UK is holding my passport hostage

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UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby iwanttogohome » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:44 pm

I am writing this in the moment of complete desperation and utter helplessness due to the fact that UK embassy has been holding my passport in unknown to me location for over a month and I can’t even travel back home for my sister’s wedding. There is no way to contact UK visa and immigration people directly. I don’t know what this post will give me but at least I will be able to publicly express my endless frustration with this outrageous situation.

Let me give you the full picture: I am a Russian citizen, a long-term-ish resident of Cambodia, legally employed: contract, work permit, visa - all the shenanigans. I don’t sleep on the concrete curbs and generally may pass as a respectable PP expat on good days. Beginning of this year I completed a master’s degree and wanted to attend my graduation in London held on July 24. This time also coincided with a work conference in Barcelona on July 4, a wedding of an old friend in Newcastle on July 7, and my only sister’s wedding on July 19.

I am very well traveled and had numerous visas to many non-shithole states ever since I was 19 and I have never had any visas refused, canceled, or overstayed including UK, USA, multiple Schengen, Australia, New Zealand.

I travel frequently for work and that is why having my passport is kind of important. Having booked business class tickets in November last year on a good promotion PP-LHR-PP July 1 to July 25, I planned my visa application appointments for May (I needed Schengen from French embassy to go to Barcelona, and obviously the UK). The earliest you can apply for a visa is three months in advance. I had no reason to think that I might not be able to make these timelines. I applied for my visa application appointments online in April and got two appointments to go to the French embassy and UK embassy on the same day on May 21. I was due to travel on May 24 on an unrelated trip, so my plan was to apply and then come back with my passport after the trip when the decision would be made as I did multiple times with other embassies when I needed to keep my passport. I successfully applied to the French embassy and was told to come back whenever my passport was available. But UK visa application center refused to take my application saying they had to keep my only travel document for up to 15 working days - this was not possible for me. My options were to cancel that application (with no guarantee of getting an appointment any time soon) or use a walk-in service for $100 extra where I could come any day and submit the same application.

Once I returned from my trip and waited through endless public holidays and weekends, I headed straight for the UK visa application center, paid an additional $100 and submitted all biometrics on June 4. I was told that the normal process would take up to 15 working days. I did simple math and figured that it is cutting it slightly close to July 1st but I didn’t feel there was anything wrong with my paperwork and I should be able to get it in time and even go back to French embassy for my Schengen visa.

To my disdain, on June 21st (!) I received an email from NEW DEHLI (!) notifying me of the receipt of my application (!) and saying that it might take another 15 working days and that they might require more information. UK visa immigration has a contract with a call center where you can call or email for a fee on top of regular charges to ask for a status of the application (they cannot provide any more information other than it is under consideration or the decision has been made). I called on June 25th that was only 6 days from my initial traveling date, I was informed that my case was escalated and it would take them up to 15 working days to respond to the escalation request. I started getting seriously nervous about missing my flights, so I started considering various options I had at the time including withdrawing my application so I can get my passport back - to which I was informed that it may take up to 15 working days to get it back from the moment I cancel my application. I also sent paid email request for the information and received the same answers: that my application was escalated, 15 working days, 15 working days, 15 working days - I thought that if I hear 15 working days one more time I would throw up. I took my best odds and decided to wait since that was supposed to be earlier than canceling my application and then certainly risking to miss my entire trip.

Here I am, July 11 - I still haven’t heard from anybody from UK visa and immigration, they haven’t requested any additional information, they haven’t refused my visa, they haven’t made any decision on it. I had to change my outbound flight twice now and pay for the privilege to downgrade it. I missed 4 flights (that I couldn’t refund or change due to the fact that my husband is traveling on those bookings and the time frame was too short to do it without affecting his travels). I missed work conference in Barcelona, friend’s wedding in Newcastle, and now I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that I am very likely missing my baby sister’s wedding in Saint-Petersburg in my own country. I don’t care about attending my graduation anymore and even considered claiming my passport lost so I can get an emergency travel document. However, I would rather not go the illegal way and mess up my documents or future travels. Yesterday, I was able to get them to escalate my case again to which they are required to respond in the next… wait for it…. 15 working days….

The level of my frustration from the fact that my husband had to go on the trip to the UK and Russia all planned around my graduation and my sister’s wedding or from a small fortune I have lost by now or from the fact I would not attend the graduation I worked very hard for or the fact that my sister picked her wedding date based on my travel plans is nothing in comparison of how I will feel if I have to tell her, my mother, my grandmother I can’t come to the wedding. Nobody can give that back to me.

A Cambodian friend of mine told me that UK visa is one of the easiest he had ever received - three working days. Embassy website statistics claim that 100% of visa applications in PP visa center were processed within 15 working days in May 2018.

I know that they are within their legal timelines and I inadvertently agreed to those when I submitted my application and handed my passport over. I know that I booked all the travel plans at my own discretion as they are not responsible for any such arrangements missed. However, I don’t even know which country my passport is currently in when it will be shipped back to me and what kind of national threat I present to the United Kingdom that the high commission wouldn’t even get back to me on what they want from me.

My tinfoil hat has been collecting dust for many years now but I can’t help but reach for it in the light of the political climate between Russia (where I haven’t lived for 8 years) and the UK
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby gavinmac » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:10 pm

Maybe they are fucking with you because your government is using Soviet-era poisons to murder British citizens on British soil.
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby violet » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:18 pm

Slcbar

What Gavinmac said
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby iwanttogohome » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:05 am

gavinmac wrote:Maybe they are fucking with you because your government is using Soviet-era poisons to murder British citizens on British soil.

This is what my last sentence intended to say I thought.
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby Alex » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:07 am

Ask your Embassy to call the British Embassy to demand the immediate return of your passport. Just don't expect to get the visa then, obviously.
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby prangbait » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:36 am

FFS K440, Novichok is the UK government's way of saying 'heart attack'.

Basically theree is a dodgy batch of china white in the skaggy Salisbury area and it is being used as a tool to play political pingpong so this person who posted [know known as OP] can't graduate.

If they had graduated England would have won the world cup.

It used to be anthrax in heroin that terrorists from Afghan spiked Scotland with, now people order fentanyl off darkweb and it comes with a customary bit of Plutonium by accident cos the chef was high on his own supply/Harold Shipman and literally neither the UK or Russia know what is going on. Peak times. I am sorry for your loss OP, I've been there myself.
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby pedros » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:44 am

prangbait wrote:FFS K440, Novichok is the UK government's way of saying 'heart attack'.

Basically theree is a dodgy batch of china white in the skaggy Salisbury area and it is being used as a tool to play political pingpong so this person who posted [know known as OP] can't graduate.

If they had graduated England would have won the world cup.

It used to be anthrax in heroin that terrorists from Afghan spiked Scotland with, now people order fentanyl off darkweb and it comes with a customary bit of Plutonium by accident cos the chef was high on his own supply/Harold Shipman and literally neither the UK or Russia know what is going on. Peak times. I am sorry for your loss OP, I've been there myself.



EZ Gareth, long time no see. Been on the ketamine pipes again?

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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby RainMan » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:59 am

Look out Croatians...no more visa's.
Never mind.
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby gavinmac » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:06 am

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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby prangbait » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:09 am

pedros wrote:
prangbait wrote:FFS K440, Novichok is the UK government's way of saying 'heart attack'.

Basically theree is a dodgy batch of china white in the skaggy Salisbury area and it is being used as a tool to play political pingpong so this person who posted [know known as OP] can't graduate.

If they had graduated England would have won the world cup.

It used to be anthrax in heroin that terrorists from Afghan spiked Scotland with, now people order fentanyl off darkweb and it comes with a customary bit of Plutonium by accident cos the chef was high on his own supply/Harold Shipman and literally neither the UK or Russia know what is going on. Peak times. I am sorry for your loss OP, I've been there myself.



EZ Gareth, long time no see. Been on the ketamine pipes again?

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toot toot. just ordering novichok for tomorrow, not tried it yet.
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby Alex » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:03 am

gavinmac wrote:Maybe they are fucking with you because your government is using Soviet-era poisons to murder British citizens on British soil.


I doubt it. The Russians are probably quite capable with that stuff, have tested it properly and those originally poisoned (the traitor and his daughter) would thus have died.

Although that botched operation reeks of TM's government's ineptitude and they could use any distraction they can get, strangely enough, I don't think they did it either. I'd tend to think it has been the work of rogues of one kind or another.
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby iwanttogohome » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:28 am

Alex wrote:Ask your Embassy to call the British Embassy to demand the immediate return of your passport. Just don't expect to get the visa then, obviously.

I have no interest in that visa anymore. I have called Russian embassy asking for my options, they only lectured me on the fact that I voluntarily gave them the passport and that I should have applied earlier. I guess I should have applied for that damn visa last year :banghead:

England is out of the World Cup - they will burn my passport now I guess
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby bertviln » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:35 pm

iwanttogohome wrote:
Alex wrote:Ask your Embassy to call the British Embassy to demand the immediate return of your passport. Just don't expect to get the visa then, obviously.

I have no interest in that visa anymore. I have called Russian embassy asking for my options, they only lectured me on the fact that I voluntarily gave them the passport and that I should have applied earlier. I guess I should have applied for that damn visa last year :banghead:

England is out of the World Cup - they will burn my passport now I guess



I am surprised by their answer as "your" passport is property of Russia. Did you try/is it possible to get in touch with Russian embassy in London ? Also you should look for resources on the net, in place where Russian citizens complain about similar problems and exchange solutions.
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby Miguelito » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:52 pm

That really sucks and I feel for you; I can't even imagine how frustrating that is.

I sent you a PM with someone you may be able to send an email to. Good luck.
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Re: UK is holding my passport hostage

Postby Alexandra » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:53 pm

Miguelito wrote:I sent you a PM with someone you may be able to send an email to. Good luck.


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