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  1. #1
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    Default How to Obtain a Settlement Visa for the UK (Revised July 2012)

    Preamble:

    I am a British national, married to a Thai, we both reside in the UK, the information, ideas, opinions, views, etc, mentioned in this guide, represent the way that “we” (my wife and I) approached, collected, documented and successfully applied and obtained a spouse settlement visa.

    This guide should not be taken as “the only way to do it”. Others may have just as effective alternative ideas and methods. I am sure that all the information below is available on various places on the internet. I have tried to combine all the information required to one place.

    Although we applied for a “Spouse” Settlement Visa, other types of visa may require the same information or similar documents and processes.

    I acknowledge that to be “politically correct”, it was my wife’s application, but in reality, like most who will read this, it was down to me, to collect and collate the majority of the information and present it in a folder, and direct my wife with the bits she needed to do. Also, I do not profess to be a writer, so if the “Wife/Spouse” terminology I have used here offends, I apologise.

    This document is meant to be used as a reference aid, an informative guide, it is the method we used, the things that we found out on the way, what we included as various supporting documents and how we finally presented the supporting folder for the Visa Application.

    To the best of my knowledge, the information contained within this guide is correct at 1st January 2012. (Updated to reflect the changes made to the “Migration Immigration Rules” on the 9th July 2012).

    Finally, there are supporting bits of information included that although are not a direct part of the Visa process, they are important when applying for a Visa, i.e. Obtaining a Thai Passport for your spouse.

    I hope some, if not all the information is of use to the reader, and helps future applicants on their “spouse settlement visa” application journey.

    Things to remember before starting out:

    1. It is never too early to start collecting the supporting information for a spouse settlement visa.
    2. You are not the first to do this; there are others, many on this forum, who are very knowledgeable and can help you.
    3. Whatever problem you come up against, someone has undoubtedly come up against it before, and has found the answer or work around.
    4. It is not an overnight process, allow yourself plenty of time and work on the application bit by bit, It’s like eating a big bar of chocolate, a bit at a time is manageable, try cramming the whole bar in your mouth at one go and you will choke and get sick of it.
    5. Remember there are two of you collecting and supplying documentation, but it is your wife’s application.
    6. If you follow this guide you will see that for most situations, there really is no need to use a Visa agent (in the majority of cases).
    7. The UKBA require a lot of supporting documentation and information to issue a settlement visa. They provide some idea, but not all information as to what is required on the UKBA website.
    8. In my opinion, it is not a lottery, a UK Settlement Visa is a qualified right, in other words, providing you qualify…. fit the criteria, tick all the boxes and provide all the evidence, etc…. You will obtain one for your spouse.
    9. Rules regarding immigration change frequently; make sure that you keep up to date with any News & Updates at the UKBA Website.



    It is logical to include at the start, a section on “The Marriage Process” in Thailand… as the marriage is a driving factor to obtain a settlement Visa and the documentation is obviously an important part of the spouse application requirement. If you are just starting out, it may be part of the process that you still have to do, so I include it here.


    Getting Married in Thailand:

    The legal Amphur marriage is very similar to a registry office marriage in the UK and is required in order to count as the “legal ceremony” for the official documentation and certificates. The Buddhist ceremony or "village" wedding is not official, but is often viewed as a lot more important in the eyes of Thai’s, and is generally a big party with everything done for show / face, however, remember that on it’s own, it is not legally recognised in the UK.

    If you are a foreign national and you intend to marry a Thai national at an Amphur, then the first thing you will require is a document called an “Affirmation of Freedom to Marry”.


    Affirmation of Freedom to Marry:

    This is a document, stating you are legally free to marry. Retype the Affirmation of Freedom to Marry, replacing the blanks with your details. Type it on one page and in the same format as this Example Affirmation and take it, in person, to the Embassy in Bangkok or one of the other Honorary Consulates in Thailand List Here to sign and have it witnessed before a British Consular official. They will in turn countersign it.

    An appointment for this service is not necessary if using the British Embassy in Bangkok, but may be needed at other locations.

    British Embassy Bangkok
    14 Wireless Road
    Lumpini
    Pathumwan
    Bangkok
    10330
    Phone: +66 (0) 2 305 8333

    The Embassy (Consular Section) provides this service to British nationals only.
    You will require:-

    • an unsigned but completed Affirmation of Freedom to Marry
    • your passport, as proof of identity
    • a fee of 3,250 Baht.
    • evidence that any previous marriages have been dissolved / terminated i.e. an appropriate death certificate or divorce certificate for the UK (must be a certified / original decree absolute from the court) this is important.


    Certificates issued in a Third country outside UK and Thailand must be certified by the relevant British Embassy/Consulate or its respective Embassy in Thailand.

    Only the original certificate of divorce etc or a certified copy (court stamped) will be accepted – photocopies will not be accepted under any circumstances. This process may take up to half a day to complete, so my advice is get there early as you may need to wait or collect it later.

    To perform a marriage at an Amphur, the above “Affirmation of Freedom to Marry” has to be translated and legalised.


    Translations & Legalisation:

    This process translation and legalisation is completed in two parts and consists of:-

    (a) having the document(s) translated
    (b) authenticating the British Consular signature and
    (c) certifying the Thai translation
    (d) recording the document(s).

    Once you have the signed and countersigned affirmation, you will need to have it translated into Thai. The British Embassy does not undertake the preparation or translation of documents.

    There are however a number of companies within a short walk of the Embassy who do, or you could use the small bookshop at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) that is very good. As you will be going to the MFA for the legalisation of the translated documents I would suggest getting the translation to Thai done there at the same time.

    I would also suggest (at the same time) getting a translation of your wife’s Birth Certificate to English [for later use], I can not remember exactly how much we were charged, but it was not much, around a 300 Baht per document.

    As a side note, the canteen on the ground floor of the MFA is very reasonable and serves very good Thai food and beverages, if you have to wait for a while.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    The Legalisation Division
    Department of Consular Affairs
    123 Chaeng Wattana Road,
    Laksi District, Bangkok 10210
    Tel : +66 (0) 2 575 1056–59, 0 2981 7171
    Web Site: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Once translated you will need to go upstairs in the MFA and have the translations legalised, this involves joining some bits of paper together and stamping them with the official stamp, and recording the documents on file etc. Typical Thai efficiency here, so take a number and expect to wait a while.

    You will require:-

    • the signed and completed Affirmation of Freedom to Marry
    • any original decree absolute, evidence that any previous marriages have been dissolved / terminated.
    • your passport, as proof of identity
    • photocopies of your passport etc
    • a fee of 400 Baht (Standard Service) or 800 Baht (Express Service)


    Get there early, as you need to present the translated documents upstairs before 12:00 midday if you want to use the express service (you will be directed to the supervisor’s office) and with luck, you will have them back that afternoon.

    Photocopying is available for a few baht on the same floor.

    That’s the extent of the legal documentation required to enable you to get married. You can now go and get legally married at an Amphur (the equivalent of a registry office).

    The legalised affirmation and translation can be submitted to any Amphur registrar, along with your passport and “intended wife’s” ID Card, Birth Certificate, House Registration, etc, The registrar will then if satisfied, marry you, register the marriage and issue two copies of the Thai Marriage Certificate (example here).


    Amphur Marriage:

    In theory, you could now get married in any Amphur, however, you may find that your spouse will want to marry in her local Amphur. This can have some benefit as she can obtain a document and immediately change her surname on her ID card, House Registration Document, etc (this change can only be done at her local amphur office).

    Or, she can obtain a certificated document to enable her to do it at a later stage if she requires.

    Required documents etc:-

    • the legalised completed Affirmation of Freedom to Marry
    • any original decree absolute, evidence that any previous marriages have been dissolved / terminated.
    • your passport, as proof of identity
    • your spouses ID card (maybe your spouses birth certificate)
    • your spouses house registration book
    • a fee of 40 Baht, maybe a few Baht more for photocopies etc.


    It is advisable to obtain some photo copies of the marriage certificate and name change document at this stage.

    At some point and this really depends when it is convenient and you find yourself back in Bangkok, have the original marriage certificate translated in to English and certified / legalised at the MFA. Required for the Visa Application later.

    Congratulations – You are now officially married, and if you have followed the above, will hold the correct “marriage documentation” (click for image of a Thai Marriage Certificate) essential when submitting an application for a spouse settlement visa.


    Obtaining a Thai Passport for your Spouse:

    If your spouse does not already have one, it is important for them to obtain a passport, as other stages and obtaining documents will require the applicant to have one as a prerequisite, for example the TB Test.

    A point to remember also, is that the TB Test Certificate should be in the same name as on the passport, as should any travel documents etc. So, getting married first and your spouse changing her name officially at her amphur, will provide the new ID Card etc, required to obtain a passport in their married name.

    It is not essential though, everything can be completed in her maiden name if required.
    A Thai citizen who wishes to apply for an ordinary passport is required to apply to a Passport Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; it is reasonably easy for a Thai National to obtain a passport providing they have the required documentation. They will be issued with an “Biometric” passport that has their photo and fingerprints encoded into it (example image here).

    There are a number of provincial Passport Offices, but the Head Passport Office is located at:-

    The Department of Consular Affairs
    Thanon Chaengwattana
    Laksi
    Bangkok
    Tel. +66 (0) 2 981 7171

    Your spouse will require:-

    • a completed application form
    • their birth certificate
    • their identity card
    • a fee of 1,073 Baht for a 32-page passport or 1,573 Baht for a 64-page passport. (5 year validity).
    • maybe a few Baht more for photocopies etc.


    Applicants will be able to collect the passport 3 working days after the day of application from the main office, or, in the case of applications made at a Passport Office in a provincial area, 10 working days after the day of application.


    TB Testing:

    As part of the current UKBA requirement, your spouse, or anybody from Thailand expecting to stay in the UK longer than 6 months) has to have an X-Ray for TB in Thailand and provide and subsequently hold a pass certificate / report from the IOM (International Organisation for Migration) based in Bangkok.

    It is important to remember that the TB test is only valid for a period of 6 months, so some forethought and planning has to be done so that the test is still valid when the time comes for the application for the Visa.

    Your spouse will need to book an appointment for about a week ahead. The current fee for the test is 2600 Baht and is required to be paid at the above office when registering on the day of the test.

    The test itself will be undertaken at either the Phyathai 2 Hospital or the Bumrungrad International Hospital and she will have to travel from the office to the respective hospital, and back again to the office after the test to obtain the report / certificate.

    Your spouse will require:-

    • Two (2) passport size pictures
    • 2600 Baht fee
    • Original national passport
    • Photocopy of the national passport (Bio-data page)
    • Original ID Card
    • Photocopy of ID Card


    International Organisation for Migration
    Kasemkij Building
    8th Floor, 120 Silom Road
    Bangrak, Bangkok 10500
    Tel: +66 2 234 7950-5


    Evidence of English Language Ability:

    A very emotive subject, but, from 29 November 2010, any migrant applying to enter the UK or applying to remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK will need to show that they can speak and understand English. This is achieved by undertaking and passing a test to A1 level. More information is available here UKBA Language Information and here UKBA Information on English Test Requirement.

    New rules, introduced 9th July 2012, relating to “English Language Ability”, state from October 2013, the UKBA will require all applicants for settlement to pass the Life in the UK Test and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 Level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempt.


    There are a few places in Thailand that conduct an approved English Language Test and a list is available on the UKBA website, although at the time of this report, they are all situated in Bangkok. UKBA Approved English Test Locations I would suggest taking a look at the different ones on offer, my wife and I decided she would take the BULATS test, so the following information relates to the BULATS test as my wife and I only have experience of that one.

    The current test at A1 Level is not very hard, but it is not specifically designed for the purpose of a settlement application. Whatever supplier you use, their tests are existing tests that have just been approved by the UKBA as acceptable.

    If your spouse decides, like mine, on taking the BULATS test, they are going to possibly find themselves answering questions about a hypothetical business meeting, or what to do to facilitate a conference lunch, as the BULATS test has been designed for testing the use of English in a Business environment.

    Although not ideal, it is not as bad as it sounds, and at least with BULATS test your spouse can complete some practice questions on the website, to give them an idea of what to expect.

    The BULATS computer test is "adaptive", it selects questions during the actual test based upon to how well you have answered the previous question, not on some preconceived order. The next test question is only selected after the computer grades your answer on the current question. Answer the question correctly and the computer will choose your next question at a slightly more difficult level. On the other hand, if you have given a wrong answer, the test will drop a level and keep dropping until you can answer begin to questions correctly.

    In other words, test questions become progressively easier or harder until the system has a reliable assessment of the candidate's level. The pass level required for settlement purposes is very low.

    You may obtain some test & score result sheets (usually a blue colour) on the day, the final certificate (cream in colour) will take about three weeks to arrive, it is issued from Cambridge University in the UK.

    My wife took the BULATS test at:

    Vantage Siam.
    65/213 Chamnan Phenjati Business Center Building
    25th Floor, Rama 9 Road
    Huay Kwang
    Bangkok 10310
    Tel: (66) 2-248-8306 to 13

    They will require:-

    • to book about two weeks in advance
    • original ID Card
    • other form of Identification (passport etc)
    • a fee of 7000 Baht (if taking the BULATS test, other fees for other tests)


    Here is a link to the Vantage Siam Website for BULATS.


    Collecting Information for a Visa (Where to start ?):

    The UKBA have a reasonably good website (click here), with a lot of information on it, but the information is not always where you would expect to find it, or always up to date. I will try to narrow down the areas you may want to look at regarding a settlement visa.

    The type of visa your spouse will be applying for is covered under Chapter 8 of the Immigration Rules, (updated 9th July 2012) Appendix FM-SE, guidance to these rules can be viewed here.

    A visa company will provide you with a list of things to do, items to collect under various headings, and arrange those items in a folder to “support your spouses application”, they may also suggest wording to use in supporting letters etc. If you follow the information here, you can easily do it yourself, saving you a lot of money in the process. Please don’t be swayed by stories of “a friend of your wife who used XYZ agency and they got their visa”…. You can do it yourself… I just want to make it clear that even if you did decide to use a Visa company, you would be doing 85% of the work yourself.

    In principal, to obtain a Settlement Visa for your spouse, all anyone needs to do is:-

    • complete an application form
    • fit the set criteria
    • provide supporting evidence
    • pay the appropriate fee.


    It sounds simple and, in reality, if you approach it the right way, with a plan, slowly and surely you can tick off everything required….

    I would suggest that a lot of unsuccessful visa applications are unsuccessful simply because they have not spent the time to provide suitable and adequate supporting evidence. It is never too early to start collecting the information / evidence to support your spouses visa application.

    So where to start…..

    There are the four main points to keep in mind that you / your partner must evidentially prove:-

    1. your partner is personally eligible for a visa
    2. you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship
    3. you are able to meet the financial criteria required (updated 9th July 2012)
    4. you are able to provide adequate and suitable accommodation for yourself and your partner in the UK


    These four main areas obviously will need to be covered in detail to make sure that the application is sound.

    The main change on 9th July 2012 in this section is the new financial requirements for settlement visas, in the past it was, to a degree, down to the ECO’s interpretation of the financial information supplied.

    The changes made on 9th July 2012 now require set levels of income or savings, these introduce a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for partner and one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child. Or savings


    The system (that most applicants use), is to put everything into a folder under various headings or sections, it makes it a lot easier for the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) at the UKBA to see, follow and understand.

    There is no “set way” to do this; there will be many variations on how to do it. Over a period of a number of years, a lot of information has been fed back from previous applicants who have both succeeded and failed. This forum also has a few ex-officials from the UKBA / Immigration So hints and tips have been provided from far more knowledgeable and “connected” people than I. The method used below is a combination of all this knowledge.

    So, let me share with you how we did ours, you could use it as a starting point or copy it as is. Some may say it is too much, others will say not enough, some will say you don’t need document “X” others will say you do….. Everyone has their own opinion; all I will say is this… “It worked and we got the Visa, first attempt, no questions asked”. As they say in Thailand “it’s up to you”.

    This is a list of all the 50 items we provided in our folder and how we divided it into sections:-

    Full Index and Contents Page


    Section 1: Application Form and Letters of Support


    1. Copy of the Visa Application Form (New form from 9th July 2012)
    2. Letter of Support from Sponsor
    3. Letter of support from Applicant


    Section 2: Personal Details of Mrs XXXXX

    1. Passport of Mrs XXXXX
    2. Birth Certificate of Mrs XXXXX
    3. Copy of Thai I.D. card for Mrs XXXXX
    4. TB Certificate issued by IMO for Mrs XXXXX
    5. A1 English Language Test Certification Mrs XXXXX
    6. Copy of All Passport Pages Mrs XXXXX
    7. Original Marriage Certificate & Translation for Mr ZZZZZZ & Mrs XXXXX
    8. 2 x Passport type Photographs of Mrs XXXXX (signed as true likeness)


    Section 3: Personal Details of Mr ZZZZZZ

    1. Passport Identification Page of Mr ZZZZZZ
    2. Birth Certificate of Mr ZZZZZZ
    3. Self Certified Copy of All Passport Pages Mr ZZZZZZ
    4. Divorce Certificate of Mr ZZZZZZ
    5. Certified Affirmation to Marry Mr ZZZZZZ


    Section 4: Accommodation

    1. Photographs of House of Mr ZZZZZZ
    2. Floor Plan of House of Mr ZZZZZZ
    3. Mortgage Agreement / Letter of support from Landlord / Change Tenancy Agreement
    4. Council Confirmation of Register of Electors 2011
    5. Council Tax Bill 2011
    6. Electricity & Gas Statements - 12 month Statement of Account
    7. T V licence 2011
    8. Utilities Water Statement 2011
    9. House Contents Insurance 2011


    Section 5: Employment, Finance & Financial Support
    (New Financial requirement as of 09th July 2012)

    1. Certified Copy of Contract of Employment (Terms & Conditions of Employment / Service Agreement)
    2. Confirmation from Employer of Current & Continual Employment
    3. Last 12 Months Pay Slips
    4. P60 End Of Year Certificate for 2011
    5. 12 months Bank Statements (Current Account)
    6. 12 month Statement of Interest (Savings Account)
    7. Copy Kassicorn Bank Book (Thailand) Savings Account 2011
    8. Most Recent Credit Card Statements
    9. Bank Confirmations of Transfer of Funds to Mrs XXXXX Bank


    Section 6: Proof of Relationship and Contact

    1. Flight Confirmations and Boarding Passes for all previous trips
    2. Receipts for Hotels (in joint names)
    3. Receipts for gifts, flowers, presents, etc
    4. Photographs of Holidays together
    5. Photographs at wife’s home village
    6. Photographs Holidays with Family
    7. Photographs of Wedding
    8. Photographs of Honeymoon
    9. Photographs with Family
    10. Records of letters / gifts sent by post (last 1 year)
    11. Records of all SMS to / from Mr ZZZZZZ & Mrs XXXXX (last 1 year)
    12. Phone Record / Skype Receipt page for pre paid calling plan “Unlimited World” (last 1 year)
    13. Phone Record / Skype mobile calls to Mrs XXXXX using Skype mobile. (last 1 year)
    14. Skype Video Call Log. (last 1 year)
    15. Examples of screen shots of original Skype records. (last 1 year)
    16. Other Telephone records etc (last 1 year)


    • All items, wherever possible, were original documents.
    • Each Section had a Section Index with detailed explanations where required.
    • Every item was marked in the top right hand corner with the item number, in case one or two pages were dislodged from the folder.
    • Where required, items were cross referenced to other sections.
    • A full photocopy of the folder was added for retention by the UKBA.


    As you can see, this made up a fairly chunky “supporting documents folder” so a decent quality folder with 100 fixed transparent pockets was used at a cost of about £20.00 A printed front title sheet with Visa Application of Mrs XXXXX, made it look presentable.


    Visa Application Process

    Once you have collected all the information you will want (or more correctly) your wife will want to apply for a Settlement Visa.

    Be advised there is also a new form to use for applications made from 9th July 2012

    In Thailand, the UKBA outsource the handling of the Settlement Visa applications to a company called VFS Global, they initially collect the application from your spouse and forward it to the UKBA at the British Embassy for processing.

    Your visa application will be processed and decided by UK Border Agency staff. VFS Global staff does not, play any part in or influence the outcome of your visa application.

    The first step in this process is to complete the online application form this can be done in stages, and may be saved at various points, so if you need to you can save it and come back and complete it later. The system holds your application for 1 week, but you can revisit it and save it again if needed.

    A point to note here is - entering the date you want the visa to run from. If you want to be able to use it as soon as you get it, put a date just a few weeks ahead, some people, thinking it will take 12 weeks to process, have put a date 12 weeks ahead, only to get the Visa in a 2 weeks, but with a “can be used from date” still 10 weeks in the future, so they have to wait.

    When you have completed the application you will be directed to print it out and make an appointment for your spouse to hand in the application, this is also completed online Book an Appointment Here.

    You (or your spouse) will be able to make an appointment to present the application with supporting information up to one week ahead. You can if required cancel or change the appointment times by re visiting the booking system.

    It’s a good idea to print off the appointment letter and another copy of the application for later reference.


    Presenting the Application:

    When the time comes your spouse will need to attend the appointment at the VFS Global Office in Bangkok:-

    The VFS Global office is located here:-
    Regent House 2nd Floor
    183 Rajdamri Road
    Lumpini
    Bangkok 10330

    At the same time VFS staff will collect Biometric Data from your spouse, i.e. fingerprint scans etc.

    I would advise that you / your spouse arrive in good time, and be prepared to fend off any over zealous visa agents who also work in the same building and try and influence you to have your application reviewed.

    It would appear that one change from when we went through the process is the ability to pay online, I can not comment on this, as we used the bank on the ground floor of the building to get a Cashiers Check for the application fee, and included this in the application.
    Only the applicant is allowed to enter the Office at the appointed time, so if you are with them you will have about an hour and a quarter to kick your heels, there is a coffee shop downstairs that does a reasonable toasted sandwich.

    Your spouse will, at the appropriate time be allowed into the office and will have her documents and application form checked double checked and accepted.

    There has been talk that the VFS remove items from supporting document folders to save on space when forwarding the applications to the UKBA at the Embassy. I instructed my wife, not to let them take out items from the original folder and tell them everything was referenced with a contents list and in a particular order. They listened to her and forwarded both folders intact, when she got the original folder back, nothing had been removed.

    Your spouse will need to have the following:-

    • Appointment letter
    • A cheque for 40,500 Baht application fee (or pre payment)
    • Copy of completed application form
    • 2 x photos, signed on back as a true likeness
    • Supporting documents folder as suggested above with original documents attached (Passport, TB Xray Report, English Language Pass, etc)
    • A copy of the supporting documents folder with photocopies of all required documents for retention by the UKBA



    Your spouse will also have the option of paying some additional baht to (a) be kept informed of the application progress by SMS and (b) having all documents returned to an address by courier rather than have to collect them from the VFS Office in Bangkok.


    Summary of the Changes to Migration and Immigration Rules, 9th July 2012:

    • introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for partner and one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;
    • publishing, in casework guidance, a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, to help UK Border Agency caseworkers to focus on these issues;
    • extending the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship;
    • abolishing immediate settlement for the migrant spouses and partner where a couple have been living together overseas for at least 4 years, and requiring them to complete a 5 year probationary period;
    • from October 2013, requiring all applicants for settlement to pass the Life in the UK Test and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempt; and
    • allowing adult and elderly dependants to settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK, and requiring them to apply from overseas rather than switch in the UK from another category, for example as a visitor.




    Further information on the changes can be viewed at the relevant page on the UKBA website.


    Finally:

    In a nutshell, that’s it…… now sit back and wait, it can take up to 12 weeks but it is usually done before that. At best settlement applications have been processed in just a few days when the demand is low… Ours took about 4 to 5 weeks, but was during the floods and that delayed things.

    This will not have answered all your questions, but hopefully will have helped with a lot of them, and given you a better overview as to the requirements and the process.
    The forum is a brilliant source of knowledge and information, without it I would not be sitting here with my wife at my side in sunny (not) England.

    I would like to thank all those who helped me on my journey, I am sure some of them will still be there to help you.

    Good Luck in all that you do.

    This is my way of giving a little back..............

    Frogster (Kev)
    Last edited by Vinny; 30th Dec 2014 at 12:55. Reason: Some Links updated

  2. #2
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    As the thread has been updated I also include here the original post containing example letters of support from the original thread:-

    I have been asked on a number of occasions to supply examples of what a supporting letter looks like…

    I want to make it very clear from the start that the advice I offer below is “my opinion only”…

    Like a lot of things to do with the application procedure and by the very nature of the process, each application will be different and therefore so should any supporting letters.

    A supporting letter is not a legal requirement and the application cannot be rejected if one is not included, however, as I hope to show, it can be worth the effort if done correctly it can have a lot of positive influence regarding the application.

    We should look first at why we want to include a supporting letter, after all, we have provided every scrap of factual evidence to show the ECO we have a real relationship, we have included bank statements and housing details and proof of this and that…. Why do we need to include a supporting letter?

    In my opinion, a supporting letter should be used to tie all the bits of a relationship together with the supplied factual documents; it’s like a glue, gluing all the factual bits together to make a strong picture. It is also the one place where you can “free word” to an extent, say something that you want to get across to the ECO. At the same time, if worded correctly, it can give a very strong subliminal relationship message / impression to the ECO, there is no set rule as what to say or not to say.

    This is also the place where you can inject a little (and only a little) personal feeling into the process. I don’t think it hurts to say the reasons you want to be together are because you are in love, just don’t go overboard and end up writing a love novel. One page is ideal, two if you must….

    As you will be able to see by now, the details included by one individual may not be suitable or even make sense for another persons application. So, in reality, you wouldn’t want to use a letter that was generic anyway…. It would detract from the whole ethos of it.

    So, as promised, below are two letters that can be used as thought provoking examples, not to be copied word for word.

    There are two letters:-

    • One from the sponsor, gluing the factual stuff together, drawing the ECO’s attention to points and referencing the required documents, drawing a very brief picture of the relationship but adding strength to the application.



    • One from the applicant, I know it’s not normal practice, but some do want to include one and it can be used to support the information contained in the sponsors letter but also, at the same time, come from a slightly more human angle as well, adding another depth of colour. I know some may not agree with this but I have said “it is just my opinion!” Anything to strengthen the application is good in my book. Just know when to stop and say enough is enough!



    LETTER 1
    An example Applicants Supporting letter:-


    Entry Clearance Officer
    UKBA
    UK Embassy
    Bangkok

    Date……………


    Dear Entry Clearance Officer,

    Letter from XXXXX in support of my application for a Settlement Visa

    My name is XXXXX, I am writing this letter to support my application for a Visa so I can go and live with my husband ZZZZZ in England.

    My husband has explained to me that I don’t have to write a letter to you, but I want to write one the same as him and have asked him to help me. I am not always sure of the right words to say, so he has helped me a little, but the words are true and my own from my heart.

    This paragraph could contain some personal information about how you met, trips to Thailand, getting engaged, married, etc.

    My parents are very happy that I married ZZZZ and see that we are in love so much, he is a good husband for me. They are happy for me to go to England to live with my husband. They have seen pictures of his house and where we will live in England.

    My husband has taken all his holiday time to be with me this year. We have spent time in my home at my village with my family and also we have gone away by our self for a holiday together. My husband supports me financially when he is not in Thailand; I live in my parent’s house in the village and help on the family rubber farm.

    I hope we have done enough to show you that we truly love each other and want to spend our life together. My husband will come back to Thailand and get me so I don’t have to travel alone when I get the visa.

    Our plan is to be together in England in early December, he has been allowed to take some extra holiday to cover for this and he can then spend some time with me at Christmas and New Year before he has to go back to work.

    Together, we have collected all the records and information to support this application for a visa, but my husband has arranged it and put it in this folder for me.

    Mrs XXXX




    LETTER 2
    An example of a sponsors letter:-


    Entry Clearance Officer
    UKBA
    UK Embassy
    Bangkok

    Dated: ………………………


    Dear Sir or Madam

    Letter of support for Mrs XXX’s Settlement Visa Application

    I write in support of my wife, Mrs XXX’s application to settle with me in the United Kingdom.

    Brief Background
    I, Mr ZZZ, am a British National and a professional (Occupation); I have been in my current employment for (Number) Years. I am financially sound and able to support my family as you will see from the documented evidence attached in “Section 7” of this supporting documents folder.

    I am legally married to Mrs XXX. Previous to our marriage, Mrs XXX had not been married, I was divorced with one child who lives away from home and is self-supporting. Our certificate of marriage is contained in “Section 3” of this folder.

    For the sake of clarification: Mrs XXX has kept her maiden name, ensuring that her TB Certificate, A1 English Pass, Passport, ID Card, Visa Application, etc, are in the same name. Our reasoning is that it will be less problematic if all her documentation relates, when booking a ticket and traveling to England. She will change it at a later date.

    Our Relationship History
    Trip 1: We first met on (Date) whilst I was on holiday in Thailand visiting friends. Mrs XXX was visiting her Aunt, we dated and spent a lot of time together during the remainder of my time in Thailand and we developed a close friendship that progressed into the early stages of a relationship, as detailed in “Section 8” of this folder.

    I returned to the UK, we remained in contact and the relationship developed, we made plans that I would return to Thailand as soon as possible and subject to my work commitments. My employers agreed that I could take an extended period of leave for one month duration, although some of it would be unpaid.

    Trip 2: I subsequently travelled back to Thailand on (Date)), Mrs XXX met me at Bangkok airport and remained with me constantly throughout this second trip, during this time our feelings and our love for each other grew, and our relationship became more serious. I visited her home village where I met many members of her family and, after we had discussed our future together, I asked her parents' permission to marry, happily they agreed and we became engaged.

    I returned to England (Date) as originally planned. During the following six months we were in daily contact, we talked constantly discussing our future plans, we communicate by
    Skype phone or on Skype web cam, we also sent each other SMS messages, e-mail, cards, etc; evidence of our contact is contained in “Section 9” as part of this supporting documents folder.

    Trip 3: After much planning, I returned to Thailand, on (Date) and we were legally married at my wife's Amphur (Date), this was followed by a traditional Thai Buddhist wedding with family members and friends. Obviously, with the distance and cost, it was prohibitive for all my family to attend - but they fully support our relationship and I am proud that my son travelled with me from the UK to represent my family and act as my "Best Man". A certified copy of my passport, showing visit stamps is attached in “Section 4” of this folder.

    Current Circumstances
    I am a salaried professional in full time employment, with a gross salary of (£££) per annum. In addition, I am also in receipt of a “senior managers - company benefits package” this includes a company car, free fuel, mobile telephone and calls for company and private use. Confirmation of my employment is contained in this supporting documents folder in “Sections 6”

    My salary allows me to live reasonably well in the UK, with an excess of income over expenditure, enabling me to have some savings. I am already supporting my wife whilst she remains in Thailand and am confident that I can show I am equally able to support Mrs XXX at our home in the UK.

    Mrs XXX wishes to eventually work in the UK to enable to contribute to the “financial pot” and we have discussed various positions that might be suitable for her. Financial evidence is supplied in “Section 7” of this supporting documents folder.

    I own a three bedroom property in the village of (location); I provide evidence and confirmation of the suitability of my home, supporting information re my mortgage etc, this can be found in “Section 5” of this supporting documents folder.

    At the time of writing this letter, I am about to return home to the UK, where my time will be spent decorating our house and planning our future together. Our intention is that I return to Thailand as soon as Mrs XXX obtains her Visa so we can travel together, back to our home in the UK.

    Other Information
    I would like to mention that we only began to retain evidence of our relationship from (Date) (as it was not until then that we had discussed marriage, and realised that we would require “relationship evidence” to apply for any future Visa). Prior to (Date) we did not have the reason or forethought to keep everything, although we have been able to find and include some items of evidence from this time, as detailed in “Section 8”.

    I trust that we have been able to provide sufficient evidence that we are in a genuine, loving and subsisting relationship, and that I am able to fully support my wife in our home in the UK.

    I thank you for taking the time to read this letter of support, If you require additional information, I can be contacted in the UK on (Telephone Number) at any time, day or night.

    Yours faithfully,
    Mr ZZZ




    I hope you can see from the above letters how;-

    1. references have been made to sections of the supporting evidence folder
    2. each letter supports the other
    3. the subliminal messages re time together, love, etc.


    Hope the above helps…… But remember…. It’s only my opinion, but it worked for me….. And DON’T JUST COPY AND PASTE !

    Kev

  3. #3

    Default

    Having had a look at some of the newly required appendices to the new VAF4a, I think there are errors in the printed guidance. I have sent an email to UKBA in Bangkok, asking them for their further guidance. So far, all I have is the standard response stating that I can expect a reply within 20 working days. That won't actually help applicants who want to apply now.

    I have been unable to find the published new VAF4a and appendices ( which were on the UKBA website yesterday ) so maybe they have been taken down to be corrected. One possible error that I found is that the guidance on who needs to complete either the Appendix vaf4a1 or the vaf4a2 seems to be identical, in that it says, on both forms :

    The child of settled parents or with one parent who has limited leave as a partner or parent granted under the Rules in force before 9 July 2012

    whereas the guidance printed on the application form vaf4a says ( in the case of the vaf4a2 ) that the vaf4a2 should be completed by :The child of a parent who has limited leave as a partner or parent granted under the Rules in force on 9 July 2012.

    Logic should dictate which form is appropriate, but UKBA need to keep customers informed of any errors.

  4. #4

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    UPDATE:

    I have today received a response from UKBA in Bangkok. They confirm that the guidance on the Appendix 2 is incorrect. This is their response:


    I have noted your comments with regard to the discrepancy in the wordings in Vaf4a and those directions given in Vaf4a2. You are correct in identifying this discrepancy and I have alerted my colleagues in the UK with regard to this error. As you rightly point out, the directions given in Vaf4a are correct.



    To sum up. The Appendix vaf4a2 ( the financial requirement ) is for use in applications for, for instance, children under the new rules who are joining a parent(s) who has Limited Leave to Remain granted under the new rules. If the sponsoring parent has Indefinite Leave to Remain, under the old rules, then Appendix vaf4a1 is required.
    Last edited by maokaang; 13th Jul 2012 at 06:46. Reason: removed redundant quote of entire previous post

  5. #5
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    What a great Post , I hope to be going through this process very soon .This is a real help . I also liked your post re Thai lady arriving in the UK .. I laughed alot ,my Fiancee has just visited on a 6 month visitor visa , and so much of what you said was true , funny and imformative .. Thanks again..

  6. #6
    Member สมาชิก Surin's Avatar
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    amazing post and of great help! - thank you

    I was wondering and have a couple of questions, I have 2 step daughters and 1 daughter(my own) the first 2 will be staying in Thailand due to school and friends, and I'm applying for a British passport for the newest edition, but should I include translated with copy's with original birth certificates for all 3? or are these not necessary?

    also its seems ive mislaid my affirmation to marry, im not sure if its back in Thailand at the wife's house or maybe with the ampur its just not here in the uk in my big pile of documents, is it really important when i have the original with certified translations - marriage registration and marriage certificate?

    thanks in advance

    i do have the receipt from the uk embassy for the affirmation though

  7. #7
    Furniture เฟอร์นิเจอร์ the_link's Avatar
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    The affirmation isn't important, Surin, as you were probably relieved of it at your Amphur's wedding.

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    just to update ,

    the fee for the TB test is now 3300 baht

    http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/co...e=UK%20English

    thanks to all who make the forum THE place to look for info

  9. #9
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    Thanks, testa. Probably not much difference to when my wife took her TB test just over two-years ago. The f/x rate is obviously poorer now and likely to make-up the small difference in the increase.

  10. #10
    Member สมาชิก Surin's Avatar
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    we already did it 2yrs ago and paid around 2/3k, we are going again in a few weeks as they expire after 6 months so thanks for the update

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    guess so ( ;
    not too bad for a private proceedure

  12. #12
    Premium Member Alan2502's Avatar
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    Hi there, Very intresting post, I have my TGF here in the UK (since May 2012 ) we are returning ti Thailand and are planning to get married during Oct 2012, I see i have to supply a supporting letter and would be grateful for any advice on what topics should be covered in this letter, Please not that we shall be married by the time she applies for the ILR Visa
    Thanks
    Alan

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    Alan

    this thread is a good starting point, particularly Frogster's supporting letter template which will give you some good pointers on the topics you'll need to cover.

    The main points you need for a spouse visa for your wife are evidence of your relationship, accomodation, and finances.

  14. #14
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    hi is it a must that you need 12 months wages slips as i have just started a new new job in augest that put me on enough income before this i only did thiry hours a week on minum wage my new employer said they will give me a letter to say i will earn 20k plus a in the coming years but wont have the wage slips to cover this

  15. #15
    Member สมาชิก Surin's Avatar
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    I just want to say thanks to Frogster for this post, me and my wife got our visa and this thread by frogster played a big part in me prepping my application and i really cant thank you enough m8

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    Congrats on the visa Mr & Mrs Surin

    colin 244
    I am not a number, I am a free man

  17. #17
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    Thumbs up Frogster - This is a superb post - Many Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Surin View Post
    I just want to say thanks to Frogster for this post, me and my wife got our visa and this thread by frogster played a big part in me prepping my application and i really cant thank you enough m8
    I have just registered on this forum just to say a big thanks to Frogster for posting such a helpful guide for comparative novices like myself.

    I have been with my lady for three years and we are at the point where we will be getting married in Thailand this year so gaining a detailed understanding of the process and the issues we will need to deal with is fantastic.

    I will be using this post as a reference point for the marriage & settlement visa application process so thanks again Frogster for detailing the procedure, it really is a big help.

    I just thought of one question.......I am a self employed company director and in order to manage my personal tax liability i only show a very small salary with the remainder paid by way of dividends.

    The question i have is that whilst i take home well in excess of the £18k required to demonstrate financial capacity for the settlement application are there different rules for self employed when it comes to financial disclosure or qualification and do dividends count??

    If anyone can point me in the direction of self employed company director rules or guidance it would be much appreciated.

    A big thanks to Frogster for taking the time and trouble to post such a comprensive guide which certainly helps people like me a great deal.

    Thanks

    Blue

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    A very useful post. As is stated. The visa is a right not a lottery. Given that statement, if we are married, can prove all the requirements for a visa, is there any reason for a refusal? Also, what sort of timescales can we expect from application to granting of visa?

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by BitterBlue View Post
    I just thought of one question.......I am a self employed company director and in order to manage my personal tax liability i only show a very small salary with the remainder paid by way of dividends.

    The question i have is that whilst i take home well in excess of the £18k required to demonstrate financial capacity for the settlement application are there different rules for self employed when it comes to financial disclosure or qualification and do dividends count??

    If anyone can point me in the direction of self employed company director rules or guidance it would be much appreciated.

    Blue
    The basic answer is, yes, you can use dividends to demonstrate meeting the financial requirements. And, yes, the requirements for self - employed sponsors are very different from those for salaried employees.

    Regarding dividends, the requirements say this :

    To evidence dividends or other income from investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds:


    (i) A certificate showing proof of ownership and the amount(s) of any investment(s).
    (ii) A portfolio report (for a financial institution regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the UK).
    (iii) Personal bank statements for the 12-month period prior to the date of application showing that the income relied upon was paid into an account in the name of the person or of the person and their partner jointly.

  20. #20
    Premium Member Alan2502's Avatar
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    Having followed your advice . I was married in Bangkok, and 12 weeks after my wife submitted her application for a spouse visa, it was approved, A few additional points of intrest that may help future readers i will mention below.
    1) we were married at the Ratchathewi District Ampur, which is a 2 min walk from the Sukosol Hotel and the Phaya Thai BTS station. There was no cue, and the marriage to 5 min, There is one point to take into account, unless both parties can speak Thai a interpreter and translater must be present, We were very fortunate as one of the head of departments and a member of her staff volinteered to take both these posts, and am intresting thing was that they informed us that they will be making a post available for a full time interpreter and translater as they are very keen to have forigners have the ceremony performed within there district. The second point which i should have mentioned first is, having your freedon to marry documents translated and verified by the Thai authorities, After leaving the Brithish consulate , we were immediatly approched by touts offering ther services and asking for silly money, the answer to this was to go left on leaving the consulate, walk to the traffic lights, cross to the left, go up on the bridge and cross the road, when you come down go left and walk 50 meters untill you see a lane on the right hand side, On the left of the lane is a translation approved by the british consulate. We decided to let the firm do all the translations and for an extra THB2000 they would take the documents to the Thai home afffairs and have them certified, As far as we were concerned THB2000 was well worth the money, No traveling to the other side of the city, form ques ect.
    Well handed in our papers at 14:00 on the Monday and 09:00 on Wed morning they called us to say everything was ready to collect, We also went back there to have our marriage cert translated . Apparently no the Consulate rule is , It will take 12 to 24 weeks for visa spouse applications, 95% being completed in 12 weeks and the remaining 5% taking up to 24 weeks. As a matter if intrest the visa was date from 31st Jan 2013 untill Oct 2015, Once again thanks for a very helpful post.

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