BerlinPorcelain: I’ve just gone through this process and I totally feel your frustration. It does seem that they care most about 1) proving the income of the primary resident in the uk and 2) showing a real, sustained relationship. I base that off of the additional documents they asked us for- more financial records, more pics… But what they really seemed to focus on were the finances and, while I understand that they have strict rules about access to public funds, it’s a bit miguided if the incoming spouse is going to work and won’t be eligible for those benefits anyway.
I know how stressful and absurd this can be. And the process itself is expensive to begin with. I’m sorry and I wish your FI success in reaching the career bench marks that will bring you closer to your goal. In the meantime, could you find an employer who would offer you a visa? I know, not ideal for a number of reasons, but it’s an option to consider.
So, for my big move this spring I had to make tough decisions. Because I intend to be where he is for the rest of my life, I kept thinking my move had to to feel/ be permanent and- with the exception of a very few things that have been at my parents house since I left university- it was important that everything I care about be in my home.
I did a triage- pack and take on the plane, set aside to be moved professionally and sell or donate.
Despite my best laid plans, I rocked up to the airport with 90 minutes to board my flight with 5 bags to check. Yep- 5 to check and 2 to carry on.
I packed all the clothes, toiletries, shoes, bags and books I knew I’d want to have around me immediately to help the transition. I packed enough business and professional clothing to get me through a month and a half and all the really expensive bags and shoes I didn’t want to risk losing and wear most often.
When it came to what to send with the movers, well, I absolutely love to cook and my first priority there was getting the cookwear and other effects packed to be shipped. All electrical appliance- kitchenaide mixer, Cuisinart, all the stuff with plugs- were sold. I was sad about it, but it just doesn’t make sense to try to run them with converters in the UK. I also had the movers take the dishes as I’m quite sentimental about them, numeorus boxes of clothes and shoes and lots of books and sentimental effects. There was so much stuff that didn’t fall into a category you’d think of as xxxx but were still things I felt I needed! It was an exhausting process that would make a shy, poor Buddhist reflect and plan a mass murder.
Then I sold or donated all the furniture I had. I also gave away all the delicious, lovely booze I had on hand- well, I brought a few sentiemnal bottles of wine with me in my checked luggage- because you’re not supposed to ship it with the other stuff (duty and tax reasons). Let’s be honest, I also drank a lot of it, too. With friends and- ahem- without. (What?! It was an exhausting, emotional process!)
As excited as I was to move, the whole thing was really emotional. Have I mentioned that already? And it took a lot longer and cost more than I expected. But it was worth it. However, if you can move in multiple trips or get by with less overall, you can make the process a little easier and a slight bit less expensive. It also would have been easier if I’d had family near me to store things with. Oh, and of course what would be easiest is if you have less stuff you feel you “need” to take with you.
At this point in my life, I’ve moved to new cities and countries with just two suites (3 times), I’ve moved small apartments from one coast to another, I’ve moved a three bedroom house from one coast and back again, and now I’ve just moved to a new country permanently. And it is my belief that it all sucks. There are degrees of suckage, but it all sticks. But I digress…
To sum up this essay, I think the most important thing is to really be frank with yourself about what you need now (take those on the plane), what you ‘ll need but not until later (either bring over later or ship with a moving company/ fedex), and what you can do without.
OP, I hope this, and the rest of the great advice from other posters, helps. Good luck!