Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Your most common question answered! When I get a UK Spouse visa, do I have to stay in the UK all the time?

We are asked this question almost every day! The purpose of a Spouse/Partner visa is for the foreign partner to reside in the UK with their British/settled spouse/partner. So, are there limits on how many days you (or your British spouse) can spend outside the UK while on this visa? Some think it is 90 days, others – 180 days per year. Both are wrong. The former is the old limit for work visas and the latter is the current limit for the visas under the Points-Based System. Neither applies to spouses and partners.

The answer is: there is no specified limit on absences. In other words, there is no minimum number of days, such as “180 per year”. The only rule is that the UK remains your main home and each case has to be assessed on its merit.

How does it work in practice? In our immigration practice we have to assess each case individually. For example, a case where a British spouse was sent, by their UK employer, to work in Hong Kong for 6 months, while remaining an employee for a UK company (and getting a salary in the UK and paying UK taxes). Yet it is a different thing when a British spouse was offered a job in Singapore for 1.5 years, for a Singapore-based employer and getting paid in Singapore.

Generally, you should maintain the UK as your home as much as possible. This can be achieved by keeping the bills and bank statements arriving to your UK address (including address of the parents if you didn’t keep your own place or had to stop renting while abroad). Another thing is the Financial Requirement. If you’re meeting it by using some or all earnings from your job outside the UK – it will be obvious you weren’t residing here. If you were working abroad for a few months while being paid a salary in the UK (to a UK bank account) then there is no problem with using a Category A or B (employment). Some other categories do not indicate where you were at all: savings or property rental income (other than the property where you are or will be living in the UK) can be in any country whether you’re residing there or not.

Other than the above, the more time you spend abroad the weaker your case will be, particularly if you spent more than 50% of the time outside the UK. On the other hand, this is a problem for Indefinite Leave applications (ILR, permanent residency), rather than for an extension because ILR is based on the residing for 5 years in the UK while extension isn’t based on any period of residency.

For the rules on this on the official website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-fm-family-members

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit www.1st4immigration.com

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website: www.1st4immigration.com/training

Thursday, 26 May 2016

New successful case and testimonial on a visa extension for a spouse of a UK citizen. Another self-employment case and another testimonial (that’s 2 in one day!)

“My wife and I applied for the second part of our FLRM spouse visa. As a self employed sole trader, the requirements are different from that of a salaried individual. I was introduced to Neil White at 1st 4Immigration by a friend who had undertaken using Neil & his team with his application. In less than 18hours, Neil and his team had come to be with not only guidance but also a plan to right my situation and just as importantly to my wife and I, treat us human beings and understand the predicament we were in and to reassure us. Fast forward 3 weeks and our application was approved. I simply can’t “not recommend” Neil, Danny and the whole team at 1st 4Immigration. They took all the stress away and dealt with everything. I will be using them again in the future and recommending them to family and friends.” 

This came from Noel, a British citizen whose wife is from Uzbekistan and had an initial Spouse visa issued in Uzbekistan. Now it was time to extend Ekaterina’s visa for further 2.5 years. Again we used same-day service in Croydon and it all went well on the day!  The next step will be applying for permanent residency after 5 years on Partner visas in the UK.

 
In this case the Financial Requirement (£18,600) was different from the case we uploaded earlier today (link http://1st4immigration-visas.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/new-successful-case-and-testimonial-on_26.html ) The previous case was based on income from the applicant’s limited company in the UK while in Noel’s case it was based on his (Sponsor’s) income from being a sole trader in the UK. While a company director’s income is based on the last financial year of the company (which can be any 12 months), a sole trader’s – on the last UK tax year (which always ends on 5 April). Furthermore, for our purpose income form either the applicant or the sponsor can be used, ie doesn’t have to be Sponsor’s, as it is usually (but not always) the case with the visa application to enter the UK.

For an individual advice or to make your application as successful please contact us:info@1st4immigration.com or visit   http://www.1st4immigration.com/spouse-partner-visas-after-9-july-2012.php 
 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website: www.1st4immigration.com/training We have a weekend OISC Level 1 course as well as a Points-Based System course and we also have online training courses, including Online OISC Level 1 course and courses focusing on Spouse/Partner visas. All our training courses are CPD-accredited with CPD credit accepted by  OISC.  

New successful case and testimonial on Spouse visa for a Turkish husband of a British citizen. Extension inside the UK using same-day service.

“Firstly, I wanted say a HUGE thank you to everyone in 1st 4Immigration Ltd, but especially Danny and Neil. Throughout the whole process, you have provided expert, professional and stress free guidance, it was absolute peace of mind. The process was flawless from start to finish and you really made me feel that I am in good hands. I could carry on with my busy work with the assurance of my case being handle by professionals who know what they are doing. Danny and Neil have been absolutely amazing and replied all my emails promptly. They were very patient with me. They’ve really gone above and beyond what I expected and I’m so happy to choose 1st 4Immigration Ltd to assist me with my extension application process. I really appreciate all their efforts and time on my application. I highly recommend 1st 4Immigration Ltd”.

This came from Oktav, a Turkish citizen who has a British wife. Oktav had an initial Spouse visa, issued in Turkey, so it was time to extend his visa for further 2.5 years. We used same-day service in Croydon and it all went well on the day!  The next step will be applying for permanent residency after 5 years on Partner visas in the UK.

In this case the Financial Requirement (£18,600) was being met with the applicant’s income from his limited company in the UK (under a self-employment category).  Even though Oktav was employed by his own company and paid himself a director’s salary (salary enough to meet the £18 600 threshold), we had to use a self-employment category (not employment) and base his income on the last financial year of his company, and not on the last 6/12 months. The Rules for self-employed people can be found here on the Immigration Rules: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-fm-se-family-members-specified-evidence

For an individual advice or to make your application as successful please contact us:info@1st4immigration.com or visit   http://www.1st4immigration.com/spouse-partner-visas-after-9-july-2012.php 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website: www.1st4immigration.com/training We have a weekend OISC Level 1 course as well as a Points-Based System course and we also have online training courses, including Online OISC Level 1 course and courses focusing on Spouse/Partner visas. All our training courses are CPD-accredited with CPD credit accepted by  OISC.  

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

New successful case and testimonial on an Unmarried Partner visa application for an American citizen. Extension inside the UK using same-day service.

A big thank you to the 1st 4Immigration team once again! We used their services to successfully apply for my partner visa from Germany and now 2-1/2 years on we felt confident that 1st 4 were the right people to help out during round two. Neil and Danny are always friendly and prompt at answering emails and keep you informed. Also, they are always up to date with the most recent laws and regulations - they really know their stuff!! We used the same day premium service and Danny was incredibly helpful on the day, from walking us through what to expect to keeping us informed as we went along. Once all the paperwork was done, we were free to go and Danny waited for the answer and informed us as soon as he had word. I will absolutely be using their services again in 2-1/2 years time when it comes time to apply for my indefinite leave to remain.” 

This came from Mckenzie, an American citizen who is an Unmarried Partner of a British citizen. We initially helped Mckenzie to secure an Unmarried Partner entry visa 2.5 years ago when she and he British partner were returning to the UK from Germany. It was now time to extend the visa for further 2.5 years. We used same-day service in Croydon and it all went well on the day!  The next step will be applying for permanent residency after 5 years on Partner visas in the UK.

Same-day service may be more expensive but it has a benefit of getting a decision on the day, without having to spend weeks or even months worrying how your application is going and whether there are any problems. Furthermore, since the decision is made on the day, the original  passports are also returned on the day. You can read more on this here: https://www.gov.uk/ukvi-premium-service-centres

For an individual advice or to make your application as successful please contact us:info@1st4immigration.com or visit   http://www.1st4immigration.com/spouse-partner-visas-after-9-july-2012.php 

 
If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website: www.1st4immigration.com/training We have a weekend OISC Level 1 course as well as a Points-Based System course and we also have online training courses, including Online OISC Level 1 course and courses focusing on Spouse/Partner visas. All our training courses are CPD-accredited with CPD credit accepted by  OISC.  

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

New successful case and testimonial for an EEA Residence Card for an Indonesian spouse of an EEA citizen.

“We have received the paperwork successfully! We are very, very pleased with these good news! Thank you again for all your efforts on our behalf, we will  certainly recommend your firm in the future”.

This came from Erik and Siti, a Dutch – Indonesian couple who are living in the UK. Erik is from the Netherlands and was working in the UK, so we applied for a Residence Card for his Indonesian wife, Siti. Residence Card, which is a 5 years ‘visa’, allows to work, be self-employed etc. Strictly speaking, it does not ‘allow’ work but confirms the right to work, which Siti has with or without this visa. The way European law works, for direct family members the rights to reside and to work in the UK derive automatically from the law, not from a ‘visa stamp’. This Residence Card is voluntary!

 
If it is voluntary, was it worth applying for it? Absolutely! It is a ‘visa stamp’ (biometric visa card) for 5 years. It is well-known to employers, so its holder can simply show it as a proof of the right to work in the UK, rather than having to explain to each employer “I have the right to work automatically from the law because my EEA family member is exercising Treaty rights in the UK”. It is also makes your life easier if you need to prove your rights to the NHS and similar authorities.

The next step will be to apply for permanent residence after 5 years. 

For an individual advice or to make your application as successful please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit www.1st4immigration.com 

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website: www.1st4immigration.com/training We have OISC Level 1 course (online and classroom) as well as a Spouse Visa – Case Studies & FAQs course, all CPD-accredited.
 

Monday, 16 May 2016

New successful case and testimonial on Permanent Residence application for a Polish (EEA) citizen.

“My first contact with the 1st 4Immigration team was a couple of years ago when I was looking for some advice on how to get my British Citizenship. They have a special fee just for advice so I met with them and got all my questions answered instead of losing my time - and money. Because the law changed whilst I was waiting to apply I had to get my ILR first. 1st 4Immigration did the whole process, making it so easy for me. Everything was so smooth that it felt a big relief not having to go through all the forms and documents by myself. They have experience so they have all the answers I was looking for when I wasn't sure about documents. They were just brilliant. I was worried that my passport wouldn't come back in time for a trip I had planned but as they had assured me, it did. I'm definitely using them again when the time comes for my British Citizenship. And special thanks to Neil who was always so positive and lovely to talk to. It's been a pleasure going through this process with 1st 4Immigration.”

This came from Camila, a Polish citizen, who asked us to help with her permanent residence application under the EEA law. She has been exercising EU Treaty rights in the UK for at least 5 years. The change of rules Camila is referring to is the ones which came into effect last November (12 November 2015), meaning that EU/EEA citizens had to formally apply for permanent residence first, before applying for British Citizenship. Before that it was not necessary.    

We submitted an application for permanent residence and after some wait (as it is often the case with EEA applications) it has been approved! The next step would be applying for British Citizenship.
For an individual advice or to make your application as successful please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit www.1st4immigration.com

 
If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website: www.1st4immigration.com/training 

Thursday, 12 May 2016

New successful case and testimonial on Permanent Residence Card application as a Civil Partner of an EEA citizen.

“Thank you so much for this amazing news. And thanks to your entire team for your help with this process. I am incredibly relieved to get this news and really can't thank you all enough for your assistance in preparing my application. I look forward to seeing the card (Biometric Residence Permit) when it arrives.”

This came from Mr L, an American citizen, who asked us to help with his permanent residence application under the EEA law. Our client is married to a Lithuanian citizen who has been exercising EU Treaty rights in the UK for 5 years while they were both residing here. We submitted an application for a Permanent Residence Card as a family member of an EEA citizen and after some wait (as it is often the case with EEA applications) it has been approved this week! The Biometric Residence Permit is a 'visa card' which is valid for 10 years. The next step would be applying for British Citizenship, although it is voluntary.

For an individual advice or to make your application as successful please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit www.1st4immigration.com

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website: www.1st4immigration.com/training 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Places still available! OISC Level 1 course, Friday - Saturday 24 - 25th June 2016, City of London, from a practising OISC-accredited immigration company. CPD 10 hours accepted by the OISC.

Join us for this very informative and practical 2-day course at our office in the City of London!  UK Immigration Rules, visas, switching, visas for spouses and partners, what a great idea! Or perhaps you would enjoy learning about British Citizenship or Points-Based System, EU/EEA applications and European law?  

1st 4Immigration Ltd is a practicing OISC-accredited immigration company, OISC ref F200800152. After many years of experience – and hundreds of successful cases – we are sharing our experience to help you to prepare for your OISC Level 1 assessment and accreditation or, if you are already practicing, to increase your knowledge. You can read 
Testimonials on our immigration cases here. 

TRAINING DATES:
  

24-25th June 2016


Our tutors are our very own OISC-accredited practicing immigration advisers who handle the real cases during the week.
Unlike most traditional courses, ours is conducted using plain language and does not simply contain quotes from the Immigration Rules. We include cases studies from our practice, answers to most common questions, a Questions&Answers session and a mock Level 1 assessment, which is given to the candidates at the end to complete in their own time and send to us. Generally, we try to keep it as entertaining as possible. We will also provide aprinted version of the course (150 pages) for you to take home, which is very detailed, contains more cases studies and you can take it with you to the 'real' OISC exam.
To book visit our training website: http://www.1st4immigration.com/training/classroom-oisc-level-1-course.php

Detailed Course Agenda can be found here and is designed in our own unique way.

1st 4Immigration Ltd: 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ. Near Monument underground station. Email: training@1st4immigration.comPhone: 0871 472 1468 (£0.13 per minute plus your provider's access charge, emails are free).
_____________________________________________________


You can find a detailed Table of Contents on the link above, here are 2 examples (of 20):
PART 1: CRUCIAL TO GET THE BASICS!2 systems of immigration law: UK law and European law | Types of visas under the UK law | Entry Clearance | Visitor visa | Leave to Remain (also called Residence Permit or Limited Leave to Remain) | Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) | It is possible to lose an ILR, however Indefinite it is | Indefinite Leave to Enter | There is also a Leave to Enter 
‘Settlement’ and 2 confusing meanings of this word | Common question:  Passport has expired, do I have to transfer my visa to a new passport | What is Switching? | Common examples when switching is not allowed even though the migrants are desperate to do so | What is the Date of Application and why it is so important? | When is the Date of Application? | In-time and Out-of-time applications
PART 2: IMMIGRATION RULES AND HOW TO USE THEM 
Each category rules consist of 3 parts | My ‘Other way around’ principle | How to determine if switching is possible?| How to determine if a visa allows to work? | Registration with the police | Tuberculosis test | UKBA Staff Guidance 
You can find Extracts on the link above too, here are 2 of them:
Extract from the “IMMIGRATION RULES AND HOW TO USE THEM” section:
No one knows everything and remembers all the rules! The trick is to know how to use the Immigration Rules and where to find  the specific information. The Rules may change anytime, and they do change a lot, but if you know how to use the Rules you could check the requirements or check the changes at any time. For example, things like whether a migrant can switch a visa category while in the UK or whether a migrant can work or whether a particular English test is acceptable are all a matter of the Rules, not a matter of guessing.
My ‘Other way around’ principle:
I call it ‘other way around’ because many people tend to think this way: “I am on a Tier 5 visa and want to know if I can apply for a Spouse visa inside the UK”, then they go on the Immigration Rules webpage for the Tier 5 category and try to read the rules there. Understandably, they only find the rules about how to get a Tier 5 visa, which they already have, and not a Spouse visa.
What you need to do is to act the ‘other way around’, ie to check the rules of the category your client is looking to apply for, not the rules of the category in which he/she already has a visa. In our example of switching from a Tier 5 to a Spouse visa it is the Spouse visa rules that one needs to read – to determine if he/she can qualify.


Extracts from the “CRUCIAL TO GET THE BASICS!” section:
What is Switching?
Switchingis not an official term. Switching simply means changing a visa category while inside the UK, ie switching from one to another, such as from a Tier 4 Student to a Tier 2 General; or from Tier 4 to a Spouse visa. Officially it is called ‘applying for a leave to remain in a Tier 2 General category’ or ‘applying for a leave to remain as a Spouse of a UK citizen’. So, we can simply say ‘Switching from a Student visa to a Spouse visa’.
The significance of switching is this: switching means applying inside the UK and it is only allowed if the Rules specifically allow so. If switching is not allowed then the applicant has to return to their country and apply for a visa from there, which means he/she would be applying for an Entry Clearance.


What is the Date of Application and why it is so important?
Imagine this: you are making an application today but tomorrow the Rules are changing, which rules would apply? Or you have made an application a month ago, your visa expires in 2 weeks time and your application is not going to be decided before then, are you going to become an overstayer through no fault of your own?

A Date of Application idea deals with such issues. If the date of your application is before the Rules changed then your application is going to be considered under the Rules in place before the changes. For example, Spouse/Partner visas rules were significantly changed on 9 July 2012, yet those who applied before that, even on 8 July 2012, had their applications considered under the old rules, even if the decision was made a few months after the rules changed.
If the date of your application is before your last visa expired then your status remains the same as it was on the date of application for as long as it takes for a new application to be considered. However long it takes, even if the last visa expired by then. Officially it is extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971, which automatically extends the ‘last visa’ for as long as it is going to take for a decision on the new application. This means migrants do not become overstayers through no fault of their own?

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

English language requirement for spouses of UK citizens and for Points-Based System migrants: have you ever heard of NARIC? If not, time to read this as you can’t use an overseas degree certificate anymore without it.

We previously posted some useful information for spouses and partners of UK citizens about English language tests. This post is for everyone who needs to meet the English language requirement when applying for a UK visa (including Points-Based System migrants).

As you may know, besides taking an approved English language test, you can also use a degree which was taught in English. For example, a Bachelor degree from a UK university – nice and easy. You can use it when applying for a UK Spouse visa, UK Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, Tier 2 visa and so on. In other words, having a UK degree means there is no need to take a test.

Now, what to do if you hold an overseas degree, ie a degree from a university outside the UK but it was taught in English? Until approx mid-March 2016 we could use a Points-Based System calculator on the UKVI website and we could use it for both Tier 1 / 2 visas and Spouse/Partner/FiancĂ© visas. A Bachelor degree from South Africa, India or Nigeria as well as Master’s degree from the USA or Australia – all were accepted under the old system, thanks to the online database on what sued to be a PBS calculator.

So, what’s changed? The old PBS Calculator has now been disabled, so it is no longer possible to check overseas qualifications online. The current Immigration Rules require  confirmation from UK NARIC instead. In fact, the old PBS Calculator was indeed using the NARIC database!

If you have a degree from a university in a country, which is listed in the Rules as a majority English-speaking countries (except Canada), you need to contact UK NARIC and obtain a confirmation that it is an equivalent of a UK degree standard (equivalent of a UK Bachelor etc).

If you have a degree from a university in a country, which is not listed as a majority English-speaking country (such as South Africa or India) but that degree was taught in English, you need to contact UK NARIC and obtain a confirmation of 2 points:

- That it is an equivalent of a UK degree standard.

AND

- That it was taught in English language to a C1 level of CEFR.

UK NARIC is an organisation which compares foreign qualifications with the UK equivalents and also assess whether they were taught in English or not.

To read the rules about English: you need to go on the respective Part or Appendix of the Immigration Rules. Spouses/partners of UK citizens – Appendix FM; Points-Based System migrants – Appendix B and so on. List of countries which are recognised as majority English-speaking ones (there is an exhaustive list) can be found here (this is for those applying for ILR but these countries are same for all visa categories): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-koll

For an individual advice or to make an application as successful please contact us:info@1st4immigration.com or visit   http://www.1st4immigration.com  

If you are an Immigration Adviser or a Solicitor please visit our immigration Training and CPD website: www.1st4immigration.com/training