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New rules affecting US applicants for UK marriage visas

August 1st, 2013

Changes made effective from July 2013 now require all US residents who wish to apply for a UK settlement visa as a fiancee, partner or spouse of a British Citizen or UK legal permanent resident to send their applications and supporting documents to the UK Border Agency in Sheffield. Before July, these applications would be made to the British Consulate General in New York who would then forward them to UKBA Sheffield, but the New York office is no longer involved in processing UK marriage visas.

The UKBA office in Sheffield only deals direct with UK settlement visas; these include marriage visas, fiancee visas, spouse/civil partnership visas and unmarried partner visas. Non-settlement visas, for example EEA family permits or visitor visas are still dealt with via the British Consulate in New York. It is also important to note that the UKBA Sheffield is only currently dealing with settlement visa applications from residents of the United States of America as well as non-priority cases from Canada, and Nigeria.

Because the applicant is now responsible for sending the application forms and all supporting documents directly to Sheffield, certain responsibilities now fall on them that were previously the remit of the British Consulate in New York. Original passports and originals of supporting documents must be sent and so the applicant for a UK marriage visa must ensure that they include in the package a completed pre-paid return shipping waybill so that the paperwork can be returned as soon as the UKBA comes to a decision. This waybill must be for the purpose of international shipping. It is advisable to keep the tracking number in a safe place and extra insurance is also advisable. Obtaining replacement documents if any are lost can put a lot of expense onto the shoulders of an applicant. A courier fee which was charged by the British Consulate in New York is replaced by this waybill.