UK spouse visa process: UK Border Agency (UKBA) changes affecting settlement applications

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Marriagevisahelp.com, a global visa consultancy specialising in family immigration, today announced that two important changes have recently been made by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) which will affect those applying for a UK spousal visa, UK fiancee visa, UK unmarried (de facto) partner visa and other family visas under the settlement category.

Effective 28 February 2013, anyone applying for a UK settlement visa from the Philippines is now required to undergo a mandatory medical screening to show that they are free from active tuberculosis. The TB screening applies to anyone over the age of 11, while children under this age will need to be assessed by a panel physician as to whether they need to be fully tested or not. All testing and assessment must be carried out by an approved clinic in the Philippines before submitting a UK fiancee visa or marriage visa application to the British High Commission in Manila.

Although the testing is relatively quick, if initial results are not conclusive there is the potential for a secondary test to be conducted which could delay the issuing of a clearance certificate for up to two months. Those with a history of TB will be advised of possible delays at the initial screening. Those found to have infectious TB will be referred for treatment for a period of at least six months and will not normally be allowed to apply for a UK settlement visa until after they have been successfully treated and are certified to be free of TB infection. There are non-refundable fees associated with the testing. The initial fee covers the basic chest x-ray test, whilst additional fees may be applied if a further sputum test is necessary. It is essential for those arriving in the UK from the Philippines to have the TB certificate in their luggage as even with a valid UK settlement spouse visa, it may be necessary to present the actual certificate at a port of entry.

It has also been recently announced by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) that there will be an increase in fees for UK family visa applications made from overseas and applications made from within the UK. All settlement visa categories are rising in price to £851, an additional £25 per visa issued. The relevant categories are the UK marriage (spouse) visa, UK fiancee visa, UK unmarried partner visa, UK civil partnership visa and also the proposed civil partner visa category. The initial announcement was made in February, but the new fees did not come into force until 6 April 2013. The increase does not apply to UK visa applications that were submitted and paid for before this date. Applicants can use old UK visa application forms for 21 days following the increase, but these should be accompanied by the new fee.

In-country applications are also set to rise in price. Postal further leave to remain (FLRm) applications based on marriage to a British Citizen or UK legal permanent resident, are rising in price, but perhaps of most interest is a new fee of £375 on top of any charges to anyone applying for a UK spouse or partner visa in person (same day service). This will include a non-refundable appointment fee of £100 and dependants will be charged separately in all cases. With most UK immigration fees being non-refundable it is often advisable for anyone who is not too confident with forms and paperwork to use an agent. All of the complicated requirements can be explained clearly and in the event of a visa being refused, at least it will not be because there is a mistake on the form. Fees can add up very quickly when applying for any kind of visa, so it is important to make sure that you know what documents you need before you begin the process.

In other news, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) was split into two separate units within the Home Office on 1 April 2013: Immigration and Visa Service and Immigration Law Enforcement Division. Despite structural changes, the existing UK Immigration Rules will remain in force.

Marriagevisahelp.com is a full-service immigration consultancy firm dedicated solely to marriage visas. The firm specialises exclusively in fiancée, partner and spouse immigration. MarriageVisaHelp senior immigration consultants have over 30 years of combined experience in family visas.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.marriagevisahelp.com/index.php?page=uk-marriage-visa-uk

or contact:

Marriage Visa Help
+44 (0)208-144-2544
http://www.marriagevisahelp.com    
adm@marriagevisahelp.com

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