Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Old Oct 11th 2023, 9:27 am
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Default Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Hi All, I'm a British citizen (with residency in the Netherlands) who will be returning to the UK next year, after spending more than 40 years in the Netherlands. Both my wife, who is Dutch, and myself will be receiving our Dutch pensions which amount to more than 80,000 GBP per Anum (before tax) and we have more than sufficient savings (+/- 500,000 GBP) to meet the financial requirements. Currently we are waiting for the completion of the build of our new house, which is now scheduled for completion in June - September next year.

My questions are:

- what forms do I need to submit, and how do I do this, to allow me to bring my wife and allow her to stay with me when I return to the UK in May next year?
- does my wife need to pass the UK language/culture test to gain access to the UK, or does this only need to be done later during her application for "indefinite leave to remain"?
- when should I start this application process given that we would like to be in the UK in June next year?

Thanks for any help you can offer, and please ask if anymore information would be helpful, Kevin
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Old Oct 11th 2023, 11:08 am
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Hi Kevin,

Start here: https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa

It sounds like you’ll have no trouble meeting the financial and accommodation requirements. The savings route is by far the easiest to navigate but bear in mind that the money must be held for at least six months prior to application as ‘cash savings’, i.e. readily accessible.

Your wife will need to meet the English language requirement before she can be granted a visa but the Life in the UK test is only required when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

The service standard for spouse applications submitted outside the UK is 24 weeks although applications are usually processed in less time than this. If your intention is to return in June then I would apply in January and specify your intended date of entry.
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Old Oct 11th 2023, 3:09 pm
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Hi BritInParis,

Thanks for the feedback.

I've looked at the link you supplied and it seems that all I need to do is apply for a spousal Visa, and provide the required information regarding finances, proof of marriage status, and background family information.
Then, after paying the costs, within 24 weeks my wife will receive a visa valid for 2.5 years that will allow her to live with me in the UK, after which we can apply for extended/permanent leave to remain?
I have one last question, as I'm currently resident in the Netherlands and our house in the UK is not yet completed, I have no permanent UK address, can I start the application for my wife's visa without this?

Thanks again for the help, Kevin


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Old Oct 11th 2023, 3:28 pm
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Originally Posted by kstokell
Hi BritInParis,

Thanks for the feedback.

I've looked at the link you supplied and it seems that all I need to do is apply for a spousal Visa, and provide the required information regarding finances, proof of marriage status, and background family information.
Then, after paying the costs, within 24 weeks my wife will receive a visa valid for 2.5 years that will allow her to live with me in the UK, after which we can apply for extended/permanent leave to remain?
I have one last question, as I'm currently resident in the Netherlands and our house in the UK is not yet completed, I have no permanent UK address, can I start the application for my wife's visa without this?

Thanks again for the help, Kevin

You have to have accommodation for yourself and wife at time of submission of application. The visa will not be processed if you do not have anywhere to live in the UK.

Most people, unless staying with friends and family when they first arrive, get some form of rental.


Last edited by SanDiegogirl; Oct 11th 2023 at 3:33 pm.
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Old Oct 12th 2023, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl
You have to have accommodation for yourself and wife at time of submission of application. The visa will not be processed if you do not have anywhere to live in the UK.

Most people, unless staying with friends and family when they first arrive, get some form of rental.
Thanks for the update, I had assumed that this might be the case, but can find no mention of it when looking through the UK spousal visa application requirements, do you know where this is stated? Would it be possible to use the address of my family or friends we have in the UK? If not, for us this would mean that we will not be able to start the application until we are in the UK, which sort of negates the purpose of us making an overseas application. I was hoping that we could get this all resolved prior to leaving the Netherlands for the UK.
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Old Oct 12th 2023, 10:34 am
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Originally Posted by kstokell
Thanks for the update, I had assumed that this might be the case, but can find no mention of it when looking through the UK spousal visa application requirements, do you know where this is stated? Would it be possible to use the address of my family or friends we have in the UK? If not, for us this would mean that we will not be able to start the application until we are in the UK, which sort of negates the purpose of us making an overseas application. I was hoping that we could get this all resolved prior to leaving the Netherlands for the UK.
Providing your house will be completed by the time you intend to move to the UK then you can use it to meet the accommodation requirement. Ultimately you will need to live somewhere on arrival whether that’s your own property, rented accommodation or staying with family or friends.
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Old Oct 12th 2023, 5:51 pm
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Originally Posted by BritInParis
Providing your house will be completed by the time you intend to move to the UK then you can use it to meet the accommodation requirement. Ultimately you will need to live somewhere on arrival whether that’s your own property, rented accommodation or staying with family or friends.
I will move to the UK as soon as my house is sold in the Netherlands which I'm targeting for between April and May 2024, but no later then May 2024, this is so I can oversee the final build (floors/kitchen/bathrooms/etc) of the house in the UK. During the period between the time I arrive (latest May 2024) and the current house delivery estimate June - but no later than September, I will be renting a property. I could go through the visa application for my wife once we have moved over, but as I say I would rather have it all done and out of the way before that.
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Old Oct 12th 2023, 9:03 pm
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Originally Posted by kstokell
I will move to the UK as soon as my house is sold in the Netherlands which I'm targeting for between April and May 2024, but no later then May 2024, this is so I can oversee the final build (floors/kitchen/bathrooms/etc) of the house in the UK. During the period between the time I arrive (latest May 2024) and the current house delivery estimate June - but no later than September, I will be renting a property. I could go through the visa application for my wife once we have moved over, but as I say I would rather have it all done and out of the way before that.
So what is your problem? If you are renting a property in he UK until your new property is finished, use that address.
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Old Oct 13th 2023, 6:40 am
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl
So what is your problem? If you are renting a property in he UK until your new property is finished, use that address.
Initially we thought that as the process takes 24 weeks we wanted to start the application soon so that when we move over my wife will already have the visa. This would allow us to arrange with the tax offices in both the UK and the Netherlands for the transfer of our pension payments to the UK.

Now we know more, we have however decided, to delay the application until we travel to the UK, as we will then have an address, it will cost less and the application duration is only 8 weeks. During the period until we obtain the visa we will remain resident in Holland and continue to receive our pensions in the Netherlands. Once the Visa is obtained we can then switch residency and transfer our pensions to the UK.

So no real problem, just trying to work out our options and the best approach for us.

Thanks for your input, Kevin
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Old Oct 13th 2023, 9:01 am
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Originally Posted by kstokell
Initially we thought that as the process takes 24 weeks we wanted to start the application soon so that when we move over my wife will already have the visa. This would allow us to arrange with the tax offices in both the UK and the Netherlands for the transfer of our pension payments to the UK.

Now we know more, we have however decided, to delay the application until we travel to the UK, as we will then have an address, it will cost less and the application duration is only 8 weeks. During the period until we obtain the visa we will remain resident in Holland and continue to receive our pensions in the Netherlands. Once the Visa is obtained we can then switch residency and transfer our pensions to the UK.

So no real problem, just trying to work out our options and the best approach for us.

Thanks for your input, Kevin
Your wife cannot apply from within the UK. She’ll need to submit her application from the Netherlands. If time is the issue then you could consider paying 600 Euros extra for the Priority Visa Service which reduces processing time to 30 working days (approx 6 weeks).
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Old Oct 13th 2023, 9:35 am
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Originally Posted by BritInParis
Your wife cannot apply from within the UK. She’ll need to submit her application from the Netherlands. If time is the issue then you could consider paying 600 Euros extra for the Priority Visa Service which reduces processing time to 30 working days (approx 6 weeks).
This is why we now plan to retain our Netherlands residency whilst her application is processed. I thought we could apply from the UK, but if that is not possible then we will have to make an online overseas application which will take longer (24 weeks) and more expensive.. As far as I understand it the Priority Visa Service is only available for applications in the UK.

So these are the steps we're currently proposing:

Step 1. Sell house in the Netherlands and agree a handover date
Step 2. Rent a house in the UK to start a month or so prior to the Netherlands handover date
Step 3. Start the application procedure for the visa for my wife (using her families address in NL as our house will be sold)
Step 4. At handover date move our belongings to the UK for temporary storage
Step 5. Move ourselves to the rented house in the UK whilst still registered in NL (my wife can stay for up to 6 months without a visa)
Step 6. Receive the visa for my wife (hopefully within the six month period my wife is allowed to stay visa free)
Step 7. De-register in NL and register in the UK
Step 8. Once registered in the UK organise the transfer of our pensions and tax arrangements

What do you think?
Kevin
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Old Oct 13th 2023, 2:23 pm
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

The six week Priority Visa Service is available when applying from the Netherlands. Rather than overcomplicate matters, I would wait until your house in the UK has been completed so you can use that to meet the accommodation requirements and apply for your wife’s visa from the Netherlands using the Priority Visa Service. Once she has her visa the rest can follow. There’s no civil registration requirement for the UK so you can deregister in the Netherlands once your current house has been sold.

Last edited by BritInParis; Oct 13th 2023 at 4:15 pm. Reason: Typo
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Old Oct 13th 2023, 2:32 pm
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Default Re: Expat returning to the UK with Dutch wife?

Step 6: Receive the visa for my wife (hopefully within the 6 month period my wife is allowed to stay visa free).

Your wife cannot be already living in the UK prior to receiving the visa. She has to be in her home country.
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