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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!

I have a bit of a convoluted situation I'm hoping for some advice on. I include a detailed account of my circumstances below, followed by a list of my pressing questions.

I am American and my boyfriend is French, and we currently both live together in London. We have been in a relationship for a little over two years, and began living together immediately after I gained entry into the UK on a Tier 4 student visa one year ago, in September 2012. My academic program lasted one year, and my current visa will expire at the end of January 2014. We are now facing the problem of finding a means for me to remain in the UK following the expiration of my current visa.

We understand that we are not eligible for an Unmarried Partner's Visa the UK because we have only been co-habitating one year. We want to stay together and continue living in a committed relationship, and I very much want to continue my life in the UK, however, we feel uncomfortable getting married as we feel it would seem primarily motivated by our need to keep me in the country at present instead of being free to take our whole future together into account when making that decision.

We are considering being PACSed, a French contract between partners similar to a civil partnership which is offered to both same and opposite sex couples in France.

However, even if a PACS makes us eligible for a partners visa and thus solves the issue that we have not been living together for 2+ years, the financial requirement of £18,600 causes us trouble, as my boyfriend is a full-time student and part-time worker, and I had a legal limit to my available working hours as dictated by my visa, thus our combined salaries put us just under the required amount, though we have been supporting ourselves on these part-time salaries with money to burn, and the requirement of having a minimum if £16,000 in savings to compliment our earnings for the visa application is a little steep and frankly unattainable for us.

Assuming there is no means to appeal the financial requirement for the visa application, we are considering applying for an EEA Family permit.

So here are my questions:

  • Will the UK recognize a PACS as equivalent to marriage or civil partnership for us as an opposite sex couple when we apply for a Partners Visa or EEA Family Permit?
  • Is there any way to appeal the financial requirement of the partners visa?
  • Is there any benefit to attempting the partner's visa over the EEA family permit?
  • If I can attain an EEA family permit, will I have full working rights in the UK?
  • I had not heard of the EEA family permit until very recently, and would appreciate any thoughts or comments regarding the process and experience of applying for and maintaining one from anyone who has gone through it.
Many thanks for your help and thoughts!
 

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Hi there!

I have a bit of a convoluted situation I'm hoping for some advice on. I include a detailed account of my circumstances below, followed by a list of my pressing questions.

I am American and my boyfriend is French, and we currently both live together in London. We have been in a relationship for a little over two years, and began living together immediately after I gained entry into the UK on a Tier 4 student visa one year ago, in September 2012. My academic program lasted one year, and my current visa will expire at the end of January 2014. We are now facing the problem of finding a means for me to remain in the UK following the expiration of my current visa.

We understand that we are not eligible for an Unmarried Partner's Visa the UK because we have only been co-habitating one year. We want to stay together and continue living in a committed relationship, and I very much want to continue my life in the UK, however, we feel uncomfortable getting married as we feel it would seem primarily motivated by our need to keep me in the country at present instead of being free to take our whole future together into account when making that decision.

We are considering being PACSed, a French contract between partners similar to a civil partnership which is offered to both same and opposite sex couples in France.

However, even if a PACS makes us eligible for a partners visa and thus solves the issue that we have not been living together for 2+ years, the financial requirement of £18,600 causes us trouble, as my boyfriend is a full-time student and part-time worker, and I had a legal limit to my available working hours as dictated by my visa, thus our combined salaries put us just under the required amount, though we have been supporting ourselves on these part-time salaries with money to burn, and the requirement of having a minimum if £16,000 in savings to compliment our earnings for the visa application is a little steep and frankly unattainable for us.

Assuming there is no means to appeal the financial requirement for the visa application, we are considering applying for an EEA Family permit.

So here are my questions:

  • Will the UK recognize a PACS as equivalent to marriage or civil partnership for us as an opposite sex couple when we apply for a Partners Visa or EEA Family Permit?


  • No, they won't - only for same-sex couples. So your only option is marriage. To apply under EU rules, you go for residence card. Again less than 2-year cohabitation disqualifies you as family member, so marriage is required.

    [*] Is there any way to appeal the financial requirement of the partners visa?
    No, it is set in stone. As Home Office is appealing against court judgment, any case where financial target isn't met is put on hold (but outcome may not be known for several months).

    [*]Is there any benefit to attempting the partner's visa over the EEA family permit?
    None really. EEA rules have no financial requirement, and Home Office has only limited grounds for refusal.

    [*] If I can attain an EEA family permit, will I have full working rights in the UK?
    Yes, but most employers want to see 5-year residence card or at least certificate of application for residence card stating you can work.

    [*] I had not heard of the EEA family permit until very recently, and would appreciate any thoughts or comments regarding the process and experience of applying for and maintaining one from anyone who has gone through it.
For those who are eligible, EEA route beats partner/spouse visa hands down, and is the one to go for. No fees (only £55 for residence card), no financial requirement and same 5 years for attaining settlement. But without marriage, you won't qualify.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for the help on that!

So, another question: I'm considering returning as a tourist when my current student visa expires.

As a US citizen how long can I stay as a tourist without a visa? I've read some conflicting information about 6 months vs. 3 months.

Should I apply for a tourist visa even though US isn't marked as a visa national country on the UKBA site?

If I have to apply for a visitor/tourist visa, can I do that from within the UK, or will I need to return to the US for that process?
 
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