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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I initially entered the UK on a spousal visa almost 4 years ago. Unfortunately, I did not realize that my ex was basically bringing me over to divorce me in his home country. When the family court heard the case 18 months after our arrival, they decided that our two children were required to remain in the UK.

In parallel with the family court case, I had an attorney helping me file for a visa based on my parental status. At that time, I had a full time job. I received a visa (LTR) which expires this coming October. A few months after this was granted, I lost my job. Since then, I was able to secure one 6-month contract, but not permanent employment. At this point, I remain unemployed.

Other changes... I now have a partner who is a UK citizen and we have a baby together. He has a decent income, but we have been living together barely two years. My visa expires in October. If I have to file my renewal in July, we will not have been living together full-time for two full years. (How strict is the two year requirement for living together?)

I am not sure whether to:
- file a renewal visa as a parent - even though there seems to be a requirement that I have to be able to support myself, and I don't have income or savings.
OR
- file a new visa as a partner

Due to my lack of a job, I don't have the money for a lawyer. I'm trying hard to figure this out, and am really concerned with getting it wrong... which leaves me in a vulnerable position with regards to my children (under the age of 8 yrs old).
 

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If you have 2 years of cohabitation with your current partner by the time you apply for renewal, you will be able to go on the unmarried partner route. You must make sure that you not only have 2 years of cohabitation but you also have proof of this by way of bills, statements etc addressed to the same address for both of you for a full 2 years . So say for example you started living together in May 2015, then you need evidence from May 2015- May 2017 to prove cohabitation. If you do not have evidence for the full 2 years then there's option B-

Option B- if you don't have the full 2 years of cohabitation, your best bet is to get married to your partner now and apply for a spouse visa.
 

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Remember- 2 years of cohabitation absolutely MUST be proved. If , for some reason , it cannot be proved, then as far as UKVI are concerned, you do not meet the requirement (even if you have actually been living together for 2 or more years)
 

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I agree the most straightforward path would be to apply for another visa based on your current relationship. As nctami72 says, you can apply until the date of your visa expiry, so as long as you meet the unmarried partner requirements to apply by the time your visa expires, you can remain in the UK whilst a decision is being made - Even if your current visa expires during the waiting period.

Getting married would of course release you of the burden of supplying 2 years' worth of cohabitation evidence.

I think you are unlikely to be denied a visa (either as a partner of a British citizen or on discretionary terms) if your children have been required to remain in the UK by court order. Sending you back to the US would be a very clear violation of your human rights. Even if they have a reason to refuse, the ECO is required to make a final check that refusing your visa would not be a breach of your human rights (under Human Rights Act, Article 8). So, whichever path you choose, make it clear that you can't go back to the US because you can't take your children with you.
 

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Perfect- if you fulfil 2 years of cohabitation in September 2017, make sure to apply in October, with proof ranging from September 2015 to September 2017.

Evidence includes letters , bills and statements from official sources. Addressed to both of you jointly or individually. Look up the criteria on here and you will see what others have used to give you a rough guide.
 

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On the Irritation, (Immigration Issue), are you receiving mail at the address of the father? Do you have the address of the father posted as your current legal address. There is a distinguishable difference between permanent and temporary. You need to adopt the position that you are only in a temporary resident at present and your permanent is the same as listed previously with the father. All of this has just happened and it is not inappropriate to continue listing your permanent address. If you have filed for divorce, or he has done such and you ar listed at another address, all previous mention is moot. Until you make the legal claim of another address and separation/Divorce, it is arguable that you still share the same address.

You are only a few month from this being a reality. I hope above is the case for you.

Next!

Settle the issue of Child Support. Speak with a Solicitor. If the Solicitor requires money which is very likely you need to find the source for that. In your call, make it short and to the point. Write down the questions that are important and make notes on the answers. What are the ramifications of responsibility via the father. Don't confuse the issue of Immigration.

Search for support groups that may be available through groups such as this or Church Groups.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Then wait until then to file for an unmarried partners visa. You seem to be under the impression that you have to file earlier?
Yes. I had seen on a general forum that someone said it takes quite a while to get a new visa and had recommended filing as early as possible. The general guidelines seem to be that I should apply no earlier than 3 months ahead of expiration. So I was trying to establish the going forward point.

It sounds like I can wait until September. However, I had also requested a consultation with a Level 1 immigration adviser and she said that due to complexities, she would not be able to provide a consultation for me. She said that I would need a consultation from a Level 2 or Level 3 adviser/ solicitor. (This made me worried about trying to do it on my own.)

I'm not in a great place financially, so even a consultation is expensive... but I think a good investment as I don't want to risk losing my entire application fee. I just don't have the money for a solicitor to help me through the process.

Do you (or anyone else reading this) know of a Level 2 or Level 3 immigration solicitor/ adviser in Edinburgh that would be willing to do a consultation?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you have 2 years of cohabitation with your current partner by the time you apply for renewal, you will be able to go on the unmarried partner route. You must make sure that you not only have 2 years of cohabitation but you also have proof of this by way of bills, statements etc addressed to the same address for both of you for a full 2 years . So say for example you started living together in May 2015, then you need evidence from May 2015- May 2017 to prove cohabitation. If you do not have evidence for the full 2 years then there's option B-

Option B- if you don't have the full 2 years of cohabitation, your best bet is to get married to your partner now and apply for a spouse visa.
Would it make my path easier or faster to ILR if we were married? We would like to get married at some point, and he wants to marry me... I am only hesitant as the divorce left me a mess financially and I don't want him to be burdened with my financial obligations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
On the Irritation, (Immigration Issue), are you receiving mail at the address of the father? Do you have the address of the father posted as your current legal address. There is a distinguishable difference between permanent and temporary. You need to adopt the position that you are only in a temporary resident at present and your permanent is the same as listed previously with the father. All of this has just happened and it is not inappropriate to continue listing your permanent address. If you have filed for divorce, or he has done such and you ar listed at another address, all previous mention is moot. Until you make the legal claim of another address and separation/Divorce, it is arguable that you still share the same address.

You are only a few month from this being a reality. I hope above is the case for you.

Next!

Settle the issue of Child Support. Speak with a Solicitor. If the Solicitor requires money which is very likely you need to find the source for that. In your call, make it short and to the point. Write down the questions that are important and make notes on the answers. What are the ramifications of responsibility via the father. Don't confuse the issue of Immigration.

Search for support groups that may be available through groups such as this or Church Groups.

Good Luck
My divorce from my ex-husband was complete two years ago and we established separate addresses before the divorce was finalized. He moved out and into a flat that his parents bought for him. The little money I had was spent trying to ensure he didn't block me from my kids (he has lots of money, lots of lawyers and isn't a kind person).

My current partner and I share a home and we have a baby together (in addition to our older children from prior relationships).

At this point though, the family court (which ruled that my two children from my marriage must remain in the UK) and the immigration laws (which state that I have to be able to support myself and/or must meet the requirements of unmarried partnership) are disconnected... or at least seem to make it really difficult for someone in my position to connect everything without an expensive lawyer.
 

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unmarried partner route to ILR takes the same amount of time as a married partner route to ILR- 5 years . However, in a few years you may possibly be eligible for ILR simply based on the total amount of time you have already spent in the UK (10 years I think it is)

If we try to simplify your problem, one issue is that you have already been on a partner type visa once before, and this is your second attempt but with a different partner. This, sometimes, can strike an ECO as potentially trying to get around immigration laws etc, however, your children strengthen your case in proving that actually you have a genuine reason to be here and that you are now with someone else , with whom you share genuine love and affection and not just an immigration gimmick.

Why we sometimes recommend marrying instead of going down the unmarried route?- simply because it is easier to satisfy the genuine relationship requirement as a married couple than it is as an unmarried couple. However, if you have those pieces of evidence to prove your continued cohabitation for 2 years, then really, there is no harm applying as an unmarried partner instead.

If we take the complications of your applications to date out of the equation, your situation is really rather simple- you are mother to 3 British children and partner of a British citizen. Your avenue is to apply through unmarried partner visa route or , after marriage, married partner visa route. Both those visas area easily obtained through free advice by experienced moderators and others , from this website itself.

The only area I feel you may perhaps need an immigration lawyer is to perhaps defend or explain your immigration and relationship history to date. However, the way I look at it, if you are able to clearly and concisely explain everything in your covering letter, it is possible that you won't need an immigration lawyer after all. But I cannot comment on that for sure as your case has a different sort of start. If anyone else has a different view to mine, do share.


Wishing you the best. Do keep coming here for help as the advice on here is pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you so much for your response. It's funny that they could think I was trying to somehow work the system... My court case with regards to my children from my prior marriage was to try and return to the US with my children (since my ex also holds American citizenship) and the family court rejected my request.

My only interest in navigating the immigration system correctly is so that I can remain in the same country as my children.

I greatly appreciate your perspective and it gives me a little more comfort that I will be able to figure this out.
 

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To be honest, you may be right on this and I may be wrong in the assumption that they may see this as "working the system". Considering your immigration history, it is very possible that they won't in fact take that view at all.

It's just that we can never be certain of what kind of ECO the case is going to get passed to and it cannot be guaranteed that the ECO will have a thorough understanding of your immigration history either. For instance, we have had a case here of someone who originally was sponsored by their brother (back when family like brothers and sisters could sponsor your stay), and then subsequently moved to a partner visa with their spouse but the ECO rejected their application stating they came in the country with a different partner and now appear to have a new partner. Shocking as the initial application included a brother and not a partner.... (Apparently the ECO made a mistake). I realise this is just anecdotal evidence, but just gives you an idea of the kind of things we sometimes end up dealing with.

So we start from a position of - what's the worst case scenario and how can we avoid it?- if you know what I mean?

All in all, the way I look at it, your unmarried partner visa application should be fairly standard really. We just sometimes have to be negative nancies and assume the worst and prepare for it.

I'd have that consultation with a senior immigration lawyer and take stock of where you are, after that.
 
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