designed for anyone who has lived in Europe. Here's a screenshot of the list I have drawn up, reconstructing trips from passport stamps, diaries, and memory, as best I could. Most weekend and day-trips are missing because, for the period when I was living 20 km from the border, I can't even remember how many times I went to France, let alone what dates I was there. I know I've been to Austria and Hungary too, but have no recollection whatsoever of the year or the circumstances. And quite a few of the dates I have given are pure fiction.

Oh, and the section of the form where I have to insert this information? They give me eight lines.

11 Comments:

Twirly said...

you went to the US because you missed a flight? what?

wolfa said...

I hate to advise lying, but maybe ignoring the trips which aren't in your passport would be worthwhile?

Though I've had to detail every time I've entered the US in the past 10 years, and they don't stamp passports at land crossings (or, half the time, when flying). I mostly made up dates and trips, and left off lots. So far I haven't been arrested.

liina said...

i'm as curious as twirly about that missed flight...

you've done a good job with the list though, I would have to go through a few passports (name change) and dozens of photo albums to remember where i've been and when...

where in germany did you study, by the way?

Helen said...

Oh, European countries make the same mistake. I think they're still living in the previous century (or the one before that). Or maybe the forms are made for the average citizen who perhaps travels less.

I had to fill in a similar thing to apply for Maternity Allowance in the UK, and I did roughly the same as you: listed everything major (trips lasting over a week), making up dates as and when needed, and then added a line saying something like "various weekend trips to XXX and YYY to visit family".

StyleyGeek said...

I did leave off everything that they couldn't possibly know about, Wolfa! Unfortunately, Geekman sent his app in months ago, and any trips he mentioned, I need to mention too, plus they can cross-check some things with various other answers elsewhere on the form, and then my passport has miscellaneous stamps that *might* apply to a whole bunch of the trips I did list. Finally, I thought I'd better list everything where my passport might have been electronically scanned and that they might actually care about (entries into Aus and NZ, Eastern Europe and Indonesia) even if I don't have stamps.

Twirly, I was meant to be in transit only (on the way to England), but I missed my ongoing flight due to a delay from NZ, and they couldn't get me on a connecting flight. So I had to go through customs and take an internal flight across the country, then an international one from a different airport. Which means I have a corresponding visa and stamps in my passport, even though it wasn't really a trip to the USA.

Liina: I studied in Freiburg for a few months, then I did a Magister in Frankfurt (Main).

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

You know, you could have more complicated forms to fill out... if you wanted a US military top-secret security clearence...

Hubby had to have a chain of people who knew him since he was 18 and they couldn't be relatives... or it would have been easy enough to list me :). He needed current contact information for each person. He also needed every address he'd ever lived at, since birth. It was akin to playing Trivial Pursuit with the answers all coming from your own life...

Anonymous said...

I ran into this a while back trying to apply for Canadian citizenship - there was no way I could reconstruct all the trips, even if I left out everything that was within Schengen and hence non-passport-check. There are countless passport scans without checks that *could* pop up.
My solution was to - I am so not kidding - wait another three years and start documenting international travel in detail until then. --J.

StyleyGeek said...

ITPF: I'm so glad I didn't have to do the people who have known me since I was 18 thing. But everywhere I've lived, yes, that is required.

StyleyGeek said...

J: How come you qualify for Canadian citizenship?

Anonymous said...

I qualify for Canadian citizenship because my parents moved us here when I was nine, and I've mostly lived here since. But I did move back to Germany for parts of university.

The German passport is an advantage to travel with (esp. for all connections through Heathrow, and in South America, but a disadvantage for the U.S. with the whole I94 thing), and the Germans are not overly accommodating when it comes to dual citizenship, so I've happily existed in this permanent resident category for a long time. I thought I'd change it, but the form that had me recall all these things that I had no chance of recalling was too much, so I put it on a pile on my desk where it soon disappeared under articles.--J.

StyleyGeek said...

Oh, you aren't the J I thought you were. That makes more sense. I thought you were Jana.