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Topic: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.  (Read 1242 times)

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Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« on: October 29, 2021, 01:01:23 AM »
Hello; if people could please help me with these questions, I would appreciate it, because I’m at a bit of a loss. If you’re a reddit user, I’ve posted this on r/expat but I’ve gotten no traction. In another post on that subreddit, someone gave the link to these forums and so, here I am.

Belovedest (35M) and I (33F) have been LDR for, er, half our lives. Started when I was 17 and he was 19 and still going these years later. We’ve discussed marriage, LDR bullshit no longer cuts it. We like the idea of being married in Scotland and then settling where he lives, which is in Braintree.

The twist? He’s disabled. Permanently. He is on permanent medical leave. There’s zero hope he’ll be able to work to support me or any future kids we might have. He can only have a limited amount of cash in the bank. So I’m going to be the breadwinner out of necessity.

The problem I’m facing is that I’m pretty paralyzed with options and I have questions on everything. I need a roadmap.

Without further ado:

Visa

There’s a few options I can take when it comes to a visa and I’m not sure how to go about each.

A).The obvious is to go for a marriage visa. Yet on UK.gov, I’m seeing that I have to have £16,000 (roughly $22,000) in savings and have to pay up to another £1360 fee (roughly $1868) for the visa. Is this correct? That’s not including the costs of the wedding or even an elopement, since there are schedule fees and things to file on that, or the more fun stuff of venue, clothing, flowers, cake.

B).Career wise….I’m currently working in the medical field. On the side, I am a freelance writer, just since last month, and I’m starting to book up clients. There’s a startup or an innovator visa I could apply for, but both also require fees and the startup one, according to the official govt website, requires that I’m sponsored anyway, if I read this correctly. Would I still be able to be married anyway? And I also see that with the wedding visa, I may not be able to work for up to 6 months? If I’m the primary breadwinner, that won’t do at all. Is there some sort of exemption I could apply for so that neither of us will starve and I can still keep my book of clients?

C).I could be sponsored for a regular job. I could work in the medical field, but I have no practical experience (as in, I’m not a trained nurse or med assistant, I am great at the administrative side of things of handling paperwork and such). How reliable are those types of jobs to find in the UK? How easy would it be to find sponsorship? Could we still get married if I am on this type of visa? What about commuting into London if needed?

Housing and Money

Should I keep an American address or bank account? How would I go about opening a bank account in UK, especially if my freelancing career picks up? I would need a bank account yet I don’t think I can get one unless I can get an address. And yet I see also I can’t get an address unless I have proof of income. Could I use Belovedest’s address? What about credit cards? Do I keep my American ones and then get a British one?

What about taxes? I understand taxes for the UK are simpler (log into a site, click buttons, receive check in a few weeks compared to the massively stupid and complex system the US has), but if I am freelancing, should I be setting aside 70% of my income for taxes, or what percent? What about investing for retirement or if I get sick and can’t take care of Belovedest anymore? What’re the common investment account types, and should I roll over my US IRAs into the British equivalents? If I become a UK citizen, what will happen to my US investments?

Health care

Since the point of the savings for the marriage visa (and I’ll also assume it’ll be more favorable if I have savings for the other 2 visas) is to ensure I won’t be mooching off public funds for a year, how would I go about establishing healthcare for myself? Would I need insurance? How much would it cost on average? What about transferring records from my American PCP and gynecologist to the UK? What if Belovedest’s health worsens for whatever reason (say, cancer) and I become a carer? What then?

Daily Life

Should I keep my American cell phone number or dump it and get a British one asap? (that will introduce new problems with my bank accounts that use my phone number to call and verify my identity or text codes for identity)

What is the deal with prepaid electricity? Belovedest recently moved from a flat where he had to pay the electric bill monthly to this weird af thing where he has to pop down to the corner store, give them a key, say “£xx on my electric, ta” which is weird. Please explain like I’m a 5 year old because this confuses me.

Thank you very much. I’m sorry, this is a lot, and probably isn’t covering half the questions I have about everything....


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2021, 05:03:27 AM »
Welcome :).

The twist? He’s disabled. Permanently. He is on permanent medical leave. There’s zero hope he’ll be able to work to support me or any future kids we might have. He can only have a limited amount of cash in the bank. So I’m going to be the breadwinner out of necessity.

Does he receive disability benefits from the government? If he does, you would be exempt from meeting the normal financial requirements and would only need to show Adequate Maintenance (that you had at least as much left over each week after paying rent and council tax as a UK couple would receive from the government in income support) instead of £18,600 per year.

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A).The obvious is to go for a marriage visa. Yet on UK.gov, I’m seeing that I have to have £16,000 (roughly $22,000) in savings

For the Category D Cash Savings requirement you need at least £62,500 in savings to qualify for the visa.

The first £16,000 of savings do not count and then on top of that you need 2.5 years worth of £18,600 per year income in savings... so the calculation for how much you need is:

£16,000 + (2.5 x £18,600) = £62,500... all of which must have been held in full in a bank account(s) in your name(s) for a minimum of 6 months before applying.

If your partner does receive DLA (disability allowance), then there's no specific amount of savings that are needed... you just have to show that you have Adequate Maintenance... which is that between you, you have at least £117.40 left each week after paying rent and council tax.

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and have to pay up to another £1360 fee (roughly $1868) for the visa. Is this correct? That’s not including the costs of the wedding or even an elopement, since there are schedule fees and things to file on that, or the more fun stuff of venue, clothing, flowers, cake.

The fiance visa costs £1,523, plus if you want to pay for priority processing, that's another £573.

Once you are married in the UK, you have to switch to an FLR(M) visa which costs £1,033 plus £1,560 IHS surcharge, plus if you want 24-hour processing, it costs a further £800.

So, you're looking at a minimum of £4,116 in visa fees in the first 6 months (fiance visa followed by FLR(M) visa after the wedding).

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B).Career wise….I’m currently working in the medical field. On the side, I am a freelance writer, just since last month, and I’m starting to book up clients. There’s a startup or an innovator visa I could apply for, but both also require fees and the startup one, according to the official govt website, requires that I’m sponsored anyway, if I read this correctly. Would I still be able to be married anyway? And I also see that with the wedding visa, I may not be able to work for up to 6 months? If I’m the primary breadwinner, that won’t do at all. Is there some sort of exemption I could apply for so that neither of us will starve and I can still keep my book of clients?

You cannot work at all on the marriage (fiance) visa... not even unpaid volunteer work or remote work for a US company.

So unless you were able to move to the UK on a work visa, you would have to wait until you were married and had received the FLR(M) visa before you could work/earn any money in the UK (so potentially 6-8 months after moving).

Quote
C).I could be sponsored for a regular job. I could work in the medical field, but I have no practical experience (as in, I’m not a trained nurse or med assistant, I am great at the administrative side of things of handling paperwork and such). How reliable are those types of jobs to find in the UK? How easy would it be to find sponsorship? Could we still get married if I am on this type of visa? What about commuting into London if needed?

Honestly, unless you work in a shortage/specialised occupation where the position can't be filled by a UK worker, it's going to be pretty difficult to find a sponsor for a work visa.

You can get married if you are in the UK on a work visa, and if you have a visa that allows work in the UK your income can be considered for the FLR(M) (spousal visa) requirements.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2021, 02:13:56 PM by ksand24 »


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2021, 05:15:16 AM »
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Housing and Money

Should I keep an American address or bank account? How would I go about opening a bank account in UK, especially if my freelancing career picks up? I would need a bank account yet I don’t think I can get one unless I can get an address. And yet I see also I can’t get an address unless I have proof of income. Could I use Belovedest’s address? What about credit cards? Do I keep my American ones and then get a British one?

Honestly, I'd get the visa stuff sorted out first before you start thinking about opening bank accounts... after all, there's not much point in trying to open a bank account or getting proof of address if you don't have a visa to live in the UK yet.

Basically though, you need proof of UK address to open a bank account, so the order of doing things would be:

- qualify for and apply for a visa
- move to the UK
- get your name added to your partner's council tax and utility bills
- wait until you receive a bill in your name
- try to open a bank account, using your passport, visa and proof of UK address... some banks are funny about this though, and it has taken some people a few weeks or months to be able to open a bank account in the UK

Quote
What about taxes? I understand taxes for the UK are simpler (log into a site, click buttons, receive check in a few weeks compared to the massively stupid and complex system the US has), but if I am freelancing, should I be setting aside 70% of my income for taxes, or what percent? What about investing for retirement or if I get sick and can’t take care of Belovedest anymore? What’re the common investment account types, and should I roll over my US IRAs into the British equivalents? If I become a UK citizen, what will happen to my US investments?

Again, this is stuff you can think about later, once you have figured out if you can qualify for a visa... as paying UK taxes won't be relevant if you don't have a visa to live in the UK.

Having said that, while you do have to continue filing US taxes, there's a Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, where you pay your taxes to the UK and you don't have to pay any US taxes unless you are earning over $108,700 per year in the UK (for 2021).

If you're freelancing, you would need to register as self-employed with HMRC, and then file and pay your UK taxes at the end of each tax year.

UK income tax rates are:
0% on first £12,570 earned
20% on any earnings between £12,571 to £50,270
40% on anything earned between £50,271and £150,000
45% on anything earned above £150,000.

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Health care

Since the point of the savings for the marriage visa (and I’ll also assume it’ll be more favorable if I have savings for the other 2 visas) is to ensure I won’t be mooching off public funds for a year, how would I go about establishing healthcare for myself? Would I need insurance? How much would it cost on average? What about transferring records from my American PCP and gynecologist to the UK? What if Belovedest’s health worsens for whatever reason (say, cancer) and I become a carer? What then?

The fiance visa does not allow you any 'free' access to NHS healthcare, so you MUST have private health/travel insurance to cover you for the length of the fiance visa, and you will need to pay for healthcare out of pocket and claim the costs back through insurance.

Once you have FLR(M), you will have full 'free' access to NHS healthcare (by way of paying the £1,560 IHS health surcharge when you apply for the visa), and can access pretty much all the same services as a UK citizen.

To transfer your records, you'd need to ask your US doctor for your medical record and bring it to the UK with you.

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Daily Life

Should I keep my American cell phone number or dump it and get a British one asap? (that will introduce new problems with my bank accounts that use my phone number to call and verify my identity or text codes for identity)

You wouldn't be able to qualify for a phone contract right away as you would have no credit record in the UK, so best thing to do is get a Pay As You Go phone for the first year or two.

Quote
What is the deal with prepaid electricity? Belovedest recently moved from a flat where he had to pay the electric bill monthly to this weird af thing where he has to pop down to the corner store, give them a key, say “£xx on my electric, ta” which is weird. Please explain like I’m a 5 year old because this confuses me.

I'm British but I've never had pre-paid electricity, so I don't know much about how it works... but as I understand it, you load a certain amount onto your account (onto the key, I guess?) which you use for your electricity, and then you top it up with more money when it runs out/low.


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2021, 08:37:13 AM »
The electricity key is a pretty good indicator of your future life in the UK.  Like others have said, it's just an electricity meter with something that looks like a USB key that you can take to the corner shop and add more credit.  I think the meter beeps or something when you've got a little credit left so you know it's time.  The thing is, you pay an EXTORTIANATE amount for electricity this way.  The only people that purchase electricity this way are the poor, and (because it's the UK) it's also the most expensive, the people who can afford it the least end up paying the most.   You'll find this is a common theme as you move through the system. 


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2021, 11:10:34 AM »


Welcome :).


Thank you!  ;D

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Does he receive disability benefits from the government? If he does, you would be exempt from meeting the normal financial requirements and would only need to show Adequate Maintenance (that you had at least as much left over each week after paying rent and council tax as a UK couple would receive from the government in income support) instead of £18,600 per year.

The fiance visa costs £1,523, plus if you want to pay for priority processing, that's another £573.

Once you are married in the UK, you have to switch to an FLR(M) visa which costs £1,033 plus £1,560 IHS surcharge, plus if you want 24-hour processing, it costs a further £800.

So, you're looking at a minimum of £4,116 in visa fees in the first 6 months (fiance visa followed by FLR(M) visa after the wedding).

You cannot work at all on the marriage (fiance) visa... not even unpaid volunteer work or remote work for a US company.

So unless you were able to move to the UK on a work visa, you would have to wait until you were married and had received the FLR(M) visa before you could work/earn any money in the UK (so potentially 6-8 months after moving).

Honestly, unless you work in a shortage/specialised occupation where the position can't be filled by a UK worker, it's going to be pretty difficult to find a sponsor for a work visa.

You can get married if you are in the UK on a work visa, and if you have a visa that allows work in the UK your income can be considered for the FLR(M) (spousal visa) requirements.

Yes, he does, but there’s currently a mess up that he’s working with the county council to sort out. It boils down to “someone severely messed up” without going into details.

Yay that I’d be exempt from meeting the normal financial requirements but ouch to the rest.

Wouldn’t it be easier to get married in USA and then head to America?


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2021, 11:33:36 AM »
Wouldn’t it be easier to get married in USA and then head to America?

If you want to get married in the US and then live together in the US after the wedding, he will need to apply for a US fiancé visa first… it’s quite a bit cheaper than a U.K. visa, but can take many months to be processed (it could potentially take up to 10 months for processing before Covid but that could be even longer now since visa services have been on hold during Covid and there could be a massive backlog). He would have to attend an in-person visa interview at the US embassy in London and spend out about £250-300 on a private medical exam done by an embassy-approved physician in London to show he’s fit to move to the US.

If you wanted to marry in the US, and then apply for a spousal visa to move to the UK to live together, he could fly to the US for the wedding without needing a visa (as long as he can show he is not planning to stay in the US after the wedding). Then you could get married, apply for the UK spousal visa, and then move to the UK. It would allow you to work in the UK right away and use the NHS for ‘free’ and it would save the cost of the extra FLR(M) visa. The spousal visa is £1523 plus £1,872 IHS surcharge.


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2021, 11:54:25 AM »
The electricity key is a pretty good indicator of your future life in the UK.  Like others have said, it's just an electricity meter with something that looks like a USB key that you can take to the corner shop and add more credit.  I think the meter beeps or something when you've got a little credit left so you know it's time.  The thing is, you pay an EXTORTIANATE amount for electricity this way.  The only people that purchase electricity this way are the poor, and (because it's the UK) it's also the most expensive, the people who can afford it the least end up paying the most.   You'll find this is a common theme as you move through the system.

You’re not wrong that it’s an indication of our life together in the UK - learning new things and ways of doing things and adapting to them.

On the other hand, Belovedest is watching this thread as well and says that topping up with a key or not is not that much different in price. I knew already that UK has 2 different prices for electric - the normal rate during the day and the economy rate during the night (which switches over with a loud SNAP at the new place and scares the beejesus out of him, and me when I was visiting him earlier this month).

Given the choice, though, he’d prefer the pay monthly thing. He didn’t ask for the electric to be this way, but he had no choice. If you read the Braintree-Witham times for earlier this year, he was one of those affected by the closure of his new block of flats because they were built so shoddily they were fire hazards and were condemned quick-like by the fire marshal. He had to find a home in a hurry, and because of the incompetence of the housing management, they’ve completely borked his benefits as well.....as I alluded to, he has to sort with the county council as it’s that borked.


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2021, 12:05:32 PM »
I'm British but I've never had pre-paid electricity, so I don't know much about how it works... but as I understand it, you load a certain amount onto your account (onto the key, I guess?) which you use for your electricity, and then you top it up with more money when it runs out/low.

I've never heard of them either, so I had a search.  It appears these meters are installed  when people owe a large amount of money to their utility supplier. With a pre-payment meter they pay up front for their electic/gas. According to Shelter England, they can be a more expensive way to pay for gas/electric as they cannot change to a cheaper supplier while they owe in excess of £500 to their current supplier .

As he has recently moved into a property, it reads like the previous occupier was in debt to his utilty company? According to Citizens Advice, he can apply to have the metre removed.

Moving from prepayment to a credit meter


If you have an old-style prepayment meter, you can ask your energy supplier to replace it with:

    an old-style credit meter - this type of meter doesn't let you prepay for your energy
    a smart meter - this type of meter has a prepayment setting your supplier can turn on or off

Your supplier usually won’t replace your meter or change your smart meter setting if you’re in debt to them.

You can find out who your gas or electricity supplier is if you don’t already know.

You won't have to pay to have an old-style credit meter or a smart meter installed. If your supplier wants to charge you, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/your-energy-meter/get-your-prepayment-meter-replaced-with-a-normal-meter/
« Last Edit: October 29, 2021, 12:09:14 PM by Sirius »


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2021, 01:38:53 PM »
Health care

Since the point of the savings for the marriage visa (and I’ll also assume it’ll be more favorable if I have savings for the other 2 visas) is to ensure I won’t be mooching off public funds for a year, how would I go about establishing healthcare for myself?

1. The NHS IS not Public Funds, but unless you could have got an EEA ctiizen to bring you to the UK as a non-EEA citizen Direct or Extended Family Member, you pay a contibution to use the NHS if you are granted a visa of over 6 months. As ksand has said (until you are maried and have been granted the FLR(M) visa) you will pay the NHS at point of use for your healthcare (unless that service is free). As your sponsor lives in England, you will need to pay the estimated treatment costs in advance @ 150%  the NHS cost.

The IHS allows you to have every part of healthcare a resident British citizen can have without being billed, except assisted conception. Non-resident British citizens also have to pay to use the NHS when visiting, billed at 150% of the NHS charge (unless they have an excemption) as do others who also have settlement for the UK but who don't reside in the UK (ILR or the EU Settled Status/Pre-Settled status).

2. Unless you got an EEA citizen to bring you to the UK as a Direct Family member (grandparents, great grandparents, child or adult dependant child) or an Extended Family Member (cousin, nieces, nephews etc or married to a person who is one of these) you cannot have public funds for 5 years. Public funds are things like benefits, social housing, homelessness, social care etc.

He had to find a home in a hurry, and because of the incompetence of the housing management, they’ve completely borked his benefits as well.....as I alluded to, he has to sort with the county council as it’s that borked.

Has he checked to see if his benefits will reduce when you live with him? Some might be because he claims extra for living alone because he is disabled. Others might be because of the welfare changes - the UK was one of the EU countries that brought new laws in to stop people using the EU Free Movement to another EEA country for what they can take, by reducing benefit payments and changing the benefit rules.

He will lose his 25% single person Council Tax Discount. You will need to be very careful to ensure any revised Council Tax Reduction (a public fund) that he asks for, does not include extra public funds for you as that would be a breach of your visa. The same with any other benefits he claims, he cannot take extra for you and having a partner live with him may reduce his benefits. Any earnings, capital you have, will reduce his means tested benefits when you live with him.

« Last Edit: October 29, 2021, 02:19:54 PM by Sirius »


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2021, 01:47:44 PM »
I've never heard of them either, so I had a search.  It appears these meters are installed  when people owe a large amount of money to their utility supplier. With a pre-payment meter they pay up front for their electic/gas. According to Shelter England, they can be a more expensive way to pay for gas/electric as they cannot change to a cheaper supplier while they owe in excess of £500 to their current supplier .

As he has recently moved into a property, it reads like the previous occupier was in debt to his utilty company? According to Citizens Advice, he can apply to have the metre removed.

*snip*

This is correct; the former renter here was in debt to the tune of nearly £1000. How on earth, we have no idea (I suspect illegal cannabis farm judging by the state of the flat when he first moved in). Though as far as I know it’s illegal for Belovedest to pay down that balance or to get the meter removed?

Another question: Are the visa requirements and fees different if getting married in Scotland or does it still remain the same? I know he’s keen on Scotland marriage, and I’ll admit there’s a certain romance to be married on some windswept loch cliff by a minister with a brogue so thick you can cut it with a knife; but in the end, I’d like to be married, whether that’s Scotland or USA.


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2021, 01:51:47 PM »
This is correct; the former renter here was in debt to the tune of nearly £1000. How on earth, we have no idea (I suspect illegal cannabis farm judging by the state of the flat when he first moved in). Though as far as I know it’s illegal for Belovedest to pay down that balance or to get the meter removed?

That is not your OHs debt to pay. He could contact the Citizen Advice (link above) for advice on getting the prepayment meter removed. Does the utility company/companies know the person owing the debt has moved? From the Citizens Advice link above, it seems the companies can alter the settings to take some of the debt too. I hope he took the meter readings when he moved in? A picture of the readings on his phone is better.

Another question: Are the visa requirements and fees different if getting married in Scotland or does it still remain the same?

The visa fees are the same UK wide. The same when you get married and apply for FLR(M), the same visa fee and IHS fee.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2021, 02:03:01 PM by Sirius »


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2021, 02:38:40 PM »
Another question: Are the visa requirements and fees different if getting married in Scotland or does it still remain the same? I know he’s keen on Scotland marriage, and I’ll admit there’s a certain romance to be married on some windswept loch cliff by a minister with a brogue so thick you can cut it with a knife; but in the end, I’d like to be married, whether that’s Scotland or USA.

The only difference between marrying in Scotland and marrying in England or Wales is that Scotland doesn't have a 7-day residency period before you can give notice to marry and you may be able to give notice without being there in person. Everything else is the same.

So, the process for marrying in England would be:
- apply for and receive a fiance visa
- move to UK
- wait until you have been resident in the county where you will marry for 7 days
- give notice to marry in person at a church or registry office
- wait at least 28 days after giving notice before getting married

So, the process for marrying in England would be:
- apply for and receive a fiance visa
- move to UK
- give notice to marry at a church or registry office
- wait at least 28 days after giving notice before getting married

One other possible visa option, if you can't easily marry in the US, is to get a 6-month Marriage Visitor Visa to marry in the UK, then return to the US to apply for a spousal visa to move to the UK. It only costs £95 for the marriage visitor visa, but you would have the cost of an extra set of flights to and from the UK to get married.

So, the timeline would be:
- apply for marriage visitor visa for £95 (showing evidence of a job and a home in the US to return to... to prove you will go back to the US and won't attempt to live in the UK illegally after the wedding)
- fly to UK as a visitor
- get married (after giving notice and waiting the required amount of time to marry)
- fly back to the US
- apply for 33-month spousal visa for £1,523 + £1,872 IHS surcharge
- once you have the spousal visa, move to the UK


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2021, 02:42:48 PM »
. I knew already that UK has 2 different prices for electric - the normal rate during the day and the economy rate during the night (which switches over with a loud SNAP at the new place and scares the beejesus out of him, and me when I was visiting him earlier this month).

As a British citizen-
Has he looked to see if he can receive financial help from the Warm Home Discount Scheme?
https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
There is also the cold weather payment that he might be able to claim during the winter.
https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2021, 03:39:36 PM »
The only difference between marrying in Scotland and marrying in England or Wales is that Scotland doesn't have a 7-day residency period before you can give notice to marry and you may be able to give notice without being there in person. Everything else is the same.

So, the process for marrying in England would be:
- apply for and receive a fiance visa
- move to UK
- wait until you have been resident in the county where you will marry for 7 days
- give notice to marry in person at a church or registry office
- wait at least 28 days after giving notice before getting married

*snip out the redundancy*

One other possible visa option, if you can't easily marry in the US, is to get a 6-month Marriage Visitor Visa to marry in the UK, then return to the US to apply for a spousal visa to move to the UK. It only costs £95 for the marriage visitor visa, but you would have the cost of an extra set of flights to and from the UK to get married.

So, the timeline would be:
- apply for marriage visitor visa for £95 (showing evidence of a job and a home in the US to return to... to prove you will go back to the US and won't attempt to live in the UK illegally after the wedding)
- fly to UK as a visitor
- get married (after giving notice and waiting the required amount of time to marry)
- fly back to the US
- apply for 33-month spousal visa for £1,523 + £1,872 IHS surcharge
- once you have the spousal visa, move to the UK

Drat. It’ll be expensive either way.

Looking into the US requirements, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/family-immigration/immigrant-visa-for-a-spouse-or-fiance-of-a-us-citizen.html [nofollow] He’d need to apply for the K-1 visa, go for the medical workup and get the documents ready, correct? He and I are a bit confused because the rest of it seems like he’d be looking to immigrate, whereas that’s not true.


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Re: Looking to emigrate and I have SO many questions.
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2021, 03:52:18 PM »
Drat. It’ll be expensive either way.

Looking into the US requirements, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/family-immigration/immigrant-visa-for-a-spouse-or-fiance-of-a-us-citizen.html He’d need to apply for the K-1 visa, go for the medical workup and get the documents ready, correct? He and I are a bit confused because the rest of it seems like he’d be looking to immigrate, whereas that’s not true.

Sorry, I think I got a bit confused about what you meant...  when you said "get married in USA and then head to America" I thought you meant he would move to the US to live with you there, so I mentioned the fiance visa.

It depends what your long-term plans (i.e. if you want to live together in the UK or in the US) are as to what you need to do in order to marry in the US:

If you want to marry in the US, but then settle together in the UK:
- he flies to the UK as a visitor on the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA)
- you get married (you could be married as quickly as 24-48 hours after he arrives in the US, depending on the state)
- he flies back to the UK
- you apply for a spousal visa for the UK
- you move to the UK to live with him

If you want to marry in the US, and live together permanently in the US:
- you file a petition to sponsor a K1 fiance visa for him to move to the US
- once the petition has been approved (can take several months), he attends a visa interview and medical exam in London
- once the visa has been approved (may take a few weeks/couple of months after the interview), he moves to the US
- you marry within 90 days and then file to adjust his US immigration status
- you both live in the US together


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