British citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor their non-EEA family members for a settlement visa to live and work in the UK. Eligible sponsors who wish to bring their foreign fiancee, de facto partner, husband or wife, or any other immediate family member to the UK, first must go through the UK visa application process. Petitioning sponsors and their foreign family members are required to complete numerous application forms and provide sufficient supporting documentation in addition to meeting strict eligibility requirements established by the UK immigration authorities.
While the qualifying sponsors must prove that they are financially capable of supporting the applicant without requiring any disbursements of public funds, the intended immigrant must demonstrate that the relationship with the sponsor is genuine and continuing and that the family visa is not requested solely for immigration purposes. One or both parties may be required to participate in a UK settlement visa interview as part of the application process.
UK visitor visas and other non-settlement visas
The extensive requirements for family visas under UK immigration law make the settlement visa application process quite time-consuming and complex. Hoping to avoid the lengthy and confusing process, some people attempt to obtain a non-settlement visa, such as a tourist, visitor, student or work visa. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases this approach stands little or virtually no chance of success and this strategy can backfire because UK non-settlement visas are, by nature, quite difficult to obtain, particularly for those from countries with low standards of living.
For the foreign spouse, partner, or fiancee of the British citizen or permanent resident, the process of obtaining a non-settlement visa is complicated by their need to prove a non-immigrant intent. Applicants wishing to come to the UK for a visit must demonstrate that they do not intend to remain in the UK on a permanent basis. The immigration law places this burden of proof on the applicant. In order to grant a temporary visa, the examining entry clearance officers at the British Consulate must be satisfied that the applicant intends to stay in the UK for a short period of time and that they have strong social, economic and family ties abroad that would compel them to leave the UK at the end of the temporary stay. This will be difficult to establish if there is an existing romantic relationship between the applicant and the British citizen or permanent resident.
On balance, taking your personal circumstances and other factors, the adjudicating entry clearance officer may assume that there is a real likelihood that your loved one may be unwilling to return to her home country at the end of any period of stay granted to her. If the couple is already married, Embassy officials may conclude that the foreign spouse has every intention of remaining in the UK indefinitely and will attempt to change or extend her visa status to remain in the UK after the expiry of any initial period during which she might be authorised to remain after entry. Unfortunately, in most cases it becomes difficult to overcome this presumption.
UK settlement visa
It is advisable to apply for the type of entry clearance that is best-suited to your individual situation. While the rules are strict, obtaining a UK fiancee, wife, husband, or partner visa for your loved one to join you in the UK, is by no means impossible. By hiring immigration professionals that are familiar with the settlement visa process, including the settlement visa requirements, necessary forms, types of supporting documentation you may have to provide, and the UK marriage or fiancee visa interview process, you improve your chances of success. Feel free to contact our immigration consultants from UK settlement visa department or choose one of the following immigration categories to learn more about UK family visas:
Important Announcement: New UK Immigration Rules after 9 July 2012
1. Settlement: UK fiancee (prospective marriage) visa
2. Settlement: UK immigrant spouse (marriage) visa
3. For EEA-nationals and their family members: EEA family permit