My wife is a Mexican national. We were married in Mexico in 2008, and I started to raise my step-daughter as my own. Our son was born in Mexico in 2009 and has British citizenship.
In 2013, I went to work in Saudi Arabia, and my wife, who was heavily pregnant with our third (my second blood) child, stayed in the UK. I applied for further leave to remain for my wife, who was granted leave to stay outside of normal immigration rules under humanitarian considerations until July 2016 (2 and a half years) and our daughter was born November 2013 in England, and of course has British citizenship.
My step-daughter (who is 15 years old) came to visit with her mother and brother and sister in June of last year. Her grandmother in Mexico said that she would no longer be able to care for Michell in August, so she stayed on and entered a local school in grade 10 while we figured out what to do. Nobody could give us clear answers on what type of visa application needed to be made, as so many changes were happening in the law. In December, we extended her visitor visa for 3 months by going over to France and back. I was informed that I needed to apply for a settlement visa as a minor dependent of a person already settled in the UK, but that it could no longer be done with my step-daughter still in the country.
I flew my step-daughter back to Mexico end of February, and after wading through tonnes of websites with conflicting facts, I applied for my step-daughter's settlement visa in April, and she had her appointment at the consulate in Mexico city to give in the application and other documents on 28th April.
I was emailed on the 8th July from Bogota Visa Info to say a decision had been made, but it did not say what it was. It said documents would be returned to the Mexico City consulate, and to await instructions on collection. I was emailed on the 17th July from Visa Info Mexico City to say they were ready for collection, but it still did not say what the decision was.
After 3 wasted days and failed attempts to collect the documents, a friend has managed to collect them today. My step-daughter's application was refused, and we have no idea why.
The reasons for refusal are written under relationship requirements!! It says:
"You have applied for entry clearance to settle in the UK as the child of Mrs Alda Guadalupe Diaz Tejero (my wife). You have provided a letter from the home office showing that your mother was granted leave outside of the immigration rules with permission to stay until July 2016. "To meet the eligibility requirements for entry clearance as a child all of the requirements of paragraphs E-ECC 1.2 to 2.4 must be met. Paragraph E-ECC 1.6 states: One of the applicant's parents must be in the UK with 'limited leave to enter or remain' (this was in bold), or be applying, or have applied, for entry clearance, as a partner or parent under this appendix FM, and:
a) the applicant's parent's partner under Appendix FM is also a parent of the applicant; or
b) the applicant's parent has had and continues to have sole responsibility for the child's upbringing (this IS the case. Her biological father has never been in her life. Nobody in Mexico is able or willing to care for Alda Michell, my step-daughter, and she has been moving around relatives since February!!); or
c) there are serious and compelling family or other considerations which may make exclusion of the child undesirable and suitable arrangements have been made for the child's care"
As far as I can tell, the criteria of both b) and especially c) were more than met!! My daughter (step-daughter) has now missed basically an entire school year because of this mess, and we are desperate to get the situation sorted out, and reunite her with her mother and siblings!
Oddly, when our friend picked up the documents and the visa refusal letter, she presented my wife's UK residency visa as part of the verification that she had permission to collect the documents. They were very surprised that my wife was already resident in the UK, and mentioned twice they thought that she (my wife) was living in Merida. They were unwilling to give more information, saying that 'we had filled in the form incorrectly'. This leads me to suspect that they have misread their own form, and made an error.
On the application, I clearly put the applicant's address (my stepdaughter) as Merida, Mexico. The sponsor's address (my wife) as Vernon Cottage in the UK, also stating that she had a Temporary Resident status, with a Leave to Remain visa. The address was repeated several times as my wife's, and the address my stepdaughter would be living in elsewhere in the form. The fact that they seemed surprised that my wife was resident leads me to think there has been a severe misreading of the application that has led to the refusal.
I am furious and deeply confused as to why her visa has been refused!! I feel powerless, working over here in Saudi, and I thought I had done everything I was supposed to do by the book, after exhaustively wading through appendices, forms and guidelines...
Please... any insights and help would be appreciated. We have 28 days from receiving the notice of refusal (possibly from 1st July when the decision was made, or from today 24th July 2015 when the refusal letter was received) to appeal. I just want to know what the next steps should be. There has been an error somewhere! We are devastated by this refusal after having waited so long to reunite our family.
I have scanned copies of all application forms, appendices and supporting documents submitted with the application.
Mr. Gareth Whitethread