Spouse visa from US

Old Jun 12th 2020, 1:40 am
  #1  
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Default Spouse visa from US

Hello All,
We are in visa limbo, like a lot of people. We are currently waiting for the San Francisco VFS location to open, which doesn't seem like it's going to happen any time soon..and the numbers are rising here.
We applied for my husband's visa in March and he set his last day of work for mid-July, same with our house rental. We planned to pay for premium service and those dates gave us more than 14 weeks to get the visa. Our application is relatively straightforward but we couldn't get through to VFS website before they shut down services, despite trying for a few days. My husband was required to give a certain amount of notice at work.

Myself and the kids have British passports and had considered leaving ahead of my husband to secure housing and school districts etc., but just for a few weeks, not months.

So at this point we are considering these options:
1) Leave expensive California where we will have no income until Sept 1st and move to the east coast to be with family and friends while we await the visa. My husband would fly back to California to get biometrics done.
2) He gets biometrics and upload documents from the east coast (NY? Boston?). I emailed VFS and they promptly responded that they had no indication when the offices would open and to keep checking. They didn't respond to my question about us moving to another state and completing there, even though we applied from California. Are we stuck with the San Francisco office?
3) We cancel our application (given that we can now get a refund due to COVID), go to the UK in July and my husband returns within six months to re-apply. We have been making an assumption that with a GWF number we are in some kind of a queue and if we cancel we will be behind the backlog. Is this correct and given the backlog would we be wise to stay put?

Any comments/advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance


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Old Jun 14th 2020, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

I am in the same boat.
have you considered staying in U.K. with your husband until visa centres reopen in the US?
USCIS reopened on June 4th so hopefully UK services won’t take that long.
Best of luck!
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Old Jun 14th 2020, 8:03 pm
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

I wonder if the "apply from within the UK" route is available if you are unable to apply from the country where you are living? I doubt it, but it's an interesting question. Maybe BritinParis will be along to answer?
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Old Jun 14th 2020, 8:36 pm
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

Hi,
Thanks for the responses. My sense is that the VFS office in San Francisco won't be opening any time soon and even if they do, there is no more priority processing so it could take who knows how long?

I doubt the "apply from within the UK" if you are unable.... route will apply to us (I was going to insert a Trump joke there, but I'll leave it). My husband is a physician and his British medical license is pending due to COVID. The option of applying for a work visa might apply but it seems as if coming back to the US to apply for a spouse visa will be a little more flexible in the long run.

Our main concern is whether canceling our application and him traveling on a visitor visa, rather than wait it out is a mistake. Six of one?
Love BE. Thanks so much!
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Old Jun 18th 2020, 3:22 pm
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

My sister in law's US husband came over in January , 2 weeks after her (she's a Uk citizen) on a 3month visitors visa. He has been told he cannily apply for a "residential" visa from the USA. He turned to California in February and started his application which seems to be being sent back and forth across the Atlantic.

Their mistake was in mis reading the complicated UK application form for a permanent visa

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Old Jun 19th 2020, 10:05 am
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
I wonder if the "apply from within the UK" route is available if you are unable to apply from the country where you are living? I doubt it, but it's an interesting question. Maybe BritinParis will be along to answer?
HO Website usefully contradicts itself:

Originally Posted by UKVI
You can apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 July 2020 if your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.

There are temporary concessions in place if you’re unable to meet the
requirements of the family Immigration Rules to enter or remain in the UK due to coronavirus. Up to 31 July 2020 applicants in the UK as a visitor or with leave of up to 6 months can switch into a family or private life routeprovided the requirements of the Immigration Rules are otherwise met.
The advice seems to assume that you are in the UK, not having recently traveled there.

FWIW I phoned the Helpline when Malaysia went into lockdown to establish the consequences of bugging out and flying home w/o a spouse visa for my US wife. They said it would be okay and I could do this, but at that time the second set of advice noted above was not on the website (they added it this morning I think, without noting it as an update) so I didn't believe them.

Last edited by GuestBob; Jun 19th 2020 at 10:08 am.
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Old Jul 2nd 2020, 1:45 am
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

If your husband submitted your application in mid-March then he should be one of the first to receive his visa when the VACs reopen. Did he have a biometrics appointment booked before the lockdown?
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Old Jul 2nd 2020, 3:37 am
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

Thanks BIP.
Unfortunately, he didn't have an appointment. We are leaving California in two weeks for Boston to stay with family and kill some time.
Fingers crossed he gets an appointment soon and we can switch it to Boston.
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Old Jul 8th 2020, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

UK VACs in the US are due to reopen on 20 July.
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Old Jul 8th 2020, 8:33 pm
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

Thanks for the update BIP!
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Old Jul 9th 2020, 11:29 am
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

Originally Posted by Josephine25 View Post
Thanks for the update BIP!
Were you able to book an appointment?
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Old Jul 9th 2020, 1:53 pm
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

I'm trying now but for some reason VFS thinks I'm going to the Netherlands...After this, I'm never moving back to the UK again Nightmare every step of the way!
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Old Jul 9th 2020, 5:05 pm
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

FWIW I received an email stating that the San Francisco office is due to open on July 13th.
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Old Jul 10th 2020, 2:39 am
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Default Re: Spouse visa from US

Originally Posted by Josephine25 View Post
FWIW I received an email stating that the San Francisco office is due to open on July 13th.
I’ve seen 13, 15 and 20 July. It may depend on the state where the centre is located.
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