. . . 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.
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!