Sometimes life throws curveballs at you. Sometimes you make dumb mistakes. Sometimes both of those things happen at the same time.
We always knew we were supposed to leave Norway after three months. What we didn’t know was what could happen if we didn’t. Everyone told us it would be fine, no big deal. But I can’t pin it on anyone else. We should have researched it more.
There’s a European treaty called Schengen, which allows citizens of participating countries to have free travel between other Schengen states. Most people have never heard of this, even people who live there. We had heard rumors, but it wasn’t until two weeks ago that we discovered how serious a violation of a Schengen visa could be. Nothing like imprisonment, but it could be a heavy fine and expulsion from the departing country, and from the Schengen zone. Meaning that if we were caught violating our visa, we could be expelled from almost every country in Europe.
We booked a ticket to the UK right away, but it was too late. They took us aside at the airport in Tromsø and gave us the news. They would let us leave, but they are going to be filing a report that will lead to our expulsion from Norway and from Schengen. This is a really sad thing for us, as we were so dearly hoping to come back to Norway in May. We don’t know for how long we will be expelled, only that it could be as long as 5 years. We did not receive a fine, which is good news, although we would so much rather be able to return to Norway.
We are aware that we did something wrong, whether or not it was intentional, it was wrong. Ireland and the UK are not a part of the Schengen treaty, so we are allowed to be here for up to 6 months. As of right now, the report for our expulsion hasnt been filed yet, and we do have some time to appeal it, but we aren’t particularly hopeful. We have been in England, seeing London, getting to do some pretty great things…
And then we came over to Liverpool to visit two of our dearest friends from Montana, Bert and Erin. They have been such wonderful friends to us, showing us around and letting us sleep in their adorable flat. They even took us to the “Missoula” bar in Chester, where we quietly sang the state song and reminisced about home.
So for now, we will be going south to work at a little bed and breakfast on the Rame Penninsula in Cornwall, and we are actually very excited about it.
We would appreaciate prayers about our next move and what we should do, and maybe even that we will have a little bit of grace on our visa. Thanks for keeping up with us so far; it’s not over yet!
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