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UK Visa for Russian Girlfriend - All you need to know

Real love is sometimes found by many on a trip to Russia and partnership sprouts between a British national who is visiting and a Russian. However, the problem then occurs on exactly how to continue the romance when the British national returns to the UK and wonders how to get a UK visa for Russian girlfriend?
Luckily enough, there are several visa paths for this kind of situation, and we can advise you on them all as a prevalent immigration query that many clients ask us is, can I bring my Russian girlfriend to the UK? 
There are a few options available that will allow you to obtain a UK visa for Russian national depending upon exactly how serious your partnership is and also what your future objectives are.

The following visa applications that we discuss below relate to both girlfriends and boyfriends from abroad and the procedure surrounding them is the same and also does not relate to relationships starting in Russia or with a Russian individual. 


There are two ways in which your Russian girlfriend can come to the UK.

1.By applying for a UK tourist (standard visit) visa.

2.By making an application for a UK Fiancé visa, yet 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.


Applying for a Tourist Visa

A visa application can be made by your Russian girlfriend so that she can come and visit you in the UK for a holiday.  


What are the requirements to get a UK visa for Russian girlfriend?

With the UK tourist visa application (which can be made in the UK by us for your Russian girlfriend), a letter of invitation must be sent to her, and it must explain information about your relationship and how it began. Important information such as, if you have met her family or not, what kind of trips you have taken together in Russia or abroad and details surrounding the length and seriousness of your relationship should all be mentioned. If you plan to attach any documents as evidence to support your application, please make sure that they have been translated into English by a professional certified English translator. 

Also, it is very important to include details about your immigration status as a British national or a permanent resident and provide certified evidence of either your passport or residency in the UK. You must have these certified as true copies by a solicitor, and you must also include details about your UK income to support your case (the minimum financial requirement needed is £18600 per year gross). This information should be submitted, with details of your accommodation to show where your Russian girlfriend will stay when she visits the UK, and you must also confirm that the property is big enough in size for the both of you and it will not be overcrowded with an extra resident. If your Russian girlfriend stays with you in a rented place, you may also need confirmation from your landlord giving permission for your Russian girlfriend to reside with you there for the duration of her holiday. A copy of the landlord’s permission statement should be attached to the application. 

When you state your funds, make sure that the statement you show is dated no more than 28 days before the date that is on the application for your Russian girlfriend. The statement must show your income that is paid into your bank account. It is also necessary to have a letter from your company confirming your work for them and also to confirm the net and gross amounts that they pay you. 


What mistakes you must not make in 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 for 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 in Russian that she has no plans whatsoever to stay in the UK for the long term and 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 regards to her home, life, 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. 

How to apply for a UK visa for Russian girlfriend?

Such a visa application for your Russian girlfriend to come to the UK can be made by her on the internet through teh UK home office website. We can advise you and her before she makes this application and discuss what documents are needed to upload online alongside what she will have to present when she goes to the UK embassy in Russian for an interview with a visa officer. At the interview, the visa officer at the UK embassy will take her fingerprints and also copies any kind of initial papers that may be needed.

If her application is declined, there is a possibility to fight it with a judicial review which we can provide representation for. However, unfortunately, there is no type of appeal process for this visa route. 

If you are a British citizen or individual with indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) who is thinking about marrying your Russian girlfriend in the UK, you can also apply for a UK Fiance visa, but this will require you to confirm that you plan to marry her within half a year (six months) of her entering the UK. For this visa to be successful, you will have to show that you have a genuine relationship and that you both are going to live together, preferably before and definitely after marriage. However, you do not need to show that you both have lived together before the application. Read more below.

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Applying for a UK Fiancé Visa

This is another option for bringing your Russian girlfriend to the UK. You should only consider this visa route if your partnership is really serious and you plan on getting married soon after within the UK. 

What are the primary requirements for the UK Fiancé visa?

* The most important requirement is that you as a British citizen or permanent resident, definitely plan on marrying your Russsian girlfriend within six months of her entering the UK.

* If the application is successful, your Russain girlfriend will receive a UK Fiance Visa for half a year (six months), but she will not be able to work in the country.

* Furthermore, you both have to make very clear that while she is in the UK, she will live with you in decent accommodation and will be able to support herself or be sustained by you, without access to public funds.


Can the UK Fiance visa be extended?

The UK Fiance Visa can be extended for one more six months from inside the UK if you can show evidence to support the claim that the marriage cannot take place within the initial six month time period. However, justification ll be needed for why it could not occur. 


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 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 years 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.

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    Neither Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors ltd, nor their employees, agents, consultants or assignees, accept any liability based on the contents of written articles which are meant for guidance only and not as legal advice. We advise all readers to take professional advice before acting. If you would like to consult with a professional lawyer or solicitor to discuss your case, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.