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Author Topic: UK Fiance/Visitor Visa Guide for Russian Ladies  (Read 6507 times)

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Offline Gorky Guy

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UK Fiance/Visitor Visa Guide for Russian Ladies
« on: April 23, 2007, 07:47:42 AM »
April 08 - Note by Manny - Some of this info is now not current, I am working on a revised version of the below info. Anyone that needs up to date info meanwhile can PM me or make a new topic.

FIRST - FIANCE VISAS

I am in the process of helping a mate to bring his Russian lady over to the UK on a fiance visa. I thought that some up-to-date information on the current UK regulations, UK immigration entry clearance requirements and fees might be helpful to any Brits just starting out on this adventure, or contemplating embarking on it. The form you need to complete for a Fiance Visa application is VAF2. You can get it here:
http://www.ukvac-ru.com/images/VAF2_Nov06.pdf

As of last year, applicants no longer have to attend an interview at the British Embassy in Moskva to apply for a Fiance Visa. All applications are now handled by UK Visa Application Centres, of which there are currently 11 in Russia. The main ones are in Moskva, St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg. Here's a list:

http://www.ukvac-ru.com/wheretoapply.aspx

Success is virtually guaranteed if you concentrate on the essentials; proving that your inamorata qualifies for a visa and that you can support her in the UK without her working or sponging off the state. In short, if you own your own house, have a decent job, have some savings and can prove that you've met your smokinhotkova MORE than once, it's a snap. If, OTOH, you're a fifty-something dole-scrounger living in a rented attic and shagged your 20-year-old Sexy Olga in the bogs at Sheremetyevo, forget it...
 :o :(

The process of applying for a VISITOR VISA is much the same. The only major differences are that you don't need to provide birth certificates for a Visitor Visa nor evidence of an ongoing relationship. But it does help to show that there IS a relationship. The other major difference between the two types of Visa is that you need to prove that your smokinhotkova WILL RETURN HOME on a Visitor Visa and has some REASON to return home; i.e., dependent relatives, a job, savings, own apartment, etc.
This is obviously NOT required for a Fiance Visa as your Sexy Olga is going to be living with you at your expense. And boy -- is she ever gonna cost you!
 ;D


First - the rules
Prospective fiances MUST provide documentary proof to show that:

They plan to marry or register a civil partnership within a 6 months

They plan to live together permanently after they are married

They have met one another before

There is somewhere for them (and any dependants) to live until they get married without any help from public funds

They (and any dependants) can be supported without working or claiming any help from public funds

The phrases I have emphasized are CRITICAL to a successful application. The ECO (Entry Clearance Officer) must be sure that your inamorata is NOT going to sponge off the State. If he or she is NOT sure, the application will be denied.

Documents you MUST both provide

Both your birth certificates. Her's should be an original copy in Russian PLUS a notarized translation into English. If you can provide an apostille aswell, it won't hurt

Your marriage certificate(s) (if you/she have been married before)

Recent statements or letters from your sponsor’s UK employer, bank, local authority or building society to show you can fully support your inamorata when she 'arrives to you' without her working or claiming public funds

Invitation letter from you clearly stating your intention to marry within 6 months

Application letter from her clearly stating her intention to marry within 6 months

Correspondence clearly showing the existence of a relationship between you

If either of you have been married before, you MUST supply either a divorce certificate, a final dissolution order, or your previous wife's/husband's death certificate

Evidence that you  are 'present and settled' in the UK. (This can be a certified copy of your passport or certified copy of your birth certificate). I advise you to provide BOTH documents

The documents you SHOULD both provide

Photographs of the two of you together. (Kissing is fine, but no tongues and no 'naked snaps' please).
 ::)

Copies of hotel/apartment reservations to show you've stayed together before.

Copies of flight bookings, plane tickets, train tickets, etc, to show you've visisted one another before.

As much documentary evidence as you can both muster to prove the existence of an ongoing relationship and your firm intention to marry

NEW REGULATIONS!

From 1st January 2007 Visa Application Centres will only accept application forms that have been TYPED or hand written in CAPITAL LETTERS. Applications not completed in this way will be REJECTED.

With effect from Monday 23rd April 2007 (TODAY!), all applications MUST BE be in English. Yet another good reason to pick ladies who SPEAKA da ANGLISKI!

The new requirements are:

An English printed application form completed in English.
All supporting documentation must be in English and/or submitted with English translations.

If you don't do this, your smokinhotkova's application may be refused.

FEES
The current fee for a Fiance Visa application to the UK is £500.00 ($1,000.00).
Yep, it just went up!
Here's a complete list of ALL fees:
http://www.ukvac-ru.com/visafees.aspx

SAMPLE LETTERS
I've attached TWO PDF's as examples of an invitation letter (yours) and an application letter (hers) that should ensure a successful application. You don't need to follow these to the letter, but yours should provide as much supporting information. The more info and documetary evidence you provide the better.

http://www.spamnull.co.uk/downloads/vacinvite.pdf

http://www.spamnull.co.uk/downloads/vacapp.pdf

(Right click the link and choose 'SAVE TARGET AS' in Internet Explorer or 'SAVE LINK AS' in Firefox and Mozilla to download the pdf's to your hard disk)

LINKS
Finally, here are some useful links with further info:

UK Visa Application Centre
http://www.ukvac-ru.com/index.aspx

British Embassy, Moskva
http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1089123735249

I hope that's of some help to some of you.

If anyone would like to add to this topic, and/or has any criticisms/corrections to make (I'm not infallible) -- feel free.
 :)
Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence : Oscar Wilde -- 

Offline Manny

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Re: UK Fiance Visa for Russian Ladies
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2007, 10:23:49 AM »
My only additions to that are that it shouldnt matter not one jot if you are a tenant, as a UK sponsor, assuming you are in a reasonable financial position.
please tell me where I'm being / have been 'dishonest'? 
Yes, he said that.........

Offline Gorky Guy

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Re: UK Fiance Visa for Russian Ladies
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2007, 11:37:21 AM »
You're correct about tenancy versus home ownership. The ECO is not interested in whether or not the applicant's intended spouse owns their own home or lives in rented accommodation. The only criteria the applicant's intended spouse has to meet is that they have sufficient funds to fully support their fiance without recourse to public funds.

Arguably, some dude who owns a 2 bed semi on a sink estate and is mortgaged to the hilt is less likely to meet these criteria than a bloke earning a high wage and paying minimal rent for an apartment in a nice area.
Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence : Oscar Wilde -- 


Offline Gorky Guy

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UK Visas Idiot Guide
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2007, 07:35:40 AM »
In view of I/O's excellent effort in regard to Aussie visas, I thought I'd add this thread to provide a really quick and simple 'idiot guide' to getting your Russian lady into Blighty, either as a visitor or fiance. Those who require more detailed info on Fiance Visas to the UK should read the longer topic. If someone wants to add info for Ukraina, please feel free. The procedure is much the same. Though I have heard anecdotal evidence that it's harder for Ukrainian nationals to obtain a UK visa than Russians.

General
All visa applications to the UK are now handled by Visa Application Centres (VAC's) in Russia and Ukraina. Full list of all RUSSIAN VAC offices here:
UK VACS IN RUSSIA

How to apply
Download the appropriate PDF application form from the UKVAC website:
Visitor Visa (form VAF1)
Fiance Visa (form VAF2)

The UKVAC website also has checklists to help you complete the application form(s).
Visitor Visa Checklist
Fiance Visa Checklist

Your lady needs to take the completed application form to her nearest VAC together with her passport, fees (in cash!) and the appropriate supporting documentation. The papers are then sent to the British Embassy in Moscow. Most applications are processed within 48 hours. An interview is not normally required unless the application is not staightforward and/or suspected to be fraudulent.

Current fees are:
Visitor Visa: £63.00 (6 months). £200.00 for a year.
Fiance Visa: £500.00

Supporting documentation
This is much the same for both types of applications.

Letter from you (the sponsor) explaining the purpose of the visit and affirming your intention to fully support the applicant without her resorting to public funds or working in the UK. You will need to provide documentary evidence of your finances and employment. I.e., bank statements for the last 6 months, savings (if you have any) credit card statements, utility bills and a letter from your employer. If you are self-employed, you need to provide copies of your last two years accounts or some other evidence (tax returns) proving your self-employment and your earnings.

For visitor visas you need to assure the ECO (Entry Clearance Officer) that your Russian lady will return home.
This can be any or all of the following:
proof of property ownership
proof that she has a job (letter from her Russian employer and details of her earnings)
proof of savings (bank book/ statement)
dependent relatives (i.e., aged parents, siblings, kids).

Obviously this is not required for Fiance (settlement) visas.

For Fiance visas you need to assure the ECO (Entry Clearance Officer) that your Russian lady will not be sponging off the state or working in the UK. This is best accomplished by (a) repeatedly using the phrase 'without resorting to public funds or working' in your Sponsorship letter and (b), providing as much documentary evidence as possible to prove your ability to FULLY SUPPORT your fiance in the UK.

In addition, the applicant and her Sponsor need to provide documentary evidence of an ongoing relationship. This should include at LEAST TWO of the following items:
1. copies of correspondence between you
2. photographs of the two of you together
3. Flight tickets/train tickets/accommmodation receipts
4. Evidence of wedding plans, i.e., letter from Vicar, Registry Office, and/or venue where you are holding your wedding reception.

The following ORIGINAL documents are required for both types of visa:
passport(s). You should include your lady's old passport if she has had one before.

Both your Birth certificates (Fiance Visa only). Her's MUST be accompanied by a notarized translation into English. An apostille is desirable, but NOT required.

All other supporting documents can be photocopies. It's desirable to have them certified by a solicitor or notary public, but not required.

All documents MUST be in English. Consequently any Russian documents should be translated, but they don't (currently) need to be notarized. With the exception mentioned above (birth certificate).

That's it!
Piece of cake really, provided that:
1. The Sponsor provides all the required documents
2. The Sponsor is able to show that he is financially solvent, is 'present and settled' in the UK and has a decent job
3. That the applicant can show she will NOT resort to public funds or work in the UK

Previous visas to the UK or an EU member state will count favourably. Previous visa refusals will count unfavourably. As will large age gaps (Fiance Visa especially!)

Both my wife's visitor visa and Fiance visa were granted within 48 hours of lodging the application. You will only encounter difficulties if you provide insufficient/fraudulent documentation and/or fail to meet UK immigration laws.

Compared to getting into Australia or the US, getting into Blighty is a snap; albeit an increasingly expensive one!
 ;D
Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence : Oscar Wilde -- 

Offline Gorky Guy

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Supporting Documents for UK Visa applications
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2007, 05:51:50 AM »
Supporting Documents for UK Visa applications

My attention has just been drawn to seeming ambiguities between the information provided by the UK VAC in Moscow, the UK Visas website and British Embassy in regard to the requirements for acceptable supporting documents for UK Visa applications.

The UK VAC website states:
'Supporting documentation must be submitted in original form ONLY (no photocopies).'

The UK Visas website states:
'Any supporting documents you show are originals OR attested copies.'

(my emphasis)

The British Embassy website in Moscow says nothing about this matter,
merely stating that:
'IF YOU ARE SUBMITTING ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS WITH YOUR
APPLICATION, PLEASE ALSO SUBMIT (ORDINARY PHOTOCOPY)
COPIES OF THESE DOCUMENTS SO THAT WE CAN KEEP THEM FOR
OUR RECORDS. WE CAN THEN RETURN THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS
TO YOU.'

The implication being that original documents are NOT required.

I have asked for clarification from the British Embassy in Moscow and will post a followup when I get an answer.
Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence : Oscar Wilde -- 

Offline Gorky Guy

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Track your Visa Application online
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2007, 05:35:07 AM »
Track your Visa Application online

The UK VAC, in Moscow, has an online visa application tracking service which allows applicants and their sponsors to check the progess of their applications.
http://www.ukvac-ru.com/visastatus.aspx

You simply enter the applicant's passport number and application acknowledgement receipt number and submit the form. The page will then refresh to give you the current status of the application. Typical messages are (abbreviated for brevity):
in transit to the Embassy
in process at the Embassy
in transit back to the VAC
Arrived at the VAC and ready for collection

The service does NOT currently confirm whether or not a visa has actually been granted. Well, it is a Russo-British service, what do you expect -- kompletni glasnost?
 :P

The service currently appears to work very well and updates reasonably promptly.

Most visa applications are currently being processed within 48 working hours. Apparently one of the better track records for foreign embassies in Russia. Well, it's nice to know we excel at something.

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence : Oscar Wilde -- 


 

 

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