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Applying a UK Spouse Visa For Your Thai Spouse
During your first or second visit to Thailand, you must have stumbled into a fantastic Thai lady, fell in love with each other and without much ado tied the knot in the traditional and colorful Buddhist way, after, of course, paying a substantial amount of "sin sod" or dowry.
Needless to say, you also went to the local district or "amphoe" to register your marriage to make it legal. It surely was an exhilarating and fulfilling experience. However, your amazing marriage in Thailand is not the end of your marital bliss and woes. It is in fact the start of making other important decisions or consummating the decisions you have arrived at so far. One of these is the settlement issue.
Are you going back to the UK with your Thai spouse and settle there or will you stay in the Land of Smiles for good? While the latter option may sound more pleasant for you, you can not simply abandon your stable job in the UK and gamble your family's future in Thailand. In the end, bringing your wife to the UK proves to be the more practical option, at least, for now.
Applying a UK Spouse visa for your Thai spouse is certainly no peanuts as most uninformed people think. The common misconception is that the visa is granted the next day after your marriage. In reality, it is not as simple as this. There is the thorough visa application process which can be very frustrating at times especially if you are doing it by yourself through the aid of information you found online. It is, thus, advised to equip yourself with the rudiments of the visa application process in order to be able to go over the application confidently. It's also good to enlist the services of a reputable visa agency to help you with the visa application. Below are pieces of information which can guide you for the UK Spouse visa application.
UK Spouse Visa Requirements
There are two important qualifications that you and your Thai spouse need to satisfy when applying a UK spouse visa. These are your on-going marital relationship and your financial position in the UK. Proving your marital relationship requires the original copy of your marriage certificate. If it's in Thai, have it translated into English and legalized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This translation procedure would apply to all of your spouse's documents in Thai. Another piece of evidence that you can show are your pictures during your engagement ceremony and during the wedding. Proving that you have an on-going relationship with your spouse will require you to show pieces of evidence ranging from correspondence exchanges i.e. emails, letters, postcards, etc, photos together, and money transfer receipts, telephone bills to boarding passes to Thailand and hotel bookings. Your relationship should have stood the test of time. Say a year or two. You would also need to write a letter about your relationship- relating its highlights i.e. how did you meet and how your relationship has developed.
Your Thai spouse would also need to undergo IOM or a medical check up to check if she has Tuberculosis. You normally have to get in touch with the IOM center to schedule her check up. A corresponding fee of not less than 2,000 Baht is charged for this service. She would also need to apply for a police clearance from the Royal Thai Police in Bangkok to prove that she is a law-abiding citizen and free of criminal records. This process normally takes 2 weeks to accomplish. Note that medical certificate and police clearance are normally valid for 6 months so be mindful of your timings.
Proving your stable financial status in the UK as the sponsor is another important requirement to anticipate. The UK government wants to check your capability to support your future wife's stay in the country without any recourse to public funds. To satisfy this requirement, you would need to provide your latest bank statements for the last 6 months; at least 3 recent pay slips; employment letter, House Title deed or Mortgage Agreement and photos of your house (include every room). This is aside from the sponsorship letter which confirms your desire to sponsor your wife's stay in the UK. The sponsorship letter needs to reiterate your sincere intention of having your wife in the UK and your support of her stay there.
A systematic process in going over the UK Spouse visa application starts with briefing yourself about the requirements, costs, time frame and procedure of the visa application. As aforementioned a thorough understanding of these pertinent concerns will allow you to go over the visa application smoothly.
You basically start with collecting the required documents identified above. If some important documents are missing i.e. marriage certificate, it's always good to consult the appropriate government agency to help you replace them. You wouldn't want your application refused later on just because of this missing document.
As mentioned above, your spouse's Thai documents are required to be translated into English and legalized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so anticipate translation and legalization fees as additional costs.
Once all required documents are collected and prepared, the visa application is submitted to VFS Thailand for initial review. The agency in turn will turn over the application to the UK Consular section of the embassy for the evaluation and processing of the visa. Since December 2008 the UK Spouse visa processing has been extended to a lengthy 3-month period as opposed to the usual 2-3 days or a week processing time. If interview is required, the processing time would expectedly take longer. The applicant is notified once the result of her visa application is final and available for pick up.
Your wife will be entitled a two-year stay in the UK once granted a UK spouse visa. This visa allows her to work provided that she applies a corresponding work permit. She may apply a permanent residency in the UK after two years.
Going over the UK spouse visa application in your own proves to be a daunting task. In this regard, it's always best to enlist the services of a reputable firm or US Visa lawyers to assist you with the visa application. If you are planning to apply a UK Spouse visa in the future then it's prudent to bear in mind the requirements above and start keeping those pieces of evidence which would help you in the visa application.
About the Author:
George M. Londob works for G.A.M. Legal Alliance, Thailand's 5-Star Legal Services Provider with offices in Bangkok and Phuket. G.A.M. Legal Alliance is a full-service law firm that provides a wide range of legal and visa services. Reach G.A.M. Legal Alliance at +(66) 2-611-2881 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit their website at http://www.gam-legalalliance.com
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author's and not necessarily those of UKresident.com or any entity associated with UKresident.com. This article is not checked for accuracy by any qualified immigration consultant or solicitor either represented on this site or otherwise. We will not be legally responsible for any statement made in this article. If you're going through the UK immigration process we strongly advise that you appoint a UK immigration consultant or immigration solicitor to deal with your case.Array
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