Immigration Corner | Will the divorce affect my UK visa?
Dear Mr Bassie:
I am married to a British citizen and sometimes we live in Britain. We have just separated, and I anticipate that this will lead to a divorce. Will this affect my visa?
I hope that you can advise me on this.
Persons must tell the Home Office when they divorce or separate from their partner if their visa is based on the relationship. Persons must then either apply for a new visa or leave the United Kingdom.
A person's visa is based on his/her relationship if he/she has permission to stay in the United Kingdom for a limited time as:
• a dependent on their partner's UK 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.
The same rules apply if a person's ex-partner's visa is based on the relationship, for example, he/she is a dependent or that person is the 'sponsor'.
When advising and writing a letter to the Home Office to tell them the relationship has ended, persons should include their own and the ex-partner's: name; date of birth; address; passport number; Home Office reference number - this can be found on letters sent from the Home Office.
If the applicant or his 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 live with.
- how much time they spend with the applicant or the ex-partner.
- how much child maintenance or financial help is given to each other.
- details of any family court cases that the parties are involved in.
Persons must also include one of the following forms with the letter - use the: public statement if persons do not want the Home Office to tell the ex-partner any details from the letter; consent form, if permission is given for the Home Office to tell the ex-partner details from the letter. Please note 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
Marriage Curtailment Team
New Hall Place
It should be noted that if the applicant's visa is based on a relationship that has ended, he/she must either leave the United Kingdom or apply for a different visa to stay in the UK.
When persons are applying for a different visa, they should check their eligibility for visas - for example, they may be able to apply for a work visa; to settle in the UK; as a parent of a child who is British, settled in the United Kingdom or has lived in the United Kingdom, for at least seven years; based on their private life in the UK, for example they have lived in the United Kingdom for a long time.
If the relationship ended because of domestic violence, persons should check if they can settle in the United Kingdom if they have experienced domestic violence as the partner of a British citizen or person settled in the United Kingdom; a member of HM Forces who has served for at least four years. Persons should note that they can report domestic abuse or get help over there.
Please note that persons should apply as soon as possible after the relationship breaks down.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org