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Disclaimer: We are not legal experts. This article is intended for educational purposes only. And though all information are provided in good faith, we cannot guarantee their accuracy. As such Londoni cannot be held responsible for any problem which you may experience as a result of this article.

Please consult a legal expert for your legal problem.

We sincerely hope that you are successful in bringing your spouse to UK and living a happy life together.

UK spouse visa application

In the article below we give the example of a husband from UK (i.e. applicant) who is applying for his wife in Bangladesh (i.e. sponsor). This is just to facilitate understanding. The reverse (i.e. British wife applying for Bangladeshi husband) is equally true also.

Fate decided by United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) based in India

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), part of the Home Office, is responsible for making millions of decisions every year about who has the right to visit or stay in the country. It is they who decide whether your spouse - or relatives and friends, if you're applying for a holiday visa - could come to UK or not.

From 1 October 2014, all UK visa applications submitted at the British High Commission in Dhaka will be assessed by the Visa Section at the British High Commission in New Delhi, India. The controversial move by UKVI was "part of its global strategy" to reduce the number of locations around the world where decisions are made on visa applications so it will "significantly reduce costs to the British taxpayer". Passports will remain in Bangladesh and decisions will continue to be made by British Crown Servants. The cost of the service will stay the same. Bangladeshi applicants will submit their visa applications at Visa Application Centres in Dhaka and Sylhet and there will be no need for applicants to travel to India.

What do I need to do?

What's the procedure?

  1. Collect all original documents (6 month – or 12 month if self-employed)
  2. Make online visa application via UK government website: www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/home/welcome
  3. Book an appointment (via UK government website) for wife at a visa application centre in Bangladesh - either in Dhaka or Sylhet - where wife will need to go and give all the documents: www.vfsglobal.co.uk/bangladesh/
  4. Duplicate all documents and parcel whole file to wife. Wife replaces any copy version (e.g. copy of her passport, ESOL, TB, etc.) with her original version
  5. Wife takes file to visa application centre in Bangladesh, pays full fee and takes biometric data
  6. Result received within 6 months. Result letter comes to immigration office and wife asked to come and collect it
Step 1: Collect documents

Make sure you get all the required documents because once your application is submitted you cannot send additional documents.

6 months vs 12 months

If you're a normal worker (e.g. office worker, waiter, etc) you must show a minimum of 6 months documents e.g. payslip, bank statement, etc. If however you're self-employed (e.g. taxi driver, business owner, contractor, etc) then you must show a minimum of 12 months documents.

Key documents:

The biggest obstacle to entry to UK is proof of finance. If you can't prove this then forget about applying all together. They will not even look at the rest of your paperwork. As an applicant you "must prove you have enough money to adequately support and accommodate yourselves and any dependants without using public funds".

  • Payslip:
    • - Show you're earning minimum £18,600 per year
    • - Proof of registration with HMRC
    • - Proof of Class 2, NI (National Insurance) contribution paid receipts
    • - Payslip cannot be 28 days older than date of application
  • Bank statement:
    • - Must match the payslip (i.e. amount received and date received should be the same in payslip)
    • - Make sure not large amount of money going out of bank
    • - Provide genuine bank statements, not print outs. If you must submit internet printouts, then you will need to get these “verified” by your bank, i.e. your print outs will need to have an official stamp on them, representing your bank.
    • - Bank statement cannot be 28 days older than date of application
  • If an employee, a letter (business letter i.e. company name, address, contact, registration number) from your employer stating:
    • - Job title
    • - How long you’ve been employed
    • - How long they intend to hire you (e.g. foreseeable future)
    • - (Optional) Character reference

Your (i.e. applicant):

  • Copy of your passport
  • Proof of address & contact number (e.g. driving licence & utility bill)
  • Proof of accommodation (e.g. mortgage statements)
  • Utility bills (i.e. water, gas, electric)
  • Inspection Survey (for immigration) report for the house
  • Council tax

Wife's (i.e. sponsor):

  • Wife’s passport copy
  • Wife’s parents name and date of birth (e.g. copy of their passport)
  • Copy of ESOL certificate
  • Copy of TB (Tuberculosis) Medical test
  • 2-3 passport-sized photos

Proof of marriage:

  • Marriage certificate with English translation
  • Photos – wedding & social time. A good mixture e.g. 7 of each
  • Evidence of money sent to wife (e.g. receipt from money transfer agency)
  • Evidence of contact (e.g. phone bill, whatsapp, etc)
  • Supporting letter (e.g. explaining how you met, if you’ve not gone to Bangladesh after marriage explain why, how you intend to live your life, etc.)
  • Proof that you’ve been to Bangladesh in-between marriage and application. If not, explain in supporting letter why you didn’t go and provide evidence of firm travel plans
Step 2: Make application

Apply online and book appointment test

Once you've collected all the required documents, you must make an online visa application via UK government website: www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/home/welcome.

To complete the application process, you'll also need to book an appointment for your spouse at a visa application centre in Bangladesh where they'll need to hand-in all the documents. You need to make this booking online via www.vfsglobal.co.uk/bangladesh/. Walk in applicants are no longer accommodated.

Currently, there are two visa application centres in Bangladesh: one in Dhaka, the other in Sylhet.

When selecting the appointment date make sure it falls within the 28 days limit of your last payslip and bank statement.

Upon completion you'll receive confirmation of your appointment which you'll need to print out. Now, create a file with all your documents and this appointment letter.

Duplicate and send all documents to wife

Since all UK visa applications made in Bangladesh are processed in India, customers in Bangladesh must provide a duplicate of all documents submitted, together with a full copy (all pages) of all passports submitted with your application to facilitate this process. The original passport(s) will stay in Bangladesh and the copy will be sent to the decision making centre outside Bangladesh along with your application form and supporting documents.

Parcel the file to your wife (or give it with a loved one who is travelling to Bangladesh). Your wife will have to replace all the replica version (e.g. copy of her passport, ESOL, TB certificate, etc.) with the original version.

Wife takes file to Visa application centre and pays full application fee

On the day of the appointment, your wife will need to take the file (with all the documents, appointment letter, passport and a second valid form of identification) to the application centre. Only she alone is permitted to enter the centre. Relatives and friends are not allowed. Your wife will undergo a security search before entering. She'll collect a token and wait until her token is called to make the application. She'll then need to pay the full application fee in taka. This fee consists of:

  • Cost of application
  • Immigration Health Surchage (IHS) = Paying this healthcare charge allows your wife to use the NHS when she arrives in UK.
  • (Sylhet only) Handling fee = In Sylhet you have to pay a £55 (6,490 taka) handling fee as part of the application.

The fee is increasing on a regular basis. In December 2015 the fee was around £1,700: around £1,000 application cost, around £600 healthcare surcharge, and around £60 for handling fee in Sylhet. In June 2016 the application cost rose to £1,875 if you apply by post and £2,375 if you apply in person.

Upon payment she'll receive a receipt. Keep this secure as she'll need this later to collect the documents. The visa fee is non-refundable.

Dhaka

VFS Global Bangladesh Pvt. Ltd.
UK Visa Application Centre
4th Floor
Delta Life Tower
Plot 37
Road 90
North Avenue
Gulshan 2
Dhaka 1212

Office open: 08:30 - 16:30 Sun-Thurs (closed on Friday)

Sylhet

VFS Bangladesh Pvt. Ltd.
UK Visa Application Centre
7th Floor
Nirvana Inn
Mirza Jungle Road
Ramerdhigir par
Sylhet-3100

Office open: 08:30 - 16:30 Sun-Thurs (closed on Friday)

'Biometric' information collected at visa application centre

After you submit your application, centre officials will take a digital finger scan and a digital photograph of your wife. This is known as 'Biometric Information Collection'. Therefore your wife must ensure that her fingertips are free from any forms of decoration (for example, henna), cuts, abrasions or other markings as these may affect your ability to provide acceptable finger scans. Digital photograph is taken of your full face. The whole procedure should take nor more than five minutes to complete. Your application will not be processed if you don't submit the biometric information/data.

Step 3: Result

The Entry Clearance Officer can take up to 6 months or more to make a decision - though in many cases they give the result within couple of months. If they can't make a decision using your application form and the supporting documents that you've provided, they will interview you.

Once a decision has been made, your wife will be notified by SMS (text) to her mobile to come and collect the result and her file. She'll need to return to the visa application centre in person and present the payment receipt. Her fate will be enclosed in a sealed envelope.

If successful...

Hopefully if you're successful, make sure your wife checks the visa to ensure that:

  • her personal details are correct
  • it correctly states the purpose for which she wants to come to UK
  • it is valid for the date on which she wants to travel.

If she suspects that anything is wrong with the visa, she needs to contact the application centre officials immediately.

If all is well, your wife will be given 14 days to come to UK. They must come within this time else their application becomes void and you'd have to apply all over again.

Entering UK and life in UK

In the British airport, it is normal for custom officers to question new entrants. They may ask your wife your basic details e.g. full name, home address (possibly including post code), date of birth, job & job title, date of marriage, etc. Make sure she is able to answer these to avoid any unnecessary stress.

Custom officials may also phone you to ask basic details (e.g. wife's full name, date of birth, marriage date, who's accompanying her, etc.). So make sure you have your mobile - and your wife, or the people accompanying her, can give your number.

Once inside UK, your wife has 10 days to collect their biometric card from the post office that you chose during the online application process. The card will state that she has 'work permit' and therefore can work in UK, if she prefer.

Once you are settled, be sure your wife:

  • Joins the GP
  • Joins the dentist
  • Apply for her National Insurance number
  • Joins a college to further her English

If sadly unsuccessful...

 

Some reasons for refusal include:

  • False representation = If a person lies or makes a false statement in their application, either orally or in writing.
  • Fraud or forgery = A person submits a document or information with an application which is independently verified as being forged or not genuine.
  • Failure to cooperate = If a person fails to give information or documents you require to make a decision on their application.
  • Criminal history = A person has been in jail or are persistent offenders or carried out offences causing serious harm.
  • Adverse immigration history = If a person has broken the UKs immigration laws by having been an illegal entrant, overstayed, breached a condition attached to their leave, or used deception in their current or a previous application.

Common mistakes during application

  • Presenting 3, 4 or 5 months payslip if normal worker. You need to show minimum of 6 months.
  • Presenting 6 months payslip if self-employed. You need to show a minimum of 12 months.
  • Payslips and bank statements don't match. Remember, immigration check with HMRC - so your payslip need to be recorded and this must be accurately shown on your bank statements.
  • Documents expired = Your last payslip and bank statement should be within the 28 days limit of your appointment date.
  • Lack of regular contact with spouse (e.g. phone calls made once in a while, no visit to Bangladesh, very little photos together, etc.). Marriage validity becomes questionable.
  • Not paying the full cost of application. Remember, the cost includes the application fee, healthcare surcharge and handling fee (if appointment is in the Sylhet branch). Don't pay less than the full cost - even if any immigration officers in the branch advice you otherwise. Many application are rejected automatically by head office as the full cost is not paid.
  • Not providing original documents (e.g. bank statements) but print outs instead = Remember to submit both original and copies.
  • ESOL provider not recognised = Make sure that the English language test provider you use is registered by the UKVI to enable them to facilitate such tests. If your English language provider is not registered - even if you past the test - the UKVI will not recognise your result and therefore refuse your application.
  • Missing documents = Once you've submitted your application you cannot send more documents afterward. Use the UKVI's guidance – and our checklist too – to ensure you have the correct supporting documentation
  • Form not completed properly = When completing something as complex as a visa application form, it is easy to overlook the more simple rules such not using black/blue pen, writing outside the box provided, etc. Such silly mistakes will make the officials look upon your application negatively. Remember, UKVI is not your friend. They'll look for reasons to reject your application. Before anything else, they will look for simple administrative errors on your application.

Should I use a solicitor?

Settlement Checking Service

You can also use the settlement checking service to make sure your application is correct and complete. They’ll send your application to UKVI. You’ll have to pay an extra fee for using this service.