Welcome back, Guest
15 members, 205 guests, 0 anonymous users
None of your friends are currently online
SURPRISE! YOU'RE APPROVED! How I got my Visa in 24 Hrs.
My husband and I began the marriage visa process under less than ideal circumstances. We had been married for a month. We had known each other for six years but never lived together...or even in the same country. Neither of us had a full-time job. Sounds like the perfect set up for a denial, right? Wrong. My visa to live in the UK as the spouse of a British citizen was approved in 24 hours. It took a lot of research, a lot of scanning and copying and obsessive attention to detail, but we are proof that it can be done.
With the ink barely dry on my marriage license last May, I googled "UK Marriage Visa." My heart dropped, my pulse raced! There were nearly a million results, everything from discussion forums to ads for visa experts to news articles on sham marriages. The posts from people in trying to get a visa sent me into a blind panic. So many problems! So much red tape! So few clear-cut answers! I considered hiring a visa agency, but it was an extra $1000 on top of the government fees of $1337 and we didn't want to spend more money.
Instead, I went straight to the source Visa4UK :: New Visa Application and started the application on-line. It's simple enough, until you reach the point of gathering your supporting paperwork. The UK government wants proof that you can support yourself or your spouse can support both of you without dipping into public assistance. There's no dollar (or pound) figure that you have to reach, no hint of how much money will be considered enough. This ambiguity is one of the most frustrating aspects of applying for a visa, even more so when you don't have a job!
My contract as a TV reporter ended a month after our wedding and I had no firm offers in the UK. My husband was in between contracts with the military. Instead of letters from employers, we lined up proof of our earning potential. I gathered six months of pay stubs, tax returns for the previous two years and a year's worth of bank statements. My husband sent in two years of tax records, pay stubs and a letter from the Defense Ministry. On top of that, we had a combined $50,000 in savings and more money in pension and 401k accounts. All together, it created a picture of a couple that could make ends meet and may have overshadowed the fact that we did not have guaranteed weekly paychecks.
Then there was the issue of us. We had a six year long distance relationship. We never lived together. So we had to show proof that our relationship is real and genuine, and that it will last. Obviously, a marriage license was not proof enough. We had sent each other millions of emails and text messages over the years, but unless you save all emails, there is no way of recovering a record of correspondence from an email provider. Phone records are even worse. Phone companies do not keep logs longer than a few weeks.
My husband has been flying to the US regularly for the past six years and some of those records were available. We included a copy of his flights dating back two years, a handful of six month old emails and our outrageous wedding bills. My husband figured it would only take one look at the money we spent on the reception to know our marriage was not a sham! I wasn't so convinced, so in addition to all of this, I sent a record of my own flights to the UK, pictures of us and his children on different vacations and a letter from a dear friend explaining when she first met my husband. Just like with the financial documents, I believed we needed to send more than enough, instead of just enough.
There were other letters to explain how we met, why we married and why we wanted to move to the UK, including a very thorough Letter of Intent. You can find scores of templates and Letter of Intent examples online. I typed up one letter explaining why I had so many passports and had visited so many countries (it comes with the job), and another letter explaining my various names. Once I was sure I had all of the paperwork,I ran through the on-line application one last time and hit send.
It can take anywhere from one to three months to process a visa application and I couldn't be without my passport for that long so I chose to pay for expedited service.
http://www.ukba.home...me=UK%20English It's a little pricey but it cuts down the processing time to 15 working days.
Once I completed my biometrics appointment, I printed out the full application, made sure the supporting documents were organized and easy to access, then paid the expedited fee of $300 for "settlement priority service." https://www.visainfo...tlementpriority It's important to follow all of the instructions closely, like sending the application overnight priority mail and writing "settlement priority service" on the outside of the FedEx or UPS envelope. I took a deep breath and dropped it in the mail. The package went out on a Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning, I had an email in my inbox confirming the application was received. Wednesday morning I had another email announcing my visa application was approved! By Thursday afternoon, my passport was back in my hands, settlement visa stamped inside. Sure, there was a lot of work, printer ink and husband nagging involved, but it all paid off in the end.
MY TIPS: -BE ORGANIZED! The better organized your supporting documents are, the more quickly visa agents on the other side can check them.
-OVERDO IT! It's the opposite of Coco Chanel's advice on accessories: when you think you have enough, add one more supporting document just in case
-FOLLOW THE RULES! You don't want to be denied or held up because your photo does not meet UK requirements or because you waited too long for your biometrics appointment
-EXPEDITE! I don't know if it would have taken months to process my application without the expedited service. I suspect it would have taken a lot longer than 24 hours. And paying more to jump to the front of the line is worth the peace of mind alone.
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.
Find us on Facebook