UK Visa for Russian Girlfriend - All you need to know
We often get asked, “Can I bring my Russian wife or girlfriend to the UK?” The answer is yes, and it depends on the nature of your relationship, how serious you are and your future plans.
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There are a whole array of UK visa applications available for bringing your partner from abroad, and the process is the same whether it’s your girlfriend or boyfriend. These applications aren’t limited to relationships that started in Russia or with a Russian national. We’ll discuss the available options and help you choose the right path to make it happen.
At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, we understand that navigating the UK immigration system can be tough to say the least, but with our expert advice and support, you will have the power to bring your partner to the UK and start your life together. Read on in this article where we will discuss the visitor, fiancé and spouse visa routes for UK nationals seeking to bring their Russian significant others to the UK and please do not hesitate to contact us today to discuss your needs and requirements, where we will provide you with a tailored solution.
There are Three Ways in which your Russian Partner can come to the UK.
1. By applying for a UK visitor visa.
2. By making an application for a UK Fiancé visa, this should just be done if your connection is of a serious nature as it depends on you marrying your Russian girlfriend within half a year (six months) of her coming to the UK.
3. By applying for a Spouse Visa (for this you would already need to be married to your Russian partner).
Applying for a Visitor Visa for Your Russian Girlfriend
If you have a Russian girlfriend who wishes to visit you in the UK for a short period of time, she may be able to apply for a Standard Visitor visa. This type of visa permits non-UK residents to visit the country for up to six months, for purposes such as tourism, visiting relatives, attending events or meetings, or undergoing medical treatment.
Here are the criteria that your Russian girlfriend will need to meet in order to qualify for a UK visitor visa, presented in bullet points:
- Have a valid reason for traveling to the UK
- Have sufficient funds to support herself during her stay
- Have the financial means to pay for her travel expenses
- Not intend to engage in any paid work while in the UK
- Have no criminal record
- Not pose a threat to national security
The visa application process involves submitting an online form and attending an appointment at a visa application centre in any country. During the appointment, she will be required to provide biometric information, such as fingerprints and a photograph, and supporting documents, such as her passport, proof of finances or support, and evidence of her reason for visiting the UK.
It is essential to note that a visitor visa does not allow your girlfriend to remain in the UK for more than six months at a time, and it does not permit her to work or settle in the country. If she wishes to stay for an extended period, work, or study in the UK, she will need to apply for an appropriate visa such as a Student, Fiancé, or Spouse visa.
What Mistakes You Must Not Make on The Application
It is extremely important to raise no suspicion with the visa officer about whether or not your Russian girlfriend will, in fact, only visit you in the UK. If the visa officer thinks your girlfriend will stay in the UK, then the visa will most likely be rejected. A standard tourist visa, or visitor visa, can, in fact, be granted for a maximum period of six months. However, we strongly advise that you apply for a period of fewer than six months as this will give you more chances of the visa being granted. Applying for less than the six-month period will support your application further as your Russian girlfriend may have other commitments in Russia to return to, which in the eyes of the immigration officer, will add more credibility to the application as it will show that she will not be overstaying in the UK or trying to in fact enter on this visa route to live there with you permanently. You must confirm such details in the invitation letter and also state that while she visits you in the UK, she will not try and claim public funds and that she will be accommodated by you. Additionally, you must state that she will not look for any form of work while she is in the UK, whether it is paid or not.
Your Russian girlfriend must also verify in her declaration to the UK embassy that she has no plans whatsoever to stay in the UK for the long term and that she simply wants to visit you. Your stories must add up and match, and it is very important for her to show she has strong connections in Russia with regard to her home, life, and work (it is advisable that she shows evidence of where she works) and has no purpose of leaving her current life and situation in Russia to stay in the UK illegally.
If you are planning on marrying your Russian girlfriend, make this clear in the application for this visa. However, if you decide to say this in the application, you should also say that she may eventually apply for a UK spouse visa and will do this from abroad in Russia, but first, she would like to visit the UK to experience life there first before doing this, as in to see whether she enjoys her time including the culture and general life.
Applying for a UK Fiancé Visa for Your Russian Partner
If you are engaged to a Russian citizen and you both plan to live together in the UK, you may want to consider applying for a UK Fiancé visa. This visa is specifically designed for non-UK citizens who are engaged to British citizens or settled persons and want to come to the UK to get married and then settle in the country.
To apply for a Fiancé visa, you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements, these include:
Fiancé Visa Requirements for the UK sponsor:
- Met your Russian fiancé in person: To be eligible for a Fiancé visa, you must have met your Russian fiancé in person. This means that online or virtual relationships will not be considered for this type of visa.
- Have a genuine and subsisting relationship: The Home Office will assess whether you have a genuine and subsisting relationship with your fiancé. This means that they will look at factors such as the length of your relationship, whether you have spent time together in person, and whether you have plans to get married and settle in the UK.
- Have the financial means to support your fiancé during her stay in the UK: As the sponsor, you must be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial means to support your fiancé during her stay (you make at least £18,600) in the UK and show 6 months of payslips and a contract of employment.
- Have adequate accommodation for both of you: You must provide evidence that you have adequate accommodation for both you and your fiancé. This means that you should have a place to live that is suitable for two people and that meets the UK’s housing standards.
Fiancé Visa Requirements for the Russian Applicant:
- Be at least 18 years old: Your fiancé must be at least 18 years old to be eligible for a Fiancé visa.
- Have no criminal record: Your fiancé must have no criminal record in any country. The Home Office will conduct a background check and may refuse the visa if they find any criminal convictions.
- Pass an English language test (if applicable): If your fiancé is from a non-English speaking country, she may be required to pass an English language test as part of the application process. This is to ensure that she will be able to communicate effectively in the UK.
- The application process for a Fiancé visa is quite detailed and can be complex, so it is essential to ensure that you provide all the required documentation and information when submitting your application. This typically includes evidence of your relationship, such as photos, letters, and records of communications, as well as evidence of your financial status and accommodation arrangements.
Once your Fiancé visa is approved, your Russian partner will be able to enter the UK for a period of six months, during which time you must get married. After getting married, your Russian fiancé can then apply for a Spouse visa, which will give here leave to remain in the UK for a further two and a half years, during which time you can apply for an extension. After living in the UK for a total of five years on a Spouse visa, your Russian wife will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, which is a form of permanent residency in the UK.
In summary, if you and your Russian fiancé are planning to get married and settle in the UK, a Fiancé visa can be an excellent option. However, it is important to ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements and provide all the necessary documentation to maximize your chances of a successful application. So if in doubt, speak with our UK Fiancé Visa Lawyers in London for clarity on your situation.
What Happens After the Wedding?
After you are married, your Russian wife can stay in the UK. Whilst the fiancé/ fiancée visa can only be applied for from abroad, the marital relationship/ spouse visa that you will apply for after you are married can be applied for in-country (in the UK).
Once your Russian wife’s marriage/spouse visa has been granted, she will be granted two and a half year’s stay (called leave to remain) in the UK. This can be extended for another two and a half years afterwards, and then after five years, she can then apply for permanent residence, which is also known as indefinite leave to remain.
Applying for a UK Spouse Visa for Your Russian Partner
If you’re a British citizen or permanent resident in the UK and you wish to bring your Russian spouse over from abroad, you may apply for a Spouse Visa. This process involves meeting specific requirements and presenting an application that satisfies the necessary criteria.
- You need to demonstrate that you have met and plan to reside together permanently in the UK.
- The UK spouse must have stable employment or be self-employed, earning at least £18,600 gross per annum.
- The UK spouse must provide payslips for the last six months, bank statements covering at least six months, and a contract of employment.
- The couple must have suitable accommodations without overcrowding.
- The UK spouse must sign a declaration to confirm that they will support their spouse in the UK and ensure that they do not become a burden on public funds.
Applying for a UK Spouse Visa for your Russian wife can be a complicated and time-consuming process. However, with proper guidance and assistance, it can become much simpler. Whether you need help with the application process or are unsure of the eligibility requirements, our immigration solicitors in London can provide tailored advice and an efficient service. With the assistance of our Spouse Visa Lawyers in London, you can navigate the UK immigration system with ease and bring your Russian spouse to the UK so that you may start your new life together. To contact us, please click here.
If you intend to bring your Russian wife to the UK, you must ensure that the documents presented as evidence of your marriage and relationship are acceptable. Any documents in Russian, such as the marriage certificate or a previous divorce decree, must be translated into English by a professional and accredited English translator.
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain After 5 Years
If all the necessary evidence is provided with your Russian spouse’s “entry clearance” application, she will receive a Spouse Visa valid for 2.5 years. If you’re still happily together after this period, you may extend the visa for another 2.5 years. Finally, if everything goes according to plan, your partner can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, also known as permanent residence, without having to worry about expiration dates.
During this period, your Russian spouse will be permitted to work legitimately in the UK without any restrictions.
To be eligible for ILR, she must meet the following requirements:
- She has spent five continuous years in the UK on a Spouse Visa, and you have not spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any one year.
- You and your spouse are still married and living together.
- She meets the English language requirement by passing a government-approved English language test.
- She does not have any serious criminal convictions, breaches of immigration law or serious debts to the NHS.
- Once she has obtained ILR, she will be able to stay in the UK indefinitely, without having to worry about your visa status. She will also be able to work, study, and access public funds in the same way as any other UK resident.
After holding ILR for at least one year, she may be eligible to apply for British citizenship, which will give her the right to vote, hold a British passport, and participate fully in UK society.
It’s worth noting that the application process for ILR can be complex and time-consuming, and it’s essential to ensure that her application is complete and accurate. Seeking the guidance of an experienced immigration solicitor can help you navigate the process with confidence and give her the best chance of a successful outcome.
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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
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Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.