Staying in the UK after divorce - how will divorce affect my immigration status?

If your permission to stay in the UK is based on your relationship with someone else – a British citizen or someone who has permission to be in the UK because of the visa that they hold, if that relationship comes to an end, you may no longer have permission to be in the UK. In this situation, an experienced divorce and immigration specialist will be able to advise you on your situation and help you with the next steps, which may involve applying for a new visa to stay in the UK in your own right.

Visa based on relationship 

Your visa (your permission to be in the UK) is based on your relationship if

• Your partner is a British citizen, an EEA national, a person with Indefinite Leave to Remain, or someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection; or

• You are a ‘dependant’ on your partner’s UK visa – you might be a ‘dependant’ if your partner is in the UK on a study visa or is here temporarily in the UK on a work visa

• You are a spouse or partner on a ‘family of a settled person’ visa 

You may have taken advice before you came to the UK or when you arrived about your Immigration status from an Immigration lawyer – but if not, you may need to speak to a firm of good family solicitors who can advise you on staying in the UK after divorce

Inform the Home Office if your relationship comes to an end

If your relationship has broken down, you may not immediately consider the administrative steps you have to take as far as your Immigration status is concerned. Unfortunately, at what will be undoubtedly a difficult and stressful time, you are required to tell the Home Office that your relationship has come to an end. 

You have to provide certain information to the Home Office – not just tell then that your relationship has come to an end. This information includes your and your ex-partner’s:

• name

• date of birth

• address

• passport number

• Home Office reference number (which is included in letters that the Home Office may have sent you in the past)

You have to provide additional information if you or your ex-partner have children in the UK. This information includes

• the names and dates of birth of the children

• the names of their parents or guardians, and who they live with

• how much time they spend with you or your ex-partner

• how much child maintenance or financial help you give each other

• the details of any family court cases you’re involved in – for example if you cannot agree access arrangements or with whom the children will live

As well as this information, you have to complete one or 2 forms, telling the home Office either that you do not want the Home Office to tell your ex-partner any of the details you have provided in the letter; or that you are happy for the Home Office to tell your ex-partner details from your letter. 

Options once your marriage has come to an end

Home Office guidance explains that your options after divorce are to either leave the UK or apply for a UK visa in your own right. If staying in the UK after divorce is your preferred option, you will have to consider which visa route to apply for – which best fits your circumstances. 

Applying for a new visa to stay in the UK

You may be able to apply for a work visa, or to settle in the UK. You may be able to stay if your child is British and is settled in the UK or has lived here for at least 7 years. It is also possible to make an application to stay in the UK based on your private life in the UK. Depending on how long you have been in the UK and your circumstances, you may be eligible to apply for your own visa on one or more of these grounds, so if your divorce law solicitors do not have experience advising on Immigration and visa matters, it’s worth getting in touch with the best immigration lawyers you can afford to advise you on your situation and how to submit your application so you have the best chance of a successful outcome.

divorce is a difficult time, made even more stressful if you are facing an uncertain Immigration status as a result of your relationship breakdown. OTS Solicitors are not only Legal 500 recommended immigration solicitors, we also have an experienced family law team who can advise on the complexities of divorce law and Immigration and can help secure your future in the UK even if your relationship has come to an end. Book an appointment to discuss your situation with us today – call 0203 959 9123.



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