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DP's Leave to Remain Visa Refused- Can Anyone Help? Long sorry!

(15 Posts)
DrinaDancesInParis Sat 05-Dec-15 18:59:10

We are hoping to see a solicitor next week but I am also posting here in the hope that someone can stop me having a panic attack help.

DP is American. We met in the UK and have been together for 6 years, living together for 5. We are getting married next year. He is just finishing a PHD and his student visa expires in January, so we applied for leave to remain due to us having lived together for 5 years and my being a UK citizen.

We got a letter today telling us it's been refused on several grounds: firstly they say we haven't proved we live together, secondly, we haven't proved my earnings, and thirdly, there is no insurmountable obstacle to us living together in the US. They even suggest we use modern communications (presumably skype etc) to conduct our relationship from opposite sides of the Atlantic!

We rent, and we sent our tenancy agreement, which is the only one we've ever had, which does make it look like it expired after six months- we just went onto a 'rolling contract.' We are going to ask our estate agent for a new agreement or an official letter to confirm we do actually live together. We also sent my payslips for the last six months. They say we should have sent bank statements. It didn't say that when we applied! We can send bank statements.

In terms of "insurmountable obstacles", legally speaking I am not sure what we have to prove. Because my DP has been studying I have been building my career here in the UK as a teacher and I love my job. I have no idea if I could get a job in the US, or even get a visa. My family is all here. Really it comes down to the fact that we have a life here- my career, our friends, my family...and my DP had a plan to apply to for jobs in his field once his PHD was complete. Even if he couldn't find a job, I am earning enough to support him. We've discussed that he could be a SAHP while I work once we have children.

I'm really panicked. I don't want to emigrate to the US, although of course I will try to if it is our only chance to be together. But what happens if I can't get a visa for the US either? If my DP gets deported at the end of January we will have to live separately for a while as I can't just walk out on my school and fly to the US just like that. We are secure and in love but it will obviously be horrible and put a painful strain on our relationship.

Also, I feel that the Home Office have deliberately made it hard for us by only giving us 14 days from the date of their letter to appeal, then sending it second class and timed to arrive today, a Saturday, so we can do very little over the weekend in terms of getting legal advice etc, and actually only have ten days now to appeal.

Can anyone please help? Sorry for the length!!

KP86 Sat 05-Dec-15 19:02:45

Go see an immigration agency, like 1st Contact. Expensive (around £800, plus actual visa costs) but worth it. We used them to organise my and DS's visas recently and they told us about all sorts of things we needed to provide but had no idea about.

The U.K. Gov website is terrible and I have a theory they've made it confusing on purpose to make it harder for people to apply.

DrinaDancesInParis Sat 05-Dec-15 19:14:38

Thanks for replying KP86! I agree, the whole system seems to set you up to fail sad

I think we have to appeal this decision before we can reapply (which we will definitely do through an agency next time as you suggest) - does anyone know if that's right?

KP86 Sat 05-Dec-15 19:18:59

We were stuffed around because I didn't realise (even after reading the gov website many, many times) that we couldn't apply for the visa we needed from within the UK. We had to travel back to Australia and do it from there.

Expensive mistake and really frustrating as the British consulate in Australia will not provide advice on visas and the only way to find out info is to pay an agent.

Thistledew Sat 05-Dec-15 19:21:29

You don't have to appeal before you reapply, and I'm afraid to say that it seems you didn't put together a proper application so you almost certainly would be better off reapplying whilst your DP's visa is still valid.

There is no doubt that the rules have been made complex on purpose to get the maximum number of refusals. I would strongly suggest that you get some decent legal advice- whereabouts are you in the country? Some firms are better than others.

SouthYarraYobbo Sat 05-Dec-15 19:23:22

I ended up using my company's immigration advisor's for my ILR as it just got too confusing! I'm married to an Irishman and have been in the UK 6 years and we did need to send in his last 5 p60 to prove his earnings and that he had been in the UK all that time. I can't recall having to prove we live together but l might be wrong.

I would have hated to have to spend that money on something that should be pretty straight forward but I agree with pp l think they deliberately make it very confusing.

Good luck, l hope you can get it sorted soon

Boosiehs Sat 05-Dec-15 19:24:43

If you are in london try medivisas.

You need help making the appeal and making the best case.

DrinaDancesInParis Sat 05-Dec-15 19:34:06

Thanks everyone flowers

KP86 blimey shock

Thistledew- We are in Norwich. I have contacted a solicitor here who say they specialise in immigration/visa things and hopefully we can get a swift appointment for next week. Perhaps a new application would be best then, especially if you can't send new evidence as part of an appeal.

This is so stressful and horrible! <glares at Tories for messing with love life and life in general>

specialsubject Sat 05-Dec-15 22:12:12

not totally clear why it would be different under any other government!

good luck.

DeoGratias Sat 05-Dec-15 22:32:38

The biggest issue is Cameron promised to get net immigration down to about 10,000 a year and instead it is 300,000. It has been na utter failure so T May is trying to stop all kinds of legitimate immigrants from visiting lecturers to legitimate students to essential employees. It is causing massive issues and even so still not reducing net immigration - everyone wants to live in the UK.

Ask the solicitor what difference it would make if you were married too in which case perhaps get married ASAP rather than later next year. I don't know how easy it is to get teaching jobs in the USA if you are English but if you both want to settle/stay here and bring up a family here is that going to be feasible on one teacher salary with your ex not working and caring for the children, from a financial point of view?

DrinaDancesInParis Sun 06-Dec-15 10:04:29

Thanks for replying!

Yes, will ask about marriage, although it looks as though that is the same visa? We are happy to nip along to registry office if necessary! And DP would be delighted to avoid any fuss

In terms of our longer term financial plans (and at the risk of outing self!) my DP is a novelist so has some money coming in from his publisher. He wants to teach/lecture too though. I also write and have extra money in addition to my teacher salary from book deals. We are planning to send all of our statements which show my first advance sitting there in an ISA- we are saving it to buy a house.

I think as Thistledew says above we just really messed up the original application. We did read everything about ten times and I'm sure they didn't ask for bank statements, but I can see how the tenancy agreement doesn't work in our favour. I'm hoping with the help of a lawyer the second application will go through.

Thanks everyone for all your help. Feeling a bit calmer about it all today.

cdtaylornats Sun 06-Dec-15 12:19:10

You might get more advice on the UKYankee site. The expats there have run up against every imaginable angle as far as US citizens in the UK are concerned.

Thistledew Sun 06-Dec-15 13:32:17

The list of required documents is on the UKVI website in Appendix FM-SE, but you need a degree in cryptology to work out which apply to you, and even then there are some paragraphs that are literally incomprehensible, it is so badly drafted.

BankWadger Sun 06-Dec-15 13:50:40

You meed to check the conditions of his student visa, but ou can't just nip to the registry office I'm afraid. Unless it is stipulated in his current visa he can, to just nip to the registry office he would have to return to the US and apply for a fiancé visa.
You're quicker applying for ILR first then getting married (in your circumstances anyway).

For proof of relationship send them everything; letters, bills, photos etc.
Sounds silly and envasive which it is but it's what they want. You are basically trying to build a rock solid case that your relationship is legitimate.

KP86 Sun 06-Dec-15 18:18:12

For DS and me to be here on a family of UK citizen visa, we had to provide bank statements for all of our accounts going back 2 years, UK lease agreement, report showing that our flat is big enough according to UK housing act, DH's payslips and highlighted bank statements showing money going into our account, a letter from DH to the Home Office 'inviting' us to the UK to live with him, our marriage cert, DS's birth cert, photos over our relationship and letters addressed to us at the same address over the last two years.

And all of these docs (I'm sure I've forgotten some) had to be posted originals. Not even email was acceptable. It was ridiculous.

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