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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Since getting engaged to my American girlfriend, I've been reading this forum for a while in order to help build up my knowledge and learn about the different rules and requirements for visiting each other. I'm been very nervous about the process to the point of not getting 3/4 hours sleep a night and some advice would be greatly appreciated.

A little bit of background. My fiancée (from the US) has just been staying in the UK for 3 months on a general 6 month visa and has headed off home in order to help deal with some family issues. We would love for her to be able to come back on a fiancée visa but as I understand it, that requires 6 months worth of payslips. I've just started my new job, which is over the financial threshold and my previous job was only part time due to study so looking at the situation over 12 months and two jobs doesn't help very much. I believe the best way to deal with this situation is to simply wait 6 months before applying and hopefully everything will run smoothly with the fiancée visa.

She has got 3 of her 6 month general visa left and in an ideal world she would stay in the US for 6 weeks, come back for 3 months and then head home for the final month of the wait. As far as I understand it, her arriving at customs with another 3 month trip booked is likely to leave her with some explaining to do (and the customs officer on our first trip here was already pretty interrogative, which is difficult because she has some social anxiety and felt very hurt by the harsh questioning), so we're trying to formulate a plan to make things easier for her.

The main plan currently seems to be for us to book a 2 week trip for her, with a return flight, proof of accommodation etc, with the reason for her visit being that her new jobs starting time has been delayed (due to slow renovations) and she's going to come over a do a final couple of weeks of visiting before she heads back to the US to start. We would then extend her flights to the end of the three month period and she would return at that point. This is all true and she has a flexible arrangement with her employer RE: her return date so it feels like it limits the dishonesty to a minimum. My concern is that despite her having been issued a 6 month visa, could she only be given a 2 week clearance? Is that something that can happen, or is she likely to just be allowed to continue her time into her current visa? Obviously only being given clearance for the booked trip would scupper our plans.

The second plan would be for her to arrive with letters of invitation, financial documents etc and be totally honest about the longer visit and say that we're waiting for me to meet the 6 month fiancée visa requirement. That she wouldn't dare to overstay because it would jeopardise our long term plans. My concern with this is that it would presumably require a lot more convincing of the customs official and she may be turned away.

If anybody could offer their advice on how to approach this situation in order to help get her over for the remainder of her visa, it would be appreciated SO much. We wouldn't do anything to damage her fiancée visa application and I can comfortably support both of us during her stay so there really is no risk of any rule breaking but there's clearly a difference between knowing that and convincing an official of that.

Thank you so much for the help.
Matt
 

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Customs is concerned about what you are bringing into or taking out the country. It's Border Control/Immigration that allows you to enter the country.

She doesn't have a 6 month visa. Once she left the UK her visit visa was cancelled. Every time she enters the UK as a visitor, she will be applying for a new visa. In general, US citizens can visit the UK for 6 months out of 12 but that is always at the discretion of the IO who can grant less time.

As she has already been questioned extensively she should expect to be questioned again. The immigration officer will have notes about her previous entry. Yes, it's entirely possible that she will be stamped in with a 2 week visa. It's a really bad idea to massage the truth as IOs are trained at questioning and if they think she is not being honest they can refuse her entry all together which will make her future visa process much more difficult.

You should consider having her apply for a visit visa ahead of time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Customs is concerned about what you are bringing into or taking out the country. It's Border Control/Immigration that allows you to enter the country.

She doesn't have a 6 month visa. Once she left the UK her visit visa was cancelled. Every time she enters the UK as a visitor, she will be applying for a new visa. In general, US citizens can visit the UK for 6 months out of 12 but that is always at the discretion of the IO who can grant less time.

As she has already been questioned extensively she should expect to be questioned again. The immigration officer will have notes about her previous entry. Yes, it's entirely possible that she will be stamped in with a 2 week visa. It's a really bad idea to massage the truth as IOs are trained at questioning and if they think she is not being honest they can refuse her entry all together which will make her future visa process much more difficult.

You should consider having her apply for a visit visa ahead of time.
Thanks for replying so quickly. I'm concerned that if we apply ahead of time and she's not granted it (she hasn't worked for three months for example and her maintenance fund is considerably lower than previously, although still over £1000) it will remove the possibility of her being able to come back for any length of time before we apply for the fiancée visa. Whereas the discretion of an IO could allow more leniency perhaps or at least a conversation to take place rather than a straight up yes/no?

I understand lots of this is probably down to the IO that she would see on the day and therefore pretty unpredictable but do you think there's a point of being too honest? Explaining that she's coming over to help set up our place and meet the extended family before she returns on a fiancée visa doesn't exactly imply that she is a genuine visitor. You mentioned that she could just be stamped in for a fixed period if we were to book her flights a fortnight apart for example - do you think perhaps booking the flights for a month or six weeks would mean that she got re-issued another standard 6 month visa (for her remaining 3 months)?

Sorry for all of the questions but we're both having a tough time in limbo right now - completely unsure of the best way to go about things.
 
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