Friday, 31 May 2013

How to bring a partner or girlfriend to the UK?

It is a common question from the British citizens working abroad. They are now coming back to the UK, they met their partner while abroad and would like him/her to relocate to the UK in the future.

1) Unmarried Partner visa: this is when you have lived together, as a couple, for at least 2 years, in any country or in several countries. This is for people who have lived together for at least 2 years in a relationship like a married couple but without a marriage certificate. It does NOT cover a situation where you have been dating for a while or seeing each other as often as possible, it only applies when you have lived together for at least 2 years.  

If you do not meet this requirement - and do not wish to get married yet - then you may consider other categories, such as a Student visa or Working Holiday, wit until you have these 2 years of living together and then apply as Unmarried Partners.

Visa would be for 2.5 years + 3 months and allows to work. Then extension for another 2.5 years and then permanent residency.

2) Spouse visa: you need to be married and then your husband/wife can apply for this visa. It is the same type as an unmarried partner, except you'd have a marriage certificate and not 'living together for 2 years'. In this case it does not matter when you get married, there is no 2 years rule (or similar rule).  

The above also applies to civil partners who have the same rights as spouses. Civil partnership is a registered partnership between the 2 people of the same gender, such as 2 men or 2 women. If you are a man and a woman but not married then you would be unmarried partners (subject to the above 2 year rule) and not civil partners. If you are 2 men or 2 women but have not registered a civil partnership then you would be same-sex partners, which is the same category as for unmarried partners and have the same conditions as in the option 1) above.

3) Fiancee visa: this is a 6 months visa, without a right to work, it gives your partner a chance to come to the UK and marry you within 6 months. Then he/she could apply for a Spouse visa after you get married and then a Spouse visa would be the same as above and would allow to work in the UK.

Then the same: 2.5 year visa, then extension for another 2.5 years and then permanent residency.

A Fiancee visa is an extra step, another fee, another application etc but if you want to get married in the UK, or to see first how it goes in your relationship, then this visa would be suitable. As long as you understand you only have 6 months and have to be reasonably confident you want to marry this person.

4) All of the above categories have the same requirements on other issues, such as English language or Financial Requirement (minimum £18,600), so those will be the same whichever category you choose.

5) If you do not meet the financial Requirement, yet, then your partner can come here as a visitor and stay for up to 6 months in each year with no right to work, study or use the NHS. Then apply for one of the above.

For more advice or to make an application please contact us: or visit

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our CDP training website:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Meeting the Financial Requirement £18,600 when both husband and wife are returning to the UK together from abroad.

 A very common situation: a British spouse lived with his/her non-British spouse in Australia/South Afruca/Brazil/Russia etc and they now both want to return to the UK together, so how to meet the Financial Requirement of £18,600?

1)      Through the British partner's work, Option 1. Only Sponsor’s work will be counted at this stage. So, a British partner needs to come to the UK and get a job in the UK paying minimum £18,600 per year before tax. Doing anything, does not matter, just salary matters. Then he/she has to work for 6 months for that employer, then take 6 months payslips (or weekly but covering 6 months), then find a 'lowest payslip' and multiply by 12 to get an annual figure (or by 52 if paid weekly). If you get the result of £18,600 or more then a non-UK partner can apply for a visa, even if you have only worked for 6 months for that company and actually earned a half of £18,600.

In this scenario a UK spouse has to come to the UK first, then a non-UK spouse can apply for a spouse visa later, ie when a UK Spouse can meet the above requirements. Meantime, a non-UK spouse can come to the UK as a visitor but has to leave the UK and apply for a ‘proper’ Spouse visa from abroad later.  

2)      Through the British partner's work, Option 2. Similar to the above but for those who hasn’t worked for the same employer in the UK for 6 months or who did but his/her earnings have been fluctuating.

A British partner has to show that 1) his/her current salary is based on min £18,600 now and has been at that level on average in the last 6 months and 2) he/she has already actually earned that amount in the last 12 months. This option may take longer but it is useful if you don't get £18,600 straight away, so if you get a 1st job paying say £15,000 then change it after 4 months and get £20,000 there will be a point where you would be able to show min £18,600 total from all jobs in the last 12 months. This is when a non-UK spouse can apply for a Spouse visa.  
3)      Through the British partner's work, Option 3: either 1) or 2) above but from working outside the UK PLUS a job offer in the UK paying min £18,600 and starting within 3 months from the date of your planned arrival in the UK.  

In this scenario both spouses can come back together to the UK.

4)      Savings. If you (either spouse or both together) have £62,500 held for the last 6 then you could use it instead for the Financial Requirement, without earnings.  If you happen to have the money but not for 6 months then you could wait and then apply when you can show '£62,500 for 6 months'. If your parents want to help then they have to put the money on your/his/your joint names and then wait for 6 months and then apply for a visa.  Or if you need to sell a property then you can sell it, put the money on a bank account, wait for 6 months and then apply for a Spouse visa.

5)      There are also ways of combining salary and savings, plus combining other sources of income, that is also calculated in a certain way.  For more please contact us for an advice session.  

6)      Other income can be used, such as rental income from a property (but broadly, not from a property which will be the couple’s main home in the UK) or pension or dividends/interest from investments.
7)      If a UK partner comes to the UK to become self-employed, this would probably be the longest route because you'd have to wait for the end of a financial year to show your income, not last 6 months or last 12months as with the salaried employment. I can expand, this is another very simplified explanation.

The above is a general summary from the Rules. For a personalised advice please contact us for an advice session: or visit

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our CDP training website:


Friday, 3 May 2013

Online CPD course 7 hours, British Citizenship - a Dream for Many!

For our colleagues Immigration Advisers and Solicitors: Our online training course is accepted by The OISC and SRA, CPD ref number EJE/14IM.

British Citizenship - a Dream for Many! 7 hours CPD credit.

The course includes criminality changes from 13 December 2012 and rules for EEA nationals including Bulgarian / Romanian (A2) whose first applications can be submitted in 2013. 

Download from our website, study in your own time on any computer, iPad or iPhone, complete the test and we will award your CPD hours and send you a certificate.

Visit website now:  

The course is offered by our company, 1st 4Immigration Ltd, which is a practising immigration company, registered by The OISC at a highly respectable Level 2, based at the Royal Mint in Central London. We’ve had 100% success rate in 2012!

1st 4Immigration Ltd, OISC no F200800152, SRA ref EJE/14IM.

4 Royal Mint Court, Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4HJ.

4 types of rules - 4 groups: Spouses and civil partner of British citizens, EEA nationals, family members of EEA nationals and 'Everyone else'.
SECTION 1: We start from the most common group – ‘Everybody else’.
Condition 1: No ILR – No Citizenship! | Common mistake: ‘skipping’ an ILR | TIP -The main challenge on the way to Citizenship is to qualify and secure an ILR  | Example: A client asks “I have an Entrepreneur visa, when can I apply for a British passport?” |
Condition 2:Having an ILR for at least 12 months | CASE STUDY: Canadian national holds and ILR and is married to another Canadian national who holds a Spouse visa | TIP - Spouses and civil partners of the UK citizens don’t need to wait for 12 months after an ILR.
Condition 3: Five years of continuous legal residency in the UK and being present in the UK on a day 5 years before receipt of application by the UKBA | 3.1) Legal residency | Exemption from immigration control | Being in any place of detention or prison | Illegal residency | 28 days of overstaying is not ‘overstaying’.  | 3.2) Continuous residency | CASE STUDY – from Tier 1 General straight to Citizenship? | 3.3) Being present in the UK on a day 5 years before receipt of application by the UKBA
Condition 4: Good character | 4.1) Paying taxes | TIP – Unemployed clients | CASE STUDY – Chinese national who doesn’t have a job | 4.2) Criminal convictions, civil judgments, driving offences, fines, fixed penalty notices, cautions | Before 13 December 2012 - Spent and Unspent criminal convictions | From 13 December 2012 - Criminal convictions | TIP – applicant’s offence may have happened after he obtained an ILR | Table of offences and impact on applications | TIP – changes under 4. in the above table (non-custodial sentence) actually means ‘good’ news for many | Single conviction for a minor offence | Driving offences: drink-driving, driving without insurance, driving whilst using a mobile phone and similar | Fixed Penalty Notices | Fines | More than one sentence | TIP – It is the prison sentence that counts, not the time served | TIP  - Suspended sentence | TIP – Admonished sentence (in Scotland) | Charged with offence and awaiting trial or sentencing | Terrorism | CASE STUDY – Russian national with a ‘spent’ drink-driving offence | 4.3) Bankruptcy.
Condition 5: English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK | Examples of applicants who still need to meet English and/or Life in the UK requirements, even though they did not need it for Settlement | And those who are exempt altogether | 2 ways of meting this condition |  Life in the UK Test | TIP -Life in the UK Test does not have expiry date | On a humorous note | ESOL with Citizenship course.
Condition 6: Absences from the UK (rules are not the same as for an ILR!) | Date of Application (and how far back absences are counted) | Basic rules on absences | Differences from the ILR rules (and will be confusing for your clients) | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the 5 years | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the last 12 months | CASE STUDY – Indian executive with frequent global travel | TIP – last 5 years before Date of Application are assessed | Why is it important? Because you will have clients who get an ILR and then take up a lucrative job offer abroad | What’s the solution? | TIP – absences while application is being considered |
FLOWCHARTS: common paths to Citizenship, various examples -  9 scenarios
Do we need to send original passports? | ID document used for a Life in The UK Test | Referees | Who can be a Referee? | TIP – Can a representative of the applicant act a Referee? | Common question – “I don’t have anyone who’ve known me for 3 years and who is British or a professional” | Full List of Acceptable Professional Persons | Processing time | CASE STUDY - a Greek doctor | CASE STUDY - Lithuanian national who was a worker and a student | Is same-day service available?
Citizenship ceremonies | TIP - Date of ceremony | TIP -This is where he/she becomes a British Citizen! Not when he/she gets a British passport
‘British by descent’ and ‘British otherwise than by descent’ – the difference | British ‘otherwise than by descent’ | Who is British otherwise than by descent? Common examples | ‘British by descent’ | Who is British by descent? Common examples.
SECTION 2: Spouses and Civil Partners of British citizens.
ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS, WHICH ARE THE SAME AS 'EVERYBODY ELSE' generally but some details are different.
Condition 1: No ILR – No Citizenship!
Condition 2: Good character.
Condition 3: English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK.

Condition 4:  Three (3) years of legal continuous residency in the UK| Anomaly in this requirement | Before 9 July 2012  |
Transitional arrangements |
From 9 July 2012 | Even more common mistake – skipping an ILR or skipping extension application | The right route now is | Alternative right routes.
Condition 5:waiting 12 months after an ILR (not actually applicable).
Condition 6:Absences from the UK | Basic rules | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the 3 years | Exceptions when more absences are allowed during the last 12 months.
FLOWCHARTS: common paths to Citizenship for Spouses and Civil Partners of British citizens  - 8 scenarios
SECTION 3: European (EEA) nationals
Rules are the same as for ‘everybody else’ but applied differently | Who are EEA nationals? | TIP - EEA is not the same as Schengen area | How to count residency | Most EEA nationals – from 30 April 2006 | You can count residency of the following nationals from 1 May 2004 | You can count residency of the following nationals from 1 January 2007 | European citizens often don’t have visa stamps in their passports (they don’t have to) | A growing number of Greeks and Italians are applying for British Citizenship.
General rules:
Condition 1: 5 years of residency in the UK
Condition 2: Good character and criminality | ‘Criminality’ rarely prevents from Permanent Residency under the EU law… | … but does apply under the British Nationality law.
Condition 3: English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK | EU/EEA citizens don’t have to meet this rule for Permanent Residency… | … but have to meet for Citizenship:
Condition 4: Absences from the UK | Absences are not the same as for Permanent Residency | Exceptions.
Condition 5: No permanent residency status – No citizenship! | Same condition but with a difference | So, how does one get an ILR if one doesn’t get any visa stamps? | Examples of exercising Treaty rights | Worker | Self-employed person | Student | Self-sufficient | Jobseeker | Worker or Self-employed person who has ceased activity due to Retirement | Worker or Self-employed person who has ceased activity due to a work accident | Exercising Treaty rights in the UK continuously qualifies an EU citizen for Permanent Residency (with a ‘visa stamp’ or without) | Not ‘continuous residency’ but ‘continuous exercising of Treaty rights’ | Date when this point has been reached | TIP - Date of issue on the visa document is not relevant.
TIP - Romanian/ Bulgarian nationals do have restrictions on working in UK but not on qualifying for an ILR | A2 nationals who had UK visas before Bulgaria/Romania joined the EU in 2007 | CASE STUDY - Romanian national who has been working since 2004 | Summary of restrictions and documents for A2 nationals | Restrictions in place from 1 January 2007 – 31 December 2013 | What about when restrictions on workers are lifted?
Again the same rights but again with a difference | Unique rule for the A8 nationals - Workers Registration Scheme | WRS was relevant for an A8 national for the first 12 months of working in the UK | What counted as ‘continuous 12 months’? | WRS was stopped in May 2011 but is still important for your applications | What if an A8 applicant didn’t register under WRS? | CASE STUDY – Hungarian national who has never registered under WRS.
Condition 6: waiting for 12 months after permanent residency | If your client does not have a Permanent Residency document | If your client has a Permanent Residency document
CASE STUDY – dual Dutch/Brazilian national who is a civil partner of a UK national
European family members of European nationals, such as ‘Polish married Polish’ | Non-EEA family members of EEA nationals, such as ‘Canadian married to German’ | TIP - Direct and extended family members, why does it matter? 
DIRECT non-EEA family members of EEA nationals | This is what most non-EU nationals have | And this is what the law allows | Date on a 'visa stamp' does not matter | Example 1: a Canadian meets a German while both are in the UK and a German is working | Example 2: German national is working in the UK and he meets his partner in Canada | Example 3: German national and his Canadian spouse are both living in Canada | CASE STUDY – Russian national married to a Belgian | But bear in mind those who retained residency rights | And bear in mind Surinder Singh route | Spouses and civil partners of the UK citizens under Surinder Singh route | Other family members of the UK citizens under Surinder Singh route.
EXTENDED non-EEA family members of EEA nationals | Here dates on ‘visa stamps’ matter!
British Nationality Act 1981 | From 1 July 2006.  


1) If child's mother is British | 2) If child’s father is British | 3) If child's parent (one or both) is not British but has permanent residency in the UK | 4) If the child's parents hold a limited leave to remain, ie Tier 1, Tier 2, Work Permit, Ancestral visas etc | 5) If the child's parents are European citizens | 6) Children who spent the first 10 years of their life in the UK.
7) Difference between 'British by birth' and 'not British but can be registered as British'?
Example 1: Indian family who came to the UK together | Example 2: Indian national came to work while his family joined much later | Example 3: Russian step-child of a UK citizen.
Example 1: British parent was born in the UK but his child was born outside the UK | It is possible that both parents are British but only one can pass nationality | Example 2 | Example 3.
SECTION 1: People born before 1983 to British mothers
Those born before 1983 to a British mother can now register as British.... | ... but only if all other requirements have been met also | CASE STUDY – South African national on Ancestral visa but who is eligible for a UKM application.  

Same-day Premium service for UK visas - the benefits

It is useful if you need to travel abroad and cannot be without your passport. But the main benefit in our opinion is, although more expensive, it allows the applicant to know result right on the day, including if there are any problems, rather than waiting for 3-4 months postal service and then possibly being told there is a problem or even that application has been refused.

We at 1st 4Immigration are authorised by The UK Border Agency to submit clients' visa applications using this service in Croydon, south London. The slots (appointments) we use are separate from the ones offerred to the general public, our cases are submitted to a separate Team who deals with cases from representatives.

We can submit the following visa applications every week but need to give the Home Office details of an individual client in advance.

Same-day service is available for applications:
- Indefinite Leave to Remain for those holding Tier 1 General, Tier 2 General, Work Permit, Ancestral visas - SET (O) form.
- Indefinite Leave to Remain for those holding a Spouse/Partner visa - SET (M) form.
- Tier 1 General extensions.
- Tier 2 General and Intra-Company Transfer.
- Tier 4 Student.
- Extensions for domestic workers.
- Ancestral visa extension.
- Visas for dependants, such as for a child born in the UK whose parents are here on Tier 1 visa or Work Permit.

Book our advice session now, email: or visit