Complete Guide to theUK Spouse Settlement Visa Process
15 June 2017 | Mri Grout - A Lifelong Vagabond
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer so do not take this guide as definite legal advice. I am simply someone who has struggled through the UK spouse settlement visa process and have written a guide about the steps I have took to get accepted. See the start of this guide at Complete Guide to the UK Spouse Settlement Visa Page 1 See the supporting documents section of this guide at Complete Guide to the UK Spouse Settlement Visa Page 2
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7. Get a Recent Passport Photo of Yourself
DIFFERENT COUNTRIES HAVE DIFFERENT PASSPORT SIZES. So for instance, you cannot get a UK passport photo from a US passport photo booth or company specializing in passport photos. Instead you will have to figure this out on your own. We took our own photo, used Passport ID Photo Maker Studio: All Standard Sizes to size it (it's an app), and then printed two off at Walmart. Some sources will say you only need one, but others two and we decided not to chance it. Passport photo for your UK spouse settlement visa requirements:
- 1 month old max
- plain cream or light grey background
- unmarked on both sides of the photo
- be the full photo (no cropping)
- 45mm high x 35mm wide
- contain the applicant’s head only
- eyes open and visible (including from glasses glare)
- no face coverings except for religious purposes (including hair in the way)
- meet the size requirements found in the photo on the right
8. Attend Your Biometric Appointment
The next available appointment can vary from days to weeks. The earliest we could do was a week away. All they do here in America is take your fingerprints and a headshot photo of you. They will then stamp your appointment conformation letter, which you CANNOT lose as you will need to send this in with your application. The only thing you (the applicant) need at your biometric appointment, if done in America, is a printed copy of your appointment conformation and your passport or travel document. For other countries, the requirements will differ and with some you will need to bring the entire application. This information can be found in an email when you book your Bio app so if you're unsure, book the appointment at least two days away, giving you time to mail the documents to your spouse overseas if necessary.
9. Pay for Your Return Mail
Unfortunately you HAVE to use their UK spouse settlement visa mailing operator. There is a priority option, but I'm not convinced it actually makes your visa get processed faster. For one, numerous priorities and standard applicants from the same country have had their UK spouse visa processed at roughly the same time. And two, the way I read it, their website claims it isn't available to settlement visas like this one. However, others will disagree so the final opinion is yours. You also need to supply them with an envelope in which to mail your original documents back to you. Your passport will normally be mailed back separately to where you had your biometric appointment as you won't get it back until they reach a decision. We were traveling at the time of our appointment so I included a letter asking them to send my passport back with all of the other original documents to my home address and they did. NOTE: If you cannot access the VFS payment site due to it asking for a UKN number and cannot change your visa type (the UKN number is supposed to be for citizenship visas, not settlement), then use this link https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/ShoppingCart/Pages/Authorization.aspx Also Don't forget to send them your return mail receipt.
10. Organize Your UK Spouse Visa Application
The UK immigration office will want your UK spouse visa to be ordered in the following way:
- Application form, Appendix 2, loose passport photo(s); letter of corrections (if necessary), original passport and any previous ones or reason they’re not included
- English language evidence (test or birth certificate of English speaking country)
- Letters of introductions, sponsor’s birth certificate (we included the original and a copy), photocopies of sponsor’s passport bio and any stamps (we had it notarized by a US office), relationship proof (would recommend starting with your marriage certificate if applicable and then everything else in order of strength)
- Sponsorship support form, sponsor’s financial proof, resumés/CVs
- Evidence of accommodation (rental/letter of accommodation + proof of ownership)
- Receipts of NHS surcharge, application fee, and attended biometric appointment
- Return envelope and receipt of online payment
It is recommended that your original documents be kept in a separate file; we put ours at the front.
11. Mail it Express and Tracked
I shouldn’t have to tell you that it is extremely important for this package not to get lost in the mail. I would recommend going with someone you definitely trusted and even then, have it tracked and expressed for your own peace of mind. If you use their return VFS service it will be sent through UPS and you will be given a tracking number for both the send and return. If you book it yourself through UPS you will need to give the sendee's number. For the office in Sheffield it is 0300 123 2253. The address to send it to for USA APPLICANTS IS: International Operations and Visas 6 Millsands Vulcan House Sheffield S3 8NH United Kingdom Other countries will need to send it to different addresses. You can find more information here: Where to Send UK Spouse Visa for Different Countries. This is a partial list and I will try to update it if UK immigration changes the addresses.
12. Wait Anxiously to Hear Back
The process time for UK spouse settlement visas are supposedly around the 30 working day mark. However, that seems to be complete hogwash. Nevertheless, if you want to see the government's estimate of your application process time, check out the official Visa Processing Times. My UK spouse visa process went as follows: STANDARD VISA FROM THE USA
- Online Application Completed: 05 June 2017
- Biometrics Appointment: 12 June 2017
- Mailed Off Application: 19 June 2017
- Received Email of it Being Processed: 26 June 2017
- Heard nothing, but there is a site I was told about in this Facebook group that will update with your visa process. I tried googling this and couldn't find it, so make sure to bookmark this: Check your visa or immigration application status. And despite what it says, you can use your GWF number to check. Mine said it wasn't found until it was decided.
- Above Website Updated: 26 August 2017 (though it claimed it was decided on the 24th)
- Email From Them About Decision: 29 August 2017
- Package Arrived: 01 September 2017
- Date Allowed to Enter: 19 September 2017 (this was the date I mentioned in my application, so choose it wisely)
- Cutoff Entry Date: 19 October 2017
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Further pages of information on the UK Spouse Visa Guide:
Travel Tip #4
Complete Guide to the UK Spouse Settlement Visa comments: