Can my Thai girlfriend come to the UK?
Thailand is a magical country full of pristine beaches, a luxurious tourist lifestyle and a beautiful culture. It is a place that many Brits visit every year and not only fall in love with the country itself but also with the people.
It often happens that true love is found in Thailand and relationship sprouts between a visiting Brit and local. The problem then arises on how to continue this relationship after your holiday is over and when you must return to the UK. You may have had such a strong connection with this person and you want to continue being with them and even maybe bring them to the UK to live with you long term.
Luckily there are a number of visa routes for this scenario and in fact, a very popular inquiry for many immigration law firms all over the UK is – Can my Thai girlfriend come to the UK?
Well, the answer is yes, and there are a number of options that will allow you to get a UK visa for Thai girlfriend depending on how serious your relationship is and what your future motives are.
The following visa applications that we explain below apply to both girlfriends and boyfriends from abroad and the process surrounding them is exactly the same and does not only apply to people coming from Thailand. We have referred to it as girlfriends in this article as we receive more inquiries in general about girlfriends from Thailand visiting the UK rather than boyfriends.
There are two possible ways that your Thai girlfriend can come to the UK.
- By applying for a standard UK tourist visa which will allow your girlfriend to come on holiday to the UK to visit you.
2. By applying for a UK Fiancé visa, but this should only be done if your relationship is more serious and you plan on marrying your Thai girlfriend within six months of her coming to the UK.
Applying for a Tourist Visa
A visa application can be made for your Thai girlfriend to come for a holiday to see you, assuming you are a British citizen or have permanent residence in the UK.
What should the application contain?
With the visa application (which can be made in the UK by us for your Thai girlfriend), a letter of invitation addressed ‘to whom it may concern’ needs to be provided by you setting out details of when where and how you both met, and if you have been to Thailand before and have met her parents then such details will also be relevant to provide. Please note any documents that are not in English should be translated into English by a professional translator.
As to your immigration status in the UK, documentary evidence as to your ID documents certified as true copies of the originals, preferably by a solicitor, and including details of your income (it is suggested this should not be less than £18600 per annum gross), should be provided, together with your accommodation where your Thai girlfriend will stay, and confirmation that there will be no overcrowding at the property, and if you rent it, that you have the landlord’s consent for your girlfriend to stay with you there for the duration of her holiday. A copy of the landlord’s consent should also be attached with the tenancy agreement.
A recent bank statement from you as to the state of your funds, dated not later than 28 days prior to the date of the application, showing your salary paid into your account and a letter from your employers confirming your employment and gross and net earnings as reflected in the bank statement should be provided.
What you should avoid doing
It is important not to give the visa officer any concerns that your Thai girlfriend will not leave the UK after her six-month visit visa comes to an end and will not, therefore, try to stay on in the UK based on a relationship with you. It may be that she cannot stay for six months anyway, and in our view it would be more credible to set a period of stay for less than six months, to show she has to return to work for examples and thus has other commitments to attend to in Thailand. I say this because visa officers at the British Embassy in Thailand may suspect the nature of the visit visa application, thinking that she may not return, so it will be important for you to confirm in your invitation letter that during the period of her stay here she will not claim any public funds and that she will be fully maintained and accommodated by you. Furthermore, she will not seek any form of employment paid or unpaid.
Your Thai girlfriend, in turn, should confirm in her statement that she has no intention to overstay her visa, and will leave the UK before the end of her tourist visa. She should also show with evidence that she has strong connections with Thailand in terms of home, family, work (proof of employment) for example and that she has no intention to abandon these commitments and try to stay in the UK unlawfully.
If there is any prospect of future marriage, it would be appropriate to make it clear as regards future intentions, but that, in any event, were you both to go down that route, you will deal with it correctly in accordance with the immigration rules, by your Thai girlfriend applying for a spouse visa from outside the UK, but that this visit to the UK is just a holiday and to see whether she likes Great Britain, it’s culture and the way of life of the British people.
How is the application made?
The application will be made online by us for your Thai girlfriend, and we shall advise on the uploading of the documents and when she will need to attend the Embassy compound to take her fingerprints (biometrics ( fingerprints) and any original documents that may be required.
If the application is refused, other than a judicial review, there is no appeal, but a further application for entry clearance can be made.
If you are a British citizen or permanent resident who is planning on marrying your Thai girlfriend, but before marriage you would like to see what it is like living together in the UK, then your Thai girlfriend can apply for a visa in Thailand or from abroad to enter the UK as a Fiancée. For this visa to be granted, it is of great importance to show that your relationship is genuine and that you both intend to live together permanently upon marriage, but it is not necessary to show that you both had been living together prior to making the application.
Applying for a UK Fiancé Visa
The other scenario for bringing your Thai girlfriend to the UK is to apply for a UK Fiancé visa. However, this should only be done if your relationship is serious, and you plan to marry your Thai girlfriend within six months of her living in the UK.
What are the main requirements for the UK Fiancé visa?
* The main requirements are that the British sponsor and the Thai applicant must intend to marry within six months of entry to the UK.
* The visa will be for a six-month period, and will not entitle your Thai girlfriend to work.
* Moreover, you both must obviously have met and must intend to live together permanently, and your Thai girlfriend must be able to support herself or be supported by you, without access to public funds and with adequate accommodation in place.
How long does the Fiancé Visa last?
Successful applicants are granted a six-month visa to come to the UK and marry their British partner. The visa can be extended for another six months from within the UK if reasonable grounds can be shown that the marriage could not take place within the first six months.
What happens after the marriage takes place?
Once you are married, your Thai wife can remain in the UK based on marriage. Whilst the fiancé/ fiancée visa can only be applied for by way of entry clearance from abroad, the marriage/ spouse visa following the grant of the fiancé/ fiancée visa can be applied for whilst the applicant is in the UK.
Once your Thai wife has been granted leave to remain in the UK on the basis of marriage, then the grant of leave should be for 2.5 years followed by a further grant of the same amount of time (2.5 years), and after a five-year period of living in the UK, an application can be made for indefinite leave to remain.