If you’re currently on a Spouse Visa in the UK and your relationship has broken down, you could be asked by the Home Office to leave within a number of weeks. After joining your spouse and settling down, you’re probably not willing to leave just yet, especially if you’ve started a family.
These five tips will help you organise yourself so that immigration doesn’t add to the stress of dealing with a major break up.
1. Alert the Home Office
The first thing you’ll need to do is let the Home Office know that you’re no longer in a relationship with your sponsor. If the Home Office finds out that you failed to let them know your relationship has ended, your chances of staying in the country might be in trouble.
Generally, the Home Office expect you to notify them once your relationship has broken down. The best time to do it is at the start of the divorce proceedings. Keeping in good favour with the Home Office by informing them as early as possible will help your chances of staying.
By letting them know, you’ll be expected to leave within 60 days unless you apply for a different type of visa that will allow you to stay.
Fortunately, you do have the option of remaining if you can successfully get a new visa.
2. Identify a new visa route
The UK has many visa options that count towards settlement if you are intending to remain in the country permanently.
- Work visas – the most common being the Tier 2 (General) Visa. If you’re already working in the UK, check that your place of work is able to employ foreign workers.
- Study visas – if you have an unconditional offer of study, you’ll be able to transfer to the Tier 4 Study visa to stay in the country.
- High-value migrant visas – The Tier 1 Visa route will allow you to stay in the country to start or invest in a business or to invest in the UK economy. This visa type requires a high amount of available funds but can be a useful means of remaining in the country successfully.
These are just some of the visa options that could be available to you to remain.
3. Seek professional advice
The visa application process is difficult, regardless of which visa you are applying for. It’s vital that you make the right decision before applying to give you the best chance of getting a successful result. If you’ve read these examples and still aren’t sure about which would be best for you, it’s highly advised that you seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer to help you decide the route with the best chance of keeping you in the UK.
If you and your partner started a family in the UK and you have sole responsibility, or at least access rights to your child(ren), a Family Visa would give you the best opportunity for remaining in the country.
This visa type has similar English Language and maintenance fund requirements as most other visa types and is available to be renewed after the initial 30 months until you have five years continuous residence and can apply for ILR.
5. Domestic violence
Your future in the country shouldn’t be put at risk if you’ve been the victim of domestic abuse. The Home Office has provisions in place which allow for violence victims to apply for ILR regardless of how long you’ve been in the country.
You will have the chance to apply for temporary leave while you complete your ILR application, which should be completed as quickly as possible following your break up. You will need to provide evidence of domestic abuse to be eligible for this route but if you’re successful you’ll be able to stay in the country for a long as you’d like.
Whatever your situation, you have many options for staying in the country despite leaving your partner. As long as you get yourself organised as quickly as possible, you’ll save yourself further stress in a difficult time of your life.
This article was written by Damon Culbert, a Content Writer for the Immigration Advice Service, leading immigration lawyers London.