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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7672
Experience:  UK Lawyer holding practising certficate for England & Wales.
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Waleed,. Im a UK citizen. I was born here and have lived

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Hello Waleed,
my name is***** a UK citizen. I was born here and have lived here all my life.
In 2008 I entered into a relationship with a Russian woman living in the UK. As it turns out illegally.
We have lived together in Scotland since 2009.
We would like to try to make her situation in the UK legal. It is our intention to stay in the UK.
I was legally seperated from my wife in 2009 but am not divorced. This was done under Irish Law. My wife is Irish and lives in Ireland with our 2 children.
Do you have any advice on how we might proceed?
Best regards


Do you earn more than £18600 per annum from employment?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thanks for your question. I will try to help.

If you are not divorced then you will not be able to secure her status in the UK based on relationship at the moment because you are still technically married.

Once you are divorced then provided that you can show that you have lived together in a relationship similar to marriage by cohabiting for two years then she could apply for an unmarried partner’s visa.

However, because she does not have leave to remain in the UK she would most likely have to return to her home country to make the application from there.

If you intended to marry then you can apply for a fiance visa (once she has left the UK) so that she can come here specifically for the purpose of marrying. Once married you would then have to apply for a spouses visa (settlement – Further Leave To Remain). Two applications, two application fees.

Alternatively, You can either marry inside the UK before she goes or outside and then apply directly for a spouses visa at the UK embassy there; Once application, one application fee.

There is a slightly larger amount of documents to submit for a fiancé visa because you have to show that you intend to marry once she arrive here.

The eligibility criteria are largely similar for both applications. The advantage is that if your fiance visa is refused then you are not married. If you marry and you spouses visa application is refused initially and then on appeal then you are stuck being married but in different countries.

Here is the criteria you would need to fulfill for a fiance visa, as I say the criteria is largely the same for a spouses visa. If you meet this you will almost certainly not be refused a spouses visa:-

You have to produce to the UKBA documentation that proves the above. This would be some of the following:-

{C}· If you are to apply for a fiancé visa you will have to show evidence of your intention to marry, so things like purchase of a ring, evidence of having met (photos correspondence etc), booking of a wedding venue, evidence of invites etc.

{C}· Bank statements from both you and your fiance going back 6 months showing the income/capital you have available

{C}· Payslips (6 month of) and a letter from your employer stating that you have a permanent job, contract of employment

{C}· Documentary evidence of any other assets you hold (eg. Shares, evidence of ISAs or bonds)

{C}· Marriage certificate, Birth Certificate, passport

{C}· Evidence of correspondence between you and your fiance showing that the relationship is credible and genuine (eg. Emails, letters, evidence of previous trips, photos showing you together, phone records

{C}· Evidence of the accommodation where you will live (ie. land registry officials copies of the property that you own, mortgage documentation, copy tenancy agreement if you rent, council tax statements, house report by a solicitor, letter from landlord confirm he is happy to give you a further tenancy agreement

{C}· You should also include job adverts showing jobs available that you could do when you come here and show, via your CV, that you have the qualifications and work experience that you would be a viable candidate for those roles

She will also have to pass an Englsh Language test:-

The application will have to be supported by evidence proving the above eligibility criteria. They key to a successful application is producing well-collated documentary evidence for the above criteria. You will also have to produce statements made by both of you explaining and supporting how you meet the eligibility criteria.

She will need to apply for fiance/spouses visa using form VAF4 if applying from outside the UK.

Generally, I’ve found that persons considering applying for fiancé/spouse visa are surprised by the documentary requirements and complicated nature of the application preparation.

The best thing that you can do is to instruct a immigration solicitor based here in the UK to prepare an application for her (whichever way you decide to do it). You can find local solicitors via:-

It should cost around £1000-1500+ VAT. It will save you money in the long run, in all probability.

My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back. Please remember to leave positive feedback using the stars at the top of the page.

Kind regards,


Thomas and other Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Tom, thanks for the answer. Is there no way of doing this without divorce papers. I understand that the divorce procedure in Ireland is difficult.
Or can I apply for a divorce in Scotland?
When we separated we lived in Scotland. The separation process was started in Scottish courts and then she moved back to Ireland and restarted the process there.
I look forward to your response.RegardsMark


You would have to divorce I'm afraid.

I'm not really qualified to give an answer as to divorce in Scotland.

If you are now based in Scotland then you may be able to divorce there, but I cannot absolutely confirm. I would see a local matrimonial solicitor about this personally..