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...
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! 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 documentsThe 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 marryNEW 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
Yep, it just went up!
Here's a complete list of ALL fees:http://www.ukvac-ru.com/visafees.aspxSAMPLE 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.pdfhttp://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 Centrehttp://www.ukvac-ru.com/index.aspx
British Embassy, Moskvahttp://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.