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Topic: At what point do I need to be physically in the US, applying for spouse visa?  (Read 503 times)

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I'm currently in the UK with my wife after marrying a couple months ago in Gibraltar. 

I am scheduled to go back to the US in February.

I'm assuming I need to be in the US when I pay for and submit the application, before I can even peek at biometrics appointments.  Is this correct?

Ideally I would fill out the application here, then fly to the US the day before my scheduled biometrics appointment to minimize time away but I'm reasonably sure that wouldn't be allowed as part of the application if I remember correctly is declaring that I'm applying from outside the UK.  Is that right?


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I'm currently in the UK with my wife after marrying a couple months ago in Gibraltar. 

I am scheduled to go back to the US in February.

I'm assuming I need to be in the US when I pay for and submit the application, before I can even peek at biometrics appointments.  Is this correct?

Ideally I would fill out the application here, then fly to the US the day before my scheduled biometrics appointment to minimize time away but I'm reasonably sure that wouldn't be allowed as part of the application if I remember correctly is declaring that I'm applying from outside the UK.  Is that right?

You are correct. The best you can do is gather your evidence, fill out the application as far as you can, then submit it when you are back in the US.
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.


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As I thought, sadly.  I guess I'll just be praying that biometrics are moving quickly then when I go back. 

Thank you for the quick response :)


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Unfortunately you just need to prepare to be apart a couple of months. Hope for the best. Plan for the worst. It’ll come to an end though!


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Unfortunately you just need to prepare to be apart a couple of months. Hope for the best. Plan for the worst. It’ll come to an end though!

I'm in a similar situation, having already submitted my application in the US and done my biometrics. My immigration advisor (and another I contacted) both advised me that I can get a second (duplicate) US passport and travel to the UK as a non-visa national visitor to be with my spouse for Christmas and it will have no impact on the settlement application. They said the worst they could do is refuse entry as a visitor at the border (unlikely) but that even that would not impact the settlement application. 

However, I've read advice to the contrary on this forum and I'm trying to make sense of it. Is there any published documentation that says this is not allowed?


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Not sure about using a duplicate passport but I  traveled to the UK for Christmas 2017 while my application was pending. It was to be with my partner, attend a couple of job interviews and a licensing interview to transfer my credentials. I was able to do that because I had applied using the premium VFS option that allowed you to keep your passport while your application was pending. I got some mixed advice about it at the time but decided to do it anyway and it turned out fine. Got my decision email when I switched my phone on after my return flight landed in the States :)
FLR(M) Visa #1
Applied from: Washington D.C.
Priority: Yes (VFS Gold Premuim)
Online Application: 17 Nov 2017
Appointment at PAC: 29 Nov 2017
Decision Made Email: 5 Jan 2018
Passport sent to PAC for vignette:  8 Jan 2018
Passport rcv'd with vignette: 13 Jan 2018
Moved to the UK: 1 Feb 2018
±25 WD for a decision
———————————————————
FLR(M) Visa #2
Online App: 25 Jul 2020
IDV App: 9 Sep 2020
Priority: No (not available)
Approval email: 9 Dec 2020
BRP received: Pending
±97 BD for a decision


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The problem comes if your visa is issued while you’re here. That can’t happen, as in it could cause major problems.

You can’t have two visas at once. So if you’re a here as a visitor, you can’t also be on a spouse visa. But the spouse visa is not ‘activated’ until you enter as a spouse. So you’re, in effect, in the UK without any status.

This clearly is not a good thing.


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2004-2008: Student Visa
2008-2010: Tier 1 PSW
2010-2011: Tier 4
2011-2014: Tier 2
2013-2016: New Tier 2 (changed jobs)
16/12/15: SET (LR) successful! - It's been a long road...
12/05/16: Citizenship ceremony!


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I'm in a similar situation, having already submitted my application in the US and done my biometrics. My immigration advisor (and another I contacted) both advised me that I can get a second (duplicate) US passport and travel to the UK as a non-visa national visitor to be with my spouse for Christmas and it will have no impact on the settlement application. They said the worst they could do is refuse entry as a visitor at the border (unlikely) but that even that would not impact the settlement application. 

However, I've read advice to the contrary on this forum and I'm trying to make sense of it. Is there any published documentation that says this is not allowed?

I’ll never recommend it as it’s a massive amount of money to waste if unsuccessful.

You’ve submitted a settlement visa application.  You will now be applying at the border for a tourist visa.  The most recent application is the one that takes precedence, meaning the visitor visa application trumps the settlement visa application.

As much as the immigration rules suck, it’s *always* in your best interest to follow them.

Will those immigration advisors pay to resubmit your application?  Or will they profit by you having a suddenly complex case that needs legal intervention?


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I’ll never recommend it as it’s a massive amount of money to waste if unsuccessful.

You’ve submitted a settlement visa application.  You will now be applying at the border for a tourist visa.  The most recent application is the one that takes precedence, meaning the visitor visa application trumps the settlement visa application.

As much as the immigration rules suck, it’s *always* in your best interest to follow them.

Will those immigration advisors pay to resubmit your application?  Or will they profit by you having a suddenly complex case that needs legal intervention?
This is the part I'm not clear on. My understanding is that I am not making a visa application a the border. I am a "non-visa national" meaning I don't require a visa to enter. This is why some say an entry in this way (even if the entry is denied) has no bearing on the settlement visa application, and there is no issue of having two visas at once.

Has anyone ever seen evidence to the contrary? Or has anyone heard of a settlement visa being denied in these circumstances? I have only ever seen data points of it being ok (including the above example where the settlement visa was probably approved while they were in the UK).

It's really not about the money; I would gladly pay 2x the fees if I had certainty I could make this trip. This is the longest my partner and I have ever been apart, and it is leading to an acute mental health situation for him. It's the time we cannot lose if I had to resubmit the application, as an additional 5 weeks of not working would risk my job. I am trading off the mental health of my partner for an unknown risk (unknown even if it is a risk at all).


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It's the time we cannot lose if I had to resubmit the application, as an additional 5 weeks of not working would risk my job.

Does this mean that you have a visa that allows you to work in the UK? If you have, you likely can switch (submit a FLR(M) visa application from within the UK), if your visa has not expired.

Which visa have you got?

The OP is in the UK as a visitor and therefore has to return to their own county to apply for a spouse visa.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 01:28:01 PM by Sirius »


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This is the part I'm not clear on. My understanding is that I am not making a visa application a the border. I am a "non-visa national" meaning I don't require a visa to enter. This is why some say an entry in this way (even if the entry is denied) has no bearing on the settlement visa application, and there is no issue of having two visas at once.

Has anyone ever seen evidence to the contrary? Or has anyone heard of a settlement visa being denied in these circumstances? I have only ever seen data points of it being ok (including the above example where the settlement visa was probably approved while they were in the UK).

It's really not about the money; I would gladly pay 2x the fees if I had certainty I could make this trip. This is the longest my partner and I have ever been apart, and it is leading to an acute mental health situation for him. It's the time we cannot lose if I had to resubmit the application, as an additional 5 weeks of not working would risk my job. I am trading off the mental health of my partner for an unknown risk (unknown even if it is a risk at all).

Being allowed into a country is being granted a visa.  You would be requesting a visitor visa at the border.  Just because you don’t apply in advance doesn’t make it any less of a visa.

The visa process sucks, everyone here will agree with you on that.  Meet in a third country while the visa is processing.  Don’t enter the U.K.  That’s my advice and I haven’t led anyone to a refusal in my 10 years here.


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