Thanks for your question.
The UKBA have actually got themselves in to a bit of pickle with certificates of approval. There have been a number of cases where they have found against the UKBA in refusing to issue COAs because of human rights grounds (there's an important case called Baiai which is highly relevant to these issues). It is unlikely that they will refuse the COA on the basis of the limited number of months remaining on the visa, but that does not stop them draggin their feet on it in order to get around it and it's difficult to prove this as a fault because they are usually very busy.
I would still apply for the COA and try your luck but ready yourselves not to receive one.
However, a COA is not required if you were to marry in an Anglican Church. They run their own checks on the credibility and genuiness of the marriage. You would need to prove that the relationship is genuine (ie. copies of correspondence, evidence of living together if applicable, other documentary evidence of your relations), that she has leave to remain (which she does, albeit not for long) and that you are over 21. Provided they accept this then you can marry there (without a COA) and then apply for a spouses visa. Please see 5.1 on the following link:-
The criteria for a spouses visa is as follows:-
you would also have to show that the relationship/marriage is genuine and that you are not simply getting married to secure her stay here. You must also submit the application before her visa expires as well, they will reject it otherwise.
I would see a local immigration solicitors about your plans and to instruct them to prepare the application for a spouses visa prior to actually getting married so that he can appraise you specifically in whether you meet the above criteria and so that you can be sure you have a solicitor in which you are confident in preparing the application following your marriage.
If this is useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. It will be gratefully received and you will be free to ask follow up questions.Kind regards,Tom
What is the most sensible option to choose as there is only 2 months remaining and the COA needs to have both of out passports. Obviosly not good if she needs to go back to Tanzania and has not got her passport.
She has just finished an IELTS exam and awaiting the results. Can she apply for being settled in the UK for indefinate stay?. Can she apply for an extention to her current visa with the time remaining on her existing visa?
Can she successfully apply when she gets back to Tanzania for a marriage licence to for marriage be held in the UK and then afterwards then apply to stay in the UK with me indefinatly?
She has options.
1) You can speak to an Anglican church minister to see if you can satisfy them of your relationship sufficiently (by producing evidence of your relationship, identity and her leave to remain. If they are prepared to marry you then you can do so and then make an in country application for a spouses visa provided you are able to submit the application prior to her visa expiring. Again though, I would urge to you get some specific advice based on your income, accommodation and employment arrangements from a local solicitor to see that you meet the eligibility criteria above)
2) . If she has been in the country for 6 years on a student visa then she does not meet the requisite 10 years period of residency in this category to apply for ILR. She can make an application for an extension for her student visa provided this is genuine, she wishes to continue her studies and the application is submitted before her current visa expires. She would have leave to remain while the decision on the extension is pending. If and when it is granted you could then apply for a COA and thereafter a spouses visa (in country) once you are married.
3) If you cannot achieve your aim using the above options then she can return to Tanzania before her current visa expires and then immediately submit an application for a finance visa. If this appears likely then you could see an immigration solicitor to prepare the fiance visa application for her so she can take it upon return and immediately submit it to the British Embassy there. The eligibility criteria is nearly exactly the same as for a spouses visa but you would have to show you have made arrangements to marry in the UK within 6 month as the fiance visa will be valid for a period of 6 months during which time you should marry. You would then have to make a further application for a spouses visa once married.
I hope this clarifies, if so please kindly click accept. I will continue to answer your follow up questions.
What information can be used for acceptible evidence of a relationship together if we went to an Anglican church?
Where is the best place to find an immigration solicitor in Coventry? As a rough guide What woult the costs be to use a solicitor.
If her visa runs out on a certain date, can she remain in the UK after this date for a short period of time (i.e waiting a flight ECT.) or is it illegal to remain immediatly the visa expires?
Christopher, Thank you for your kind accept.
You should be able to produce the Anglican vicar documentary evidence probably, so correspondence (emails, texts, letters, etc) from as far back as possible to date, copies of any documents that prove you have been living together (tenancy agreements, shared utility bills, council tax etc. Their threshold is not that high and they will probably have an initial get-to-know you meeting where you can ask specifically what they require.
You can find solicitors in your area by using the following:-
You should be looking at between £700.00-1000.00 + VAT. for a spouse visa application. Try and pin them down to a fixed fee and start a little below £700.00.
If she leaves within 28 days of her visa expiring then this is generally not held to be a prejudicial overstay and, in any event, the UKBA cannot refuse applications based on marriage solely on the grounds of an overstay alone. If the application is otherwise satisfactory then they cannot refuse for this reason.
how does the spouses visa work and what does it allow her to do ?
After the spouses visa has been granted (and we have hopefully married in the allocated time) what other paperwork is required for her to be able live in the UK as a couple indefinatly?
Will the governments cap on immigration numbers outside the EU affect her chances of not being allowed to stay in the UK indefinatly after marriage?
The spouse visa will be granted giving her leave to remain for two years. She will be allowed to work during this time.
Just before the expiry of the two year period she can apply for indefinite leave to remain. Once she has this she can remain in the UK indefinitely. Once she has held this for one year she can apply to be naturlised as a UK citizen.
The immigration cap does not affect those applying on the basis of marriage. To do so would be a breach of human rights.
When is the earliest time a spouses visa can be applied for and how long would it take to process.
Can she apply for a spouses visa if she is in this country (before the original visa expires) or can she apply if she goes back to Tanzania because the original visa has expired?
Can she remain in the UK whilst the spouses visa is being processed if the original visa expires during this time?
She can only apply for a spouses whilst she is in this country once she is married by an anglican church OR married otherwise after having received a COA from the UKBA AND (in both cases) before her visa expires)
The aim to reach a decision on all applications within 6-8 weeks of submission but frequently overrun considerably.
If her in country application was submitted before her current visa expired then she would have leave to remain until the UKBA reached decision either initially or from an appeals tribunal if you appeal.
Hope this clarifies.
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