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US Visa worries, please help!

(80 Posts)
Sookeh Fri 26-Oct-12 21:27:57

Apologies in advance for how confusing this is. I feel totally overwhelmed.

Basically, DH has been offered a job near NYC. We all want to go and I am assuming this will mean we're put on L1B and L2 visas. My issue with this is that I am a Canadian citizen with ILR to remain in the UK (currently without a passport or a ILR stamp, erk). I've lived here my whole life but have, as of yet, not applied for citizenship.

What issues would living overseas for a few years have on my ILR and would this change once DH and I are officially married?

It's all so confusing! I am also wondering whether my mental health history (I was on a 72 hour section for post natal depression last year) would make it difficult to get a visa.

I'd so appreciate any advice at all because we have no idea what we're doing grin

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 26-Oct-12 21:30:57

If you leave before becoming a citizen, you will have to start the entry clearance and leave to remain process again after living abroad for two years.

Sookeh Fri 26-Oct-12 21:37:01

Does being married to a British citizen make a difference to how quickly it all goes through?

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 26-Oct-12 21:46:29

Entry clearance as a spouse is very straightforward.

natation Fri 26-Oct-12 21:47:37

You normally lose ILR if you leave the UK for more than 2 years - knowalotabouteducation knows a lot about UK immigration rules too! You will have no problem re-applying, but the timescale for any naturalisation is likely to start ticking again. Re-applying for ILR will be costly, so will naturalisation, so I'd in your circumstances take up GBR citizenship ASAP. No being married to a British citizen will be no quicker for nationality or re-application for ILR than any other nationality who is also settled and with admission rights or on ILR in the UK.

Sookeh Fri 26-Oct-12 21:50:05

Ah I see. Any idea how long citizenship would take? Would I then be eligible for a British passport?

ElaineBenes Fri 26-Oct-12 21:52:13

I agree with Natation. You can lose ilr after 2 years abroad and then you will have all the kerfaffle and expense of spouse visa and the reapplying for ilr when you move back to uk (in excess of 1000 pounds).

You should apply now for citizenship - you cant lose it then if you move abroad. I did that with my dh when we moved to the us.

ElaineBenes Fri 26-Oct-12 21:54:23

Takes up to 6 months. It took 4 months for dh's application to be approved and then the silly ceremony in the town hall. If you have an address in the uk, you could always submit your application and fly back for the ceremony. Still a lot cheaper than losing ilr!

CaliforniaLeaving Fri 26-Oct-12 21:55:01

Also the new rules came into play this year, so if you leave before citizenship your Dh would have to sponsor you all over again and meet the financial requirements to do so. I'd apply right away for citizenship even if it means you have to follow him to US a few weeks later. All the visa stuff for US takes a while anyway.
I recommend you have a look over on www.britishexpats.com in the US section there's a visa board and in the Moving back to UK there are people who know a lot about the new rules for moving to UK with a non EU spouse.

CaliforniaLeaving Fri 26-Oct-12 21:57:14

If you aren't married how are you moving to US with him? they don't recognize you as a partner for immigration unless you are married.

Sookeh Fri 26-Oct-12 22:15:36

We're getting married in the next two months smile.

Ah I see, I could just fly back for the ceremony, didn't think of that.

We're in over our heads a little. Thanks for the link to that forum!

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 26-Oct-12 22:18:21

If you are moving with a company, they should take care of visa fees both ways.

Sookeh Fri 26-Oct-12 22:19:16

We're assuming (and hoping) that they will.

Do you think I could be refused a visa based on my mental health history?

Sookeh Fri 26-Oct-12 22:28:02

I have next to no ID either so getting my passport sorted is going to be a total nightmare sad

NotMoreFootball Fri 26-Oct-12 23:21:51

I'm in the States on an L2 and was never asked any questions about my medical history either in the application forms or at the Embassy interview.

CaliforniaLeaving Sat 27-Oct-12 00:32:35

Yikes Sookeh time to start rounding up your paperwork grin Can you find your birth certificate at least? I'm sure you can send away for one even from Canada, or the Canadian embassy maybe?

CaliforniaLeaving Sat 27-Oct-12 00:34:12

I don't think they ask about Mental health unless you are doing an immigration medical for green card. You are L2 thats non a immigrant resident. your on a timed contract aren't you? Say two years or whatever it is.

natation Sat 27-Oct-12 07:53:01

How do you know you have ILR if you have next to no paperwork? I had a friend who came to the UK aged 14 with her British mother, at the time of her birth only fathers could bestow british nationality and he was American, she had ILR through residence but didn't renew her American passport, married, had a child, only then did she realise she had no proof of her status other than a passport from 20 years ago. It took lots of questions before firstly the ILR was proved (UKBA records were not computerised until the late 90s and her original paper ILR file was long destroyed) before she could apply to become a British citizen. Good luck. It will be sorted, but may well be quite a delay.

Sookeh Sat 27-Oct-12 08:27:12

I have paperwork that says I have ILR, just no real photo I'D, sorry should have made that more clear.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 27-Oct-12 11:30:34

The very first thing you need to do is get your Canadian passport. Check out the website of the Canadian High Commission in London.

I imagine you will need your last passport. If you don't have this, then your birth certificate and parents' birth certificates. You will also need to show them proof of your UK residency.

You will also need specific Canadian format passport photographs (they have a signature band across the bottom), unless this has changed recently.

Do this whether the US thing goes ahead or not.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 27-Oct-12 11:35:53

Just checked - you don't seem to need the signature band, but there are specific rules to follow. Somewhere like SnappySnaps will be able to do it.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 27-Oct-12 11:43:52

You have said that you have lived your whole life here. Were you born here? Have you checked out you eligibility for British citizenship?

Thistledew Sat 27-Oct-12 11:55:09

I second what has been said about acquiring British Citizenship before you go to America, as if you are away for more than 2 years you will lose your ILR. If something goes wrong, such as your DH being made redundant whilst you are out of the UK you may find that you no longer satisfy the rules to be able to return together.

Have a careful look at the naturalisation requirements- in particular I believe you have to be resident in the uk when you apply so you will need to provide evidence of this. You may be alright returning just for the ceremony but you will need to maintain a correspondence address in the UK. It may also be a bit of a gamble leaving before you actually become British, as if something goes wrong with the application and you have to resubmit it, you may find you no longer satisfy the residency requirements. My advice would be to apply for it ASAP, and then remain here until you have it all completed, even if that means you following your DH to America a few months later.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 27-Oct-12 12:06:04

I think the residency intentions are relaxed for spouses. Non-spouse have to be resident in the UK for five years and have to intend to continue living in the UK.

Spouse have a three year requirement and do not have to intend to remain in the UK.

It could fairly easily be argued that the OP retail return to the UK at the end of the US assignment, and she is not going to transfer domicile since the US is not her country of citizenship. The problem with having the application in process after she has left is that she may find it difficult to meet the immediate short term residency requirements.

Personally, I think the OP should only concern herself with getting a passport (Canadian, or British if she is eligible), and worry about naturalisation if is becomes feasible within the timescale. Presumably if her DH has a job offer, the clock is already ticking. If she is not yet married, she should do this as soon as humanly possible - don't delay in order to plan a fancy wedding. Get the legal stuff done and worry about parties later.

Sookeh Sat 27-Oct-12 17:22:05

Thank you so much for the advice all.

What, in your opinion, order should I do things in?

We're having a basic wedding and I do assume DH will be in America for a few months before me and the children can join him.

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