Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Old Apr 8th 2022, 10:08 am
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Default Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

We received the email below. We are almost at 12 weeks wait for a UK Family visa for my US wife, the outer limit of the service promise, and we were thinking any day now.

Now it seems all bets are off. Anyone have any insight on what further delay the Ukraine situation may cause? Obviously we want the refugees to be safe. But we'd also like to try and work out what that'll mean for us. I've tried the paid enquiry route, both email and phone, and the former is a boilerplate response to the effect of "sit down and be quiet" and the telephone service is a terse recorded message with no info at all.

Any insight greatly appreciated.

---

Thank you for your application for permission to enter and stay in the UK

You will be aware that the Home Office is currently responding to the humanitarian crisis arising from the invasion of the Ukraine. Unfortunately, this has meant we have had to refocus our resources away from business as usual activity, which has created some delays in processing applications.

We will therefore be unable to decide your application within our published customer service targets, I am sorry for any delay and inconvenience this is causing. Please be assured that we are doing all we can to make a decision on your application as quickly as possible.

Please note Visa Application Centres are working under increased pressure to resolve applications. Do not attend a Visa Application Centre until you have been advised that your application has been decided and that your passport is ready for collection.

Kind regards,

UK Decision Making Centre
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Old Apr 8th 2022, 10:50 am
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

That is interesting for us as well, we are trying to make plans to get to the UK, were thinking about summer.

From the letter you received it may be that the priority is being given to the struggeling refugees from the war torn Ukraine?

Maybe we shouldn't count on a move there being possible for us then. We are just over the channel here in France, but if there are no rooms at the Inn and all your paper work is on hold it sounds precariously chaotic and maybe delayed for months and months with the way things are escalating in the war zone.

We also are married. HWMBO is a Brit, I with the USA passport from birth, although not actually living in USA much except while growing up before going to Uni.

I hope you will get through this soon, please post how it is going, it is helpful information especially as it is from your actual experience. Must have you on pins and needles though, difficult at best. But it is in no way your fault, so I can't see how they can give you any trouble or penalties, other than all the awful anxiety of making you wait and holding up your life plans. Which is terrible enough.

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Old Apr 8th 2022, 2:04 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

I'm also in the same boat. I was going to pay for the 5 day visa service as I felt 12 weeks was a bit too long for our situation. Now it seems that 12 weeks may be desired but unobtainable.

As you said, it's tough position to be in not only do I have the greatest sympathies for the refugees, but I also want to see my kids sooner rather than later, never mind the financial impact of having to pay for 2 rents, 2 utilities and the rest in the meantime. Saying this though I would much rather be in my position than the position of those poor Ukrainian people. My wife and I have made light of our gripes and put it down to first world problems...

Hopefully they are able to hire some temporary staff and gets through the piles of applications sooner but if not I guess we wait.

Last edited by ArthurBrit; Apr 8th 2022 at 2:14 pm.
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Old Apr 8th 2022, 2:08 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Doesn't help but only today Patel has had to apologise for the delays in issuing visas to Ukrainians. Both sides of this dilemma seem to be losing out.
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Old Apr 8th 2022, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Originally Posted by Expatrick View Post
Doesn't help but only today Patel has had to apologise for the delays in issuing visas to Ukrainians. Both sides of this dilemma seem to be losing out.
It really is a tough thing to balance and although we're usually pretty quick to get on the governments backs, you can understand why this is a bit of a mess.
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Old Apr 9th 2022, 9:10 am
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

From what I can tell, this is turning into a particularly British problem. Our government's application of visa checking rules for Ukrainians is considerably more stringent and consequently far slower than our European neighbours. It's clogging up the system generally. And this is at a stage where the UK has taken in a tiny fraction of refugees compared to say Germany, Italy, and France. Given our broadly pro-Brexit govt, why am I not surprised.
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Old Apr 9th 2022, 1:51 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Ukrainian citizens have visa-free access to the Schengen Area so comparing the UK to France and Germany isn’t a particularly useful exercise.
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Old Apr 10th 2022, 10:09 am
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Exactly the same situation for us, we are approaching week 14 and was thinking of sending a polite email to enquire. While holding obvious thoughts for the situation Ukraine is in, I just can’t get past the fact that those of us already in the system should be overlooked. The financial cost we have paid for a ‘service’ that we are frankly not getting is disgraceful on all parts. One should not have to suffer for the sake of the other, I’m sure there is other less important departments that resources can be pulled from to help deal with this for both Ukrainians and for us. Only yesterday in the village I live did I hear from a lady hosting a family that she was delighted as their visa had just been approved. Leaves me feeling heartbroken and frustrated.
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Old Apr 10th 2022, 7:57 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Me and my wife whom is South African are currently in the same predicament, we were on working day 65ish when the delays were announced, so the visa should have nearly been granted, to not knowing how long it will take. I’ve had to hire a very expensive solicitor to see if he can give us a timeline and find out any information, we are close to cancelling the visa & making plans to move somewhere other than the uk, the uk visa process is disgusting, regardless of the horrible Ukraine war & those people struggling to even get visas for that.
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Old Apr 11th 2022, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

I'm thinking of ways of getting my family back together as early as possible and as I read that the visa processing times may end up being more along the 16-26 week timeline I am looking for ideas or options at this point.

We're selling the house in the summer (~ July), at this point with the old timelines my wife would have had the visa, maybe lived with her family for a couple of weeks to ensure a smooth sale, and then moved to the UK. With the new timelines she may not have the visa until October. This means at some point during the application I will need to notify the visa people of the change or address once we know a little more on this front.

Can I change the address for the visa to a UK address as I'm there from May, or does it have to be Canadian?

I don't need my wife to work in the UK so in theory she could 'live' with me as a visitor, being Canadian she'll have the normal 6 months at the discretion of the border officer, This should be long enough for the visa to be granted.

At this point I'm guessing that the visa does in fact need to be mailed to a Canadian address, which is what 'forces' my wife to be outside of the UK when the visa is granted, if I change the address to her families address and then forward it to our UK address. Then she could fly to Spain and back to go through immigration or would she need to fly back to Canada for sure?

I just want to minimize the amount of hours on the plane for her. A flight to France or Spain and back is a lot more attractive than a flight to Canada. Although Nova Scotia and back might not be too bad.

Just looking for advice, as I really don't want to not see my kids for 6 months and anything I can do to make this easier would be appreciated.

Last edited by ArthurBrit; Apr 11th 2022 at 3:36 pm.
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Old Apr 11th 2022, 3:14 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Originally Posted by ArthurBrit View Post
I'm thinking of ways of getting my family back together as early as possible and as I read that the visa processing times may end up being more along the 16-26 week timeline I am looking for ideas or options at this point.

We're selling the house in the summer (~ July), at this point with the old timelines my wife would have had the visa, maybe lived with her family for a couple of weeks to ensure a smooth sale, and then moved to the UK. With the new timelines she may not have the visa until October. This means I will at some point during the application I will need to notify the visa people of the change or address once we know a little more on this front.

Can I change the address for the visa to a UK address as I'm there from May, or does it have to be Canadian?

I don't need my wife to work in the UK so in theory she could 'live' with me as a visitor, being Canadian she'll have the normal 6 months at the discretion of the border officer, This should be long enough for the visa to be granted.

At this point I'm guessing that the visa does in fact need to be mailed to a Canadian address, which is what 'forces' my wife to be outside of the UK when the visa is granted, if I change the address to her families address and then forward it to our UK address. Then she could fly to Spain and back to go through immigration or would she need to fly back to Canada for sure?

I just want to minimize the amount of hours on the plane for her. A flight to France or Spain and back is a lot more attractive than a flight to Canada. Although Nova Scotia and back might not be too bad.

Just looking for advice, as I really don't want to not see my kids for 6 months and anything I can do to make this easier would be appreciated.
Has your wife actually submitted her application yet?
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Old Apr 11th 2022, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
Has your wife actually submitted her application yet?
Yes,

She goes for biometrics next week however.
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Old Apr 12th 2022, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
Has your wife actually submitted her application yet?
Originally Posted by ArthurBrit View Post
Yes,

She goes for biometrics next week however.
I think I see the problem, even though she can keep her passport. The vignette must be applied at the VFS office so this forces her back to Canada.

Whereas if she submits her passport, she cannot enter the UK as a visitor because she has no passport.

Can you get your passport back during the process? Let's say that she submits her passport next week, could she go back in July and pay for them to release the passport even if it's not been approved at that time?

Is this something I/she should be asking the VFS office when she's there?
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Old Apr 12th 2022, 5:34 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Originally Posted by ArthurBrit View Post
I think I see the problem, even though she can keep her passport. The vignette must be applied at the VFS office so this forces her back to Canada.

Whereas if she submits her passport, she cannot enter the UK as a visitor because she has no passport.

Can you get your passport back during the process? Let's say that she submits her passport next week, could she go back in July and pay for them to release the passport even if it's not been approved at that time?

Is this something I/she should be asking the VFS office when she's there?
Your wife will need to submit her passport to VFS when she goes for her biometrics appointment. There is a ‘Keep My Passport’ option you can pay extra for but this should only be used if travelling to third countries. If her UK visa is granted whilst she is in the UK then it will rendered null and void. I find ‘Keep My Passport’ often delays the visa issuance process so I wouldn’t bother unless she needs it to travel somewhere other than the UK.
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Old Apr 12th 2022, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: Ukraine and impact on UK Family Visa

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
Your wife will need to submit her passport to VFS when she goes for her biometrics appointment. There is a ‘Keep My Passport’ option you can pay extra for but this should only be used if travelling to third countries. If her UK visa is granted whilst she is in the UK then it will rendered null and void. I find ‘Keep My Passport’ often delays the visa issuance process so I wouldn’t bother unless she needs it to travel somewhere other than the UK.
Is this stated in any official documentation? I'm sorry if this appears rude, I'm not trying to be, I'm simply trying to keep my family together so that we don't have 5 months apart. My wife is willing to 'visit' and fly back to Canada if that's an option but we don't want to jeopardize things obviously.
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