A Blend of 2 Cultures

UK Spouse Visa Premium Service FAQ

(Hello, my name is Nhu Quynh Phan, and I have just been successful in obtaining a spouse visa.  This means that I can now live with my husband, open a bank account, apply for jobs, get a United Kingdom (UK) driving license, and travel back and forth to England without much trouble.  Two years and half from now, I will have to renew it.  It should not be too difficult, provided that we are still together and our financial circumstances are secure.  Please feel free to let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.  I am very thankful to have friends sharing their own experiences in getting leave to remain, and honored to pay it forward.)

  1. Which form should I complete? Please follow instructions from the Government website at: https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse
  2. Should I hire an attorney? It is up to you.  Some cases are not straightforward, and it is understandable that you would like to seek professional advice.  Applying for the visa is a stressful (and sometimes, confusing) process.  I myself did consider paying extra to have a lawyer answer all my questions and ensure my supporting documents are complete and in the right order.  However, in the end, we decided not to hire an attorney.
  3. Which supporting documents did you bring?  Don’t panic.  When you submit the form online, you will be able to print a document checklist.  As long as you have all the documents you are asked to provide, you should be okay.  Ours include: (1 – application related) passport photos, passports, application form, document checklist, declarations/ consent forms, and biometric form (2 – sponsor’s identity and marriage) my husband’s birth certificate, our marriage certificate, and relationship evidence (1 wedding photo of us signing the marriage certificate, 1 wedding photo of us with all our guests, 1 print screen of our Facebook relationship status, wedding dress/ veil/ ring receipts) (3 – finances, employment and accommodation details) my husband’s employment contract, job description, supporting letter from employer, payslips, P60, bank statements, and land registry entries (4 – correspondence) (5 – unimportant/ nonrelevant documents) my criminal record, bank statements, US undergraduate transcript, and resume.
  4. Which correspondence documents did you prepare? Joint council tax bill, water bills and wedding venue receipt Mine: TV license, and a letter from a bank instructing the next steps to open a new account My husband’s: gas bills, bank statements, letter from his motor insurance company and building society.
  5. How did you prove your knowledge of English? Since I am an American citizen, I do not have to prove my knowledge of English.  Nontheless, I still brought my US undergraduate transcript and an offer letter from the University of Exeter.  Someone told me that the more employable I am, the more likely I am granted a visa.
  6. Did you submit Property Inspection Report? No, I didn’t.  My husband owns a three-bedroom house, and he doesn’t rent out any of the rooms.  We assume that submitting the land registry entries alone is sufficient.
  7. Did you and/or your husband write any personal statement? Each of us wrote one personal statement when we applied for the fiance visa.  (We also submitted one supporting letter from our parents, which discusses in length about our romantic relationship from their point of view.)  We did not think it was neccessary to send the Home Office another one when we applied for the spouse visa.
  8. Did you make copies of any of the documents you submitted? Yes, we did.  We copied our marriage license and our passports (only the pages with our biographical data).
  9. What else did you bring to the premium center? Someone told me that the staff at the premium visa center might ask me to show the card with which we used to pay for the application and the healthcare fee.  Because my husband couldn’t take me to the premium visa center, I took his card with me, together with a signed letter saying that he gladly made those payments.  I also brought  some water and a book of sudoku.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on reading British novels.
  10. Did your husband go with you? No, he did not.  He couldn’t take any more days of leave from work.   An officer did ask me where my husband was.  I told her exactly what I just told you, and introduced her to my father-in-law, who was sitting next to me.  His parents drove me to Croydon.  (If only I had known that my partner’s presence is not required.  We could have booked a weekday appointment at Cardiff and saved 75 pounds.)
  11. What are the other questions you were asked at the center? The only other question the officer had was if my partner and I have married.  (And to be honest, I was too suprrised to answer properly.  I thought it was obvious.)
  12. Did they return your passport? Yes.  All of the paperwork we submitted was taken to a caseworker.  After a decision was reached, all of the supporting documents were returned to us, our passports included, together with a confirmation letter of the decision.
  13. Could I travel before I receive my BRP? If I were you, I wouldn’t.
  14. How did you organise our supporting documents? It doesn’t matter.  At the visa center, I was asked to remove all of the sticky post-it notes labeling each section.  They then put all the documents in one folder.
  15. How difficult was it to get an appointment?  Do not expect to be seen in the next seven days, or else, you will be disappointed.  If you are desperate to have earlier appointments, it is worth checking every 25 minutes.  The website is updated all the time.   As a matter of fact, at 7am, I was able to change my appointment to the one on the next day.
  16. What time was your appointment? Was it very busy when you came to the visa center? How long did you have to wait? Our appointment was at 5:20 pm.  According to an American citizen who had been in the center for more than five hours, the visa center was not as busy as it was when she showed up.  We received our decision pretty quickly, approximately after an hour and a half.
  17. Which center did you pick? How was the service? I went to the visa center in Croydon.  The staff members were friendly and professional.  They also have a cafe in the waiting room, but I preferred eating sushi in the shopping mall near by.
  18. Which visa did you have before your leave to remain is granted? Fiance visa.
  19. Why did you decide to apply for a fiance visa, instead of a student visa or a marriage visitor visa? First of all, I intend to live in the United Kingdom after I get married.  With a marriage visitor visa, I have to leave England after the wedding.  With a student visa, I might not be able to wed.  The Home Office makes decisions on a case-by-case basis when we give notice.  Fiance visa seems to be the only option I have.  I am not allowed to work, yet studying and getting married are permitted.
  20. When did you receive your fiance visa?  I applied for the fiance visa from the United States, and fortunately, was able to have it done slightly faster with the priority service.  On August 9th, I had my biometrics appointment, and on August 22nd, I received the confirmation from UKVI.  We were told that a decision about my visa was made on September 26th.  Two days later, on September 28th, I received my passport with my visa in.
  21. When did you receive your BRP? My appointment was on Wednesday; my BRP card was delivered the following Monday.
  22. Wait, what is the BRP? BRP is a biometric residence permit.  To learn more about the card, please go to https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits.
  23. What did you do after you receive the card? I opened a bank account, and applied for a National Insurance Number, European Health Insurance Card, and jobs.
  24. Couldn’t you open a bank account with your fiance visa? No.  You could only open bank accounts once you have become a UK resident.
  25. Does that mean I can’t use a bank statement as proof of address? That is correct.  Worse still, our energy supplier (EON) also refuses to add my name to the bill.  (I lived in the U.S., and have a U.S. debit card.  I still printted some bank statements to show that I haven’t been employed since I moved to the UK.)
  26. How did you apply for a National Insurance Number? Please follow instructions at this website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number.  I also attended an interview at the Jobcentre Plus in Plymouth.
  27. Did you change your last name after your wedding? I didn’t want to at first, but now I do. (This post is updated on June 10th, 2018.)  I have successfully let the bank, my current employer, utility companies, telephone company, local library services know about the change.  In a few week’s time, I will travel to Norway.  When I come back, I will change my name on my passport and my BRP, which is quiet costly and time-consuming.  Please note that the name shown on your spouse application/BRP must match with the name shown on your passport.

Thì Là 

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