USA and the UK
If you first came to the UK from the US on a Spouse Visa, but are now going through a divorce, you may be concerned about your immigration status in the UK.
If you’re a US national going through a Spouse Visa curtailment after divorce in the UK, your Leave to Remain status will no longer be valid. You will be expected to apply for a new visa category or leave the country.
How can IAS help?
IAS houses some of the UK’s leading immigration lawyers. Your personal lawyer will work with you to find alternative visa options to suit your individual situation. There is only a limited period in which to make a final decision if you want to remain in the UK once your Spouse Visa is curtailed, so you must act fast.
Call us on +1844 290 6312 or make an inquiry online for a free consultation about what to do if you’re experiencing a Spouse Visa curtailment.
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If you entered the UK on a Spouse Visa but your marriage has ended, you will be subject to a Spouse Visa curtailment after divorce. This means that your visa will be canceled and become invalid. You will only have a short time to act if you wish to stay in the UK. Overstaying in the UK on a canceled visa of any type can have disastrous and permanent effects.
If you are caught disobeying the UK’s immigration laws, you will be found guilty of immigration fraud. This means that you may never be allowed to enter or even apply for another visa in the UK.
Informing the Home Office of your divorce immediately is essential and will work in your favor for any other visa applications you make.
You may be able to switch onto a different visa type if you have lived in the UK for a long period of time or have been working during your stay. As switching visa types can take a considerable amount of time, it is advisable to seek immigration advice from a lawyer or solicitor as soon as possible.
You can use our Visa Wizard to find out if you are eligible for any other UK visa routes.
If you are experiencing a Spouse Visa curtailment after divorce in the UK, you do not need to start your life from scratch again in the US. A Tier 2 (General) Work Visa could be the most likely visa option for you if you have worked and lived in the UK for a considerable amount of time. A Work Visa is the most common route for those coming to work and live in the UK.
If you are already working in the UK, you may be able to get your employer to sponsor you. They will need a UK Sponsorship License to issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship. This is the main requirement for your Work Visa application. Other requirements of a Tier 2 Working Visa are that you need to be earning £30,000 a year and that you have enough savings to support yourself.
Alternatively, you can apply for a job outlined on the Shortage Occupation List. These jobs are considered a priority by the UK government since UK nationals have been unable to fill the positions. This means that you can apply for a job from the list instantly and have a higher chance of acceptance. These jobs are also exempt from the income requirement.
A Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa permits you to stay in the UK for five years.
The Home Office understands the effects a divorce can have on children, which is only made worse if one parent is asked to leave the country. If you have children living in the UK, you may be able to stay with them following your Spouse Visa curtailment.
You may be able to apply for a Family Visa if you are the primary carer of a child who is a British Citizen or has settled status. This route is also available if your child has been living in the UK for the last seven years. This application can be made if you have sole or shared custody of your child(ren).
This visa does not require you to be in a relationship with your child’s other parent. You will, however, need to prove that you play an active and significant part in your child’s life. There are a number of documents which will help prove this. These include a note from your child’s school to say that you regularly attend parents’ evenings, etc. and/or are known by the school.
Unlike the Spouse Visa, this route does not have a minimum income requirement. You will be required to prove that you can support yourself and your child without access to public funds.
This visa lasts for the standard 30 months and can be extended if your child is under 18 before you apply.
There is an opportunity for you to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if you have had your Spouse Visa canceled. You will have to prove that you have spent a continuous 10-year period in the UK to be eligible for this route.
Proving continuous residence will be reliant on you proving that you have not left the UK for longer than 540 days in total during those 10 years. There is also a limit to how many days in each year you are allowed outside of the country to qualify.
Any time in prison, young offenders’ unit or secure hospital does not count towards your 10 years’ residence. You will also be expected to complete the Life in the UK test and possibly the English Language test if you are not a native English speaker.
If you are eligible to apply for long-term residence, this should be your first option as it will regularize your time in the country. Once you have ILR, you will no longer be subject to the Immigration Rules and will have more freedom in terms of working and living.
Your legal residency should be determined by your abuser. If your marriage has broken down due to domestic violence, you are legally entitled to apply for settlement. This is regardless of how long you have been in the country.
Domestic abuse is recognized as psychological, physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse. You will be asked to provide proof of this abuse. This can include, for example, court documents for a domestic violence protection order or medical proof of violence by your doctor.
The breakdown of your relationship during the probationary period needs to be set out in a letter to the Home Office when you are applying for settled status. You can also apply to the ‘Concessions for Victims of Domestic Violence’. This will allow you to stay in the UK for an extra three months while your application for settled status is processed.
One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic violence in their lives. Do not let immigration concerns limit you from getting help. You should not have the threat of Spouse Visa curtailment used against you in a relationship.
A divorce can be a very tense and uncertain time for all involved. Assessing your options early can save hours of stress in the future.
The Home Office often refuse applicants for not providing the right evidence or not fitting the requirements of their new visa type. The lawyers at IAS have a wealth of experience with all types of UK visa applications. We will be able to help you decide your path and guide you through it.
Our services include:
- Determining your best options for staying in the UK after your Spouse Visa curtailment;
- Confirming your documents are sufficient for your application;
- Producing a Letter of Representation;
- Maintaining contact with the Home Office throughout your application;
- Completing your application form(s) to an exceptional standard.
Get in touch on +1844 290 6312 or use our online contact form today to discuss your personal circumstances.