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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Eek! Posted too soon! I'll keep writing and hopefully wrap up soon!!

Forgive me if this is a bit of a ramble, my eyeballs are about to fall out after a long stretch of organizing bank statements!

I've been worrying myself into a state while we prepare our application, and I'd love any thoughts on whether we're as complicated a case as I think we are or if I'm maybe just losing my marbles.

Backstory:

We met in 2011, fell in love (not "asleep" as I originally wrote...maybe I need to go to sleep...) within minutes, really (our meet-cute is pretty obnoxiously cute). We've been to multiple countries together, don't speak via Skype a lot but are in near constant contact (I'll get to that in a bit). We're in love and married and just want to get all of this visa stuff sorted and be reunited.

I've had a DUI (just a few month's shy of it being spent) and I've spent long (long) stretches in the UK (in for months, out for a short period, back in for months). I've never been refused at immigration, but I know I've been lucky.

We meet the financial requirements, and I can post our supporting docs if people aren't bored to death of that.

Is this a tick the box or will my past and travel history complicate things?
 

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Cute love story :)
If I understood you correct , you're concern is about your travel history to UK?

Your past travel history to UK can negatively affect your visa application only if you breached UK immigration rules and law.

Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Now that I've had a bit of sleep (and coffee), I might be able to string my thoughts together a bit more clearly.

I just had a call with an advisor that left me in tears, mostly due to stress, but I did get confirmation that I have a few 'red flags' that need to be explained thoroughly and honestly (which I have no problem doing).

1) Long visits to the UK:
- Has anyone had experience with this? I've traveled in and out of the UK repeatedly, spending long stretches in country but never overstaying the visitor visas (granted at entry).
- How would you explain these visits in a cover letter? I've stayed with both family and my (now) husband, but I realize that UKBA is cracking down on this a lot. I was luckily never refused, but was given a good grilling on my last entry (our marriage plans were set prior to this, though I might want to address that we did get married shortly after).
- Now that we are legally married, is being open and honest about this adequate or should I anticipate any grounds for refusal based on my long stays? (I'm mainly worried because the pattern is in for 4 months, out for a few days, in for 5.5 months, etc).

2) Freelance work:
- I'm very nervous about this. I run a freelance-based business and did not work for a UK company or clients. I've only been paid in USD.
- Should I just declare this and cross my fingers? I've been told by a solicitor that this is a grey area and even she needs to get clarification, but are there any other freelancers out there who have navigated this? If so, any advice?
- What sort of documents should I provide? I don't have payslips, obviously, and am a bit horrible at my own business paperwork (I'll be changing this ASAP once I get through the visa nightmare).

3) Prior Conviction:
- I used to be a total idiot and was convicted of a DUI years ago. My probationary period has been over since 2011, so while I don't think the conviction is technically "spent" (although maybe it is if it is dated from date of conviction?), I am happy to clarify and provide documents proving that I am no longer a total idiot.
- I've seen some on this board that have dealt with similar issues - Other than providing a DUI completion certificate, letter stating that the probationary period is over, copy of valid DL, and a case summary, is there anything that I can/should do here?

4) Accommodation:
- Husband used to have a roommate and no longer does. The letter from his landlord states that he's happy for me to live there and the terms of the agreement, but it doesn't address that the two-bed flat is currently only occupied by my husband. Should we request a new letter that specifically draws attention to this or are we covered?
- Ex-roommate's name is also on the council tax bill (he tried to get it removed previously and was told it doesn't matter so that was never done, sadly). It's a 2-bed flat so we're not worried about overcrowding, but I know my application will be combed over because of the above and I just want to be sure that we're doing all that we can to make it a clear (positive!) decision by the ECO.

I would appreciate any advice, really, even if it's just on some of the above. I know that I need to stop worrying myself sick and that there's only so much that I can do, but we're feeling very much that we only have one shot at this and I want to make sure that I'm doing everything right...

Thanks in advance, and sorry for my ramble last night!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cute love story :)
If I understood you correct , you're concern is about your travel history to UK?

Your past travel history to UK can negatively affect your visa application only if you breached UK immigration rules and law.

Cheers,
Hi Ain! Sorry, didn't see your reply! I expanded a bit on this in my follow-up. Even my advisor is a bit hazy on my standing with regards to my travel history. I've never overstayed a visa but I'm very much aware that my travel pattern is frowned upon (and has resulted in people being refused entry at port in recent months).
 

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You really need help from moderators of this forum, they might help you with advise.
What I can add is that it is better to remove that person from council tax bills and other documents!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You really need help from moderators of this forum, they might help you with advise.
What I can add is that it is better to remove that person from council tax bills and other documents!
Oh I would love their input (and am hoping for it)! Is there a bat signal? :) I know I'm spinning a bit, I just worry by nature and thrive on knowing where I stand on things, good or bad. Will cross my fingers that the mods weigh in! :) Thanks for chiming in, Ain! I really appreciate it!
 

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Remember moderators are NOT immigration experts. Some of us have more than average experience, but none of us is authorised to give advice, and it's illegal to do so in the course of one's business. What we do here is to compare our experiences and share our views, but you need to decide for yourself, and if you need advice, seek out (and pay for) professionals, which you seem to be doing.

Briefly, don't worry about #1. Or #2. #3 declare, show remorse and move on. #4 Get a new letter from landlord. Explain in a note about extra person on the bill who no longer lives there.

Just my views, not advice, remember.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Remember moderators are NOT immigration experts. Some of us have more than average experience, but none of us is authorised to give advice, and it's illegal to do so in the course of one's business. What we do here is to compare our experiences and share our views, but you need to decide for yourself, and if you need advice, seek out (and pay for) professionals, which you seem to be doing.

Briefly, don't worry about #1. Or #2. #3 declare, show remorse and move on. #4 Get a new letter from landlord. Explain in a note about extra person on the bill who no longer lives there.

Just my views, not advice, remember.
Joppa, thanks so much for replying! I can't tell you how much it's appreciated. I'm very clear that the views given here are not to be taken as advice and have secured a solicitor for official advice only (not document check) and am awaiting clarification from her as well on some of the above points.

It wasn't a super in-depth conversation, so I'm looking to just flesh out my understanding of things via this forum as well. I've been following for a while and have seen so many people get great input from the community and I'm really grateful for any and all input. :)

I'll address everything concisely in my cover letter and go from there! Is it against the rules to post my document checklist in this thread (or a new one) or will I be overstaying my welcome? :)
 

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Lot of people put out a list, after they have trimmed it down to a manageable size. Some submit documents 5" thick, which is way too much.
 

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Is it against the rules to post my document checklist in this thread (or a new one) or will I be overstaying my welcome? :)
Please feel free to post a document checklist when you are ready. I would suggest starting a new thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Remember moderators are NOT immigration experts. Some of us have more than average experience, but none of us is authorised to give advice, and it's illegal to do so in the course of one's business. What we do here is to compare our experiences and share our views, but you need to decide for yourself, and if you need advice, seek out (and pay for) professionals, which you seem to be doing.

Briefly, don't worry about #1. Or #2. #3 declare, show remorse and move on. #4 Get a new letter from landlord. Explain in a note about extra person on the bill who no longer lives there.

Just my views, not advice, remember.
Perhaps this is a sign that I need to just send my application in and stop freaking out (waiting on two important docs)...but I've just learned the term "Code 3 Landing" and read up on it and thought CRAP, that's me. :(

On my last entry, I was questioned (not for hours like some. I was set aside while some things were checked and was given a Code 3 Landing as well as a "Make sure that you leave when your ticket is for" send off.

Ugh.

I *did* end up staying longer than my return ticket stated, right up to the six months, because I was freaked out about a long separation and am lucky enough to have to have the flexibility to do so, but now I'm worried about the record of this encounter and being accused (and refused because) of deception.

Joppa, I know that you said don't worry about #1, but I'm thinking now that this is something that I NEED to include in my cover letter. Because of my other complicating factors, I'm so worried that this will just be the thing that tips an ECO over the edge into refusal and I'm making myself sick over it.

Should I also supply my boarding pass showing that I left the UK (the US does not stamp on entry).

We've been together for YEARS and it would be quite the long con to just up and get married right after a border encounter, but I'm afraid that's what it will look like to an ECO. (But I repeat, we had plans to marry when we did before this. It was a small ceremony that didn't require bookings or planning though so we really just have our marriage certificate and photos...)

Any thoughts? :(
 

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If you were given a Code 3 landing but you stayed the full 6 months, this can be seen as deception or dishonesty and can affect your visa application. You should own up, show remorse, and hope they'll let you off.
They will have record of your departure through your airline.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you were given a Code 3 landing but you stayed the full 6 months, this can be seen as deception or dishonesty and can affect your visa application. You should own up, show remorse, and hope they'll let you off.
They will have record of your departure through your airline.
I'm happy to do that. I swear that the majority of my decisions are good ones, it just seems all the bad ones have bearing on my application. :(

I've seen this advice a lot and I think it's great, but I have a practical question of owning up and showing remorse. I know that cover letters aren't meant to be long, but since it seems that I have quite a bit to declare, how much space should be devoted to explaining immigration history/patterns? I don't want to go overboard (even though I'm very sorry), but I also don't want to seem like I'm apologizing just to apologize...

Should this just be a few sentences or should I go into more detail?
 

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Don't put it in your cover letter, but by way of a note/letter attached to your travel and immigration history. You have to give a brief outline, take full responsibility for your actions (acknowledge you were in the wrong), how you regret it and would want to move on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Don't put it in your cover letter, but by way of a note/letter attached to your travel and immigration history. You have to give a brief outline, take full responsibility for your actions (acknowledge you were in the wrong), how you regret it and would want to move on.
Okay, thank you, and will do!
 
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