Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I have been "together" nearly 5 years, but only married for two. I am a US citizen and she is a UK citizen on a visa to work in the States. She became pregnant over the Summer and we are trying to get back to the UK before the baby is born.

I have a few questions, first, although we have only been married for for years, we've been together, living together for 5 years. Will we qualify for a marriage visa?

Also, I have a criminal record, a non-violent lower grade felony conviction from 8 years ago (i lied about paying some parking tickets to get my car out of the tow-pound and they nailed me for "submission of a forged document" an E class felony, the lowest felony). Will this affect my ability to get a visa?

Any help is appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,149 Posts
You can apply for a marriage (spouse) visa as soon as you are married. If you are married for less than 4 years, your marriage visa is only valid for 2 years (probationary period) and you have to apply in UK for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) a month before expiry, provided your marriage is still subsisting. If you can prove through documentary evidence you have been living in a relationship akin to marriage for 5 years (2 years in marriage and 3 years in unmarried partnership), then your visa will be for settlement (indefinite leave to enter). There are several threads here about other people's experience of applying for and getting a marriage visa, which has very detailed requirements and a long list of required documentary evidence.
As for your criminal conviction, you will have to declare it on your visa application, and it's up to the embassy to decide whether your record precludes you from obtaining a visa. I wouldn't have thought so from the details you've given, but they use their own discretion. All you can do is to apply and see what happens. The average wait time for settlement visa application is 50 business days or 10 weeks, and the fee is $995.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Joppa

You can apply for a marriage (spouse) visa as soon as you are married. If you are married for less than 4 years, your marriage visa is only valid for 2 years (probationary period) and you have to apply in UK for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) a month before expiry, provided your marriage is still subsisting. If you can prove through documentary evidence you have been living in a relationship akin to marriage for 5 years (2 years in marriage and 3 years in unmarried partnership), then your visa will be for settlement (indefinite leave to enter). There are several threads here about other people's experience of applying for and getting a marriage visa, which has very detailed requirements and a long list of required documentary evidence.
As for your criminal conviction, you will have to declare it on your visa application, and it's up to the embassy to decide whether your record precludes you from obtaining a visa. I wouldn't have thought so from the details you've given, but they use their own discretion. All you can do is to apply and see what happens. The average wait time for settlement visa application is 50 business days or 10 weeks, and the fee is $995.

Some of your information is incorrect. Spent convictions do not have to be listed on the visa application (google ROA act in the UK)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,149 Posts
Some of your information is incorrect. Spent convictions do not have to be listed on the visa application (google ROA act in the UK)
Spent convictions under ROA only apply to convictions imposed by UK courts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Joppa

Spent convictions under ROA only apply to convictions imposed by UK courts.
Spent convictions do NOT have to be declared. Your site wont let me post the links, so below please find the text:

1. From the UK border Agency: When applying for visas:



RFL10.5 When is a conviction spent?
When considering whether or not the offence is spent, rehabilitation periods are based on actual sentences received. The purpose of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (“ROA”) is that people may behave badly at one point in their lives but may nevertheless go on to live law abiding lives. To encourage this process, after a certain period of good behaviour, and provided the offence wasn't too serious, the person is entitled to be treated as a reformed character. The Police Certificate should detail whether or not a conviction is spent. The rehabilitation periods are also set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. A person whose criminal convictions are spent is entitled to declare on the visa application form that he does not have a criminal record. If an applicant disputes the content of the Police Certificate, the applicant must contact the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office (ACRO). Their contact details are noted at the bottom of the Police Certificate.



From the UK border Agency


What is an unspent conviction?

If you have been convicted of a criminal offence you must declare your unspent convictions but do not need to declare ones that are spent. A conviction becomes spent after a certain period of time has passed (we call this the rehabilitation period). The length of time it takes for a conviction to become spent will depend on your sentence. It starts from the date on which you are convicted. The period may be shorter if you were aged under 18 at the time of your conviction.
If you have been sentenced to more than 30 months in prison for a single offence, this can never become spent. Your application for citizenship is therefore unlikely to be successful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,149 Posts
Spent convictions do NOT have to be declared.
You still need to judge whether your foreign conviction, had it been imposed in the UK, would have merited the designation of spent conviction after a period of time. If in doubt, the recommendation is to disclose it, and let ECO decide whether it can be disregarded.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Joppa

You still need to judge whether your foreign conviction, had it been imposed in the UK, would have merited the designation of spent conviction after a period of time. If in doubt, the recommendation is to disclose it, and let ECO decide whether it can be disregarded.
What you're not understanding is I have already gone through the process and have the visa. I didnt disclose because my immigration lawyer, after doing research, said I did not have to, and voila, I have my settlement visa!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,149 Posts
What you're not understanding is I have already gone through the process and have the visa. I didnt disclose because my immigration lawyer, after doing research, said I did not have to, and voila, I have my settlement visa!
It wouldn't have mattered if you did disclose, as only a conviction that carries up to a year's imprisonment in UK would be subject to visa rejection. But for the sake of others who are puzzled about what to do, the best way is to disclose and let the consulate staff (ECO) sort it out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Joppa

It wouldn't have mattered if you did disclose, as only a conviction that carries up to a year's imprisonment in UK would be subject to visa rejection. But for the sake of others who are puzzled about what to do, the best way is to disclose and let the consulate staff (ECO) sort it out.

You dont HAVE to disclose though. Its useless to do so if your convictions are spent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,149 Posts
You dont HAVE to disclose though. Its useless to do so if your convictions are spent.
Presumably you paid a lawyer to decide whether your conviction was spent or not. It would have been cheaper and less time-consuming just to disclose your criminal history (if you can even call it that) and let the consulate decide if it's relevant or not.
I have a great deal of professional experience here in UK dealing with criminal record check for employment and other activities, and our advice has always been, disclose if in doubt, and if it was spent, it wouldn't matter in any case. Now the consequences of NOT disclosing when you should would be much. much more serious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
joppa

Presumably you paid a lawyer to decide whether your conviction was spent or not. It would have been cheaper and less time-consuming just to disclose your criminal history (if you can even call it that) and let the consulate decide if it's relevant or not.
I have a great deal of professional experience here in UK dealing with criminal record check for employment and other activities, and our advice has always been, disclose if in doubt, and if it was spent, it wouldn't matter in any case. Now the consequences of NOT disclosing when you should would be much. much more serious.


Joppa. I hired a lawyer to expedite my application and for no other reason. I checked the ROA Act for myself, determined that my convictions are spent, presented this to him, and he concurred. A layman can determine if his convictions are spent just as I did. If the convictions are spent, there is no need to list them, and the uk border agency confirms this. Period. If convictions are spent, there is no need to list them. The end.The ROA makes very clear the conditions under which a conviction becomes spent. There is no mystery about it. There is NO reason to disclose if the convictions are spent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,149 Posts
Joppa. I hired a lawyer to expedite my application and for no other reason. I checked the ROA Act for myself, determined that my convictions are spent, presented this to him, and he concurred. A layman can determine if his convictions are spent just as I did. If the convictions are spent, there is no need to list them, and the uk border agency confirms this. Period. If convictions are spent, there is no need to list them. The end.The ROA makes very clear the conditions under which a conviction becomes spent. There is no mystery about it. There is NO reason to disclose if the convictions are spent.
Granted your case was crystal clear, but I can think of many other scenarios where a dividing line between what can be considered spent and not spent can be a thin one, esp if you are interpreting foreign convictions according to the definition of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, as amended. I'd say in such a case: err on the side of caution.
This discussion is going round in circles - you are citing your example of how legitimately you didn't disclose your conviction and had a visa issued, and I'm talking about general cases of people who neither have the time nor the patience to study legal documents and draw appropriate conclusions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
You still need to judge whether your foreign conviction, had it been imposed in the UK, would have merited the designation of spent conviction after a period of time. If in doubt, the recommendation is to disclose it, and let ECO decide whether it can be disregarded.
Hi,

I don't know if anyone will respond to my question as this is an old thread, but I could really use the advice.

Joppa you claim that you must figure out if your foreign conviction would be spent in the UK. I assume that you mean that you would have to figure out what the sentence for the equivalent crime would be in the UK and then go from there. Is this actually true? The UK border agency website states that whether or not a conviction is spent is based on the actual sentence received. It makes no mention of puzzling out whether your criminal offense would carry a sentence of equal value in the UK.

Loki, since you've gone through this process, could you shed some light here? Should I try to figure out what the penalty would be for my 2 criminal convictions, both of which were misdemeanours, both of which occurred 10.5 years ago? Or should I just assume that they are spent because both of them carried a sentence of 60 days, which I served concurrently in 2000?

Thanks for your help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,149 Posts
Hi,

I don't know if anyone will respond to my question as this is an old thread, but I could really use the advice.

Joppa you claim that you must figure out if your foreign conviction would be spent in the UK. I assume that you mean that you would have to figure out what the sentence for the equivalent crime would be in the UK and then go from there. Is this actually true? The UK border agency website states that whether or not a conviction is spent is based on the actual sentence received. It makes no mention of puzzling out whether your criminal offense would carry a sentence of equal value in the UK.

Loki, since you've gone through this process, could you shed some light here? Should I try to figure out what the penalty would be for my 2 criminal convictions, both of which were misdemeanours, both of which occurred 10.5 years ago? Or should I just assume that they are spent because both of them carried a sentence of 60 days, which I served concurrently in 2000?

Thanks for your help.
You don't need to disclose convictions resulting in a prison sentence of less than 6 months after 7 years. So you can leave yours out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Presumably you paid a lawyer to decide whether your conviction was spent or not. It would have been cheaper and less time-consuming just to disclose your criminal history (if you can even call it that) and let the consulate decide if it's relevant or not.
I have a great deal of professional experience here in UK dealing with criminal record check for employment and other activities, and our advice has always been, disclose if in doubt, and if it was spent, it wouldn't matter in any case. Now the consequences of NOT disclosing when you should would be much. much more serious.
Joppa,
I totally agree with you. It would be a generally secure practice to disclose all details of any brushes with the law (spent or unspent; in the UK or in the US) .

In Part 6.9 of the app the specific question is asked, "Do you have any criminal convictions in any country (including traffic offenses)? Clearly an honest answer is required. The applicant cannot leave it blank and should not falsify information as inconsequential as it may seem.
Thanks
ukforme
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top