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Discussion Starter #1
After a year in the making, my husband, children and I are finally planning to move to the UK in late June/early July. I am American, my husband is British and our two sons have dual nationality.

I have a bunch of questions. While this looks like a straight forward process, it seems as though that is not so much the case. I've listed my questions below by topic. I hope it all makes sense.

1) Financial Requirements: we plan to use our savings to meet our financial requirements and we have a sufficient amount as we had been saving for a home. My husband does not have a job lined up in the UK as he intends to freelance. I have requested 6 months of our bank monthly statements as proof of sufficient savings and I have printed 6 months of my husband's pay statements as proof of the origin of the savings.
1a) is this sufficient evidence?
1b) as pay statements are no longer printed but only available to print at home, do I still need to have these pages certified? If I do have to have them certified, who does this? My understanding is that a "notary public" can only certify specific forms requesting a notary.
1c) My husband MAY continue to work for his present company (a US company) in a freelancing/contracting capacity after we move to the UK. Even though we have sufficient funds to meet the financial requirements, is there any benefit to having a letter from them stating his continuation work for them as a freelancer? (He hasn't informed his employer yet of his intentions to move thus we'd rather NOT ask for a letter unless it could affect the results of our spouse visa decision).

2) My mother-in-law and her partner have agreed to provide accommodation until we have found our own home. I have a copy of their "Land Registry Official Copy of Register of Deed" dated July 3, 2017 as we had initially intended to move last summer. The letter they have provided expressing their willingness to house us indefinitely is dated March 13, 2018.
2a) Is that sufficient or does the "Land Registry" document need to be more recent?
2b) I have read on the forum that it is really only the financial documents that need to stick to the 28 day rule, but is it beneficial to have the letter and/or the deed be newer?
2c) Their is no information on the deed that clarifies number of rooms/bedrooms or size of the home. My understanding is that the accommodations must prove there is sufficient room in the house. How do I prove this?

3) Similar to 1b above, who is considered sufficient for "certifying" a copy of my husband's passport? I seem to remember reading somewhere in the visa information who qualifies but cannot find the section.

4)Relationship evidence: my husband and I met while we were both working in California in 2006. We had our first son in 2007 and have lived together here in the US since 2006. We married in 2011 and our second son was born in 2012. We have never lived apart so this is what I have put together for relationship evidence: marriage license, 8 photos of us take over the past 10 years printed on one sheet of paper, the first page of our past 10 years of tax returns, the first page of all of our apartment/home leases from the past 10 years.
4a) Do I need more than that? eg utility bills, etc?

5) Sponsorship: I know that a letter is required and I have seen several of the examples here on the forum. 5a) Do we also need to fill out the "Sponsorship Undertaking" form (From SU07/12)?

6) I am employed but only part time as I am a full-time care giver to my children. Do I still need to provide proof of my employment here in the US?

I am VERY grateful for any of you who read all of this and answer :) I hope I'm not breaking etiquette with the long post. I wanted to put it all in one thread as was suggested in another post but I wasn't sure if I should throw it all out there or ask in bits. I hope you're still awake ;)

I've been lurking on this forum for a year now, thank you to you all for posting and replying!
 

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Hi SierraDenver. I hope that I can help you. My husband and I also made our UK spouse visa from the USA - where we are both living together. I am a UK citizen and my husband is a US citizen.

To meet the financial requirement using Category D savings only (no income) we converted our US dollars into GBP sterling and held it in the UK bank for 6 months. You need to hold 62,500 GBP sterling (or the US equivalent) for at least 6 months. If you are holding US dollars then it will be converted to GBP sterling using the days conversion rate on the day of your UK spouse visa application. In this scenario you have to consider that the pound is getting stronger so your US dollars are not worth as much. If you are meeting the financial requirement through Category D savings only then you will need original or bank certified (bank stamped) statements covering the 6 month period showing that the money has been held for 6 months continuously. We also provided a bunch of bank statements to prove the source of our savings was through income. I got Wells Fargo bank to mail me the statements which I did not get certified because they came from the bank and were on headed notepaper. Are the statements that you have original? If not, it may be safe to get them "bank stamped" to prove their authenticity. Maybe other forum members could comment on this part.

As for the accommodation part you will have to get an inspection done on the house where you will be living. We are also going to be living with my parents and we paid the local council about 140 quid to do the inspection report. This report is necessary to prove that the house is big enough to accommodate your husbands parents and all members of your family. The property deed is good as it is an official certified copy. From what I understand you do not it to be dated with in a certain timeframe. Also the inspection report will acknowledge that your husband's parents are currently occupying the home. We got a recent certified deed copy so it was really recent to our application. You will also need a letter from your husbands parents acknowledging that they are willing to have you live/stay with them - you need their permission. I think that from what you say, you have that already. I would have them do a new letter dated recently so that it is upto date as possible.

You do not need your husband's color copy of his passport to be certified. We just sent a color copy that was not certified.

As for your relationship evidence, I think that one recent utility bill in both your names would be good evidence. Your tax returns, apartment lease copies and photos are good too! I am not sure if you need to provide anymore than that! We used print outs of emails showing flights that we have taken together during vacations and holidays back to England.

You will both need to write a letter. Your husband will need to write a sponsor letter and you will need to write an application letter. Both letters should explain your history and reasons why you want to move to the UK. You do not need to submit SU07/12.

As I mentioned. My husband submitted our application recently (March 8th) using the Gold premium service (out of Boston) and so I have more details on that too if you are interested? We are still patiently waiting to know the outcome of our application.

I know that this whole process seems overwhelming at first but it is just a case of gathering all the documents together and making sure that you prepare an application package that is clear. You just got to make sure that you "tick all the right boxes".

Let me know if I have missed anything or if you need further clarification. Wishing you and your family the best of luck!!!!
 

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I forgot to mention that the application could take upto 12 weeks to process. This link gives a rough guide.

https://www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times

You may want to consider priority processing if you want to move back ASAP. Otherwise you could have to wait upto 3 months. Saying that priority processing does not guarantee that your application will be processed within a given timeframe. Priority processing just means that the application jumps ahead of applicants that did not pay priority processing. However, from what I can work out a lot of applicants are doing priority processing so it is still taking weeks to get an answer.
 

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This is the website for Gold Premium Processing. There is a premium processing centre in San Francisco.

https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/usa/applicationcentre.html

With Gold Premium service, VPS take a copy of all your documents, scan them and send them electronically to Sheffield (something that I did not realize). All of your original documents are kept at the VPS office.

Using this Gold Premium service the "Settlement Priority Processing – UKVI aims to process within 30 working days"
 

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Discussion Starter #5
To meet the financial requirement using Category D savings only (no income) we converted our US dollars into GBP sterling and held it in the UK bank for 6 months. You need to hold 62,500 GBP sterling (or the US equivalent) for at least 6 months. If you are holding US dollars then it will be converted to GBP sterling using the days conversion rate on the day of your UK spouse visa application. In this scenario you have to consider that the pound is getting stronger so your US dollars are not worth as much. If you are meeting the financial requirement through Category D savings only then you will need original or bank certified (bank stamped) statements covering the 6 month period showing that the money has been held for 6 months continuously. We also provided a bunch of bank statements to prove the source of our savings was through income. I got Wells Fargo bank to mail me the statements which I did not get certified because they came from the bank and were on headed notepaper. Are the statements that you have original? If not, it may be safe to get them "bank stamped" to prove their authenticity. Maybe other forum members could comment on this part.
Thank you @BritbratJo2rd. Sounds like we have a lot in common and THANK YOU for the replies. We do have a sufficient saving in USD in our bank accounts here in the US even with the dollar getting weaker (big bummer on that front) and have had it in our savings for years as it is my husbands life savings from all his years working here in Silicon Valley. I had gone to a Wells Fargo bank and they printed me records but they were not printed on official letterhead. They gave me a letter expressing that the papers were authentic but I didn't trust it so I have called WellFargo and requested statements for the past 6 months (which I expect any day) because I didn't want to risk it.

You said something that made my husband a little nervous however. You moved your money to the UK. My understanding is that it is ok for the funds to be in a US bank. Is that not correct?

I'm commenting to each of your comments in separate replies as to keep it clear---I hope that is ok :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
As for the accommodation part you will have to get an inspection done on the house where you will be living. We are also going to be living with my parents and we paid the local council about 140 quid to do the inspection report. This report is necessary to prove that the house is big enough to accommodate your husbands parents and all members of your family. The property deed is good as it is an official certified copy. From what I understand you do not it to be dated with in a certain timeframe. Also the inspection report will acknowledge that your husband's parents are currently occupying the home. We got a recent certified deed copy so it was really recent to our application. You will also need a letter from your husbands parents acknowledging that they are willing to have you live/stay with them - you need their permission. I think that from what you say, you have that already. I would have them do a new letter dated recently so that it is upto date as possible.
I will ask my inlaws about the inspection. I'm worried that it could cause a delay. They did recently remortgage so hopefully an inspection was done at that point. Would that be sufficient?

Also, the copy of the deed that I have says that it's an "official copy" but it doesn't have a stamp or anything like we would typically have on a US document. Just simply states that it's official. Does that sound correct to you? Or does your deed have some extra level of certification? My MIL's partner acquired the deed himself from the registry.

How long did it take for you to get the inspection?
 

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As I mentioned. My husband submitted our application recently (March 8th) using the Gold premium service (out of Boston) and so I have more details on that too if you are interested? We are still patiently waiting to know the outcome of our application.

I know that this whole process seems overwhelming at first but it is just a case of gathering all the documents together and making sure that you prepare an application package that is clear. You just got to make sure that you "tick all the right boxes".

Let me know if I have missed anything or if you need further clarification. Wishing you and your family the best of luck!!!!
Lastly, I have been very curious about using the VFS global's services. But our expenses for this move had become daunting and was trying to "cut costs" (we have 2 cats to relocate with us and that looks to be expensive plus plan to move a shipping container for our stuff). How have you found the Gold Premium Service?

Thank you BritbratJo2rd
 

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Hello! So sorry for the delayed response. Please ease your husband's concerns. It is OK for you to hold the money in US dollars! As long as you will meet the financial requirement when the money is converted at the exchange rate on the date of your application, then you are fine.

As for your bank statements. You can always get the online printed ones "certified" by Wells Fargo by getting them to bank stamp them. You need to make sure that EACH PAGE is bank stamped (even if it is double sided). It took about 7-10 working days for Wells Fargo to mail my statements to me.
 

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As for the property inspection, we managed to get someone to go around to my parent's home pretty quickly (within a week). This piece of evidence is a requirement so you need to make sure that you provide evidence that the inspection has been done. I am not sure whether a bank inspection would be sufficient. Luckily, my parent's local council provided that service and so we just used the official one to make sure that we had "ticked the box".

It sounds like your Deeds are sufficient, in my opinion. I just checked my parents deeds and it just states in big letters "Official Copy of Register of Title".
 

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We decided to use the VFS gLobal Service purely for the fact that we wanted our application to processed as soon as possible and have the VFS people take the responsibility for getting the documents to Sheffield.

We have been happy with the VFS service. My expectations at first were very high. For example, I was expecting an email confirmation when the VPS people sent of the docs to Sheffield and I was expecting an email confirmation from Sheffield saying they had received our application. We never received any kind of confirmation at all. So after two weeks we paid to email Sheffield just to get feedback that they had in fact received our application. By using the VFS global service all the documents are scanned and sent electronically. By not physically mailing the docs you don't have the tracking number to have confirmation that Sheffield received the docs.

I know that you can just apply using priority service yourself, with out the VFS part. However, we figured it was just easier for us to have VFS go through our package (they check that the application is complete and in order) and be responsible for getting it sent to Sheffield (originally I thought they mailed it out but now it has become apparent that they scan the documents and send them electronically). It took the stress off us which was worth it.

On a side note: There is a certain order that you have to do things in once your husband has made his online Visa application but as long as you take your time and read everything thoroughly then you will be OK. For the application process make sure that you contact your bank prior to trying to make any overseas payments (e.g visa application cost itself and the health insurance part). You want to make sure that the payments are processed without any hiccups. Prior to completing the online application we contacted the bank and made sure they were aware that large sums of money were going to be withdrawn from overseas.

It has been 24 business days since my husband had his biometrics appointment. The VFS Priority service state they aim to have applications processed within 30 business days and so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we hear something next week. If we don't hear anything by close of business Friday April 20th then I am going to start to panic and will likely send them another email asking for an update.

I am very happy to help you and am glad that I can share our experience to ease your concerns and help you make a successful application! Feel free to message or ask about any other concerns that you have.
 

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To clarify to all users reading this thread...My husband submitted his UK spouse visa application using the VFS Settlement Premium Service Package (This service is only applicable for Settlement Visa Applicants) - NOT the gold service. Sorry for the confusion.
 
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