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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, my boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship for two years. We met in my hometown of Las Vegas and he resides in London. We have been seeing each other twice a year. He flies to Vegas and stays for several weeks and I fly to London for a week or two. Other than that, the majority of our relationship has been via Skype, Facebook, daily phone calls and texts through various phone apps used.

Now we are at a point of our relationship where we need to know what's the best option for the next step as far as visas and who should go where. We were thinking it would probably be better for me to move to London but now the question is how? We have spoken about marriage and we do intend to do so but were thinking later down the line because we would like to get situated first being that this would be a big move for us. So we were thinking about the partner visa which would allow me to stay there for about 2 1/2 years I believe. But please, any advice on visas would be gratefully appreciated too.

Both of us have absolutely no idea where to start and what we need to do and would really love and appreciate any advice. I want to know what he needs from me to start the application process? How much money do we both have to save/show in our accounts? Do we have to have a place of our own? Is it easier for me to move to London vs him moving to Vegas? Do we have to show proof of our relationship? Trip receipts to and from? Messages sent via text/email/fb messages? I don't know really, anything to help, please :)

Thank you so much in advance!!
 
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I'll move this to the UK board but can say that unless you are already married or moving to the UK to get married in a few months things are not looking good visa wise. To apply as an unmarried partner you need to be living together as a couple for 2yrs prior to applying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OMG Thank you so much!!! Whatever we need to do. Marriage is what we have been discussing but we weren't sure on how on what needs to be done. I really appreciate it. We weren't really understanding the partner visa details so that's why I asked. The engagement/marriage visa was our next option.

Do I need to move this to the UK forum or can you do it? Will it still notify me on responses? I really do appreciate this!!!
 

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I let someone else reply in detail, but basically you aren't eligible for unmarried partner visa because you haven't lived together already for 2 years. Under the family route, the only people eligible are those who have made or are making an imminent commitment to a permanent union, and it's not available for those who are in evolving relationship. So think in terms of a study visa (if you can afford fees and living costs) or as an outside chance, work visa (extremely difficult unless you are in shortage occupation).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you. this advice is much appreciated. We were looking into the fiance visa but wasn't sure what exactly needed to be done. Apply for the visa, wait for approval before moving there then marry within 3 months or is it 6? Financially what is needed from both of us to get started? A place of our own? How long the process is?
 

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Apply, travel, marry and switch for leave to remain as spouse within 6 months. Your UK partner has to meet the financial requirement of earning at least £18,600 gross a year, or there are savings between you of £62,500 held for at least 6 months. Sometimes the two can be combined. You need accommodation suitable for a couple, including living with relatives with a spare room. Once you apply, you may get your visa in 2-3 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That was one of the questions we had because he definitely makes over 18,600 a yr but we weren't sure if we needed to each also have a certain amount showing in savings as well if we married first. Another question was, do we marry first? Does it matter where we marry? London, Vegas, or anywhere else? Or do we have to go the fiance visa route?
 

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It's up to you where you want to marry. If you wish to marry in the UK you need a fiance visa and after you marry you apply for FLR (M) which is further leave to remain as a spouse. If you marry anyplace else you apply for a spouse visa from your normal place of residence which in your case is the US. This allows you to save the cost of 1 visa.
 

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It's clearly cheaper in terms of visa fees to marry in Vegas (or anywhere in US), apply for spouse visa which is valid for 2.5 years. If you want to marry in UK, you need a fiancée visa (costs the same as spouse visa), travel, marry and switch to spouse leave within 6 months, which will cost nearly as much again. Costs of course aren't the only issue and personal preference, and family wishes, will come into it as well.

If your partner meets the income requirement, then you don't need to show any financial information such as savings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So we can plan to marry first and marry anywhere but after marrying, he do we both go back to our current homes and am I the only one to apply for a spouse visa from the US or does he need to also apply in the UK? Do you know how long this process is? After applying for a spouse visa, once approved, is that when I'll be granted into the UK and will I be able to work? Currently he stays with a roommate, does he need to have his own place?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Your advice truly helps me very much. Both our families want to see us married and wish for everything to work out. He was the one to bring up marriage first and I agreed to do so but we just weren't sure on the technicalities of it all and what the UK allows. We weren't sure if we had to be established out there first, that's why we talked about the partner visa but now that you've clarified that was not even an option, the marriage/spouse visa is definitely one we had in mind. Now the how to go about it was our next questions, which you and others have been answering and I'm very thankful for that. Do you know how long the process of application is after we were to marry and apply for the spouse visa? Am I to remain in the US until it's approved?
 

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You alone apply (so not like US spouse visa where both the sponsor and immigrant have to apply) but as sponsor, your UK partner has to give financial details and supporting documents. There is also a sponsorship letter he needs to submit in which he states his willingness to support, and gives an outline relationship history.
As I said, it can be as short as 2-3 weeks though sometimes people wait longer. For extra $300, they will prioritise your application. Once the visa is issued, you can travel to UK and start work. The minimum he needs is an own room big enough for a couple. Accommodation can be shared provided it's not overcrowded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I can't express how much you've already helped me! You've answered so many questions that we've struggled to find answers. I'm waiting for him to get off work so we can discuss the information that's been provided. If I have further questions and I post it on here will it still be seen or would I have to post a new thread? I'm sorry, this is all new to me and I want to make sure I'm doing everything right.
 

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Your advice truly helps me very much. Both our families want to see us married and wish for everything to work out. He was the one to bring up marriage first and I agreed to do so but we just weren't sure on the technicalities of it all and what the UK allows. We weren't sure if we had to be established out there first, that's why we talked about the partner visa but now that you've clarified that was not even an option, the marriage/spouse visa is definitely one we had in mind. Now the how to go about it was our next questions, which you and others have been answering and I'm very thankful for that. Do you know how long the process of application is after we were to marry and apply for the spouse visa? Am I to remain in the US until it's approved?
My husband and I also had the long distance relationship for 2 years. We got married in Maine in August and I applied for my spouse visa on August 26 and received it back on Sept. 9. I've been in Scotland since the end of Sept.

This forum is the best place for information. The process is complex and very overwhelming at first but once you read through posts here and ask questions, it will fall into place. If your case is straightforward, it won't be hard.

The 3 main areas of proof that you have to provide are relationship, financial and accommodation. The UK citizen has to be able to meet the financial and accommodation requirements. You can prove your relationship through proving ongoing communications, visits, photos, etc.

Marrying in the US and applying for the spouse visa incurs only one initial visa fee - about $1400USD. It is good for 2.5 years, then you reapply for a second 2.5 years (Further Leave to Remain), and then you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, with fees each time. Currently, you still have to meet the same requirements for each time.

Do some reading and then ask away:
UK Border Agency | Applying for a UK visa in the USA

Good luck!
Laurel
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you so much! Your story is like mine and I'm happy you two are together now. We both know going into this that it was going to be a process but are willing to do whatever it is to get everything done the right way.

Much appreciated!!
 
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