Immigration Corner | When a relationship ends
Dear Mr Bassie,
I am married to a British citizen, but we are now separated. I would like to know if I have to leave the United Kingdom since the relationship has ended.
Persons must tell the Home Office when they divorce or separate from their partner if their visa is based on the relationship. If this is the case, they must then either apply for a new visa or leave the United Kingdom.
Persons should be aware that a visa is based on their relationship if they have 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; or the partner of a British citizen, EEA national, 'settled' person with indefinite leave to remain, or someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection. Please note that the same rules apply if their ex-partner's visa is based on their relationship, for example, they are the dependent or they are their 'sponsor'.
When informing the Home Office, persons should write a letter to them, telling them that the relationship has ended. The letter should include both parties':
• Date of birth
• Passport number
n Home Office reference number (this can be found on letters sent from the Home Office).
If persons or their ex-partners have children in the United Kingdom, they 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 both parties
n How much child maintenance or financial help each party gives to each other
• Details of any family court cases that are ongoing.
There are certain forms that must be sent with this letter, and the person writing the letter should use the:
• Public statement form if persons do not want the Home Office to give their ex-partner any details from the letter; or
• Consent form if persons consent for the Home Office to give their 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 then be sent to the following address:
UK Visas and Immigration
Marriage Curtailment Team
New Hall Place
If persons are applying to stay in the United Kingdom, they must apply for a different visa. When applying for different visas, persons must check their eligibility - for example, persons may be able to apply:
• For a work visa
• To settle in the United Kingdom
• As a parent of a child who is British, has 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, the length of time he/she has lived there.
Just for completeness, persons should check if they can settle in the United Kingdom if they have experienced domestic violence as the partner of a British citizen, person settled in the UK, or a member of HM Forces who has served for at least four years.
Please note that it is important that the application be made 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