Engaged. Next?

I am now in the process of putting together my FLR(M) visa, but thought I’d outline a few steps for the fiancee visa that I completed only two months ago. Phew. If anyone comes across this, hope it’s helpful….

Just some thoughts:

  • We applied in mid-July and did not hear back until the end of September, even with us paying the priority fee. Apparently there is a “summer rush” beginning in June that lasts until early October, so I would be wary of this.
  • Priority does not mean what you think it means. If 90 people are applying for March, it’s still processed in the order it’s received. Meaning, your application doesn’t immediately jump the queue.
  • I highly suggest joining an expat forum (google “UK-Yankee Talk”) – not only is it nice to know that others are in your boat, but it also serves as an excellent resource of information. *Side note: At times when I was frustrated, I was MORE annoyed reading similar sentiments posted on the forum- if we were all experiencing the SAME issue, why was nothing being done?! I purposely refrained myself from checking updates until the tail end of my wait, when I couldn’t stand it and had to maniacally check for any information I had access to (those of you currently in this process, you know what I mean).
  • Speaking of problem, there is absolutely no transparency in this system. From what I understand, the US visa process may be more expensive and time consuming, yet there is a tracker update (l-i-f-e-s-a-v-e-r)! The tracker update for UKVI is still in beta (which means non-existent), and it is USELESS to call a number (it’s around $2 per minute to talk to a person about your case and they will repeat the same generic lines of “you have to wait.”) or to email (you WILL get the same generic answer again. *Side note: I applied for a student visa and sent some questions to the gov email listed- they addressed me by the wrong name SEVEN times (yes I emailed often) and did not give one helpful answer). Bottom line: don’t waste your time. The forums are way more helpful.
  • There is absolutely no guarantee of timeline, especially if you’re applying during the “summer rush.” Don’t rely on the stats on the site to guide you.
  • Your life will be on hold as you NEVER know when you will get that fateful email. Sigh.
  • There is no guarantee of timeline- some who have applied later than you will hear back sooner than you and you WILL be annoyed.
  • My partner (sponsor) asked his local MP to inquire about our case yet I still don’t think that does anything. At the end of the day, this is an immigrant issue and MPs will probably be focused on local matters to attract local votes.

That being said, here are the general steps for a fiancee (and spousal) visa: 1. Gather all materials, fill out application, fill out Appendix 2, and then submit online. 2. Pay the application fee (priority and IHS fees if relevant) and print out all materials submitted online. 3. Book a biometrics appointment. Print confirmation receipt. 4. Attend biometrics appointment. 5. Mail off application, supporting documents, biometrics page (given at the appointment) and stick the label on to the envelope. 6. WAIT.

**4. The appointment takes FIVE minutes. I was able to have an earlier appointment when I arrived three hours earlier. The employees there aren’t legally allowed to answer any questions about UK visas so hold off on your questions. 

*KEEP ALL COPIES OF EVERYTHING YOU SUBMITTED!!!

As soon as I received the email telling me “a decision has been made” (doesn’t even TELL you if you’ve been successful or not), I waited 2 days for it to be shipped back to me (this is when priority shipping comes in handy). I changed my address for the UPS facility pick-up, so I took a 45 minute Uber to Chelmsford, MA to pick it up first thing in the morning. But of course I had to wait another hour to find out if I was successful or not.

When you open your package, your passport will be the first to fall out- this is good news! You’ll see a sticker of approval. If you have a letter, it usually means your application has been denied. Soon after, I booked my ticket and arrived at the airport. The ECO took a fast glance at my passport and took my finger prints. Easy Peasy.

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