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Long Residence Application - A Success Story
I came to the UK on a student visa in the good old days of pre 9/11. The times changed so quickly afterwards that it was hard to believe that at one point Home Office would renew the student visas free of charge.
Currently I am working as a teacher so I am often informed about the problems and additional restrictions international students have to face with regards to their visa and work issues. This only makes me remember the good old days and consider myself lucky.
It wasn't until I had stayed in the UK for about 8 years that I considered the possibility of settling in the UK. I did some research on the rules and regulations governing the settlement issues for long residence category. Unfortunately, by this time I had already made a mess of one of my visa extensions back in 2005, more on this below.
Upon reading on Home Office website and other immigration forums about the settlement issues I decided to order my SAR file just before the xmas holidays in 2010. My leave to remain would end on 30 Jan 2011.
It was a delightful morning when I received this huge pile of papers stuffed into a brown A4 envelope, it contained almost 200 sheets of paper from my at least 6 visa extensions. However, soon this delight turned into a grave concern as one of the case notes accompanying my 2005 application for extension contained a note saying 'Application valid but out of time by 45 days' - this according to my understanding of the strict rules governing the settlement on long residence would render my application extremely weak as ideally there should not be any gaps and if there are it should not be more than 10 days.
It all started with a bounced cheque for the application fee for visa extension. The Home Office wrote to request another payment and gave me 28 days. I did send them another cheque but as fate would have it, it bounced again. I guess I am more to blame than the fate but it is what it is. This time Home Office refused to accept any more cheques, subsequently I sent them postal orders as payment. In the end I did get the extension but all this process had taken up about 40+ days. Hence, the note in my SAR file about application being out of time. Little did I realise at that time that this mishap will come back to give me nightmares after 6 years.
Fast forward to 2011 and I am preparing for the long residence application. Upon discovering the note I engaged in extensive research around my case and with the help of some very kind contributors on the immigration forums I discovered I have a chance after all. The hope was based on the section 16 of The Immigration and Nationality (Cost Recovery Fees) Regulations 2007 which stipulated a category 4 application being received before May 2007 would be considered as having been made validly, even without a payment.
In addition I learned more about section 3C and found out about the Teisha Forrester v Secretary of State case, the circumstances of the case were somewhat different to mine but the underlying payment issues are very similar.
Based on the above points I drafted a letter and managed to submit my application in the last week of January 2011. I resigned myself to the fate for at least 12 weeks as Home Office is not particularly famous for quick processing times, especially if the case is not straight forward.
However, after just 5 weeks I received a phone call from a lady who introduced herself as calling from Home Office Liverpool office and wanted to confirm my postal address for sending my documents back. I dreaded asking her the outcome of my case as in my mind I was by no means 100% confident that the Home Office would accept my arguments. I asked her anyway.
It felt like her voice is going down my ears into my stomach and turning into butterflies as she unusually congratulated and said your application has been successful and you should receive your documents soon. Sure enough in 2 days I did receive my documents with the visa stamp dated 1st March 2011.
I could not have argued my case successfully had it not been for all the help and support I received from these forums. I will be forever grateful. I learned a lot of important stuff while researching around my case but most importantly I learned never to give up and fight your corner.
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.
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