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Howard, Immigration Lawyer
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 459
Experience:  Senior Partner with nearly 20 years experience in UK Immigration Law.
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Good afternoon gentlemen- I am a US citizen, work as a contractor

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Good afternoon gentlemen- I am a US citizen, work as a contractor for US companyl living in Harrogate I have had consecutive UK Visas (NATO/SOFA agreement based) for a total of 9 years as of March of this year. I have been physically in the UK and residing here since September 2000. My job with the Contractor will conclude in December this this year and I want to remain work in the UK . My Visa doesnt expire until March 2016. My wife is Britsh, we have been married since Sept 2003, will this work VISA still be valid for me to live and work in the UK until it expries, even though I wont be under the same contracter Job as I was before? Thank you D.H
Your right to work is based on the nature of that work and the employer you are working for. If that work has ceased then your right to work would usually cease with that employment. If your new position would qualify under the same exemption then you might like to apply on that basis.

The NATO/SOFA agreement is essentially an exemption and not a specific UK Visa category and so you also cannot switch to a Spouse visa within the UK but must instead return to the US and submit an application from there.

The Spouse visa application will rely on your wife's income in the UK OR your savings, your wife's savings or joint savings unless you are exempt (wife in receipt of disability benefit, for example). You will not be able to use your income toward the financial requirement when you are applying from outside the UK.

General requirements for the Spouse visa can be found here:

If you have further questions or clarification is required then please feel free to ask and please also remember to rate the service that I have provided.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Does owning a house here in the UK count toward the financial requirement?

It will not count toward the Financial Requirement. Please see the following guidance for this requirement:
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just to clarify my visas, my first visa, issued in March 2004 was in fact a spouse visa, the subsequent two were the NATO/ SOFA visas, would I have to return to the USA or could I just apply for a new spouse visa in Liverpool like I did in 2004?

If you had a Spouse visa then what was the purpose of changing to the NATO/SOFA visas? You would usually have simply applied for ILR after being in the UK with a Spouse visa for 2 years.

Current guidance is that switching is not allowed from exemptions and the NATO/SOFA visa is an exemption. I also checked this with the Home Office before confirming to you.

There have been a vast number of changes in immigration rules since 2004 and unfortunately this is the current position.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

When I first came here in September 2000, I was the American Army assiigned to a US base here in the UK on official orders. I got married to a UK citizen in September 2003, I got out of the Army in March 2004, howver I wished to remain here in the UK to work as a Contractor at the same Base.My wife and I went to Liverpool to get a VIsa and they issued me a spouse Visa, limited leave to remain for two years, I got hired in as a contrator 6 months later and was then given a SOFA stamp in my passport. Since then my subsequent visas have been the SOFA affiliated ones.

That is a shame - your Spouse visa allowed you to work in the UK and by getting other visas and not applying for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain, also known as Permanent Residence) at the end of the initial 2-year Spouse visa period you have lost that opportunity.

The old Spouse visa is expired and your current status does not allow you to switch within the UK so you will unfortunately have to apply from outside the UK for a Spouse visa. Once approved you will be on a 5-year path to settlement but will require an extension during that period.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So I couldn't get another limited leave to remain visa through my wife by applying at one of the UK Border Agency centres here in the UK. Even though I am currently residing in the UK.

Correct. Switching within the UK is only permitted from certain visa categories and you have an exemption rather than having a specific visa category.

Again, I checked this with the Home Office before providing you with this information.

I understand that this is frustrating but there are a large number of scenarios that do not allow switching within the UK.
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