Going through a divorce is never a pleasant experience. If you’re a non-UK resident who is currently living and working in the UK on a spouse visa, then this can add to the stress of getting a divorce even more.
The end of a marriage is an emotional and testing time, so even considering the legalities and the immigration laws that surround you can be unimaginable. If you’re dependent on a family visa and are reliant on your ex-spouse for settlement, it can often seem a lot easier to end your losses and move home.
Once your marriage has ended, the Home Office may request that you leave the country within a number of weeks following your break up. However, if you have started a family, or have set up a business in the UK, then it’s unlikely that you will want to leave. Time is of the essence in these situations and it’s really important that you act fast. Here are some steps that you should take in these circumstances.
Speak to the home office
Before you make any decisions, it’s of the utmost importance that you inform the Home Office that you have got a divorce. Throughout the process, immigration professionals will need you to be fully transparent and honest, so the sooner you let them know the better. Failure to do so could heighten the chances of them enforcing your leave from the country.
Once notice has been given and you have informed the Home Office that you are divorcing your sponsor, you can then begin to apply for a new kind of visa. The visa types that are available to you will entirely depend on your individual circumstances. If you’re unsure, it’s always beneficial to look for an immigration lawyer, who can help you through the process.
Review visa options
Depending on your situation, you will be able to remain on the UK with one of the following visas:
- Work visas – the most common visa is the Tier 2 visa. This is reserved for “skilled workers” and requires sponsorship from a business owner. If you currently have a job in the UK, it’s always a good idea to check if your current employer has the capacity to be your sponsor. Immigration law has changed in the UK and this is now reserved for those who have a specific skill set.
- Entrepreneur or Business visa – If you have set up a business in the UK and want to continue operating, then you can also apply for an entrepreneur/ business visa. This is often referred to as a Tier 1 visa.
- Indefinite Leave to Remain – If you have lived in the UK for over 5 years, then you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. This means that you will be allowed to live and work in the UK and even apply for British Citizenship
- Family Visa – If you have children who are UK nationals, then you may be able to apply to remain in the UK on a parent Family Visa too.
Getting the right legal advice
Applying for a visa can be a long and difficult process, so it’s important to ensure that you get the right legal advice. Consult with your immigration lawyer to explore all of your options and to ensure that you are getting the right representation. Getting a divorce is difficult enough, so having somebody to guide you through the legalities will be one less thing to worry about.