Dear Harry and Meghan,
Let me be the first to say how happy I am to see another British-American union in the works. As a fellow U.S. transplant to England, I know it’s no walk in the park to sort everything out. So, here’s some advice:
1. Harry, my dear, you’ll need an ITIN. It’s a Social Security Number without being a Social Security Number. The Yankee government likes to keep track of foreign spouses’ income, even if none of it was earned in the States or computed in U.S. dollars. I know, I know – it sounds pointless, but trust me, you need it. The U.S. Embassy in London has a helpful window at which you can pay $50 to get this little tax identification number. Yes, you’ll have to queue with the commonfolk.
2. Meghan, I’m afraid your U.S. driver’s license is only good in the U.K. for one year. After that, the po-po can pull you over and issue you a £1,000 fine. I advise you to drive as much as possible in that first year to get used to roundabouts, left-hand traffic, and west country tractors. Also, most of the roads are the size of U.S. driveways. Give yourself plenty of time to study for your written test as it’s much harder than in the States. But the pathway to freedom is simple: hire a really good driving coach, take a few lessons, and off you go. Or, perhaps you’ll just ride around in a gilded carriage everywhere. To each their own.
3. I’m getting ahead of myself here. To both of you, check out the visa requirements online. The U.K. has a very unhelpful application process where, Harry (unfortunately), you’ll be asked a few dozen intimate questions about your job, income, tax bracket, future earnings, savings, mortgage, address, blood type, blood color, blood consistency, favorite pet, favorite band, and favorite food. Meghan, you just need to show how you’re connected to Harry, which, seeing as the world already knows, should be easy.
4. Meghan, stick true to your roots. Harry will probably make fun of the way you say certain words – in fact, the U.K. media might hop on that gravy train, too – but ignore all the haters. Always remember that it’s paper towel, not kitchen roll; elevator, not lift; pants, not trousers (unless they’re actually trousers); chips, not crisps; and that the pronunciation of tomato, aluminium, and laboratory should be strictly Webster-approved. Stay strong, sister!
5. The plus side of this union is that all these Brexit negotiations don’t apply. Yay! Meghan, since neither you nor I are from the EEC or the EU, we have to go through all the hoops; no shortcuts for us. This does mean, however, we don’t have to figure out if we’ll be kicked out of our adopted country, if our pensions won’t transfer, if our visas will be revoked, or the million other worries those dependent on the EU-UK handshake have to think about. There’s always a silver lining in a storm cloud.
But seriously, great news, guys. I’m looking forward to the royal wedding in May. Many crazy adventures await you both.