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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

Thank you in advance for your much needed help.

I am currently living in the UK with my American wife. We have been here together just a little over 8 months and are now just about settled.

The problem arises where I have been offered a job back in the USA (to which I can get a Green card) to begin my career as a pilot. The venture will most probably mean we will be in the USA for about 5 years but I don't doubt that we'd like to return to the UK once I have enough experience.

My question then is what will happen to her visa? She has a Temporary leave to remain visa for 2.5 years as per the new process. Obvious I'd like her to retain this visa and ultimately get permanent residency/citizenship in the UK so that we can have the flexibility to return at any time. Is this possible? Has this happened to anyone before? Does anyone have any advice?

Looking forward to your replies.

Many thanks,

Ben
 

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Hi All,

Thank you in advance for your much needed help.

I am currently living in the UK with my American wife. We have been here together just a little over 8 months and are now just about settled.

The problem arises where I have been offered a job back in the USA (to which I can get a Green card) to begin my career as a pilot. The venture will most probably mean we will be in the USA for about 5 years but I don't doubt that we'd like to return to the UK once I have enough experience.

My question then is what will happen to her visa? She has a Temporary leave to remain visa for 2.5 years as per the new process. Obvious I'd like her to retain this visa and ultimately get permanent residency/citizenship in the UK so that we can have the flexibility to return at any time. Is this possible? Has this happened to anyone before? Does anyone have any advice?

Looking forward to your replies.

Many thanks,

Ben
Her visa will expire and when and if you decide to return to the UK she will have to reapply for a spouse visa under whatever rules are in place at the time. There is no way for her to retain her visa in the situation you describe as her visa expires in 2.5 years and she cannot renew her visa unless she is actually living in the UK. One of the conditions of the spouse visa is that you live with your spouse in UK.

It takes 5 years on a spouse visa to attain ILR and then citizenship. It's only after citizenship is attained that she will have the flexibility to come and go as she wishes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Nyclon,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post.

That was exactly what I feared would be the case... I guess I have two options. Abandon the visa and reapply at a later date (which might be hard as I won't have a job back in the UK) or we could stay for another 4+ years until she has her Indefinite Leave to Remain and then am I right in saying that she would have the right to come and go as she pleases? Would reapplying for the Visa be any easier than the first time seeing as we've already completed the process once?

Another way of making things work could be leaving for a year and then returning to the UK before the visa expires? Although I know this would mean we have not met the T&Cs of the Visa do you think we would have a case to get another 2.5 year visa in preparation for the ILR at the end of the 5 year probation?

Any advice is appreciated :)
 

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Hi Nyclon,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post.

That was exactly what I feared would be the case... I guess I have two options. Abandon the visa and reapply at a later date (which might be hard as I won't have a job back in the UK) or we could stay for another 4+ years until she has her Indefinite Leave to Remain and then am I right in saying that she would have the right to come and go as she pleases? Would reapplying for the Visa be any easier than the first time seeing as we've already completed the process once?
Only citizenship gives her the right to come and go as she pleases. She can apply for citizenship as soon as she attains ILR. If she is out of the UK for 2 years after attaining ILR it effectively expires. There is no way of knowing what the visa requirements will be in 5 year's time but in general, having a previous visa isn't going to influence applying for a new visa. You'll have to meet whatever requirements and rules are in place at that time.

Another way of making things work could be leaving for a year and then returning to the UK before the visa expires? Although I know this would mean we have not met the T&Cs of the Visa do you think we would have a case to get another 2.5 year visa in preparation for the ILR at the end of the 5 year probation?
This is a more workable scenario. If the non-UK spouse is accompanying the UK spouse for a temporary work assignment out of the country (of course there will have to be proof) it's more likely she will be able to renew her visa for another 2.5 years if you both return before the visa expires. But, she will not be eligible for ILR until she has completed 5 years as a resident so she will need to renew her spouse visa AGAIN for 2.5 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok that makes more sense. So leaving the visa completely is more or less out of the question.

So as I understand it she will continue to be given 2.5 year visas until she has remained in the UK for 5 consecutive years with no more than something like 30 days absent per year?

Is there any way that we could renew her visa in 2.5 year time without declaring we were out of the country for an extended period? If/When we leave we will have a house here in our names to which we'll still be paying bills and I will be receiving a salary into my UK bank account with all utility bills still being drawn from there. Do you think this may be a viable option?
 

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I think I understand what you are getting at, UKSPOUSEVISA, but I don't think it will help you. As nyclon says, there is no way to predict what the visa rules will be in x number of years (they are forever tweaking them). But it is likely to remain a requirement, as it is now, that you declare every period you were absent from the country, as your spouse needs to verify how many days she was out of the UK. These are counted for the purposes of Leave to Remain and, eventually, naturalization if she becomes eligible for that.

Just out of curiosity, have you considered emigrating to the USA? If you are eligible for permanent residence ("green card") there as you say, have you looked into sponsoring your spouse there? If you worked in the US as a permanent resident for 5 years you would be eligible to apply for US citizenship. Of course, you may not want to live there. I am just wondering rather than start all over again in the UK, as you will have to do if you're absent for years.
 

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Ok that makes more sense. So leaving the visa completely is more or less out of the question.

So as I understand it she will continue to be given 2.5 year visas until she has remained in the UK for 5 consecutive years with no more than something like 30 days absent per year?

Is there any way that we could renew her visa in 2.5 year time without declaring we were out of the country for an extended period? If/When we leave we will have a house here in our names to which we'll still be paying bills and I will be receiving a salary into my UK bank account with all utility bills still being drawn from there. Do you think this may be a viable option?
No. Well, 1st of all that's deception which could lead to a 10 year ban. There are several questions on the FLR (M) form about where you live like: "Is this your sponsor's main address?", "Do you live with your sponsor permanently in the UK?". 2nd, the application asks you to detail your absences from the UK. 3rd, she has to submit her passport which will show that she has been out of the country and for how long. 4th, just like her current visa you'll have to provide details of your employment including a contract, letter of employment, pay slips all of which will point to you working for a US employer IN the US.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, that makes sense. Honesty is the best policy!

I'm sure if we disappear for a year or there abouts then it wouldn't be a problem as long as I can prove that I needed to be away for my career and she came with me.

By time we need to re-apply I just need to ensure I meet all criteria about 6 months previous so that all of my paperwork is in order. Would you agree?
 

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Ok, that makes sense. Honesty is the best policy!

I'm sure if we disappear for a year or there abouts then it wouldn't be a problem as long as I can prove that I needed to be away for my career and she came with me.

By time we need to re-apply I just need to ensure I meet all criteria about 6 months previous so that all of my paperwork is in order. Would you agree?
You have to meet the same requirements financial, accommodation and relationship (although since you are now married you don't have to prove keeping in touch so much--marriage certificate, joint bills are more important) as you did with your 1st visa.
 

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I don't see how a UK citizen can sponsor anyone when he himself is out of the country. I know there are some exceptions to this like compassionate circumstances but I just feel like this scenario is not going to work.
 

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This is a problem every international couple has to face sooner or later. There is no one solution. It all depends on individual circumstances, wishes and future plans. While visa is an important consideration, it's not the most important nor a determining factor. What you need to decide is what you want to do, and then investigate the visa situation. In your particular case, as future relocation is part and parcel of your professional life, and you will be well remunerated so are likely to meet whatever requirements may be in place, you can be more relaxed about it. When you eventually have children, for example, you may find you want to give them stability so choosing a long-term location takes on greater importance.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Amy D,

It would appear you misunderstand our situation. We have been granted a visa and are happily settled in the UK and have been for the best part of 1 year. However, in order for me to further my career it may be necessary to temporarily leave the UK to gain experience and become more employable within the UK market.

Therefore both my wife and I would leave the UK temporarily for 1 - 2 years with the aim of returning when my career is in a better position.

Hi Joppa,

Very well put! I know I need to further my career as that is what is important for our future right now and in order to do that I will need to travel outside our beautiful shores, there is no two ways about it. However, it would be unwise to leave without ensuring that the the door is left firmly wide open.

Hopefully I will meet the financial criteria in order for us to return as I don't doubt that we meet all other requirements. At present what is the financial requirement for those out of work (i.e. I return to the UK but I'm not employed straight away)? I read somewhere it was £16,000?
 

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We have been granted a visa and are happily settled in the UK and have been for the best part of 1 year.
When was your wife granted her first (spouse/ fiancee) visa? If you are under the old rules (pre- July 9, 2012), then that might change the calculations of when to go. I believe all the answers above were if you are under the new rules.

M

Never mind, in your first post you said 8 months, new rules. In the later post you said a year.

Basically you all need to look at what you want to do, and deal with the visas. It is a pain to do the visa thing over and over (particularly in different countries. Good luck on what you all decide.

M
 

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I don't see how a UK citizen can sponsor anyone when he himself is out of the country. I know there are some exceptions to this like compassionate circumstances but I just feel like this scenario is not going to work.
Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't that the situation of quite a few people on this site? They're UK citizens living overseas with a non-UK spouse and want to sponsor the spouse so the two of them can live in the UK as a couple.

Where the UK citizen is working in a country that doesn't offer "UK-size" salaries, or where the UK citizen is a stay-at-home spouse with no income, they face significant difficulties meeting the financial requirements for the visa.

Fortunately for the OP, as a pilot, he'd probably have little difficulty meeting whatever the financial requirements are in the future. He'll have made enough in the US and be able to line up a sufficiently high-paying job to return to in the UK.

But perhaps I just don't understand what you mean about being unable to sponsor a spouse if the UK citizen is out of the country himself.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hehe. Joppa I think you've over estimated the average pilot's salary and the dire state that the airline industry is in at the moment. I wish I was going to be that well off, Getting a job is tough! But I see what you're getting at!

Do you know how much we'd need in the ways of savings in order to return the UK without a firm job offer?
 

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£62,500 or about $95,112. Surely a pilot's salary is more than the £18,600 ($28,255) needed to sponsor your partner (before tax figure)? I hear Southwest Airlines pilots (First Officer) earn on average $175,000?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
£62,500 or about $95,112. Surely a pilot's salary is more than the £18,600 ($28,255) needed to sponsor your partner (before tax figure)? I hear Southwest Airlines pilots (First Officer) earn on average $175,000?
Sadly that's not normally the case these days. Even if it was, to work your way up into a job with someone like Southwest it'll take about 10 years to get enough experience. If I choose to leave to start work in Florida I'd be lucky to be paid $12,000... The industry is most definitely on its knees.

That said, it's all about knowing the right people. so hopefully I could get myself a job as an FO in a slightly better paid company and would hope to exceed £18,600.
 

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Yea, I have seen some shockingly low starting pay for pilots of small aircraft.
 
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