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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7602
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Dear Sir/Madam I have lived in the UK for 4 years from 2003

Customer Question

Dear Sir/Madam

I have lived in the UK for 4 years from 2003 -2007 where I got married to a Spanish national and then moved to Spain, however the marriage didn't last. I am still living in Spain, but my current girlfriend of 2 years (a British National) got a job with the House of Commons in Manchester and we need to move there by next September. I hold a South-African passport and I had a 5 year visa from the UK which expired in April this year. We need to move to Manchester for a period of two years and I would like to know how to go about getting a visa for that period of time, I do not qualify for the skilled workers visa as I am an English teacher here in Spain. Could you advise me on this please?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

Hi Greg,



Thanks for your question.

To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following:-

  • 1. Have you cohabited with your girlfriend for two years?
  • 2. Are you still married
  • 3. What visa did you have when you had your 5 year visa (ancestry possibly?)

Kind regards.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Tom,


We only moved in together in February this year.

I was seperated from my ex for 3 years,but the divorced was only finalized in January this year.

The visa I held in the UK was as a member of an EU national issued by the Home Office and before that I held a working holiday visa for two years.


Hope this helps.



Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.
Hi Greg,

Thanks for your reply.

The difficulty is that in order for you to get a visa on the basis of your relationship with your girlfriend you would have to be considered to be “unmarried partners”. The criteria for this is that you must have been in a relationship akin to marriage immediately before making your application:-
This is interpreted by the UKBA to mean that you should have been cohabiting for a period of two years before making your application. As such, the UKBA would not view your relationship as one that is akin to marriage at the present time.

Unless you are to marry then the only option open to you would be to apply for Tier 2 Sponsored Skilled Workers visa after having secured employment with a licensed Tier 2 sponsor employer:-

I assume from what you have said in your original question that this is what you believe you are not eligible for.

If you are not eligible and do not have any UK ancestry (please let me know if you do and I shall advise you of any further options) then the only option I can see would be to marry yout girlfriend (either where you are or in the UK) and then to apply for Settlement on the basis of marriage, or to wait an cohabit as long as you possible can before then applying as an Unmarried Partner without the full two years cohabitation arguing that your relationship should nevertheless be construed as such. This would be pretty sketchy, but if you can show a period of cohabitation from February 2011 to (say) August 2012 then you would have an outside chance of obtaining a visa.

I am very sorry that I do not have better news for you.

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. You will not be charged any further money for clicking accept.

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear Tom,


Thanks for your reply , I don't know if I made it clear that I have been living in Spain for a total of 4 years, does this make a difference to my status as this means I have been living in Europe for a total of 8 years? Could it also help if I have British Nationals who can act as referees and who are able to sponsor me?


If not what you are saying is that the only options left to me are getting married or living with my girlfriend for another year in Spain before applying for a visa and what kind of proof of cohabitation would I have to provide?


Hope to hear from you soon.



Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.
Hi Greg,

EEA member states are still sovereign states so you period of residence in one does not afford you additional rights in another. Each residence is taken on it's own.

I'm afraid that sponsorship from individual is not permitted for work visa applications I'm afraid. That's only relevant where one is visiting for a short period (less than 6 months) only.

Even if you lived with your girlfriend until she goes in September 2012 you would still not qualify under the unmarried partner rules - you would have to argue that they exercise their discretion and grant you a visa outside of the rules - a long shot in all honesty.

Cohabtition would be things like a tenancy agreement naming you both, joint utility bills, other pieces of correspondnce addressed to you both over a period of time etc).

Trust this clarifies, please click accept.

Kind regards,

Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.



I note you have not clicked accept to my answer. Is there any further information you require?

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Only when you click accept does a portion of your deposit actually transfer to me and you will not be charged any further money simply by clicking accept.

Please click accept. You will appreciate that I cannot work for free



Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

I have answered your question

If you do not click accept I shall consider leaving negative customer feedback which will result in other experts being reluctant to answer future questions you submit to the board. I cannot work for free.

It does not cost you any more money to click accept, it just means I get rewarded for the time I have taken to answer your question

Please click accept. I cannot work for free.


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