The UK Fiancé Visa allows you to get married in the UK. It’s valid for just 6 months, and you need to get married in that time. In the meantime, you can’t work, but you can plan your wedding, apply for jobs, and plan the rest of your life 🙂 This is how I got my UK Fiancé visa.
1. I hired a Consultant
When we decided to get married in Scotland, I hired a consultant to give us advice about all the documents we needed to put together. I thought the websites weren’t very clear about what I needed to submit and I wanted to be extra sure about what I was doing because the visa is so expensive. My friend recommended the services of Nikki de Prey. She used to be one of the people who would review applications, and approve or deny visas, so she’s well qualified.
I e-mailed Nikki first and explained our circumstances and asked her advice about what visa I should get. She replied with my options and if I wanted more detailed information about the process of getting the Fiancé Visa, we should get on a call. She charged £90 for a 30-minute phone call, which really was enough time to go over the process and the documents I needed to put together.
What I really like about Nikki is, even after our 30-minute phone call, she answered all my questions at no extra cost. I had so many questions while I was preparing my application — just things I hadn’t thought of until I was in the middle of things. She answered all the e-mails I sent her promptly and with all the details I needed.
I think the £90 fee for a 30-minute phone call and follow-up e-mails was worth the price. The things she told me were definitely not in the websites I looked at, and it was just helpful to have someone with authority and experience answer your questions and calm your anxiety. Paying £90 for that extra assurance that you get your £1,500+ visa is better than having to pay another £1,500+ for a second try. I would absolutely recommend her services!
2. I prepared my Application
It takes about 2 to 3 months from the time you submit your application for the Fiancé Visa to be approved, and the earliest you can apply is 3 months before you intend to leave. I booked my ticket to fly to Scotland quite early in the year to make sure I got a good deal on it, but this meant that I had a hard deadline to submit my application.
Nikki gave me a list of supporting documents I needed to put together and submit, based on my circumstances. You may find a similar list in the Home Office website.
Basically, I needed to prove:
- the genuineness of our relationship
- that we met the Financial Requirements
- that we were planning a wedding
- our accommodation for when I move there
- other miscellaneous things (English language, TB Test)
3. I submitted my Supporting Documents
After completing the online application form, I needed to submit the supporting documents and go to the VFS office in Manila to get my biometrics done. VFS is kind of like a logistics company that handles visa applications for various embassies/ consulates (mostly Commonwealth and European countries). They’re not decision-makers; they just receive documents, take your biometrics, and return your passport once a decision has been made on your application. Ideally, I should have submitted my supporting documents before or right after my biometrics appointment.
There were four ways I could submit my supporting documents:
- Upload the documents online for free
- Have the documents scanned in VFS Manila for a fee
- My fiancé can submit the documents in person to VFS in Edinburgh for a fee
- Send the documents by post to VFS in Birmingham
Nikki recommended options 3 or 4 because she heard that some people had issues with the scanning services of VFS both online and in their offices. To be sure, she said, we should just submit documents in the UK.
Honestly, I think option 1 would have been fine. VFS had just made the online option available to most (if not all) types of visa applications. My friends and family were able to apply for their tourist visas by uploading scanned documents online and they didn’t have any problems. I think Nikki was just being cautious since it was a new service.
Nikki also said that some documents, such as my fiancé’s bank statements, need to be submitted in original form (i.e. received by post, not printed out from the website), but I’m not sure how true that is anymore since I can scan the documents myself. VFS won’t really check whether the documents you submitted online are original. In fact, VFS will only go over your documents if you pay an extra fee. Even if you pay the extra fee, VFS can’t really evaluate what you submit, so they’ll probably only check to see if your documents are complete and in the right order.
Anyway, we submitted my supporting documents via option 3. A friend of mine was visiting Scotland (perfect timing!) so I asked her to pass on my documents to my fiancé, who submitted all the documents to VFS in Edinburgh. He paid £75 and VFS scanned the documents into their system. I received my visa exactly two months from the day he submitted the documents, which was a few weeks after I had my biometrics appointment. I left for Scotland two days after.
That’s it for now. I probably didn’t cover everything I went through so if you have any questions, let’s chat!