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Thomas
Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 6042
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hello Im currently dating a American girl for just over

Resolved Question:

Hello

I'm currently dating a American girl for just over a year now I've been over there to her state now twice, and she has flown here beginning of Feb 2013.

Trouble is it's expensive she luckily lives at home and has a happy home life but we would like to see if we could live together and have been thinking talking about her coming here.

I've been on the UK border site and I'm unsure, if she needs to apply for a general visa or not ? As it's says u can visit as a American national for upto 6 months ? She would buy a return flight as she has family commitments after the 6 month trip, I'm stable I privately rent and run my own biz and could easily put her up.

Also if things went well and I asked her to marry me, I understand she has to go back to the USA how quickly can u apply for a fiancé visa do u have to wait a certain time to do this between visits?

I've spoken to people and they say I should get her to apply for General visitor visa a little unsure ?

Regards


Gareth
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 months ago.
Hi Gareth,

Are you a UK citizen?

If not, please state your immigration status in the UK?

Kind regards


Tom
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Yes I'm a UK citizen
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 months ago.
Thanks, Gareth.

When she came to the UK in Feb 2013 how long did she stay for please?

When is the next proposed visit please?

Kind regards,

Tom
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
She came for two weeks, she is currently full time employed and that is all was allowed, I went over in August of the year, she was planning to come again in Feb for two weeks again but for the money it's costs thought why not try and do 6 months ?
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 months ago.
Okay. Thanks Gareth. Drafting your answer now. 10 mins please.

Tom
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 months ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and patience, I’m Tom and I’ll try to help you.

The UK operates a visa waiver program with the US. This means that US citizens may travel to the UK for short (ie. up to 6 months) visits without applying for a visa before they travel. Technically, it is discretionary though. This means that if the immigration officer at entry clearance at the airport considers that a breach of the immigration rules may occur then they are entitled to refuse entry to the US citizen.

Any visitor is not permitted to spend more than 6 month in any 12 month period in the UK. So, if your girlfriend travelled in February here for 2 weeks then she would be fine to visit again in February.

The thing that sets your girlfriend apart from other visitors is that she is here to visit you. This makes the UKBA more suspicious that she might be getting entry to seek to stay here permanently, which would obviously be a breach of the immigration rules. So, if she attempts entry under the visa waiver program without the sufficient amount of money a visitor would normally have (ie. incl accommodation) and states she is here to see and stay with you her boyfriend then she could run in to trouble.

My advice would probably be to apply for a visitor’s visa before she travels and be honest about the purposes of your travel, in that she wishes to have a slighltly extended holiday with you in the UK.

The eligibility criteria for a visitor's visa is as follow (as I am sure you know), is that you need to show that:-
• You want to visit the UK for no more than six months;
• You intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit;
• You have enough money to support yourself during your stay in the UK without working or needing help from public funds

You have to try and show them that she has continuing obligations in her home country which will continue after the visit and therefore convince them that she is not a risk of overstay because she at present has compelling family and social/work ties to her home country which mean that she will not attempt to secure a permanent stay here whilst she is visiting. Things like a letter from her employer stating she has a job (if he does) and is expected to return to continue that job, return flight tickets, evidence of continuing accommodation (eg. tenancy agreement of evidence of ownership of a property), bank statements showing the money she has available, letters from relatives/friends confirming any obligations she has to them.

If you are based in the UK and will assist her during the intended stay you should go to a local solicitor to draft a sponsorship declaration in which you state the terms of the visit, that you are to return at the end of it, that although you are in a relationship with her you both know that she MUST leave at the end of the visit because it would harm the chances of any future application made to secure leave to remain on the basis of that relationship, that you shall accommodate you and shall pay the costs of any unforeseen expenses that should occur during his stay so that nether of you will need to access public funds. It would also attach/annex evidence of your financial ability to cover the costs of the matters that you say you will cover in the declaration.

This should cost around £50+vat and you can find immigration solicitors via:-
http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law
.
Ideally though, you would instruct a solicitor based in the UK near to where you are to draft the whole of the application and collate her supporting documents.to ensure that the application is acceptable. I would strongly urge you to do this

The UKBA are suspicious of one party to a couple visiting the other party in the UK because of the huge problem with overstayers he so you have to give them as much documentary evidence as you can that indicates that her life remains back in the US. and that there are verifiable reasons which will compel her to return.

If the visit goes well and she returns to the US but with plans to apply for a fiancé visa then there is no time restriction. She can apply for a fiancé visa straight away if she wishes.

An application for a fiancé visa is complicated though. You will have to show evidence of your intention to marry, so things like purchase of a ring, evidence of having met (photos correspondence etc), perhaps provisional booking of a wedding venue, evidence of invites etc.

Additionally, I’m sure you are aware that there is a financial requirement in respect of a fiancé/spouse visa application. Here is the link to the UKBA webpage on this with further links to the detailed guidance on the right hand side of the page:
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/partners-families/citizens-settled/spouse-cp/can-you-apply/financial/

If you want to give me a few more details on your business then I can provisionally check your eligibility under the financial requirement if you like.


My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up issues specifically relating to your question.

Kindly rate my answer if you are satisfied with the information I have provided.

Kind regards,


Tom
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for the answer regards XXXXX XXXXX that my girlfriend has work commitments to return to she has to give notice where she currently works as they won't leave her job open for that amount of time ?

How much savings will she be required to have or show to come Hereford 6 months even tho she will be staying with me ?

Do you suggest that it's best to go with a lawyer for the application can that be costly ?
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 months ago.
Hi,

My reference to a job was merely an example of something that can be used to demonstrate her ties to the US that will compel her return. It's useful to have but not necessarily a strict requirement.

Frustratingly, there is no fixed amount of formula for determining how much money a visitor should have to cover the costs of their stay. It very much depends on the individual circumstance of each case. I should think that £3000gbp as a minimum if proposing to stay for 6 months and that is on the basis that you will be supporting her so that she would not have to pay any accomodation costs. If you are renting your property you would also have to show that you have the consent of your landlord for her to stay with you during this time.

Yes, ideally you would instruct a solicitor to prepare the application for her. I would shop around local for the fixed fees of local solicitors but I would expect that it would cost in the region of £700-800 + VAT. If you decide to attempt to draft it yourself then I would at least see if a local solcitor is prepare to check it for you and offer their opinion on how to improve the application.

Please do remember to rate my answer.

Kind regards,


Tom
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I have another scenario instead of applying for 6 month visa could we instead apply for the fiancé one ? Then the spouse obviously I know I need to be able to sponsor her and my accounts will be checked I've spoken to my accountant and they said is shouldn't be a problem.

I'm thinking why save all the funds for the 6 months visitor to probably spend it to then get engaged and spend more money flights application forms and money, we have spoken about marriage b4 and getting engaged we then have more time to save for it and plan and get evidenced together ring receipt etc venues for the wedding I'm on the understanding on the fiancé visa u have a time limit to get married within 6 months ? Once a spouse visa is issued can she then work ?
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 months ago.

Hi,

 

Yes, that is an option. If you are applying for a fiancé visa then you really must instruct a solicitor to prepare the application for you. It is much more complicated that a visitor's visa application.

 

That is correct. The fiancé visa would be granted for an initial 6 months so that she can come to the UK, marry you and then apply to switch (in the UK) to a spouse visa. You cannot extend the fiancé vias so, yes, there is an effective 6 month time limit within which you must marry and then make an application to switch to a spouse visa.

 

She cannot work on a fiancé visa but once the spouse visa has been issued she is free to work without restriction.

 

I am going out for the evening now, please rate my answer and I will respond to any further queries you have first thing tomorrow morning.


Kind regards,



Tom

Thomas, Solicitor
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Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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