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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Getting your Ducks in a Row

Throughout our visa application process, Beth took the leading role in obtaining information, organising the necessary paperwork, and making sure we were ready for any questions at the interview. My input was mostly signing where Beth told me to, and attending a medical exam and the interview itself.

I have many reasons to be delighted to be married to Beth, not the least being that she is someone who always has her ducks in a row. Beth enjoys research and obtaining information, while I'm more inclined to dive in headfirst to test the depth of the water. Our partnership works because we listen to each other, and work out who will do what. Beth calms me down with her logical thinking, researching and reasoning, while I liven her up with my spontaneity.

A woeful visa application story I read recently demonstrates how NOT to go about the process. A couple in their mid-50s decided they wanted to move to the US. They sold their UK house, rented a caravan for the husband to live in, put all their possessions into storage, and the USC wife went over to the US to start set up house while their application was processed. Then came the glitch, the wife had failed to file any tax returns while living in the UK, and so could not provide the required tax information to the US Embassy. This was not an irretrievable situation, because you can file late tax returns, but instead of researching how to do ths, or asking anybody, they decided that the wife needed to live in the US for three years, filing taxes every year, so they would have new tax returns.

The drawback of course is that two years on the husband is still living in a caravan, paying enormous storage fees, and they are living in different countries. He's mightily annoyed at the situation, but is blaming the system that requires a US citizen to file taxes even if living abroad. We have yet to learn if their application will succeed, or if the partnership will survive the strain.

Fortunately Beth is more than a trifle sharper than this, and kept doing her tax returns thoughout her UK years, which as she had very little US based income, and had been doing her own tax returns for years, were not overly, ahem, taxing to do. She makes sure that all Ts are crossed and Is dotted, before being required to do so. Beth is capable of being spontaneous, but is incapable of making a badly informed or foolish decision.

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