Sunday, 29 September 2019

🚀 Next-day UK visa service – decision in 24 hours


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Would you prefer to know a decision within 2 working days or wait (and worry) for several months?


Most in-UK visa types are eligible:
- Indefinite Leave 10 years residence
- Spouse/Partner visa: switching, extension, Indefinite Leave
- Tier 2 work visa: switching, extension, changing sponsor, Indefinite Leave
- Tier 4 and 5 visas: switching, extension, changing sponsor
- Ancestral visa: extension, Indefinite Leave
- PBS Dependant: switching, extension, Indefinite Leave
- Renewal of Indefinite Leave (new visa card)
Categories that are not eligible:
- Tier 1
- EEA applications, instead you can register under EU Settlement Scheme that often gives immediate decision
- British Citizenship
- All applications outside the UK, instead there is premium service. It’s not next-day but still faster than standard service
Why choose 1st 4Immigration?
- OISC-accredited company at the highest level 3, ref F200800152
- 10+ years of immigration experience and 1000s successful cases
- Specialist in Spouse/Partner visas with focus on Financial Requirement £18,600
- Experts in Business and Tier 2 work visas
- We reply emails on same working day and use Skype for clients worldwide
Frequently Asked Questions:
How does it work?
Next-day service replaced what used to be a popular same-day service, such as in Croydon. We advise on the visa requirements, prepare your case, complete application forms, upload your documents onto the Government system, book an appointment for biometrics and, generally, ‘hold your hand’ throughout the whole process. On the day of appointment you submit biometrics (fingerprints) at your local facility, which is just for the biometrics and not handled by the visa officers. After that your case it considered electronically by the Government officials at the Home Office ‘behind the scenes’  (they are not seen or talked to), and they notify about the decision by email by the next working day. Then a biometric Visa card arrives a few days later. Our How It Works page describes this process in detail.
How much does it cost?
We have a most competitive fixed fee of £1,099+VAT for most visa categories. Even better, we count the initial consultation fee towards it!  Fees page has a list of our service fees. Our service fee is in addition to the relevant Government fees, which differs in each category, please contact us for details.
How long in advance does it have to be booked?
We can book an appointment up to 4 weeks in advance.
Location and what happens on the day?
Under the current system (new from November 2018), the appointments are only for biometrics (fingerprints) before your case is considered by the Government officials remotely (usually in Sheffield). Since there is no face-to-face or other direct interaction with the UKVI visa officers anymore, these appointments are available at the visa centres all over the UK and can be close to you.  It can be a local library, a core centre such as in Croydon or Manchester, or a designated facility, such as in the City of London.
Important! The new core centres, such as in Croydon or Manchester, are run by a commercial partner, ie ‘visa centres’. These are not Government facilities, as used to be in Croydon or Liverpool (there is a different address in Croydon, it is not Lunar House anymore). There is no direct interaction with the visa offices anymore, they consider all cases remotely.  You can, however, choose a location very close to you, which makes it more convenient and saves time!
Very important! The process described here was changed in relation to the visa application process but not eligibility rules. So, all the visa rules remain the same, such as Financial Requirement £18,600, English language tests, Tier 2 salary rules and so on. What changed is how you apply.
Do I have to attend in person?
As above, you have to come to your chosen visa centre to submit biometrics (fingerprints).  After that your case will be considered remotely by the Government officials (usually in Sheffield).
How does it compare with standard service?
Speed! It is for you if timing is everything.If your visa category is eligible for same-day service (such as Spouse/Partner visa), you have a choice of using standard service (used to be called postal service)  or next-day service. The eligibility rules are the same. The difference is timing. With next-day service you have a decision by the next working day after your biometrics’ appointment. It immediately changes your immigration status to the new category, even though your biometric visa card follows a few days later. With the standard service, it can take 6 months for permanent residency (ILR) application and 2-3 months for non-ILR application.  This is why next-day service is so popular!
To use this service please get in touch on info@1st4immigration.com or visit our website, Next-day UK visa service page
Let’s secure your visa quickly!
1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.

🎓 Classroom And Livestream OISC Level 1 Training Course. CPD 10 Core Hours, 12-13 October 2019, Saturday And Sunday, 10am-5pm, £250+VAT.



Having finished filming the BBC documentary Who Should Get to Stay in the UK?, we are excited to offer our OISC Level 1 courses during autumn 2019!

As the subject of UK immigration is becoming even more exciting, you can keep up-to-date with our classroom and online training – and claim CPD hours.



2-day weekend course is conducted at our office in the City of London and presented by our Level 3 accredited Senior Immigration Lawyer, Jules Motcho. That’s him on the far right on the photo!


Classroom and livestream training:

12-13 October 2019, Saturday/Sunday 10am-5pm, CPD 10 hours, £250+VAT. Book now!

2 – 4 November 2019, Saturday/Sunday 10am-5pm, CPD 10 hours, £250+VAT. Book now!



Online self-study course:
If you prefer studying in your own time, we have a more detailed Online OISC Level 1 courses here. CPD 16 hours, £199+VAT.


1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.

🚀 Fast Schengen visa! Travel now, Christmas and New Year.



Our best guide to the minefield of Schengen! 

Who issues longer visas? Who is fastest? Talk to us before making your travel plans!
Each Schengen country is different but it works well by proper planning to comply with strict rules. Maybe you need fastest service, or maybe better to wait but secure a longer visa, apply once and travel during 6 - 12 months or even more.

You can apply within 3 months before travelling – time to plan Christmas and New Year holidays now!

France - Schengen visa  
Sooner appointments than in the public system! We are one of just 9 accredited visa agencies in the whole of the UK, a highly-trusted company with 15 years of experience. French Consulate issues longer, multiple-entry visas. 
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals, may be longer during busy travel times. 

Spain - Schengen visa
Soonest appointment: next working day.
Processing time: 7 - 10 days for most nationals.

Portugal - Schengen visa
Soonest appointment: next 2 - 3 days.
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals.
 
Germany - Schengen visa
Soonest appointment: next 3 - 4 days.
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals. 

Netherlands - Schengen visa
Soonest appointment: next 2 - 3 days.
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals, may be longer during busy travel times. 

Italy - Schengen Visa
Soonest appointment: next 2 - 3 days.
Processing time: 1 week for most nationals.

Phone us: 0871 472 1468 or 07795471483 or text.
Email: info@multitravelvisas.co.uk, we reply on the same business day!
Submit an enquiry on our new website: https://www.multitravelvisas.co.uk/

Visit our office in the City of London, 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday, no appointment needed.


Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN. Nearest Underground stations are: Liverpool Street, Bank, Monument. 

Monday, 16 September 2019

💸 10 common mistakes when meeting the Financial Requirement £18,600 for a UK Spouse visa



#1 Most common - submitting “everything I have’. 

Some payslips, a tax return, some savings plus a property deed for good measure. Surely, should work? It may sound logical to provide as much as possible, this is often a nightmare scenario for immigration lawyers and often a direct path to a visa refusal. Financial Requirement is strictly based on the ‘rules’: what income can be used, how various sources can be combined and what documents are needed. We often say there is 75-page office guidance just on the finances: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/636618/Appendix_FM_1_7_Financial_Requirement_Final.pdf 


#2 Savings - it’s not £18,600 and not £16,000. 

The real amount (for this purpose) is calculated using this formula: threshold you need to meet (such as £18,600) x 2.5 plus £16,000.
If you are using savings alone, it would be £18,600 x 2.5 + £16,000 = £62,500! 


#3 Employment -  the minimum is 6 months for the same employer. 

In short, you can’t get a job today and apply for a visa tomorrow. You have to stay on that job for 6 months first. 


#4 Employment again -  the maximum is 12 months for the calculation. But don’t need to be all 12 months. 

If you can't meet the previous 6-month rule, let’s say you started your current job last month and your salary is £18,600 pa. 
You have to meet the additional rule of having earned £18,600 in the last 12 months- from any number of jobs. 
This may sound straightforward but there is a lot of confusion about this 2nd rule. 
For example, the 12 months in question are 12 months immediately before the date of visa application and NOT 12 months on the previous job!
Also, 12 months in maximum, so if you have earned £18,600 in, say, 8 months, that’s sufficient. 


#5 Returning to the UK from abroad - more serious than you think. 

This tends to be one of the biggest problems people face. Normally, a British spouse needs a job offer in the UK, which is very difficult to secure while living abroad. 
And we often see the non-British husband working in a well-paid skilled job in their home country of, say, New Zealand, while the British wife stays at home looking after the children. 
In this case, the UK visa rules expect the British wife to have a job offer in the UK.  The common-sense arguments - that the New Zealander husband is a skilled professional who would find a job in the UK in no time - would fall on deaf ears. 
We have a separate post on how you could meet the Financial Requirement while living abroad: https://1st4immigration-visas.blogspot.com/2019/09/5-sure-ways-to-meet-financial.html 


#6 Property. 

A very British thing! How can we use it for the UK Spouse visa? 

You cannot use the value of the property. Wherever it is, whether it is your home or a buy-to-let. 
But if you sell it, and deposit the cash in a bank account, then you can. After all applicable deductions (mortgage, fees etc) and taxes. 
The amount you need is the same as under the savings category above (ie not £18,600). 
You can also use income from property if it add up to £18,600 in the last 12 months (not in a tax year!). 
Interestingly, here the amount we go by is gross rent as on the tenancy agreement - not the profit. 
Be careful if you own a property through a holding structure, such as a limited company, which will be very different. 


#7 Self-employment income is different from the rest and it's based on what’s “on paper’. 

As we are one of the specialist firms that work with self-employment income for UK visas, the biggest challenge is to establish what the client has "on paper”.
Are you a sole trader or have a limited company? 
Is your business in the UK or abroad? 
If you are a contractor, we will still treat you as ‘having a business’, even if in your mind you feel you have a job. You may count income paid by your ‘employer’ but we will count income you personally receive from your ‘business’. 
You also have to go by the last financial year, even if it was only finished yesterday. The normal HMRC deadlines of submitting the tax returns 9 months later won’t apply! 


#8 Your tax return is rarely useful! And usually too old. 

Another common-sense approach would be to use your latest available tax return, showing income of minimum £18,600. 
Perfectly understandable and useful in all walks of British life - except when it comes to the Home Office.
Speaking with a good-natured humour (there is place for it in the visa work), we have to ‘fight it off’ on the daily basis.
Unless you have a business under your own name (a sole trader, ie ‘self-employed’ as HMRC calls you), your tax return is NOT relevant for a UK visa. 
We simply don’t need it. 

If we do need it (ie if you are a sole trader), what do we mean by ‘too old’? As above, it has to cover the tax year that’s passed, even if it finished only yesterday. 
Let’s say today is 6th April and the UK tax year finished yesterday- 5th April. You have to prepare tax return for the year finished ‘yesterday’, even though HMRC gives you time until 31 January next year. 

If you have a limited company, your tax return is still irrelevant because your income will be calculated on salary and dividends. 


#9 Family support.

Under the current rules, support from any third party isn’t allowed, even if it is a close family. Even if it is a joint bank account with a close family member (other than your partner). 
But that’s on the date of visa application. 
If your family, usually parents, have money and want to help with a visa, they need to deposit the cash to your and/or your partner’s account, then you need to wait for 6 months not touching it. Then you can apply for a visa. By that time, on the date of application, you will have had the savings for 6 months in your name(s). 


#10 What can increase your chances? 

We put this as a separate point because this is a very common question. 
The answer is “nothing”. 
You can't increase your chances, so to speak. 
Instead, you either meet the rules or you can't. 
This visa is based on the rules: if you don't meet them - you don't get a visa. But if you can meet the rules - you get the visa! 



For more please visit our website: Financial Requirement page or contact us: info@1st4immigration.com. We respond emails on the same working day.


As always, we are here to offer individual advice, you can book here on our website. A consultation can be face-to-face at our London office, on What’s App, Skype or email. 


1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

We have a new five-star review about our Spouse visa services!

Mamiko, a Japanese National who was switching from Tier 4 Student visa to spouse visa:

The lawyer helped my visa application, Jules, was very responsive and reliable. Thanks to this company, I got the visa quickly.

Here is a copy of Google review, which can also be found here: https://goo.gl/maps/XNbZExgc4RFgVWXw7

For individual advice or to make your application as successful please contact us: info@1st4immigration.com or visit our website, UK Spouse and Partner visas page





Let’s start working on your UK Spouse / Partner application!


1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN
   
We also provide immigration training and CPD for lawyers and those preparing for OISC exam. We have classroom/livestream courses and online self-study courses, accredited by CPD Standards Office, ref 80001, and accepted by The OISC. Visit our OISC training page here. 

Monday, 2 September 2019

5 sure ways to meet the Financial Requirement £18,600 when both partners are returning to the UK together.



It is a common scenario in our practice: a British/foreign couple returning together to the UK (often with children) after living /working abroad. Most commonly from the USA, Australia/NZ or Asia. Although most our clients have been working there for years, they often find it challenging to find a job offer in the UK before coming back, meaning their non-British spouse/partner would find it difficult to secure a UK visa. 

Here are top 5 solutions from our experience: 


Option 1: Savings.

This is most common. The couple needs savings of £62,500 held for 6 months. Can be in any currency or country. If your family want to help, they have to deposit money on your and/or your partner’s account. You have to wait for 6 months. 


Option 2: British partner coming to the UK alone and working for 6 months.  

This may not sound like a god option at first glance, being apart for 6 months, but it is a realistic option and it often ends up being the only option. 6 months may sound like a long time but at least you are able to pin down a point in the future when you will be eligible for a UK Spouse/partner visa. We often see couples spending months trying to work out how they get around the £18,600 income rule, or even applying anyway and getting a refusal (and losing money), only to revert to this option in the end. It can be particularly difficult to face this if the foreign partner is the one with in-demand skills and with better-paid job prospects (yet we can’t use their work income at this stage). 

So, a British partner moves to the UK on their own, finds a job paying £18,600 per annum, works there for 6 months. During that time, a foreign partner can come here as a visitor and stay for up to 6 months, (but only if non-visa national, such as American). If you require a visitor visa, i.e. visa stamp before travelling, you are unlikely to get it under these circumstances, although nothing ‘s stopping you from trying. It won’t affect your future spouse/partner visa chances. 

If you can’t wait to be together after these long 6 months – get your visa application prepared well before the end of 6 months and submit it as soon as, using he priority service. The priority service takes 1.5 - 2 months (standard service - 3 months). 

We often start working on the case before the British partner comes to the UK in search of a job.  The coupes benefit from our guidance during the whole 6 months. We get the application ready by the end of 6 months and minimise the time you spend apart!


Option 3: Pension or pension/savings together. 

Unlike employment income, pension can be from either partner (not just the British sponsor), from any country and it doesn’t have to have been paid for 6 months. We often see couples with a combination of UK and foreign pensions.

Important! We are talking about pension as income, not the value of the pension pot and not the balance on the pension account. 

If your pension(s) income is below £18,600 per annum, you can add savings. The amount is not the difference, however, but based on the special formula. For example, if your total pension is £10,000 per annum, you need £37,500 in savings. 


Option 4: rental income from a UK property. 

This is common where a British spouse/partner went to work abroad and rented out their UK home. Then they met their non-British partner and at some point, are considering returning to the UK together. 

With a London property, the rent can often be as much as £18,600 per annum. Bizarrely (but true), the Immigration Rules take into account gross rent before any deductions, so one London property can often meet the whole threshold. If not, you can also add savings. 

There is a catch! It cannot be a property that will become your home when you return to the UK – it will stop being a source of income. It could work, however if you are able to provide alternative arrangements (for the visa purpose).  


Option 5: selling a property.   

This comes under the Savings category. The value of a property cannot be used for the Financial Requirement £18,600, but the proceeds of a sale can be. If you sell a property and put the net proceeds to a cash bank account, you can use it as savings. If it’s the only source – you need net proceeds of £62,500. You don’t need to hold the funds in the bank for 6 months! 


For individual advice or to make an application, please visit our website: Spouse Visa page or contact us: info@1st4immigration.com. We respond emails on the same working day.


1st4Immigration is one of the most experienced and prominent UK immigration law companies, accredited by the OISC at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office address: Tower 42 (NatWest Tower), 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HN.