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My son met an American girl in Florida in 2008 and has been

having a long distance relationship...
My son met an American girl in Florida in 2008 and has been having a long distance relationship with her since then. she came to England in June of this year and for her birthday my son asked her to marry him. She accepted. We took advice from the local citizen advice bureau and applied for a certificate of approval from British Border/Immigration Control. It has been 14 weeks now (the website advises 6 weeks) and we have called them today and they have advised that she leaves the country as no decision has been made and even if a decision is made she will still have to leave as her visitor visa expires on 3rd December and she will have to apply for a fiancee visa from her own country? This does not seem logical or fair. I would be very grateful for any advice, as you can imagine, my son and his fiancee are distraught.

Thank you.

Angela Swift
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
10/8/2010
Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7,626
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Good Afternoon Angela.

 

Did the CAB solicitor suggest that following a certificate of approval and their marriage that your son and fiance would then be able to apply for a spouses visa so that she may secure her leave to remain here?

 

Please also state their ages?

 

Kind regards,


Tom

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
My son is 19 - his fiancee is 20 years old.

No the CAB weren't really helpful at all to be honest they said we needed to really go through the British Immigration site so we carefully checked and found that the form they needed to submit was a Certificate of Approval.

Upon submission of the COA there was no mention that we would also need to submit a Fiancee corresponding visa with this. We tried checking the status of the COA after 6 weeks and was told no-one could help until after 14 weeks had passed. I called them today and was advised there was no status on the claim meaning no-one had infact yet looked at it. She advised that as Katie's visa runs out on the 3rd December that she should be looking to request the return of her passport to leave the country. I asked if that was necessary as we were waiting for the decision and could we apply for a visa for a further stay and she said no, that even if the COA was approved that she would still also have to apply for a fiancee visa to allow her to remain in the country? I advised that no-one had said this to us before but she said that it was what was required.

Our problem is that we fly to Florida again on 12th November 2010 and back in to the UK on 3rd December but are afraid that she will not be allowed access in to the country?

Are you aware if she would be allowed access if they are married upon their return without an extended visa being in place? Also if they were to be married is it possible for them to visit a British Consulate in the United States to apply for the extended visa prior to their return to ensure she will be allowed entry?

Many Thanks

Angela Swift

Angela,

 

I'm afraid that you received profoundly incorrect advice from the CAB representative and after reading my answer things are not going to be any better for your son and fiance.

 

She (your son's fiancee) is here on a visitor's visa and although the UKBA could in theory grant a certificate of approval for marriage here they would insist that she return home and apply either for a fiance visa (if they did not marry in the UK) or a spouses visa (if they did marry in the UK). This is because in applying for her visitor's visa she was saying that she would return home either before or upon expiry of it. Therefore any application for a further leave to remain based on marriage would speak to the implied dishonesty in her apply for a visitor's visa (ie. to return to the US)

 

The ultimate aim is for her (your son's fiance) to obtain a spouses visa so she has leave to remain here. If they wished to marry here then they would first have to apply for a fiance visa. One criteria in deciding eligibility for each of these is that both parties must be over 21 years of age. The UKBA are very strict on this and would reject on this basis, it is applied strictly because of the public policy need to avoid forced marriages.

 

Any application they would make for a fiancee or spouses visa would fail until both your son and his fiance are 21 years of age unfortunately. Until they reach that age they will have to rely on visitor's visas, or her applying under a different visa category (eg. study or work).

 

I am dreadfully sorry that your son and his fiancee's expectations have been woefully mismanaged and wish you the best of luck in breaking the news to them, though plainly it will be received very badly.

 

If this is useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. You will be free to ask follow up questions.


Kind regards,


Tom

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Hi Tom

Thank you so much for your help so far. May I explain just one other thing to you? It is easier to just paste in the additional information we provided to the immigration department. Katie did not try to deceive anyone upon her arrival into the country.

"I am currently in the UK on a 6 month’s visitor’s visa which expires on 3rd December 2010.

I met Grant on holiday with his family in Florida in November 2008 and have had daily contact with him since then via E-mail, Facebook and recently Skype; a fact my father, Derek Patrin, Attorney at Law,XXXXX NW, Oak Grove, Minnesota 55303 and my mother, Shannon Lewerke, Supervisor, United States Postal Services,XXXXX Apartment 206, St Paul, Minnesota 55116 will attest.

He has met my extended family, including my grandparents, and has continued contact with them also via Skype.

My visit to England initially commenced on 3rd May this year and was for a 2 weeks vacation; however on this visit Grant, having discussed the matter with my father, proposed to me.

I returned to Minnesota on 18th May 2010 but upon my return it immediately became apparent to my parents that Grant and I were pining for each other.

My father discussed the matter with Grants parents and it was agreed that I could remain and reside with them for the remainder of my 6 months visitors’ visa. My father therefore paid for a return ticket on 2nd June 2010.

I currently live at my Fiancé’s family’s residence with the full blessing of both our parents.

Grant is currently interviewing to secure a position with a firm who specialise in repairing ATM machines (NCR Ltd) a company with which his father holds a senior position.

Our hope is for him to complete this training within the next 4 years after which time we would both like for him to apply for a position within the company in the USA to allow us to return and reside closer to my family.

I trust this information will assist you with your decision for our Certificate of Approval, however, if you would like to contact either my parents or Grant’s please feel free to do so."

You see there was not, at any time, any attempt to deceive the authorities and there is nothing untoward going on. Katie's parents are both professionals and have given their full blessing.

If Grant and Katie were to marry in the USA would Katie be allowed a spouse visa prior to her being 21 if they were already married?

Thanks again for your help.

Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Hi Tom

Thank you so much for your help so far. May I explain just one other thing to you? It is easier to just paste in the additional information we provided to the immigration department. Katie did not try to deceive anyone upon her arrival into the country.

"I am currently in the UK on a 6 month’s visitor’s visa which expires on 3rd December 2010.

I met Grant on holiday with his family in Florida in November 2008 and have had daily contact with him since then via E-mail, Facebook and recently Skype; a fact my father, Derek Patrin, Attorney at Law,XXXXX NW, Oak Grove, Minnesota 55303 and my mother, Shannon Lewerke, Supervisor, United States Postal Services,XXXXX Apartment 206, St Paul, Minnesota 55116 will attest.

He has met my extended family, including my grandparents, and has continued contact with them also via Skype.

My visit to England initially commenced on 3rd May this year and was for a 2 weeks vacation; however on this visit Grant, having discussed the matter with my father, proposed to me.

I returned to Minnesota on 18th May 2010 but upon my return it immediately became apparent to my parents that Grant and I were pining for each other.

My father discussed the matter with Grants parents and it was agreed that I could remain and reside with them for the remainder of my 6 months visitors’ visa. My father therefore paid for a return ticket on 2nd June 2010.

I currently live at my Fiancé’s family’s residence with the full blessing of both our parents.

Grant is currently interviewing to secure a position with a firm who specialise in repairing ATM machines (NCR Ltd) a company with which his father holds a senior position.

Our hope is for him to complete this training within the next 4 years after which time we would both like for him to apply for a position within the company in the USA to allow us to return and reside closer to my family.

I trust this information will assist you with your decision for our Certificate of Approval, however, if you would like to contact either my parents or Grant’s please feel free to do so."

You see there was not, at any time, any attempt to deceive the authorities and there is nothing untoward going on. Katie's parents are both professionals and have given their full blessing.

If Grant and Katie were to marry in the USA would Katie be allowed a spouse visa prior to her being 21 if they were already married?

Thanks again for your help.

Good Morning Angela,

 

I apologise I have not been able to respond until now, I was offline for the evening.

 

The criteria of not applying for a further leave to remain whilst on a visitor's visa is applied very strictly I'm afraid, the UKBA do not even entertain the notion of granting a further visa whilst one is here on a visitor's visa. For what it is worth, I can see there is no dishonest act there but this does not change the position at all.

 

Similaly the criteria as to age is applied just as strictly, these two are (very unfortunately) the most forcefully adhered to of all eligibility criteria. If they were to marry in the US it would still make no difference to their chances of securing a return based on the marriage.

 

She should look to see if she can apply to secure a student visa:-

http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/infs/inf29pbsstudent

Or as a worked under the points based system::-

http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/infs/inf29pbsstudent

 

Alternatively, you son could look at his options for staying in the US or you son's fiancee continuing to come here on visitor's visas.

 

Sorry it could not be better news.

 

Hope this clarifies, if so please kindly click accept.

 

Kind regards,

 

Tom

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