Now, as a daughter of a lawyer, I would say, at least spare one (my fabulous MomE). But you can take the UK solicitors who gave us somewhat suspect advice. As the daughter of a lawyer (for the past 34 years or so), either by nature or nurture, I have the typical lawyer mentality of being somewhat suspicious of accepting something at face value. It was this part of my brain that was sending warning bells when the solicitors gave us our most recent Tier 1 Visa advice.
Actually let me start this story at the beginning....
As you might have read in a previous post, we are in an enormous rush to get our Tier 1 Visa application into the UK because this particular visa class is ending in March. So, every day is critical and we really can't afford to waste any time. One of the requirements of the UK Tier 1 visa class is to prove that you are financially sound. The way they ensure this is to have you send in all of your financial statements indicating that you have kept a certain amount of money in these accounts for the past 3 months.
So, we have three different accounts, thus we needed to send in statements from all of them. The solicitors told us the only thing we needed was the statements. I told the Canadian, that I was suspicious of this...wouldn't they need to be stamped? Verified? Notarized? He asked the solicitors -- No, they said. Just the statements, and we should be fine. *sigh*, I said...very skeptical.
Enter ING bank. So I call them to order our statements.
Me: "Can you mail me statements?"
ING: "Yes but they are identical to what you will print out -- we will do the same thing you would do which is print them out"
Me: "Yes but I need YOU to print them out and mail them -- that is what the United Kingdom wants"
ING: "But they are going to be exactly the same as what you would print out. Plus we are going to charge you $5.00 each"
Me: "I know but this is what our solicitors told us" -- I said this with all doubt and trepidation.
...4 days later...
We receive the ING statements and mail everything in to the courier in Los Angeles who will walk our giant bundle of stuff to the UK Consulate. (As an aside, they asked for the Canadian's college diploma which has been laquered onto a giant piece of wood...so that was fun to send in...)
The courier (to whom we sent our package of every single document verifying our identity and entire life), was a visa processor in the consulate for 15 years and she knows what they consulate is looking for. She calls the Canadian:
Courier: Your ING statements look like they were printed out -- because they are in black and white
the Canadian: They are printed out, but ING did it and mailed it to us
Courier: But everyone knows ING is orange and these are in black and white
the Canadian: The solicitors told us we didn't need anything other than the statements
Courier: The UK will be suspicious and think you printed these by yourself....they need to be on ING orange paper and verified somehow. Your solicitors were wrong
the Canadian: *sigh*
So, I call ING back.
Me: Hi, I need new statements. The same ones you sent me before, but this time, printed on color paper -- and notarized.
ING: I don't think we print in color.
Me: But I am paying 5 dollars per statement -- can't you find a color printer? Apparently the UK knows that ING is orange.
ING: You could print them in color since they are the same statement you would print out from your account.
Me: I realize that, and I realize that this is absurd, but I still need ING to print out my statements, in color, with ING orange everywhere and have them notarized because the United Kingdom seems to think I will not be able to magically produce fraudulent ING orange statements by myself on my own color printer but that I can produce black and white. Somehow the orange paper means I haven't fabricated the statements and that they are real.
ING: I think we only print in black and white.
Me: Look, I really don't care if you have to walk down to Kinko's, log on, and print my statements using their color printer. I just need orange statements with a signature of a valid notary saying that I haven't magically created bank statements.
ING: Ok, I'll make a note in your file.