FAO Tom only...
Thank you very much for your quick and helpful response.
To provide you with a little background information, my wife and I own a small corporation in Japan, which we intend to keep operating from the UK (we have a good assistant, and most of the work can be done online.) We did this while I was also working as a newspaper editor on Guam (After Fukushima, from May, 2011 - Nov. 2012), but we only took out about 5,650 pounds each in salary from the Japanese business last year.
I also earned about 16,000 pounds from the newspaper in the 11 months I was there in 2012.
Right at the moment, we have about 55,000 pounds in a variety of cash assets (bank accounts, IRAs, life insurance/annuity cash accrual (which can be easily withdrawn at any time), etc.). We are now also in the process of selling our house on Guam. We have a formal offer for the price we want, but have to wait on the buyer's bank loan approval, and an appraisal of the property. If this is concluded smoothly, we expect to have total net cash assets will be range of 70,000 - 75,000 pounds, and to be entirely debt free.
I will be 62 on March 28th, and will be eligible for US Social Security payments of about 500 pounds/month from April.
We would like to move to the UK around the end of May, and have a friend who has agreed to rent us a suitable house for a good price (in the Manchester/Liverpool area.)
We are now working on some opportunities which might allow us to leverage our current Japanese business into somewhat higher income, and I am regularly asked to do free-lance writing and editing projects.
I am also planning to start looking into employment options in the UK. While I am aware that the job situation in the UK is quite tough right now, with a background in journalism, business and market research, and fluency in Japanese, I am confident that I can find something, if needed.
FYI, my wife is now 59 years old, has a Ph.D. in a language related field, as well as a US teaching license and a lot of experience as a teacher of English as a second language and speech therapist. As such, she would seem to have a skill set that is now in high demand in the UK, and should be able to find employment if needed once she has the right to reside and work in the UK.
Of course, all of this can be documented with tax records, financial records, bank books, IRA and insurance statements and so on.
My impression is that all of the elements needed for me to successfully sponsor my wife's visa are there...but that it might be somewhat like a Rubick's cube. Everything needs to be lined up correctly, and at the right time.
With all this in mind, may I ask you some follow-up questions:
1. How long does it typically take for an application for a spousal visa to be decided for people in our situation?
2. Would a certified copy of her passport possibly be acceptable if my wife does not travel to the UK? Especially if she applies from Japan, she would be quite uncomfortable being without it for any length of time. She has to travel for business, she would be in a difficult position in the event of any emergency, and she is actually required to be able to show it to the Japanese authorities on demand (even though she has an alien registration card which is sufficient for ordinary situations.)
3. I applied for my citizenship (by right of maternal descent) last November, and I received written notification from the UK Embassy in Tokyo in early January that my application had been successful, and that the Home Office would be sending me my citizenship certificate "shortly." As of yet, I have not received the document, and the Embassy reports that they are out of the loop and do not have any idea when it will be issued (or even if it will be sent through them, or directly to me from the Home Office.) Any idea of how long I might have to wait? Is there any contact point in the Home Office or UKBA which I might be able to ask about this?
4. Is any special consideration given to people over 60 in situations like this? (Although my wife won't reach that age until this November,)
I also have a number of questions related to assets, etc. as they relate to sponsorship, but I will put them in a separate message.
Thank you very much.