April 2015

How long will it take to approve or process my UK visa application?

There is a UK visa processing time table at https://visa-processingtimes.homeoffice.gov.uk/y/united-states/all "Processing times vary depending on a range of factors." As of Feb 2015: Visit Visas Most UK visit visas are processed within 10 days, but some can take up to 60-90 days. Most Business visit visas are processed within 10 days but can take up to 30 days. Most Family Visit Visas are processed within 10 days but can take up to 30 days. Most transit visas are processed within 10 days. PBS...

Can I visit the UK while my visa is processing?

No! You must be outside the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to apply for your visa 1 . Since you will be sending your passport, you will not be able to travel without it. You should not consider having someone forward your passport after it's returned. It's difficult being apart from your loved ones and families, but we all must wait and follow the process else risk being denied your visa and losing the money spent on fees.

Should I book my flight before or after my Visa is processed?

Don't book your flight until after you get your visa approved and you check it for errors, just in case your visa is refused or delayed. You could lose the money you've paid for flights. You can include a sample itinerary with your application, such as the flight search results selected as a potential itinerary. "Travel documents" as referred to in the biometrics letter means your passport .

How long can you be out of the UK before your ILR expires?

If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain ( ILR ) when leaving the UK to reside elsewhere, you must return to the UK to re-settle within two years or your ILR becomes invalid, you lose your status. Section 18 of the Immigration Rules 1 : A person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom as a returning resident may be admitted for settlement provided the Immigration Officer is satisfied that the person concerned: (i) had indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom when he last left;...

How are dates written in the UK?

Dates in the UK (and most of the world) are formatted differently than the USA. Instead of Month-Day-Year as we would normally write them, the day is first, Day-Month-Year and said for example "the 7th of November" (07-11-2011) instead of as "November 7th". Pay extra attention on important forms and food expirations!

Why are British billions and trillions sometimes different to US?

Sometimes when the British talk about billions, they actually mean what we Americans would call trillions. It's important to get clarification on which billion they're actually using in their figures because both methods are still being used. There is also a historical difference between billions, trillions and so forth. Americans use billion to mean one thousand million (1,000,000,000), whereas in the UK, until the later part of the 20th century, it used to mean one million million (1,000,000,...

What is the Life in the UK test?

For many visas and citizenship, you must have a certificate that you passed the Life in the UK test. This never expires so you can take it any time. You must book your test at an official test centre. 1 You'll be tested on the information in the official handbook, so study this to prepare for the test. You'll have 45 minutes to answer 24 questions. You can buy the study pack from the affiliate Amazon link or from the government bookstore directly 2 . This is primarily a trivia memorisation...

What are the necessary documents needed for ILR?

All the documents you require are listed clearly on the application form. It's much easier than your previous visa with less documents required. ILR is rarely refused, unless you don't qualify for it (i.e. you haven't taken the Life in the UK test or have not reached 2 years in the UK before you apply). The basics:
  • your passport and passport photo
  • your spouse's passport (or full photocopy of) and passport photo
  • Life in the UK test pass certificate
  • your
  • ...

Do I need a passport photo of my spouse for my Fiance/Spousal Visa application?

You don't actually need a passport photo of your spouse for the initial fiance or spousal visa application, but you do need one for FLR (M) and ILR , so it's something to be aware of for future applications.

Can I apply for UK citizenship before I enter UK?

No. You have to show that you were in the UK for exactly three years prior to the date that you apply. You cannot apply before you have been in the UK for at least 3 years. The application date is believed to be the day after you mail it, so if you send it on the first of the month, the application date is the 2nd. It can take a few months to process and it is advised not to travel during this time. After processing it can take a few weeks to have your citizenship ceremony. You must also have a...


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UK Yankee is a resource and community for expatriate Americans living in or planning to move to the UK, established in 1999. Please join the discussions in our friendly expat community.