To Surinder Singh or not to Surinder Singh…

How to get a UK Spouse Visa without a lawyer

. . . that is the question!

Renee is still stuck in the hospital so Geoff is here to keep you company again. I’m constantly researching the convoluted ways of moving to different countries. Call it a, “hobby” if you will! I figured that as I’m doing the hard work, I should impart some of my wisdom to you, the lucky readers. Immigration lawyers are expensive and generally not-needed. Some countries are relatively easy, others keep you wrapped up in red tape. Hopefully we’ll be able to save you some of your hard-earned money in the time-honored “Awesome On $20” way. Let’s look at UK immigration first of all.

Our first option is the official UK Government route for coming home with a non-EU spouse.

To qualify for a spouse visa the UK citizen needs to meet the following specifications:

Needs a confirmed job offer for a job in the UK, earning £18,600 or more per year, starting no more than 3 months after your application.

Needs to have been earning the foreign equivalent of £18,600 per year for either 6 months (if you have worked for the same employer for the last six months and are still employed with them at the time of application) or 12 months (averaged out over the last 12 months for multiple jobs).

If you have children that you are also bringing with you, the amount is increased by £3,800 for the first child and then an extra £2,400 per child.

Note: If you have £62,500 or more in savings (and have had that in your account for at least 6 months) then none of this applies to you. You are automatically awarded a visa. Congratulations.

The tricky part is actually getting a job without having a face to face interview. I did manage to get my first job in the US while I was still living in Taiwan, via Skype, but not sure how common this is. If you can afford to fly home for interviews, great, but if you are like the rest of us, this probably isn’t an option. Of course there’s a whole load of paperwork and “evidence” that you need to collect to show that you earn a certain amount. Click HERE to get detailed info straight from the horse’s arse mouth. This visa costs £885.

Renee in London
Tourist-mode back on our last visit

The second option is called the “Surinder Singh” route. So called after a famous court case. Basically, this is a back-door option that circumvents the UK Government’s visa restrictions. If the UK citizen goes to live and work in another EU country, their non-EU spouse can go with them and also work. Once you can prove that the UK citizen’s ‘centre of life’ has moved to the other EU country, you are free to apply for an EEA Family Permit. This permit is as good as a visa and allows you to live and work in the UK indefinitely! The guideline for time spent in the other EU country is 3 months minimum.

When applying for the EEA Family Permit, you’ll need:

Proof of address for the UK citizen in the other EU country (rental agreement or perhaps bank statements).

Proof of ‘integration’ (anything that shows the UK citizen became involved with the local community. Maybe a letter from a club or society).

Proof that the UK citizen was working (wage slips, contracts, tax returns etc).

The best thing about the Surinder Singh route is that there’s no cost for an EEA Family Permit! How’s that for being Awesome on $20?

Other European citizens can move to the UK straight away and work with no hassle! A Polish person could bring an Indian spouse into the UK easier than a Brit bringing in an American! Crazy!

Stay tuned for more free immigration advice. Next time we will look at getting your American Green Card!

Hopefully Renee will be back on her feet and making delicious treats for you fine folks in no time at all. Here’s to a quick recovery!

Even British horses are cool...
Even British horses are cool…
Be Awesome: Take a Break

Be Awesome: Take a Break

Be Awesome: Take a Break

I took a bit of a break from blogging this week. I’m sure nobody noticed but me. I hadn’t planned it. I just woke up last Sunday feeling very anti-work. The thought of going in to my kitchen made me want to smash things. I work hard at my job all week, and for once, I wanted to have a weekend where I didn’t have to do even more work. Work for which I get paid mere pennies, I might add. I knew I wouldn’t be able to create anything special, which would only make me feel more frustrated. And I don’t want to give you guys anything that’s less than awesome.

The strange thing about it was how guilty I felt about the whole thing. No cooking and shooting over the weekend means no posts for most of the week. Taking Sunday off turned into disappearing from the internet for days. It was troubling and liberating all at the same time. I may have lost my mind.

Guilt has always been one of my biggest struggles. I’ve always had big dreams, a thirst for excellence, but with no extraordinary talent, I knew the only way to achieve it would be through hard work. Plot twist. I’m kind of lazy. I like watching movies, reading books, and eating long meals with friends and family. It’s how I recharge. None of those things move me closer to my professional goals.

And yet I wonder, when I’ve reached the end of my life, what moments will mean the most to me? It would likely feel pretty gratifying to have created a successful blog that helped people not only eat awesome food, but relax and enjoy their lives without worrying how much money they’re making. But how can I encourage people to be awesome if I can’t even allow myself to take an occasional weekend off without feeling like a total loser?

It was my daughter, one of the wisest people I know, who simply said, “Mom, it’s okay to take a day off now and then.” As always, she was right. I stepped away, tried to relax, even though it was difficult, and now I feel refreshed, inspired, and ready to share something awesome. I can go back in to my kitchen with a smile and know that the food I produce will be flavored with love and not frustration. It’s a good thing.

I missed you, friends, but I’m happy to be back. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, by all means, follow my daughter’s advice. Take a break. You don’t have to go to an expensive spa or take a fancy vacation. Just shirk a few of your lesser responsibilities with abandon. Maybe shut off your computer, or even put down your phone. Do the things that make you happy so that you can be better at your work on the other end. It may feel a bit selfish, but please, do your best no to feel guilty about it. That’s the hardest part.

We’re here to be awesome, kids. Let’s do it!

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