Getting through a divorce is never easy. It is an emotionally overwhelming experience, which forces you to start everything fresh. Things can get even more complicated if you’re currently living in a foreign country as a dependent on your ex-spouse’s visa. That’s because, the minute after you separate or divorce, you’ll imminently relinquish your visa status.
Nonetheless, if you want to remain in the UK, what is left of you to do is to examine the eligibility criteria. And, if you meet the specifications, you may proceed and apply for a new visa.
To start with, you and your partner should inform the Home Office of your separation. If you overlook this aspect, any further visa applications may be negatively affected. What else should you know?
Can I Settle in the UK by Myself?
There’s only one way of knowing whether you can remain in the UK by yourself or not. And that is by checking your eligibility for getting indefinite leave to remain. This is the first step you should take if you want to settle in the UK. From this point onward, you’ll know which way you should go.
The Parent Route
Furthermore, considering that you have children living in the UK, you might have another option available. We’re referring to the parent route. This alternative is chosen by numerous parents who have experienced a divorce or separation. Nonetheless, the parent route is a viable solution if you meet certain conditions; you can evaluate them here.
For the most part, you should demonstrate that you have an active role in your child’s upbringing. You can show that in multiple ways. One way of doing that is by supplying a letter from your kid’s school that indicates you regularly attend parent meetings, so on and so forth.
Concurrently, you should have an adequate knowledge of the English language, and provide proof demonstrating that you can financially support your child, without the help of public funds. At the same time, your children should be under 18 years old on the date you file in your application.
Considering that you don’t meet these conditions, you still have the option of extending your permission to stay in certain scenarios. One of them is if your child is a British citizen or has been dwelling in the UK for a minimum of seven years.
The parent route visa is available for 2.5 years. And you may extend it afterward, only if your kid isn’t above the age of 18 at that time.
If You’re Employed, You Can Switch to a Work Visa
Another viable option would be switching to a work visa. You can obtain that through your employer. We’re talking about the Tier 2 (general) Visa. Although the process is rather complicated, it is one of the ways you can remain in the UK after a divorce or separation.
At the moment, there are more than 29,000 businesses that possess sponsorship license, allowing them to employ a Tier 2 visa holder.
On that note, the first thing you should do is discuss with your employer to determine whether he/she is willing to sponsor for you. One is expected to supply a certificate of sponsorship to support you. Such a certificate contains important information regarding the job you’ve been offered, as well as your personal details.
At the same time, you must meet a range of specifications regarding the salary. That being said, you should be paid a minimum of 30,000 pounds per year. Alternatively, you should be offered the adequate rate, considering your position. Still, some positions are exempt from this income specification, such as nursing.
Also, bear in mind that you should maintain your job in order to preserve your visa; if your application is approved, of course. Concurrently, you can settle in the UK only after five years.
Other Situations in Which You Can Stay in the UK
In the event in which you’ve been dwelling in the UK for an extended timeframe, there are other possibilities at hand. These alternatives are referred to as private life in the UK. So, you are eligible in the following situations:
- If you’ve been living in the UK for 20 years straight or more.
- If you’re under 18 years old and you’ve been living in the UK for seven years, at the very least.
- You’re aged between 18 and 24 years old and you’ve been living in the UK half your life or more.
- You’re aged over 18 years old but you have no connection whatsoever with your home country. In other words, you have no family or cultural ties with your motherland.
You Have Been the Victim of Domestic Violence
If your marriage ended due to domestic violence, you have the option of staying in the UK, meaning that you can request Indefinite Leave to Remain. Still, in this situation, it’s mandatory to look for specialist advice, especially if you’re concerned that your separation will affect your visa status. In fact, in such scenarios, you might even benefit from Legal Aid.
Legal Aid Services are supplied by organizations that have contact with the Legal Aid Agency (LAA).
The Bottom Line: Should You Hire an Immigrant Consultant?
A divorce is a challenging and tense time in the lives of those involved: parents and children included. Therefore, carefully evaluating your visa options before making your pick will save you a lot of trouble and stress.
Although this is entirely up to you, getting help from an expert on immigration could be a good idea. Such a person will provide valuable advice, considering your individual circumstances. This applies especially if you’ve experienced a rough separation.
A consultant is responsible for reviewing your case, and they will conduct attentive research to assess your eligibility for applying for a certain visa. So, if you are worried about how your divorce affects your current stay in the UK, a consultant will help you to evaluate those aspects, and point you towards the right direction!