Wednesday, 31 May 2017

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

In the previous post here in this Blog we covered one of the most common questions we are asked about UK Spouse / Partner visa. Now this is THE most common question: how much time can a spouse / partner spend outside the UK (or stay inside the UK) while on a Spouse / Partner visa here? 

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 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

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

When I get a UK Spouse visa, do I have to travel straight away or can I come a few months later?

UK Spouse/Partner/FiancĂ©e visa is one of our most common visa categories (with the 100% success rate so far!), we are often asked this question.  

Under the current rules, once your application has been approved, you are issued a 30-day visa stamp. It allows to come to the UK and collect a “proper” Spouse / Partner visa, which would be a biometric card and valid for 33 months. Collection is at a designated post-office, which you would choose when submitting your visa form online on visa4uk website.

What if you can’t arrive within 30 days? In this case you would need to make another application and pay another fee – to have a new visa stamp, for further 30 days. This sounds inconvenient, and it often is!  

One thing you can do is to specify your date of arrival in the UK (on the application form) as accurately and realistically as possible, so your 30-day stamp starts from the specified ate of your planned arrival in the UK and not from the date of when your visa has been approved.  

How can you plan? It can be tricky but there is now express service available in most countries. Instead of the standard 2-3 months the visa officers would make a decision can be made within approximately 2-3 weeks (for an extra UK government fee of £550).

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


Friday, 26 May 2017

OISC Level 1 course, Saturday & Sunday 24th - 25th June 2017, City of London, from a practicing OISC-accredited immigration company.

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, accredited at the highest Level 3. 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.

 
TRAINING DATES:
  
24th - 25th June 2017 (10am - 4pm). To book please visit this page: http://www.1st4immigration.com/training/classroom-oisc-level-1-course.php

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,  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.  We will also provide a printed 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.We keep it as entertaining as possible!


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

This course was accredited for CPD and can be used under the OISC CPD requirements following the change in 2016. CPD for this course is assessed at the level of 10 core hours and will be awarded subject to successful completion of the multiple-choice test. 

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). Website: www.1st4immigration.com/training.  

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Another great Google review about our French Schengen visa services.

“I am happy about the service, the response via email is very quick and the visa was ready in 3 days time. Even though the cost is quite expensive, but it’s all worth it. After I sent out all the documents, I just had to take photo and fingerprints and treated as Premium visa applicant.”  

These nice – and fair – words came from Yuyun, an Indonesian national who successfully secured a French Schengen visa through us. The immigration advice can indeed be expensive these days, particularly from a reputable and experienced immigration firm. The reasons are expertise as well as having to work with the ever-changing rules and regulations, which in turn requires more of our time spent on each application, making sure every single aspect and document is correct. On the other hand, submitting an application which gets refused means losing even more money and time.

Our result is close to 100% success rate!  We also provide immigration services for UK visas and British Citizenship as well as training for fellow immigration advisers and solicitors, which is accredited for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). It is well-worth paying for good advice!

What did Yuyun mean by being treated as a Premium visa applicant? French Consulate now issues biometric visas, so every applicant has to come with us on the date of appointment - to provide biometrics (fingerprints). However, as one of just a handful of officially accredited visa agencies, we submit applications in the morning on the day of appointment, which is normally next day or day after we received your documents and a payment, maybe a couple of days more during the busy travel times, while clients need to come to a visa centre just for the biometrics (fingerprints) in the afternoon, so no need to wait and queue for the submission of documents, it is done by us in the morning.

From the date of biometrics it is possible to obtain a French Schengen visa within 3-4 working days from the date of appointment for most nationals, such as South African, Thai, Filipino, Russian, Indian, Chinese and most others. We can also assist with the German and Portuguese Schengen visas.

The good thing about applying through French Embassy is that they tend to issuer longer, multiple-entry, visas. Although you have to go through a very stringent process of application, you may have a visa lasting for several years. 

Contact us at Multi Travel Visas:

French Schengen visa: http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/schengen-visa-france.php



Fast UK passport renewal through the Passport Office in London): http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/same-day-british-passport-renewal.php

Website homepage with all services: http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk

Phone 0871 472 1468 or 07795471483
Email: info@multitravelvisas.co.uk  We reply on the same working day!

Or come to our office from 9am to 6pm (you don’t need an appointment): 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ. We’re near Monument tube station, close toBank and Liverpool Street, over the bridge from London Bridge station and within easy reach by DLR from Canary Wharf.


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A new 5 star Google review about our French Schengen visa services


“The process is very efficient and they are a big help in getting my application done. A trustworthy company. Big thanks!” Camille, Filipino national

It is possible to obtain a French Schengen visa within 3-4 working days from the date of appointment for most nationals, such as South African, Thai, Filipino, Russian, Indian, Chinese and most others. We can also assist with the German and Portuguese Schengen visas.

The good thing about applying through French Embassy is that they tend to issuer longer, multiple-entry, visas. Although you have to go through a very stringent process of application, you may have a visa lasting for several years. 

Contact us at Multi Travel Visas:

French Schengen visa: http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/schengen-visa-france.php



Fast UK passport renewal through the Passport Office in London): http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/same-day-british-passport-renewal.php


Website homepage with all services: http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk


Phone 0871 472 1468 or 07795471483
Email: info@multitravelvisas.co.uk  We reply on the same working day!


Or come to our office from 9am to 6pm (you don’t need an appointment): 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ. We’re near Monument tube station, close toBank and Liverpool Street, over the bridge from London Bridge station and within easy reach by DLR from Canary Wharf.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Business plan writing service for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa - from a firm of experienced Immigration Entrepreneurs!

A business plan was made compulsory for initial applications from 6 April 2015.  Over the past several years we’ve been dealing with the Entrepreneur visa applications for our clients. As a part of each application, we have to read client’s business plan, ask to make changes and generally, to include the information relevant to the Entrepreneur visa rules as well as based on the questions a client may be asked at a interview (from our experience of clients’ visa interviews).

Our experience allowed us to develop an approach to creating the business plans from a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa point of view. Instead of using standard templates, we focus on what the visa officers want to see, ie on what a migrant will be required to do while holding this visa: investment of £50,000 or £200,000 and what your client is going to spend it on. For example, paying yourself a salary is not counted, yet it is very common for clients to do this.   

Another example will be including a plan of creating 2 jobs and that they will be for ‘settled’ people. Most business plans we see do not mention these 2 jobs at all, yet it is a common question at a visa interview, so we think it is a good idea to include it and add employer’s National Insurance contributions to the calculation. 

We also advise to explain your business idea in simple and plain language. For instance, there is no benefit in adding many technical IT terms because the visa officers are not IT professionals, yet they have to understand your business idea. If you can explain it to us, we can explain to the UK Visas & Immigration. Finally, we advise to treat it like a CV but for a business. Too many CVs contain information designed to make the applicant look ‘clever’, yet fall apart once an interviewer starts asking questions about it. The Home Office staff do read the business plan and may ask questions!  

A typical business plan takes 1-2 weeks to prepare but we always try to accommodate clients’ urgent requests and do it as soon as possible.

For more info or for what’s included in a typical plan, please visit: http://www.1st4immigration.com/business-plan-writing.php or contact us: info@1st4immigration.com

Thursday, 4 May 2017

How to succeed with a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa? TIP #1 - Be a genuine applicant.

This UK visa category is becoming ever so popular, yet the refusal rate is growing just as fast. We are making these few posts to provide some practical advice based on our vast – and successful - experience with Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas. Just what you would expect from our firm of Immigration Entrepreneurs, based in the City of London!

TIP #1: Be a genuine applicant.

May sound obvious but this is the most important thing in the whole application! You have to be a genuine entrepreneur and genuinely intending to come to the UK to run your own business or to join an existing one. Do not use this category “just to come to the UK”, it is fairly obvious to professionals like us (and the Government officers!) when a migrant is trying to do so.

When we work on an Entrepreneur visa application, we look at least at one of the following (better both):

1)     Does the migrant have past experience of running his/her own business? If the answer is No, maybe at least their family members do? Such as a parent or uncle’s business in their home country.

2)     Does the migrant have past experience in working in the chosen business sector? Very often we see foreign students applying as Entrepreneurs, in which case they have to at least have relevant qualifications.
Here are some examples that work:

A student obtains a UK degree while on a Tier 4 visa, returns to their home country and applies for an Entrepreneur entry visa to set up a business in the sector that he studied and which is connected to his family’s work in the home country. For example, a student obtains an accountancy qualification here and has a parent who is employed as an accountant in their home country. Here most “skilled” business sectors work but generic things, like export/import of clothes or phones, tend to be less successful. A restaurant or a shop are least likely to succeed unless it is a franchise (Subway is very popular).
A variation of the above: a student applies to set up a business in the UK, which is connected to his/her UK degree. They have no family members working in tht field but their family run a different business in their home country. Although there is no connection to the given business sector, the family members’ experience of running a business would be helpful to guide our client with running a business in the UK. The general logic of running a business is the same in any country, the details are different, for which a professional, such as a UK lawyer or accountant, can be hired from the £200,000 investment.

A Tier 2 migrant comes to the UK, works for 2 years in, say, IT sector, then applies for Entrepreneur visa to run a business in the same or similar field, using the business connections that he has built up during the time spent on Tier 2.  Here the previous experience of running a business would not be important.
A foreign entrepreneur has been running a successful business in their home country for several years, can prove it with official tax filings (not cash business), and now wishes to set up the same kind of enterprise in the UK. This usually works well, especially if manufacturing of goods is involved (future manufacturing in the UK) but tends to work better for “skilled” or specialist industries. Again setting up a shop or buying/selling business like at home tends to be risky, although it depends on the case and the applicant.

In the next post: TIP #2 – Do not use the funds of £200,000 that will be “gone” as soon as you obtain a visa.
For individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com  or read testimonials on  http://www.1st4immigration.com/testimonials.php

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Interesting analysis of The Daily Mail article: European family applied for PR following the Brexit vote. Parents were granted PR (Permanent Residence) document but their London-born children weren’t. The point is these children are either British citizens or can be registered as British – and didn’t even need a PR!

A European (Dutch-Spanish) family made an application to the UK Home Office to confirm their status of permanent residents in the UK. This application, EEA(PR), has been one of the most common application since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016 Referendum. Many EU/EEA citizens and their family members panicked and wanted some peace of mind, hence getting this official document confirming their permanent status in the UK.
 
In this case both parents were granted a PR document. Their children (12 and 15 yo), however, were refused on the basis that they didn’t send enough evidence of children’s residency in the UK. Although this makes another dramatic  “good” news story headline We at 1st 4Immigration believe it was probably the case of the Home Office just not ticking a couple of boxes. In other words, there was nothing wrong with the eligibility (i.e. the Rules had been met) but not enough documents were sent with the visa application. Such a point would have been well-addressed by an experienced immigration firm like ours.

 
The curious thing in this story, however, - and something the article omits altogether – is that the children almost likely did not need a PR at first place. It is very likely they should have aimed for a British passport instead, a completely different thing from PR. A much better thing some would say!
 
 
The article says that parents have lived in the UK for most of their adult lives, so at 49 years of age, it makes it approximately 15-20 years. After 5 years of living in the UK in accordance with the EEA regulations, such as working, in the UK, an EEA citizen acquires the right of permanent residence automatically (an application and a visa document is just a paper to confirm that). It is very likely that after 15-20 years at least one parent had acquired that status.
 
 
A child born in the UK after that point would be a British citizen, hence there might not have been the need for a PR!
 
Furthermore, a child born in the UK before that point can be registered as a British citizen as soon as at least one EEA parent has acquired the right of permanent residence. “Acquired” is sufficient, even if they didn’t formally apply for it! “Registered as British” means an application to the UK Nationality team ( not PR team), followed by an official certificate of British Citizenship, followed by a UK passport. No need for a PR again!
 
Moreover, the technical side of the law goes even further. In some cases children born in the UK before 2010 became British at birth if their EEA parent was exercising EU Treaty rights at the point of birth, such as working in the UK (without the need to have done it for 5 years).
 
 
The subject of British nationality for children is both exciting and challenging indeed – lots of various laws and policies, lots of application forms, rules and exceptions. Fortunately, we at 1s 4Immigration are very knowledgeable and very experienced in it!
 
 
For individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com  or read testimonials on  http://www.1st4immigration.com/testimonials.php We work with PR and British Citizenship applications and have a 100% success rate on both. Of course, we work with many other UK visa categories too!
 
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.     

UK visa advice session: face-to-face or by email by next working day!

With our vast successful UK immigration experience, 1st 4Immigration is offering an individual advice session to discuss your situation and visa options, whether to come to the UK or to extend your stay here in various categories, from spouses of UK citizens, EEA nationals and family members to Entrepreneurs and Investors.  For example, we have a 100% success rate on applications for spouses and partners of British citizens covering a period of almost 10 years.
 
Our advisers are OISC - accredited at the highest Level 3 ! A consultation one-to-one with an experienced adviser can be held at our office in the City of London, near Monument/Bank stations.
An email consultation can be done anytime, and we provide the required information by the end of the next working day after receiving advice fee.
Our advice fee is £150 (including VAT) and is counted towards our UK visa application fee if you proceed with an application through us after that.  
For individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com  or read testimonials on  http://www.1st4immigration.com/testimonials.php

1st 4Immigration Ltd, Authorised by The OISC, ref F200800152
Office address: 68 King William Street, City of London (Monument), London, EC4N 7DZ.
Email: info@1st4immigration.com We reply on the same working day!
Website:
www.1st4immigration.com   
Tel 0871 472 1468

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

(Updated May 2017) English language for spouses of UK citizens: A1, A2, B1. How many levels are there and which of them do we need?

When you are applying for your 1st Spouse visa, you need the most basic A1 level. This is true whether you are applying outside the UK or switching from another category inside the UK.

After the 1st Spouse visa you will need an extension. At the moment at that stage you would still need the same A1 level, so at the moment you wouldn’t need to worry about this rule at all. From May 2017, however, you need to demonstrate a higher A2 level when applying for extension. This new rule, having to prove A2 level, applies to those whose current Spouse / Partner visa expires from 1 May 2017 onwards – even if applying for extension before that!  You can read more on this here in the earlier post: http://1st4immigration-visas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/new-a2-english-language-requirement.html

After that you could normally apply for a permanent visa. This is where an even higher B1 level would be needed.
 
For individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com  or read testimonials on  http://www.1st4immigration.com/testimonials.php
 
We also have a very good post earlier on the confusion between A1 and B1 level when applying for “settlement”, as many spouses applying outside the UK are told – incorrectly – that they need a B1 level. You can read here about 2 meanings of the legal term “settlement” there and why there is a confusion: http://1st4immigration-visas.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/english-for-spousepartnerfiancee-visa.html

We also have a recent post on how many levels there are: http://1st4immigration-visas.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/english-language-for-uk-visa.html 

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 A2 English language requirement from May 2017 for spouses and partners of British citizens applying for a visa extension – read this if YOUR VISA EXPIRES in May 2017 or later!

The new requirement for spouses and partners of British citizens to prove the higher, A2, level of English when applying for a visa extension in this category has been known for a while. What makes it interesting is the way it is being implemented from May 2017.

Unusually, the Rules were changed in the way to prevent the migrants rushing to extend their Spouse/Partner visas before the changes have been implemented. Traditionally, the new Rules affect those who make an application after the changes. Just as traditionally, people usually rush to make an application before the changes – to benefit from the old Rules.

In this case, however, the changes affect those spouses / partners, whose initial Spouse/Partner visas expire from 1 May 2017 onwardseven if they were making an application before 1 May 2017!

We also have a post, describing all levels of English exams and when each level is needed for a Spouse / Partner visa: http://1st4immigration-visas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/updated-english-language-for-spouses-of.html

For an individual advice or to make an application please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com  or read testimonials on  http://www.1st4immigration.com/testimonials.php

We also have a very good post earlier on the confusion between A1 and B1 level when applying for “settlement”, as many spouses applying outside the UK are told – incorrectly – that they need a B1 level. You can read here about 2 meanings of the legal term “settlement” there and why there is a confusion: http://1st4immigration-visas.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/english-for-spousepartnerfiancee-visa.html Although this post dates back to 2013, the confusion remains the same to this date.


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.  

A new 5 star Google review about our UK Passport renewal services

“Great service, posted my passport from Dubai on Monday night and was renewed and back in my hand the following Sunday - 6 days total including postage from the UAE.” Oliver, British national

Multi Travel Visas can assist with getting passports renewed using premium/fast track service. We are able to get it done within 3-4 working days (premium service) or 7-8 working days (fast track service) provided there are appointments available at the passport office in London. 


Or come to our office from 9am to 5pm (you don’t need an appointment): 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ. We’re near Monument tube station, close to Bank and Liverpool Street, over the bridge from London Bridge station and within easy reach by DLR from Canary Wharf.

A new 5 star Google review about our French Schengen visa services

"Fast and reliable service, and get my visa without hassle, only need to have a trip to post office, must be recommended!! :)" Leo, Chinese national

It is possible to obtain a French Schengen visa within 3-4 working days from the date of appointment for most nationals, such as South African, Thai, Filipino, Russian, Indian, Chinese and most others. We can also assist with the German and Portuguese Schengen visas.

The good thing about applying through French Embassy is that they tend to issuer longer, multiple-entry, visas. Although you have to go through a very stringent process of application, you may have a visa lasting for several years. 

Contact us at Multi Travel Visas:

French Schengen visa: http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/schengen-visa-france.php



Fast UK passport renewal through the Passport Office in London): http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/same-day-british-passport-renewal.php


Website homepage with all services: http://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk


Phone 0871 472 1468 or 07795471483
Email: info@multitravelvisas.co.uk  We reply on the same working day!




Or come to our office from 9am to 6pm (you don’t need an appointment): 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4N 7DZ. We’re near Monument tube station, close toBank and Liverpool Street, over the bridge from London Bridge station and within easy reach by DLR from Canary Wharf.