Thousands of Ukrainian people who are trying to flee war in their country have applied for visas to join their families in the UK.

This is a challenging, confusing, and mentally draining process even in the most simple and peaceful circumstances.

I was not fleeing war when, aged 18, I decided to leave Mexico and come to the United Kingdom to study my undergrad degree, I was just looking for a better future.

Read more: Terrified couple's fears for son and grandson in war-torn Ukraine

And then, aged 24, I decided to join my partner, a UK resident, in Oxfordshire.

In order to stay in the country, I had to go apply for several permits and visas.

The last one having a very similar process to the one Ukrainians wishing to join their families in the UK have to apply for.

The tiring process started with a very confusing form which needs to be completed correctly or UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will deny the visa.

This is a challenging step full of stress even for someone who has a high level of English, the instructions are not very clear, the questions are too broad and sometimes you might need professional guidance to complete them in order to be successful.

Alongside this, you need a sponsor, a person who can financially support you, and an address, to state where you are going to live during your stay in the UK – visas are only given for a set period of time.

With the form, there is a list of several documents that will need to be attached to the application: these include, depending on the type of application, birth certificate, English language certificate, proof of address, proof of income and photos, among many other things.

Gathering all these documents took weeks, as I also had to wait for some of them to be translated from Spanish to English.

The contents of the application had my life history.

I booked an appointment at the visa centre in Mexico City which took a few days to get. If you are lucky, the agent at the centre will take your biometrics, pictures and fingerprints, if not, you have to submit them separately using another service.

After all these is completed and the application is submitted, which has to be made in person, the waiting game begins as you are only told how long it might take.

The uncertainty of waiting for an answer causes stress and anxiety, I can only imagine what refugees go through.

The feeling of getting a visa approved is ecstatic as you know this is something that will change your life.


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