UK Settlement Visa Guide
This is a general guide on how you should present an application for a settlement visa for the UK.
You will need to satisfy the ECO (Entry Clearance Officer), who will be assessing your application, on five areas. They are:
1. You're free from Tuberculosis (TB).
2. You have a genuine relationship.
3. You (and/or your spouse) have sufficient income to live in the UK without having recourse to public funds.
- A minimum income of £18,600pa is now required (or £62,000 in savings), rising to £22,500pa if you are (also) bringing a stepchild to the UK.
4. You have adequate accommodation, with at least one (bed)room exclusively for your own use, and are not overcrowded.
5. A minimum English qualification of A1 (speaking and listening), changing to B1 level in October 2013.
When the ECO is looking at the application he needs to be able to find everything he’s looking for in your folder easily. Unfortunately, when you take everything into the VFS office, if all your paperwork is loose, as the staff member checks everything off they’ll just put it in a folder where it can easily get jumbled up and out of order. I know of people who’ve initially had their visas refused through ‘lack of evidence’ even though the paperwork was actually supplied, but was mixed up with something else.
To try to prevent this, I take each category of the application and put it in its own section (see sections below), then I clearly label and staple/bind each section individually. Firstly it prevents things getting mixed up/lost and secondly it shows the ECO you’ve spent a little time and effort assembling the application properly. Documents presented this way will usually be returned, still stapled, but clearly having been looked at. Don’t just put every section in its own folder as the VFS staff member will take everything out to verify it against their checklist before put it all jumbled together in one of their folders and returning your folders to you.
As everybody’s circumstances are slightly different. You may need to modify the sections below but, in principle, it will hopefully give an idea of what I feel is the best way to present everything and what is needed for a successful application.
All applications must be made online before printing the completed application form off, signing it, and adding it to the other all documentation. It must then handed in (by appointment) to the VFS Centre at Regent House, where biometric measurements will also be taken at the same time. Only the applicant(s) can go into the VFS centre to hand in the application. The UK spouse cannot accompany them.
Your Application Package
When assembling the documentary evidence, I always section it in the following manner:
Section 1: Completed VAF4 Application form + 2 passport photos
Section 2: Sponsor Letter, where your spouse introduces his/herself, giving a brief history of your relationship, their employment/salary/finance, your accommodation in the UK and an index of each section you are supplying in support of the application. Add your telephone number and email address and ‘invite’ the ECO to contact you if they need any clarification/more information. Very rarely do they actually make contact, but they do like to be offered that option.
At the end of the letter, I always suggest adding an index (from these sections) of all the supporting documents you are enclosing. In this way, the ECO has a reference for everything they might want to look at. If it's on the list, they'll know to look for it; if something they want is not on the list they'll know it's missing and if there's something on the list they don't need, they'll just ignore it.
Section 3: Marriage Certificate.
Section 4: Copy of girlfriend's/wife’s ID card, birth certificate, house registration (tabien baan), and passport (with copy).
Section 5: Certified copies of your partner/sponsors passport, birth certificate and divorce certificate (if applicable).
Section 6: TB certificate showing free from TB. If the initial xray is clear, the certificate will be issued the same day, but if there is any doubt you will be asked to attend the IOM centre the following week on four successive mornings to provide a sputum sample for testing. If this is clear, the certificate is issued at the end of that week. For this reason, it is advisable to have the TB test well in advance of submitting the visa application.
The certificate is valid for six months and must be valid when you apply for the visa, but can have expired before you actually travel to the UK.
Section 7: Finance. Details of your partners employment in the UK. Their pay slips covering the last six months. Details of any annual bonuses/share schemes, etc.
For self employed people: Their current annual accounts/estimated accounts CLEARY showing gross income. Details of all your and your spouse's bank accounts/savings accounts/shares/credit cards, etc. covering the last six months.
For people who are using a third party for financial support you’ll need a letter from them confirming what funds they are offering and their bank details to confirm those funds are available.
Section 8 Accommodation in the UK. A description of the accommodation showing it is large enough for your needs (with photos if possible).
Proof of ownership (deeds, mortgage offer, etc), or a rental agreement. Rent/mortgage payments covering the last six months(if possible). Recent council tax/gas/electricity/phone bills for that address, again covering the last six months if possible. If rented and there’s a clause restricting the number of people who can live there, a letter from the landlord confirming your partner can stay.
If you’re initially staying with relatives/friends, a letter of invitation from them along with details/photos of the accommodation showing you have at least one (bed)room for your exclusive use.
Section 9: Relationship. Passport details confirming your time together in Thailand. Visa/passport details of any time spent together in the UK (or any other country). Hotel bills/receipts of places you visited together (backed up with photos, if possible). Phone bills, VOIP details, banana cards, emails, letters, etc. showing the contact you have had whilst apart (all phone bills, etc. covering all the time you’re apart should be submitted, don’t just supply a ‘sample’ of them). Details confirming any money transfers you made to your Thai accounts from the UK.
Section 10: And, of course, an album of photos covering the full length of your relationship.
By doing everything this way I found:
1. It covers all the information the ECO needs.
2. It’s easy for the ECO to ‘find’ the information they’re looking for.
3. It shows you’ve spent a little time and effort preparing and presenting a ‘good’ application.
If you intend getting married in the UK, the requirements for applying for a Fiancé Settlement Visa are exactly the same, minus the marriage certificate, of course. The same requirements also apply to same sex relationships. If you want to ensure that your visa application is not rejected, visit www.keyvisathailand.com or visit us on Soi LK Metro.