* Access to all of our information-rich forum boards and timely responses from a community that has been built up since 2001. Our members have experienced everything from making the move over to the UK, dealing with home sickness, tricky visa issues relating to LTR (Leave To Remain) and ILR (Indefinite Leave To Remain), BUNAC Study Visas, Work Permit, HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Program) Visa, Medical Issues (where to find a doctor, how to register on the NHS), Parenting Advice, or just plain support during rough times.
* Immediate access to an online community that is quick to respond, respectful, caring and helpful.
from the USA - People applying for a visa from the
United States should make their visa application to the British
Embassy in Chicago; Los Angeles, or New York. If you have any
further questions, please contact Chicago; Los Angeles, or New
York directly. Click here
for a list of British Embassies in the USA.
from the UK - see this section of the IND website
for forms. Completion of an application form is compulsory for
all applications to stay in the UK (except applications for asylum
and applications under EC law). There are eight different application
forms and it is important that you use the correct form. If you
are in any doubt as to which form you should use please telephone
the Immigration and Nationality Enquiry Bureau on 0870 606 7766,
or if you cannot download an application form, please telephone
the Application Forms Unit on 0870 241 0645. Please note, these
application forms should only be used if you are already in the
UK and are applying to extend your stay. If you are currently
overseas, you should contact your nearest British overseas mission.
Q. What do I need
to do after I am married to a UK citizen?
A. You must apply for your Further Leave
To Remain visa from the Home Office.
(Further Leave To Remain Visa) FORM - The FLR is an initial
settlement visa. The FLR visa allows you to work legally in the
UK as well as have access to the National
Health Service and apply for a National
Insurance Number (Social Security number equivalent). When
your husband or wife arrives in the United Kingdom, they will
be given permission to stay and work for 12 months* under the
FLR visa. (*As of May 14, 2003, the FLR will be good for 24 months)
Near the end of the FLR period, if you are still married and plan
to live together, your husband or wife must apply to remain in
the U.K. permanently.
You must apply for your ILR visa about
6 weeks before your FLR visa expires via the Home Office. No
sooner and no later. If you apply for the ILR by mail, it can
take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to receive your passport back
from the Home Office. Keep this in mind if you expect to do
any travel because if you must ask for your passport back, your
application will be withdrawn and you will have to start all
You may apply for your FLR or ILR visas
in person at the Home Office in Croydon (London). If you do
apply in person, be sure to show up EARLY to queue up. 6 a.m.
is a good time. The Home Office will expect you to take a number
and the process could involve several hours of waiting to be
called up for your 'interview'. There is a limited number of
people that the Home Office will see in a day. If you arrive
late, you could be out of luck! One
last thing..be sure to have all of the paperwork required in
order and be sure they are ORIGINALS and not photo copies. See
the application forms for full instructions on what is required.
(Indefinite Leave To Remain Visa) FORM - once you receive
your ILR, you no longer have to deal with the Home Office on settlement
in the UK. Again, this may be applied for by mail (4-12 weeks
processing) or in person at the Home Office. Again, be sure to
arrive as early as possible if applying in person. See
Q. What if I have posted by passport
to the Home Office to get my visa and I need it back to travel?
A. If you want your passport back so that you
can travel, the Home Office will return it, but your application
will be withdrawn. See this link for more: Getting
your passport back.
Q. Is it difficult to find employment
in the UK as a US citizen?
A. Yes, it is difficult. The rules are that all
jobs in the UK must first be offered to UK citizens. If they cannot
be filled by UK citizens, they must be offered to European Union
citizens. If they cannot be filled by EU citizens, then these jobs
are opened up to non-UK / non-EU citizens. Each employer must prove
that the job cannot be filled by UK or EU citizens, making it difficult
for employers to offer jobs to US citizens. It is not impossible,
but it is difficult to get a company to sponsor you because of these
rules. It is strongly advised that you do
not seek illegal 'under the table' employment in the U.K. or you
may risk deportation and refusal to re-enter the U.K.
Visiting As A Tourist
Q. What are the
rules on visiting the UK as a tourist?
A. You are allowed to enter and stay in the UK for up to
6 months. You may also extend your visitors visa for another 6 months
via the Home Office..
Forms - The Immigration and Nationality Directorate can
provide you with forms. Please note, these application forms
should only be used if you are already in the UK and are applying
to extend your stay. If you are currently overseas, you
should contact your nearest British embassy.
Q. Can I apply for dual US / UK citizenship?
A. You may apply once you have been married to
a UK citizen for 3years. See this link for more information: Dual
Q. How can I settle in the UK?
A. There are several ways in which an American
citizen may settle in the United Kingdom:
Over The Pond
- Compiled by an American who has been through the process of
marrying a Brit. This guide is for those engaged or who are married
to a permanent resident or citizen of the United Kingdom. It includes
information on all aspects of marriage-based immigration to the
United Kingdom -- obtaining a fiance(e) visa, marriage visa, permanent
residency, and citizenship. It also includes information on getting
married in Scotland; if you are to be married in England, Wales,
or Northern Ireland. Be sure to check out the FAQ.
USA - run by the British Information Services, a
New York-based Section of the British Embassy in Washington DC
Get your questions answered! - For further questions,
please see our
Immigration forum. This is a free service. You may
post your questions and receive answers in a timely manner from
others who have gone through what you are about to.
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Expats In The UK is a website dedicated to assisting Americans living
in or moving to Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.