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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all. My fiancée is based in the US (citizen). We have known each other for 3 years and often travelled to be together.
We are planning to get married later this year in the US, and after that plan to settle in UK i.e. she will be re-locating. Both of us
are accounting professionals. I am based in UK - permanent resident (ILR). We would really appreciate your guidance on some aspects:

Our current understanding is:
- We can both travel as we normally do, as visitors to the US and UK, declaring fiancée status till marriage and UK spouse visa
- After marriage, we submit her passport for “name change” in the US, this takes 2-4 weeks
- After receiving the name changed passport, we submit the UK spouse visa application in the US with marriage certificate, this takes 4 weeks
- Once the UK spouse visa is approved, my fiancée can join in the UK

Our questions are:
Q1 _ Are there any factors to consider or issues with her travelling to UK and me to US in the interim i.e. till marriage?
Q3_ What is the suggested sequence and typically how much time we should expect this process to take?
Q2 _ Where does the name change in the US passport fit as part of the UK spouse visa process? Can this be done independently from UK?
Q4_ Should I be filling out any US visa forms correspondingly, in case we were to decide few years down the line to move to US?

And finally, although we are not aware of complications at this point (relevant documents exist), is it recommended to have UK spouse visa
handled by an immigration law firm?

Any pointers and tips from your own experiences and suggestions would be gratefully received. Wish everyone the best. Thanks.

USUKCouple
 

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1) It goes without saying do NOT overstay the tourist visa!!! It will spell utter DOOM!

3) I'd recommend shelling out for Priority Settlement Service when you finally submit your Spousal Visa application... while it does not guarantee an approval, it does put the application at the front of the queue with all of the other Priority Settlement Service applications that are received that same day... this is opposed to NON Priority service where those applications are put at the back of the queue. A recent account posted here today (look for the thread "Holy Moses!") would tend to indicate that Priority Service is taking about 2-3 weeks from start to finish at the moment. Non Priority is taking about 8 weeks (sadly, the UKBA's FCO website for the New York consulate has been removed and along with it the "estimated wait time" clock that was published there).

2) I'd also recommend your Wife change her name in her passport after she marries but before she applies, as the visa will be in the name on her passport. She could get it done in the UK, but it will take time and effort/inconvenience.

4) US Visas should be looked into closer to the time that you want to move to the US, as immigration law is a continually changing thing and what may be law now may not be law next year or in 10 years from now... you need only look as far as the UKBA for proof of this constant change... less than year ago, there was NO minimum annual income requirement for a Briton to sponsor their non-EEA fiance(e)/spouse/CP and now there's a minimum income requirement of £18600 p.a.... later on this year, the English language requirement (which your fiancee is exempt from by virtue of the fact that she's a USC) will go from an A1 minimum to a B1 minimum... this will cause some problems for potential applicants whose first language is not English.

For the time being, you'd be wise to keep your ESTA up to date so that if you decide that you want to head over to the US, you can do it on the spur of the moment.

Good luck to you!
 
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Oh, and no you definitely do not need to go through an immigration lawyer if you have a straightforward case (i.e. no criminal convictions, no refused visas or bannings/deportations etc)... the application is designed to be easy enough for the Average Joe to be able to complete without much trouble. While the immigration lawyer might be able to help you to fill in the paperwork, you will still have to do the hard part yourselves, namely collect all of the documentation to support your application... they can't do it for you.

If you have any questions about the application form, please feel free to ask away here... we've all collectively been there and done that and have a collection of tee shirts, so we can offer you advice based upon our own experiences... if there's something that we can't answer for you, we will direct you to consult an immigration lawyer.
 
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I am not sure what you mean by "declaring fiancé status". Can you explain that?
Basically, if she comes to the UK before they get married, she'll have to declare that she's coming to see her fiancé as the reason for her visit.

While it is not forbidden for her to do so, she should come armed with documentation showing that she still has ties to the US (job, mortgage, family, wedding venue contract showing deposit paid etc) and that she will leave the UK when she says that she will lest the UKBA suspect that she's going to try to remain illegally.

ETA: if she says she's just coming to visit friends, they will question her as to how she knows them etc and if they spot her e-ring, they'll ask her if she's engaged to a UKC etc... I know this for a fact, as I admitted as much when I returned to London from Paris this time last year with my now husband and they asked me about how long I was planning to stay, when we were planning on marriage (November) and to remind me that I needed a visa in order to remain to get married. I told them I was only going to stay in the UK for a week more before returning to Canada and that I would be applying for a fiancee visa in July.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
USUK101: Travel during visa process?

WestCoastCanadian Girl, Amy Thank you very much for your responses! Very helpful in clarifying the points raised. I think when we actually start filling in the application form, and pulling the documents together there will be questions. Hopefully there is an objective criteria and specific documents requested for evidence, so less chance of application getting stuck due to "interpretation" by case workers?

In terms of timelines then, are we looking at the time it takes to effect name change in passport (4 weeks), followed by UK spouse visa application processing time (4 weeks) i.e. two months?

Can she travel overseas during the time when we submit the UK spouse visa application?

Thanks again, good evening!
 

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She can not travel because her passport will be with the UKBA. You can travel though.

It likely won't take that long for a spouse visa, especially if you use priority processing, which puts your app in front of the queue. It costs $300 and is so worth it.

Hope this helps.

Edited to add: wow, it is such a relief to see an applicant trying to give the UKBA exactly what they ask for! There is very little interpretation, but when those circumstances come up they're usually due to suspicions of sham marriages and things like that. If your paperwork is in order (ie financials and accommodation), then your relationship stuff should be pretty easy to prove. Just show your marriage certificate, pictures of you guys together at different periods through your relationship, show how you keep in touch when you're apart, and write a kick-ass intro letter. You should be golden.
 

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In regards to changing the name on the passport - I hadn't planned on taking my fiances name when we get married, therefore keeping my passport as is. Will this cause a problem or suspicion with UKBA?
 

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In regards to changing the name on the passport - I hadn't planned on taking my fiances name when we get married, therefore keeping my passport as is. Will this cause a problem or suspicion with UKBA?
No.
 
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