Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Immigration Corner | Will divorce affect my visa?

Published:Tuesday | November 1, 2016 | 11:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am married to a British citizen and we have recently separated. I know that we are heading for divorce. The problem I have is that my permission to remain in the United Kingdom is based on my marriage. What should I do?

- LS

Dear LS,

I am sorry to hear of your plight. When persons separate or divorce while holding a visa which depends on the relationship they must inform the Home Office.

Persons must then either apply for a new visa or leave the United Kingdom. It should be noted that the visa is based on a relationship if that person has permission to stay in the United Kingdom for a limited time as: a dependent on their partner's United Kingdom visa; a spouse or partner on a 'family of a settled person' visa; the partner of a British citizen, EEA national, 'settled' person with indefinite leave to remain; or someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection. Persons should also be aware that the same rules apply if their ex-partner's visa is based on the relationship, i.e., he/she is a dependent or he/she is the 'sponsor'.

Persons should write a letter to inform the Home Office that the relationship has ended. A person should include his/her and the ex-partner's: name; date of birth; address; passport number; and the Home Office reference number - this can be found on letters sent from the Home Office.

Further, if a person or the ex-partner has children in the United Kingdom, he/she must also include: their names and dates of birth; names of their parents or guardians, and who they presently live with; and how much time they spend with that person or the ex-partner.

In addition, the authorities will need to know how much child maintenance or financial help is given by each person who is party to the divorce or separation; and details of any family court cases that either person is involved in.

Persons should also include one of the following forms with his/her letter. They should use: the public statement if they do not want the Home Office to tell their ex-partner any details from their letter; or a consent form if they have no objection if the Home Office tells the ex-partner details from the letter.

However, it should be noted that both forms give the Home Office permission to contact the ex-partner at the address given.

The letter should be sent to:

UK Visas and Immigration

TM Marriage Curtailment Team

PO Box 99

Manchester

M90 3WW

I hope this helps.

• John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com