Tuesday, May 15, 2012

UPDATE - UK Pet import rules have changed!!!

Hooray!!  Pet travel rules changed on 1 January 2012 when the UK brought its procedures into line with the European Union. From this date all pets can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the rules of the scheme, which will be different depending on the country or territory the pet is coming from.  Check out this website for all the details:  http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/pet-owners/#a

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dogs returning to USA from UK

Quick note to supplement the dog travel section: I checked the requirements for bringing my dog back to California for next spring when we bring him here, and the only item needed for booking the flight is the dimensions of the crate, and the addresses of the shipper and receiver.

In addition, I need to bring an Export Health Certificate signed by a local, UK vet (a 'fit to fly' letter) dated within ten (10) days of his flight when he I check him in at the airport. Simple huh? I don't think the price goes down on the way back, but I will let you know when we get there......

Virgin Atlantic UK Pets Shipping: +44. (0)844.873.8000

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hey Everyone! It has been months since I posted anything....mostly because I'm not sure what to write about now that I'm back in California and my Englishman is moving here. The UK immigration system made things too difficult for us, and I couldn't really take any more time off from my career without a ring on my finger, so I needed to head back to the USA and get back to work. I have been job hunting since March, but think I am finally about to land a couple of offers!

D has been trying to arrange his life in the UK to be away in the US for 6+ months, and he finally has everything in order. His B-2 tourist visa was granted last Wednesday, and he arrives on August 26th in San Francisco to join me! We may still end up back in Los Angeles depending on where I end up getting a job, but it will be so nice to see his face in 3-D after almost 6 months on Skype! Now we have 6 more months to decide whether to take the big plunge...

I will post a bit of info on his B-2 visa process for anyone interested once he gets here....don't want to jinx anything before then :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Location Update, Part 2.

Seems some of you have been having trouble posting comments to my blog. I actually can't seem to post a comment myself, so I don't know what's up....what kind of problems are you having with the comment function? I read all the comments, so let me know if there's something specific you'd like to discuss. My email is laurenhaleybrock@hotmail.com. In the meantime I will contact blogger and find out how to get the comment function working...

I did see that the Visa rules are changing, but since it's now been 9 months since I have been employed part-time, and 14 months since I have worked full time, my prior earnings have fallen too low to get enough points in that area. February was the last month I could have made it to a high enough prior earnings level....so even now that the rules are changing, I don't think I'll be eligible for another 6-8 months once I get a new job ;(

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Location Update

Well, I've taken a break from the blog since I am now back in California, and I couldn't decide whether to keep up with writing while I am away from England for this indeterminate period.

My tourist visa ran out and D and I aren't quite ready for the marriage commitment, so with the Tier 1 visa option closed to me for the time being, my only option was to return home. D and I haven't lived together long enough to qualify for the co-habitating partners option. Luckily, my sister has headed to Singapore for 2 months for work, so she has graciously lent me her apartment in San Francisco for the time being.

It's great to be back here in a city that I love, and the sun has not really stopped shining since I've been back, but I really miss D and our dogs, and the routine of our life there together. D is still in England for the time being, looking after the doggies and trying to find a new project for his electrical company. Once he gets everyone sorted out over there, he hopes to come over here in May and join me for awhile, but it's hardest not having a date on the calendar yet!

We are surviving on Skype calls once a day and some text messaging, but it's no substitute for the real thing. I met a cute Canadian girl last week (while we were both enjoying some frozen yogurt in the sunshine) who was visiting her Canadian boyfriend--she's in Toronto and he's been here for the last 3 years! Yikes!

I know I'm not the only one out there struggling with the downsides of an international long-distance relationship. Anyone have any suggestions?? I'd love to hear your inspiring, happy-endings right about now! ;)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

US Home & Beauty items not found in the UK

I've been lucky to find most of the beauty items I used at home in the drugstore chains (Boots & Superdrug)--thank god for my Pantene Mousse for Curls!--but there are a growing number of items that I'm afraid I haven't been able to locate in my 6 months here:

Crest Toothpaste
Cetaphil products (cleanser, moisturizer)
Ponds Make-Up Remover Wipes & other Ponds products
Cover Girl Make Up
Sonia Kashuk Make Up (Target brand)
Coppertone sunscreens
Bullfrog sunscreens
SwimEar (ear drops for swimmers) -- 1/2010 update: finally found 1 Sainsbury's in B'ham that carries it

Also have not been able to find comparable products for these household items:

Goo Gone (removes residue from stickers, etc.)
Swiffer Duster and Swiffer Wet Mop
rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
travel adapters that fit USA plugs to UK plugs (the ones here all fit UK plus to something else)
Method-brand liquid hand and body soaps
Dryel (dry-cleaning sheets to use in your own dryer)
Woolite Delicates wash (limited availability in some supermarkets)

Do you have any US items to add to this list?? Let me know....

Friday, February 12, 2010

To Drive or not to Drive...

I'm having dreams about my old Audi convertible, and cruising down the PCH in the sunshine with the top down....ahhh....

I haven't yet driven a car here in the UK during these past 7 months because our sole vehicle is a large work van with manual transmission, and I only know how to operate an automatic car. Even if I could learn to drive stick, the thought of driving around a huge van on the tiny lanes around our house without the aid of a rear-view mirror is fairly daunting.

I drove a rental car in Australia for a couple of days when I lived down there, so the "wrong-side" stuff doesn't scare me much, but there are plenty of hills around our house, and I have visions of myself sliding backwards down them as I slam on the clutch and search for gears.

Since I'm now job hunting, if I get a job offer for a position that pays decently well or requires me to drive to work, I'm pretty sure that it would be worth it to spend some money to get my own car. That's put me to thinking about whether or not I actually CAN drive here without a UK license.

I took a look at this site on Directgov.com to find out what the government says. Apparently most drivers who are visiting the UK, or relocate here, and hold a valid drivers' license in their home country, are permitted to operate a normal vehicle (up to 8 passengers) for up to 12 months after arriving in the UK as a visitor, or up to 12 months from the date of taking up residency. There are some slightly different parameters if you come from a Commonwealth country such as Australia & New Zealand, where they also drive on the left and probably have the same signage, and those instructions can be found here.

Before the 12 month period is over, you must obtain a provisional UK drivers license and pass a driving test. If you do this, you can skip over having restrictions such as "L" (Learner) plates on your car, having to be supervised by a qualified driver, or being restricted from driving on the freeways (motorways).

If you fail to obtain the provisional license before the 12 month period is over, all of the UK's provisional license restrictions will apply, and your car will be branded with the dreaded "L" (Loser).

So go on, get organized, and make sure you have all the documents you will need to exchange your foreign license for a shiny, new UK one, by taking a look at the requirements here.

Me, I'm gonna be shopping for a new, tiny, automatic car....and I'll be keeping the roof up to stay warm, thank you very much.