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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7407
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My "partner" is a British citizen living in Britain...Im American

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My "partner" is a British citizen living in Britain...I'm American basically living here...We've had a long distance relationship for 13yrs, seeing each other several times a year...We even owned a home together in Florida for awhile...We'd now like to marry with the intent of the UK being our base, due to partners business, etc...What steps should we take??...And we're wondering if it makes a difference whether we'd marry here in the states or would it be better to do so in the UK...Thanks

Thanks for your question.

If it is the case that you are presently in the US and will following marriage settle permanently in the UK then you will have to apply for settlement.

You can either arrange to marry in the US and apply directly for a spouse visa, or apply for a fiancé visa so that you can come to the UK to marry and then apply to switch to a spouse visa after that.

There is no real advantage in terms of the eligibility criteria because it is pretty much the same apart from with the fiancé visa you would also have to prove that you intend to marry so there is the burden of providing the extra documentary evidence that you intend to marry. The advantage with marrying outside the UK and then applying for a spouse visa is there is only one application, though if you are unsuccessful then you are obviously stuck being married in different countries.. With a fiancé visa there is two, one whilst in the US and a further one to switch to a spouse visa once you are here.

I can provide you with further information regaring fiancé/spouse visas (eligilbity criteria, documentary requirement) if you require me to. Just submit a further question to the board requesting me via my profile and marking your question “FAO Tom”

If this has been useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. If you do not click accept your money stays with the site and I do not receive any credit for the time I have taken to answer your question.

I will answer your follow up questions you may have.

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I'm going to "accept" you reply, no problem...And thank-you. :)

Just to follow-up though...If I understand correctly, if we marry here in the states, I only have to file for one visa, ( a spousal one)...I assume I do that after we marry, and would there be anything preventing me from visiting the UK on my regular passport as I've been doing while waiting for the Visa to come through??..I never stay more than two weeks at time due to obligations here.

What would a normal timeframe for Visa approval be??...And will it be an issue for me to travel frequently back to the US to visit adult kids and aging parents??...Our main goal is that I'm able to stay in the UK for longer periods than I do now, but I'll still be spending quite a bit of time at my home here in the US.

IT might become complicated if you married then attempting to come in the normal way here. It's technically at the discretion of the UKBA each time you arrive at customs, so if they suspect that you may in fact be entering for the purpose of a permanent stay they will not permit you entry.

If at all possible I would time it so that there are no visits between marriage and permanent move to the UK. Safer that way.

The UKBA aims to complete all applications within 6 weeks, if it is well drafted with appropriate documentary evidence then it can be two weeks.

Trust this clarifies, please click accept.

Kind regards,

Thomas, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 7407
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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