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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7569
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My application for UK citizenship was recently approved, and

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My application for UK citizenship was recently approved, and I hope to move to the UK with my American wife in late May of this year.

We are planning to apply for a spousal visa for her with me as her sponsor, but we are unsure about the best timing.

In connection with this:

1. Is it correct that if the visa is approved, she is required to enter the UK within three months of the date of her visa application (NOT approval)?

2. Is it acceptable for an applicant to apply for a spousal visa, then travel to the UK under a visitor's visa while application is pending, return to the country of application after the decision is made, and finally come back to the UK under the new spousal visa?

3. Do I, as a new UK citizen, need to first of all get a UK passport overseas before relocating to the UK, or can I enter the UK with my existing US passport and/or UK citizenship certificate, and get my UK passport after my arrival?

4. My wife and I currently reside in Japan (where both of us have permenant resident status), and she is a US citizen. Is it correct that she can apply for a UK spousal visa from either Japan or the US?

5. If my wife first joins me briefly in the UK under a visitor's visa (to help set up our house), and then goes out of the UK to apply for her spousal visa, can she go to a nearby third country (such as France or Germany), or would she need to return to either the US or Japan?

Thank you very much.


In 2 above, are you referring to just you travelling to the UK Ltd r your wife as well? The ukba would have her passport..

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I will be relocating to the UK, as will my wife once her spousal visa is approved. The timing of her application is the issue.


Regarding her passport, can a certified copy (notarized by the U.S. Embassy in Japan) be used for the application? This was acceptable for my own citizenship application.


Thanks for your patience.

Using your numbering:-

1. She can attempt to enter at any time after the leave to remain is granted in her passport. Technically she can enter at any time, however if one were not to enter for 6 months after the grant then they would be subject to questioning.

There will be no problem provided that she enters within 3 months of the date of the start of the leave to remain. This is used as a threshold for the purpose of the residence period, if a person enters within three months of the date of their grant of leave to remain then they will be regarded for the purpose of the residential requirement to have entered on the date the leave was granted.
2. I doubt highly that they would accept a notarised copy of her passport. This is because the UKBA are extremely concerned with overstayers and I know it seems counter intuitive that one would apply for a spouse visa and then enter on a visitor’s visa with a view to staying but unfortunately the UKBA view this as a possibility. You can try to ask , but I would expect them to say “withdraw the application and we will return the passport, or wait until we have determined the application.
3. Provided you have your certificate of naturalisation and your US passport and your certificate refers to your passport then you should be fine. You will probably have to explain why you have not applied but I would expect them to permit entry
4. An applicant should apply from the country in which they are permanently resident, so if you have permanent residence in Japan and have been habitually resident there in the recent past then there is no problem applying from there, though if she holds a US passport she could also apply from there.
5. She could only enter the UK if she had not applied yet for a spouse visa (see 2 above). If she did do this then she would have to return to the country where she permanently resides in order to make her spouse visa application, so I would expect problems if she simply went to France to make the application.

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Kind regards,

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