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  1. #1
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    Post Fiance(e) Visa or Spouse Visa? Which is best?

    This is a frequently asked question that often doesn't receive a comparative review.

    In my opinion is quite difficult to provide definitive advice as there are both advantages and disadvantages to each settlement route and the final
    decision, in the large part, really comes down to personal circumstance and choice.

    Here's my attempt at covering as many angles as I can think of that needs serious consideration.

    Firstly, just because it's easier, lets consider that age old question concerning the cost comparison.

    Here's a basic breakdown based on current visa fees (valid at February 2012):-


    Fiance(e)
    Fiance Visa......£810
    FLR Visa..........£550
    ILR Visa...........£972

    Total..............£2332


    Spouse
    Spouse Visa......£810
    ILR Visa...........£972

    Total..............£1782

    The difference is solely down to the additional £550 cost of the FLR (Further Leave to Remain)....
    However, somehow we need to 'factor-in' the costs of actually becomming a spouse in the Philippines. I'm not sure that including travelling costs is a fair comparison so lets just leave those aside.

    Wherever the wedding actually takes place there will be some costs involved. I suggest that in both countries weddings can be as cheap or as expensive as
    wanted. Down to the personal choice and/or circumstances of the couple.

    So there we have it, in principle the spouse visa route has a potentially slightly lower cost base.

    Whichever route is taken, both visas (when granted) can lead to permanent settlement (and naturalisation if desired).
    Both visas have pretty much the same key requirements in order to meet immigration rules and satisfy UKBA, and as such, require very similar supporting
    evidence and documentation. This means that technically neither route offers any clear advantage over the other.
    However, contrary to popular belief, most ECO's are not just box-tickers and do need to feel comfortable about evidence of genuine relationship. This is one area
    where providing a really good letter of support from the sponsor can help to convince the ECO.

    I also happen to believe that when the relationship is truly genuine then this does show through on the application making both visas fairly straightforward in understanding the needed support.
    Do keep in mind though, that in itself marriage is not proof. Plenty of people try to use marriage as the route to a visa, and the UKBA are well aware of that.

    On a positive note, most applicants actually do get their visa granted at the first application whichever one of the 2 visa's they go for.

    So where do you want to get married - UK or Philippines?

    The key difference is that the fiancee visa is valid for 6 months and permits entry into the UK in order to get married, after marriage you need to apply for permission to temporarily remain in the UK, as a spouse, for a further period of two years. This is known as Further Leave to Remain or FLR.
    Just before the end of this two year qualifying period (earliest 28 days before) you may apply for permanent settlement, otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR.
    The period of time spent in UK under the Fiance(e) Visa, until you marry, cannot be counted towards your ILR.

    You may apply for the spouse visa as soon as you are married.
    When granted outside of the UK, the spouse visa is usually valid for 27 months and allows entry into the UK and permission to remain temporarily as a spouse
    Just before the end of a two year qualifying period living in UK (earliest 28 days before) you may apply for permanent settlement, otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR.
    Being the holder of a Spouse Visa allows you to take up employment as soon as you arrive into the UK

    So what are the other considerations?

    Well, as the holder of a Spouse Visa you will be allowed to take up employment as soon as you arrive into the UK. This can seriously help financially, help you with the potential boredom and feeling of being homesick in a strange country. You have a good period of stability before the stresses of apply for the next visa in your journey.

    The holder of a Fiance(e) visa is not permitted to work until the FLR has been granted.

    But whever you do get married one part of the family is likely to be disappointed, unless they are able to easily travel and/or secure a visa.

    By opting for a Spouse Visa at least it's providing the opportunity for the lady to get married in front of all her family and friends.
    Once she is married and comes over to the UK, she will likely only rarely see them, and at least a Philippines wedding provides a great send-off and a very special time filled with very special memories. Once you are both in the UK, it's an easy option to have either a church or civil blessing to the marriage for your own family and friends if wanted.

    Better still, if you can manage to secure an extra long holiday from work and actually spend some quality time together it's a great way to get to know each other even more, and also get a feel for living in the Philippines. (well it might help).

    In my view it's so important to really get to know each other and the extended family. Leaving family, friends, home and your country and going half a world away to live with some guy you might only have met once in the Philippiness, is a big ask, and for some might be just too much. Especially if she finds herself in some socially quiet neighbourhood of the UK without any friends. Some adapt and thrive while others really struggle to get to grips with life in UK.
    Take some special time and special measures to make sure your Mahal is aware of what moving to the UK might mean. Don't ever make promises you either can't or won't ever keep.

    Then again, on the other hand, some people just dont like the prospect of getting married in the Philippines and then having to return to the UK alone to face the wait for the visa process to take its course. Its difficult enough at anytime saying your goodbyes at the airport, but when it's your new bride you're saying good bye to it can be very upsetting and depressing.
    I understand lots of people do it, but I also know that many of those have found it very very difficult, especially when few or even no preparations have been made to support the visa application. Or in the worst cases where there's no understanding of the UKBA requirements or ability to comply.

    Be sure to get things organised properly and try to help all concerned to face the uncertainties of the visa application and decision.
    Leaving all the work for your new wife to figure out is just not fair. (imo)

    There is an argument in favour of the Fiance(e) Visa in that it can allow you to spend time together in the UK before either party commits to getting married and living a life in UK. This might prove invaluable to some folks.
    Of course, it would be ideal if circumstances allowed for a trip to be made to UK under a general visit visa. At least both of you can be relaxed in the knowledge
    that you're under no pressures to get married within 6 months. This is a good strategy if the relationship feels like it needs that extra little 'comfort test'
    Sadly though, the visit visa is often not easy to secure. But it is very low cost, low risk and will not have any adverse impact on subsequent settlement visa application. Do remember though that there is no possibility to 'switch' or convert a visitor visa to settlement. The applicant must return home.

    There is actually a special class of visit visa called a Marriage Visa. This visa is the same low cost as a general visit visa and it allows you to visit UK for a period of 6 months for the purpose of getting married. Of course you still need to return home and make a spouse visa settlement application, but at least it provides time to get to know each other better and time to become a spouse without the pressures of preparing also for the FLR.
    Well, may not sound ideal for most of us but obviously meets the needs of some folks.

    Well, there's plenty of issues to consider, and it's not an easy decision for many.

    Hopefully this is food for thought.


  2. #2
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    Great post.... the best I've ever read on the subject.


  3. #3
    Respected Member tone's Avatar
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    Yeah mate very good write up!
    One question that may arise, if you marry in the Phils and things don't work out having started settling here, do you have to have the marriage annulled, as opposed to getting a divorce here in the UK?

    Cheers!
    Tone


  4. #4
    Moderator joebloggs's Avatar
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    terpe.

    I'm for the spouse visa, as its not just the cost of applying for FLR its all the hassle of filling in and collecting what evidence you need and playing the waiting game again

    and you can apply for ILR upto 6 months sooner than if you was on a fiancee visa.

    and there are a couple of other reasons.
    http://www.filipinouk.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=870&dateline=1270312908


  5. #5
    Respected Member Stuart's Avatar
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    Hmmmmm lots to think about!!!! We will be making our final decision tomorrow!!!!! Joining this forum has given us the ability to get the information we really need! Thanks Everyone!!!!


  6. #6
    Respected Member tone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart View Post
    Hmmmmm lots to think about!!!! We will be making our final decision tomorrow!!!!! Joining this forum has given us the ability to get the information we really need! Thanks Everyone!!!!
    Yep think we all get to thinking the same way! Good luck.
    Tone


  7. #7
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    Terpe, This is a very good write up....many will be enlighten about which one will they going to apply....Thanks


  8. #8
    Respected Member juvyjones28's Avatar
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    well done Terpe I'm sure lots will benefit with your informative thoughts. Thanks for sharing.


  9. #9
    Trusted Member stevewool's Avatar
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    well said terpe, a very good read, may i just add this little bit of advice, both of you get to know each other very well before you go forward for either visa,it was nearly 3 years of comunication and 1 trip to the phils before myself and Emma applied


  10. #10
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    Yes. Excellent write up and comparison.

    So through the Fiancee route you effectively get an extra 6 months........I wasn't really aware of that. Something else to consider.

    The penny dropped for me on the difference in costs between the Spousal route and the Fiancee route just a couple of months ago. Till then I didn't realise. Quite a big difference in outlay there.

    However, somehow we need to 'factor-in' the costs of actually becomming a spouse in the Philippines.
    The way I saw it was that my costs in travel to the Philippines (aswell as meeting my gf) went towards a great holiday in a country that I had never visited before, so in a sense would be inclined to write them off as a part of the equation, maybe.....


  11. #11
    Member Loidaseminiano's Avatar
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    Well done Terpe! What an Excellent post, your post really much appreciated to all the new applicants..May God bless you..


  12. #12
    Moderator joebloggs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lastlid View Post
    Yes. Excellent write up and comparison.

    So through the Fiancee route you effectively get an extra 6 months........I wasn't really aware of that. Something else to consider.
    6 months on a fiancee visa, means upto a 6 month delay in getting ILR
    http://www.filipinouk.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=870&dateline=1270312908


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by joebloggs View Post
    6 months on a fiancee visa, means upto a 6 month delay in getting ILR
    I see what you mean.....fair point...


  14. #14
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    That was really long but I think it enlightened most of us. well done


  15. #15
    Moderator Steve.r's Avatar
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    Great post
    If you want your dreams to come true ...... first you have to wake up


  16. #16
    Moderator Arthur Little's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terpe View Post
    This is a frequently asked question that often doesn't receive a comparative review.

    In my opinion is quite difficult to provide definitive advice as there are both advantages and disadvantages to each settlement route and the final
    decision, in the large part, really comes down to personal circumstance and choice.

    Here's my attempt at covering as many angles as I can think of that needs serious consideration.

    Firstly, just because it's easier, lets consider that age old question concerning the cost comparison.

    Here's a basic breakdown based on current visa fees (valid at February 2012):-


    Fiance(e)
    Fiance Visa......£810
    FLR Visa..........£550
    ILR Visa...........£972

    Total..............£2332


    Spouse
    Spouse Visa......£810
    ILR Visa...........£972

    Total..............£1782

    The difference is solely down to the additional £550 cost of the FLR (Further Leave to Remain)....
    However, somehow we need to 'factor-in' the costs of actually becomming a spouse in the Philippines. I'm not sure that including travelling costs is a fair comparison so lets just leave those aside.

    Wherever the wedding actually takes place there will be some costs involved. I suggest that in both countries weddings can be as cheap or as expensive as
    wanted. Down to the personal choice and/or circumstances of the couple.

    So there we have it, in principle the spouse visa route has a potentially slightly lower cost base.

    Whichever route is taken, both visas (when granted) can lead to permanent settlement (and naturalisation if desired).
    Both visas have pretty much the same key requirements in order to meet immigration rules and satisfy UKBA, and as such, require very similar supporting
    evidence and documentation. This means that technically neither route offers any clear advantage over the other.
    However, contrary to popular belief, most ECO's are not just box-tickers and do need to feel comfortable about evidence of genuine relationship. This is one area
    where providing a really good letter of support from the sponsor can help to convince the ECO.

    I also happen to believe that when the relationship is truly genuine then this does show through on the application making both visas fairly straightforward in understanding the needed support.
    Do keep in mind though, that in itself marriage is not proof. Plenty of people try to use marriage as the route to a visa, and the UKBA are well aware of that.

    On a positive note, most applicants actually do get their visa granted at the first application whichever one of the 2 visa's they go for.

    So where do you want to get married - UK or Philippines?

    The key difference is that the fiancee visa is valid for 6 months and permits entry into the UK in order to get married, after marriage you need to apply for permission to temporarily remain in the UK, as a spouse, for a further period of two years. This is known as Further Leave to Remain or FLR.
    Just before the end of this two year qualifying period (earliest 28 days before) you may apply for permanent settlement, otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR.
    The period of time spent in UK under the Fiance(e) Visa, until you marry, cannot be counted towards your ILR.

    You may apply for the spouse visa as soon as you are married.
    When granted outside of the UK, the spouse visa is usually valid for 27 months and allows entry into the UK and permission to remain temporarily as a spouse
    Just before the end of a two year qualifying period living in UK (earliest 28 days before) you may apply for permanent settlement, otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR.
    Being the holder of a Spouse Visa allows you to take up employment as soon as you arrive into the UK

    So what are the other considerations?

    Well, as the holder of a Spouse Visa you will be allowed to take up employment as soon as you arrive into the UK. This can seriously help financially, help you with the potential boredom and feeling of being homesick in a strange country. You have a good period of stability before the stresses of apply for the next visa in your journey.

    The holder of a Fiance(e) visa is not permitted to work until the FLR has been granted.

    But whever you do get married one part of the family is likely to be disappointed, unless they are able to easily travel and/or secure a visa.

    By opting for a Spouse Visa at least it's providing the opportunity for the lady to get married in front of all her family and friends.
    Once she is married and comes over to the UK, she will likely only rarely see them, and at least a Philippines wedding provides a great send-off and a very special time filled with very special memories. Once you are both in the UK, it's an easy option to have either a church or civil blessing to the marriage for your own family and friends if wanted.

    Better still, if you can manage to secure an extra long holiday from work and actually spend some quality time together it's a great way to get to know each other even more, and also get a feel for living in the Philippines. (well it might help).

    In my view it's so important to really get to know each other and the extended family. Leaving family, friends, home and your country and going half a world away to live with some guy you might only have met once in the Philippiness, is a big ask, and for some might be just too much. Especially if she finds herself in some socially quiet neighbourhood of the UK without any friends. Some adapt and thrive while others really struggle to get to grips with life in UK.
    Take some special time and special measures to make sure your Mahal is aware of what moving to the UK might mean. Don't ever make promises you either can't or won't ever keep.

    Then again, on the other hand, some people just dont like the prospect of getting married in the Philippines and then having to return to the UK alone to face the wait for the visa process to take its course. Its difficult enough at anytime saying your goodbyes at the airport, but when it's your new bride you're saying good bye to it can be very upsetting and depressing.
    I understand lots of people do it, but I also know that many of those have found it very very difficult, especially when few or even no preparations have been made to support the visa application. Or in the worst cases where there's no understanding of the UKBA requirements or ability to comply.

    Be sure to get things organised properly and try to help all concerned to face the uncertainties of the visa application and decision.
    Leaving all the work for your new wife to figure out is just not fair. (imo)

    There is an argument in favour of the Fiance(e) Visa in that it can allow you to spend time together in the UK before either party commits to getting married and living a life in UK. This might prove invaluable to some folks.
    Of course, it would be ideal if circumstances allowed for a trip to be made to UK under a general visit visa. At least both of you can be relaxed in the knowledge
    that you're under no pressures to get married within 6 months. This is a good strategy if the relationship feels like it needs that extra little 'comfort test'
    Sadly though, the visit visa is often not easy to secure. But it is very low cost, low risk and will not have any adverse impact on subsequent settlement visa application. Do remember though that there is no possibility to 'switch' or convert a visitor visa to settlement. The applicant must return home.

    There is actually a special class of visit visa called a Marriage Visa. This visa is the same low cost as a general visit visa and it allows you to visit UK for a period of 6 months for the purpose of getting married. Of course you still need to return home and make a spouse visa settlement application, but at least it provides time to get to know each other better and time to become a spouse without the pressures of preparing also for the FLR.
    Well, may not sound ideal for most of us but obviously meets the needs of some folks.

    Well, there's plenty of issues to consider, and it's not an easy decision for many.

    Hopefully this is food for thought.
    Without doubt ... one of the BEST ... and most helpful ... threads - EVER!


  17. #17
    Respected Member DeltaRomeo's Avatar
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    Very helpful Terpe.. Thank you.
    I wouldn't know where to start in planning a wedding abroad.. so I'd better get researching. It has been on my mind a lot that especially as Chell has not married before, wouldn't it be nice to have a really special occasion. I doubt it would be the same going the fiancee visa route. Not many friends or family in attendance, all a bit more rushed to get it done within the 6months deadline, unfamiliar surroundings and still the question of the FLR visa hanging overhead.
    Definitely food for thought!


  18. #18
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    Traditional marriage there will be much appreciated by the lady and her family, but likely to cost you a lot of money....feeding the 5,000.


  19. #19
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    nice post again terpe.Big thanks to you.


  20. #20
    Respected Member gladz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grahamw48 View Post
    Traditional marriage there will be much appreciated by the lady and her family, but likely to cost you a lot of money....feeding the 5,000.
    Thats a lot to feed grahamwe only invited 100 guests in our wedding last year.


  21. #21
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    Not for the first time but the umpteenth time a brilliant post terpe

    Just to add my choice it would be the spouse route.




    AN HAPPY WIFE IS A HAPPY LIFE


  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevie c View Post
    Not for the first time but the umpteenth time a brilliant post terpe

    Just to add my choice it would be the spouse route.
    Thanks Stevie for your kind words. Everyone has a slightly different take on this, but I agree, that on balance the spouse visa route may be better.


  23. #23
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    At least they can't say you haven't met.


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by grahamw48 View Post
    At least they can't say you haven't met.
    No,
    but even marriage is not proof of a genuine relationship.
    Plenty of people have already proved that with sham marriage every day.


  25. #25
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    True, but that's stretching my point, which was simply that as a couple you have met.

    Over one hurdle, but only one of many.


  26. #26
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    Thank you; what a helpful posting.


  27. #27
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    thanks

    Hi

    Thanks for the info. I actually lived in the Philippines for 12 months in 2010. We are currently building a home there and have a small farm. Im still not sure because all i hear is it is very difficult to get a marriage visa. So i think we will get married in Phils. I go back every three months for three weeks.

    Phil


  28. #28
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    Great post and very helpful.

    Me and my partner are planning on marrying in the Philippines, I am a brittish citizen.

    Can anyone advise me on what steps I would need to take to apply to marry n the phils and how long from arriving in the Philippines could we actually get married.

    Is it something that could be sorted while iam in the UK or would I need t be there? I could really do with some help on this!!!!!!!


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pippa View Post
    Great post and very helpful.

    Me and my partner are planning on marrying in the Philippines, I am a brittish citizen.

    Can anyone advise me on what steps I would need to take to apply to marry n the phils and how long from arriving in the Philippines could we actually get married.

    Is it something that could be sorted while iam in the UK or would I need t be there? I could really do with some help on this!!!!!!!
    Basically it can be organised between you, while you are in the UK and your gf is in the Philippines. And then you will need to set aside a few weeks vacation time over there to get married. It can be done in about 2 to 2.5 weeks but can be done more comfortably in 3 or 4 weeks. I spent 2.5 weeks over there when I got married. But you need to get all your ducks lined up in a row before you go.


  30. #30
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    Hi

    You both need to get a certificate of no impediment to marry one form the uk where you live and when u r in the phils you need to get one there also where your partner lives you also have to attend marriage guidance before they will give it to you we went for 2 hours but did not have to stay. Then you take all your docs to the appointment at the brit embassy and they will give you a certificate of no impediment to marry in tagalog


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