(Closed) Any Expat Bees?

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
97 posts
Worker bee

I am a former expat and SO is now an expat in my country. So we’ve had to go through the immigration process for two different countries thus far. Yes it can be incredibly stressful! Howvever once you get passed the approval process and settle into your new country that stress will be but a distant memory. Smile

Instead of an immigration lawyer you should first try finding a UK visa forum. Forums are what we used both times and it saved us a lot of time and money.

Post # 5
515 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’ve done the expat thing a few times. I agree about checking forums (Expat Blog and Expat Forum might be good places to start). I’m in the process of emigrating to Australia right now and we are using a lawyer. It is VERY expensive, but we don’t want to risk messing up the application. Is your fiance helping you at all with this process? It’s a lot to put on one person to plan a wedding while simultaneously dealing with immigration hassles.

It is a difficult adjustment moving abroad, even when you’re going to a place where you speak the same language. I hope you and your daughter don’t have too much difficulty settling in. The hardest thing for me has always been the loneliness. I find it difficult to make new friends and you quickly discover that when you move abroad, the onus is on you to maintain your old relationships, which is not always easy.

I wish you good luck. πŸ™‚

Post # 6
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I’m a US expat living in England and I have had to make all sorts of visa applications both in the US and UK. I know how stressful it can be! I completely second the idea of finding a UK visa forum. People on those forums will be able to answer just about any questions you can think of. If you can afford it, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to speak to an immigration lawyer. You may find that you just need one or two meetings to have him/her look over your application and make sure everything appears to be in place.

My best piece of advice is to be super organised. For my last application, I was applying within the UK for an unmarried partner visa. We had been living together for two years but were not yet engaged. We had to provide a lot of evidence of our history together, inclduing bank statements, utility bills, proof of shared address, etc. We used a binder and tabbed dividers with numbers on each tab that corresponded to the guidance provided by the UK Border Agency. So at the beginning there was a covering letter and then a table of contents that said, for example 1.1 Passports, 1.2 Passport photos, etc. I think that really helped make the application more straightforward for the person who was processing it.

I would also say that you must follow guidelines precisely. So, when it gives measurements for your passport photos, use them! US passport photo guidelines are different from UK, so you might need to seek out a place that specifically provides UK photos. There was something wrong with my passport photo (I still don’t know what), and they said my application couldn’t be processed and returned my money. I had to reapply, but was very grateful that they at least returned the money, since most of their guidelines say that you won’t get your application fee back if something isn’t right with the application. Make sure all bank statements are original or, if print outs, have them stamped and signed by your bank manager so it’s clear they are genuine. If you think what you’re doing is overkill, it almost certainly isn’t.

Good luck! It’s a stressful process, but t’s worth it! 

Post # 7
2889 posts
Sugar bee

Thus far, I have avoided any super stressful immigration although I have had my share of frustrations and hours wasted at the Foreign office. I don’t know what your plans are but I specifically first come over on a tourist visa (3 month automatic via the visa waiver program) and then figured out a proper visa from there. We didn’t get married right away so my visa was first connected to my job then I got a status adjustment when I got married. The visa is to be renewed first at a year then at 3 years and then again at 5 years after marriage before it can last the life of the passport. I’m not UK but EU. Either way, doing it this way, we skipped any of the stressful fiance visas or others that depend on marriage. As far as getting a work visa, I was teaching English part time but as a native speaker, that was good enough to get permission. I realize you will need a different loop hole in the UK I don’t supposed you are trained in grafic design, computer programming or speech pathology? Last I heard those were the loop hole careers. 

Honestly, it seems you situation is more complicated with the child adoption and I think a lawyer would make me feel most comfortable for an adoption regardless of the country. 

Good luck and talk to others who have been in your exact situation, I think you may be surprised to find there seems to be alternative solutions to each immigration problem you face depending on who you talk to. 

Post # 8
227 posts
Helper bee

Another US to UK expat here! I moved from Philly to London in Sept 2010. The visa process is stressful for sure, and you’ll constantly question whether you messed something tiny up that will ruin the whole plan! Just double-check everything, stay organized, and trust yourself. If you need some questions answered, try to make an appointment with someone at the embassy. 

As others said, blogs and online forums are great! I found the forums on uk-yankee.com to be REALLY helpful, and I still consult them from time to time when I have questions about taxes or other miscellaneous issues. 

Good luck! If you’re anywhere near London and need a friend, feel free to drop a line and we can grab a drink sometime! 

Post # 11
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@AllTheGoodUsernamesAreTaken: You might find this helpful: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/partners-families/citizens-settled/fiancee-proposed-cp/

The UK Border Agency website really is very good. It says you can’t apply for a fiance visa once you are in the country, so you would not be able to travel as a tourist and then change once you get here. If you don’t want to marry within six months of arriving you could apply under a partner visa, but if you don’t intend to work when you arrive that might not be as much of an issue for you. That link also has useful information about bringing children over.


Post # 12
32 posts
  • Wedding: March 2013

@AllTheGoodUsernamesAreTaken:  I’d agree with the PP that the UK Border Agency is super helpful. As I metioned in a previous thread (you know the one – ranty, emotionally fuelled πŸ˜‰ my Fiance and I moved to the UK from South Africa a few years ago. And while i have a British passport, he doesn’t – we have been through 2 visa processes so far, and have another coming up in October. Argh! I think the important thing, when it comes to partnership visas, is that you’re able to prove the validity of the relationship, so be sure to take all sorts of documentation along with you when you make the move. (Letters you’ve sent to one another, evidence of the same address if you’ve had one, photos, etc.) Even though these aren’t official docs, they’ll most likely help when making the application. 

And with refernce to your suggestion on the other thread, I would definitely be keen to meet up for drinks and welcome you to the muddy island πŸ™‚ Drop me a message when you’re keen.

Good luck with everything!

Post # 13
1830 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I’ve done the expat thing a few times (currently still an expat) – first from the US to the UK, then from the UK to Australia, and then later from the US to Australia, where I currently am on a marriage visa. Couple pieces of advice, some mentioned already but I’ll reiterate:

1. Keep EVERYTHING related to your relationship – plane tickets, hotel reservations, cards, pictures etc. That stuff is invaluable in proving your relationship.

2. Make photocopies of everything you submit with your application as a lot of it you will need for future steps in the application process. Keep it all in an organised binder and life is so much easier.

3. Follow the rules for immigrating to the letter. I’m pretty sure they really don’t like when people enter the country on a tourist visa and then try to apply for a marriage visa. Yes the rules can be complicated and a pain in the neck but life is so much easier when you don’t try to outsmart the system for the sake of being easier – in the ling run, it generally ends up being more complicated!

And just remember, whilst the immigration process is a pain, it’s all worth it in the end and will be a distant memory before long. Good luck!

Post # 14
124 posts
Blushing bee

You can message me if you want with any questions. But I will try to explain it to you as clearly as I can. I hope I can help you somehow:

My husband was born in kazakshtan but the father of his mother was german, so after his father passed away his mother decided she would love with him to Germany, and they got the german citizenship, loving the kazak one in the process.


I was born in Brazil, raised there, etc etc. My greatgrandparents were german, but due to papers getting lost, I couldnt get a german citizenship. Which I would have the right to, f my father got it as a grandchild of germans, his kids (me my brother and my sister) would be able to as well.


So, he has a german citizenship only, and me a brazilian one only.


We met each other 26 of october of 2008 on skype, while I added random people (guys and girls) trying to make some friends, as I would visit family in Switzerland. We hit it off and almost exactly two months after we started talking, on 27 of december of 2008, we saw each other in person and started dating. One month (26 of january) after we decided t start a relationship, boyfriend and girlfriend officially. begin of february 11th if im not mistaken (im good with dates.. hehe) i went back to brazil and spent 6 months there, coming to Germany to spend one month of him begin of july of 2009 and going back to brazil begin of august of 2009. brazilians can stay in the european unon for up til 3 months as turists, without needing to make a proper visa, just needing a valid passport.


I spent 6 more months in Brazil and moved to Germany end of january of 2010. Dear husband and I (dear boyfriend back then) moved in together and I started a german course, and stayed one year in Germany, but couldnt renew my visa past that. I had no idea it was limited to one year for language student visas. I needed to return to Brazil and stay 3 months there (or anywhere I would like, as long as it wasnt in the european union).

so february march and april of 2011 I was in Brazil. he went to visit me there in march for 2 weeks. I returned to Germany in may of 2011.

When my 3 months as a turist were almost up i tried to renew my visa once again as a german student, but the bitch in the foreigner office explained at LAST i could never renew as a german student, that kind of visa was not a possibility for me anymore… she could have told me that the first time she denied my visa and i needed to go back to brazil. i was fumming, sad, it was awful, i cried in front of her. my husband almost cried in front of her as well, she gave me one month more to sort my thing in Germany and go back to Brazil… telling me i could return in ANOTHER 3 MONTHS, as a turist to stay 3 months top if I so wished.


That day my husband told me he didnt want to live without me and we decided to get married when I returned to Germany. it was a beautiful and emotional moment, even in the middle of such sadness of me going away again.


So, in setember of 2011 i went to brazil again. in october my husband visited me for 2 weeks for my birthday and in december I returned to Germany.


but, before I returned to Germany, I had a really really stressful time putting paperwork together. a paper from the federal police saying i never was in jail, y renewed version of my birth certificate, a certificate saying i was single. another paper telling i was single and with 2 witness signing… and all that transleted to german by a translator that is accepted with the german embassy. after the translation, going to the german embassy in my city in brazil to get all the papers stamped to say they were all valid! one more detail… they were only valid for 90 days, so I had to get married within that time. just with the process of getting them all done, translated and stamped, more than 30 days had passed, so I had a window of less than 60 then that I could get married.


My husband tried to arrange for us to get married in Germany, but his german citizenship wasnt enough, he needed one more paper: a renewed birth certificate, that he would need to get in kazakshtan! he would only go there in july of 2012, by that time not only would my papers (that i spent a lot of time and money to get done) wouldnt be valid anymore, I wouldnt be able to take more distance and time apart.


So we contacted a russian company and they drove us and one more couple to dennmark. it cost 3 thousand euros if im not mistaken, with transportation and one night hotel included. we got married there in the courthouse (the cerimonyi was in german though!!!), as it is easier to get married there than in germany or most other places in europe, and they had no problem to accept his original birth certificate, his other papers were all in order, and mine were more than perfect (i made sure of that, even though i almost lost my mind in the process).


after it, we went to the city hall in germany to change my name, went to the foreigners office and filled the forms for my living permit. it went really smooth. after a month or so the living permit was ready and we went to pick it up. still in my maidens name though, as they needed a document (i.e. my passport) to accept my new name for such a document.


I am now in the process of more paperwork getting done, so I can have my new passport done in my married name. we needed to send our marriage certificate to the brazilian embassy in dennmark for them to put a sticker on the back of the marriage certificate that basically says the wedding was done in a real courthouse and what not.

when it arrived i scheduled an appointment to get my passport done in Munich at the brazilian embassy, but even though i scheduled in june the first open slot was end of september. now im sending the marriage certificate and many other papers to them, so our marriage will be accepted in brazil as well. it akes almost a month to process and it will be ready around a week or two before i have my passport appointment. so i can get it the same day i go to make the passport (that will be ready 2 or 3 months after, just in time to renew my living permit that is valid only until november, same time as my actual passport).

when i go to brazil again i will need to take the paper the embassy will give me saying the marriage is valid in brazil and register in a courthouse. phew. talk about stress! Every paper that gets done is like a weight is lifted from my shoulders. still need some things done and im anxious, but i have been worst, while prepping the papers t get married. this is my experience, sorry for writing so much and i dont want to scare you telling you about so much paperwork, but this is what i needed to go through to marry the man of my life and close the distance forever.

begin of 2014 we will have the religious cerimony and party. by that time all this paperwork stress will be long over and done with. after 3 or 4 years married I can require a german citizenship as well. thought that might be worth to add, even though the rules for england are probably different.


all the best of luck!

Post # 15
515 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

People do visit countries on a tourist visa, get married, and then apply for a spouse visa. I don’t know if that’s technically the right way to do that in the UK or what their position on it is. I would assume it is frowned upon. Technically, if you are planning to apply for residency, then you’re not a tourist and shouldn’t be using a tourist visa. I doubt they would refuse your application for that, but you never know. You can always say that you orginally intended to go back (so buy a round trip ticket if you plan to come in on a tourist visa or they may well refuse you entry at the border and then you’re chances of getting a visa will be really screwed) but that after the wedding you changed your mind because you just couldn’t bear to leave your husband. If you go this route, though, you really ought to consider using a lawyer because you can’t afford to mess it up. A lawyer can help you get through the loopholes of doing it this way. Even if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer for the whole process, you should definitely consider setting up a consultation with one.

Post # 16
1471 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I’m another expat. From New Zealand, living in Japan, and applying for a K1 visa to move to the Us to marry Fiance after I finish in Japan. We have just spent an afternoon in Malaysia filling out paperwork! It’s hard. I get a bit excited when I see another expat bride on the Bee πŸ™‚

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