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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I've been married to a UK citizen for 17 months. I originally moved to UK for 6 months but have been back to USA since due to work issues. Now I'm traveling back and forth from USA to UK from time to time. When is the absolute soonest I can apply for (Indefinite Leave to Remain) Permanent Residency in UK?
And just for my own knowledge: I understand that if I were to get a divorce right now while holding a Spouse Visa, I would have to abandon my visa and return to USA. My question is this- In case things dont work out with my spouse and I get a divorce after I am granted Permanent Residency in UK, will I have to then abandon my permanent residency benefits and move back to USA?
Thanks
 

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Yes, on a spouse visa, as soon as a divorce is finalised, you must return to the USA unless there are exceptional circumstances.

A spouse visa currently runs for 27 months, and you can apply for ILR after 24 months residence in the UK. If your trips back to the US were lengthy and not accompanied by your spouse, you might have difficulty persuading the UKBA that you were fully resident during the period.

New rules are currently being discussed, one of which is that residency may be increased to 5 years before entitlement to apply for ILR in order to discourage sham and forced marriages. This could mean that people on FLR or Spouse visas will need to apply for a further FLR visa to cover the time span between the original 2-year issue and the potential 5-year requirement. However, these changes as yet are rumoured rather than substantive.
 

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Hello,
I've been married to a UK citizen for 17 months. I originally moved to UK for 6 months but have been back to USA since due to work issues. Now I'm traveling back and forth from USA to UK from time to time. When is the absolute soonest I can apply for (Indefinite Leave to Remain) Permanent Residency in UK?
Before you can start your probationary period, you have to be on spouse visa. Series of visitor stays doesn't count. Under current rules, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR, similar to PR) after 2 years in UK, but it's set to rise to 5 years.

And just for my own knowledge: I understand that if I were to get a divorce right now while holding a Spouse Visa, I would have to abandon my visa and return to USA. My question is this- In case things dont work out with my spouse and I get a divorce after I am granted Permanent Residency in UK, will I have to then abandon my permanent residency benefits and move back to USA?
I hope it's a completely fictitious scenario, as any sign of instability in your marriage can be flagged up as a reason for denying you spouse visa.

If your marriage breaks down while on probationary period (2 or 5 years), you are supposed to notify the UK Border Agency. Depending on the circumstances and how long you've been together and you have lived in UK, your stay may be curtailed. There is no hard-and-fast rule. If your relationship ends due to domestic violence or death, you may be granted ILR on compassionate grounds.
If your relationship ends after you get ILR, you can continue to live in UK indefinitely, and apply for naturalisation after 5 years in UK.
 

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Before you can start your probationary period, you have to be on spouse visa. Series of visitor stays doesn't count. Under current rules, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR, similar to PR) after 2 years in UK, but it's set to rise to 5 years.



I hope it's a completely fictitious scenario, as any sign of instability in your marriage can be flagged up as a reason for denying you spouse visa.

If your marriage breaks down while on probationary period (2 or 5 years), you are supposed to notify the UK Border Agency. Depending on the circumstances and how long you've been together and you have lived in UK, your stay may be curtailed. There is no hard-and-fast rule. If your relationship ends due to domestic violence or death, you may be granted ILR on compassionate grounds.
If your relationship ends after you get ILR, you can continue to live in UK indefinitely, and apply for naturalisation after 5 years in UK.
Joppa, I'm confused and would like clarification on this: 2farapart wrote: "A spouse visa currently runs for 27 months, and you can apply for ILR after 24 months residence in the UK." That means that you must be resident in the UK on the spouse visa for two years before applying for ILR even if you may have been resident in the UK directly before it on another visa--is this correct?
 

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Joppa, I'm confused and would like clarification on this: 2farapart wrote: "A spouse visa currently runs for 27 months, and you can apply for ILR after 24 months residence in the UK." That means that you must be resident in the UK on the spouse visa for two years before applying for ILR even if you may have been resident in the UK directly before it on another visa--is this correct?
Just found the answer, thx!
 

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Hello,
And just for my own knowledge: I understand that if I were to get a divorce right now while holding a Spouse Visa, I would have to abandon my visa and return to USA. My question is this- In case things dont work out with my spouse and I get a divorce after I am granted Permanent Residency in UK, will I have to then abandon my permanent residency benefits and move back to USA?
Thanks
For me this question itself is inappropriate and is likely to be asked by someone who is intending to use their spouse to get UK visa (or any other country for that matter) and then dump their spouse later.
 

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For me this question itself is inappropriate and is likely to be asked by someone who is intending to use their spouse to get UK visa (or any other country for that matter) and then dump their spouse later.
I agree-I find it suspicious when 'hypothetical' questions like this are asked!

Those of us who have genuine marriages and relationships are under a lot of pressure right now thanks to relationship visa abusers-grrrr:mad: Whenever I think I've met someone who is using the spouse/partner for an in (and unfortunately I've met a few), it makes my blood pressure shoot sky high and I have to bite my tongue in case I'm misreading the situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree-I find it suspicious when 'hypothetical' questions like this are asked!

Those of us who have genuine marriages and relationships are under a lot of pressure right now thanks to relationship visa abusers-grrrr:mad: Whenever I think I've met someone who is using the spouse/partner for an in (and unfortunately I've met a few), it makes my blood pressure shoot sky high and I have to bite my tongue in case I'm misreading the situation.


Things are beginning to not look so well with us, so I just wanted to know this information before hand.
Cheers
 

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AnAmericanInScotland said:
I agree-I find it suspicious when 'hypothetical' questions like this are asked!

Those of us who have genuine marriages and relationships are under a lot of pressure right now thanks to relationship visa abusers-grrrr:mad: Whenever I think I've met someone who is using the spouse/partner for an in (and unfortunately I've met a few), it makes my blood pressure shoot sky high and I have to bite my tongue in case I'm misreading the situation.
Well said!!!!

Superman007 said:
Things are beginning to not look so well with us, so I just wanted to know this information before hand.
Cheers
Then what are you doing applying for a visa if things aren't looking so good?! You should be working on your relationship with some honesty, not trying to work out how to make it worth your while/how long you might have to stay together to get to stay here! My apologies if this is not the case but I, and others, are sick to our stomachs worrying if we'll be ever with our husbands and wives, fiancé (e)s, families, spending week after week, month after month apart and to read what you wrote makes me sad and angry.
 

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Things are beginning to not look so well with us, so I just wanted to know this information before hand.
Cheers
I'm sorry for your troubles, but the way you worded your OP makes it sound as though you are hoping to stay in the UK if a divorce happens.

That's something that sets a lot of our teeth on edge because, well, Mervinia put rather well.

99.9% of us on this forum who are here in the UK (or hoping to be) on relationship visas are very tense right now. The UK government is trying to cut net immigration and one of the ways they are looking at being able to do so is through making the family migration route so difficult that many of the families here will have to figure out how to stay together.

The reason the UKBA is looking at the family migration route is in part because of sham marriages and partnerships, so I hope you understand why you are experiencing a bit of hostility from those of us whose first priority is to keep our relationships strong, not our ability to maintain:

originally posted by Superman007
...my permanent residency benefits...
 

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Things are beginning to not look so well with us, so I just wanted to know this information before hand.
Cheers
One of the requirements of UK spousal visa is, as quoted from UKBA website "you intend to live together permanently as husband and wife, or as civil partners"

If there are already doubts about relationship stability then one is, by UK immigration rules, not even eligible to apply for UK visa using spouse/ family to gain immigration in the UK; and this is unfair to other legitimate applicants as the rules are becoming more and more challenging to obtain UK spouse visa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well said!!!!



Then what are you doing applying for a visa if things aren't looking so good?! You should be working on your relationship with some honesty, not trying to work out how to make it worth your while/how long you might have to stay together to get to stay here! My apologies if this is not the case but I, and others, are sick to our stomachs worrying if we'll be ever with our husbands and wives, fiancé (e)s, families, spending week after week, month after month apart and to read what you wrote makes me sad and angry.
I already have a spouse visa (not applying for one), and trust me i'm trying to make things work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, on a spouse visa, as soon as a divorce is finalised, you must return to the USA unless there are exceptional circumstances.

A spouse visa currently runs for 27 months, and you can apply for ILR after 24 months residence in the UK. If your trips back to the US were lengthy and not accompanied by your spouse, you might have difficulty persuading the UKBA that you were fully resident during the period.

New rules are currently being discussed, one of which is that residency may be increased to 5 years before entitlement to apply for ILR in order to discourage sham and forced marriages. This could mean that people on FLR or Spouse visas will need to apply for a further FLR visa to cover the time span between the original 2-year issue and the potential 5-year requirement. However, these changes as yet are rumoured rather than substantive.

Thank you much for this information. I actually have been traveling back to USA for lengthy periods by myself. I suppose this will cause problems when I apply to be a resident? But how exactly do border agencies keep tabs on how long individuals leave the country for? Its not as though you have to "check out" when leaving UK. And every time I come back to UK I'm not asked how long I was gone for.
 

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Thank you much for this information. I actually have been traveling back to USA for lengthy periods by myself. I suppose this will cause problems when I apply to be a resident? But how exactly do border agencies keep tabs on how long individuals leave the country for? Its not as though you have to "check out" when leaving UK. And every time I come back to UK I'm not asked how long I was gone for.
On ILR application, you have to disclose your full travel history, including short holidays and even a day shopping trip to France, plus sending in your current and previous passports with travel history (visa stamps etc). All will be scrutinised (and being experts, they can spot 'foul play' straightaway). There is also advance passenger information you disclose to the airline and is kept on government database. So if you don't want to raise UKBA's suspicions, you have to lie. And if they are sceptical, they can ask you to provide corroborating evidence, and if you can't, they may conclude you have lied and refuse your application.
 
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