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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English Solicitor and UK Immigration Law Expert
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I am a South African married to a French citizen. We have been

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I am a South African married to a French citizen. We have been married for 2 and half years. My wife had an affair 2 months ago and we will probably get divorced. what are my rights to continue residing in the UK?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your query.

Firstly, you will be considered a family member of an EEA national until the decree absolute is obtained.

Your residency rights to remain in the UK will normally cease once the decree absolute is obtained, unless you have retained rights of residence.

The rules state that:

A person who ceases to be a family member of a qualified person on termination of a marriage or civil partnership will retain a right of residence if:

the marriage or partnership lasted for at least three years immediately before the initiation of proceedings for divorce, annulment or dissolution, and

the parties to the marriage or civil partnership had resided in the UK for at least one year during the duration of the marriage or civil partnership, or

the former spouse or civil partner of the qualified person has custody of the children or a right of access to the children in the UK, or

there are particularly difficult circumstances (such as domestic violence) justifying the retention of the right of residence.
In such circumstances a family member retains a right of residence if:
S/he is a non-EEA national but is pursuing activity which would make him/her a worker or a self-employed person if s/he were an EEA national,
S/he is a self-sufficient person, or
S/he is the family member of a person in the UK who is either a worker, self-employed, or is a self-sufficient person.

I would expect you to have been married to your spouse for at least 3 years by the time the decree absolute is obtained and you will therefore have a right to remain in the UK under the above provisions.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Things not looking great between my
wife and I. She has moved out and I feel divorce is a definite prospect.
This is a very difficult time for, the hardest and most emotional thing I
have ever had to deal with. But now I have to think about myself and my
future. I really do not want to go back to South Africa, no future there
for me. If this divorce goes through I will lose my EEA dependant visa. We
will be married for 3 years this May. What do I need to do?
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 4 years ago.
Hello again,

I am very sorry to hear of your personal situation.

As advised, you will have retained rights of residence in the UK if you are married for at least 3 years and have lived in the UK for at least 1 year by May 2012.

Such right is automatic provided you are working in the UK or self sufficient.

All the best

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