My Croatian wife had an asylum application refused 7 years ago and we have been living together in the UK since then, hence we were very concerned about going to make the application as we had a lot to lose if something went wrong. We did it anyway to get it all sorted out. We were married in April and would have gone sooner were it not for solicitors wasting our time and having to organise time off work.
I went with my wife to make the application on the Tuesday in Zagreb. After handing in the application form and evedence we waited about an hour before she had a very short discussion. She then made an appointment for a formal interview 2 days later on the Thursday. On Thursday she had a 20-30 minute interview after which she was told she would get the visa. 10 minutes later they gave her passport back.
We were slightly surprised it was so quick but very relieved it was all sorted out.
Thank you again for all the advice we got from this board.
Here are a few points about that application that others may find useful.
Solicitors were generally not very useful for us. They gave pretty much the same advice as we got on this board but generally without so much detail. We gave up on them in the end and did it ourselves. I am sure they have their place but I would say it is vital to do you own research and understand your position fully.
Possibly the best advice we got was to provide as much evidence as we had got. There is no exact list as to what to supply as evidence but are a list of rules of what you have to prove. We went through the list and created a section for each with all the evidence we had to prove it. These are in effect points of law and the ECO must be satisfied that each one is met so make sure they are, with lots of evidence. We actually provided about 70 items of proof all indexed in a folder, the ECO commented to my wife that the application made it very easy for him to make a decision and certainly didn’t say we provided too much.
We took the rules and created the following sections, which roughly relate to the rules we had meet. For each one we wrote a short description and provided an index to the evidence for that section.
- Application form and letter from sponsor
Passports and Identification
Financial and Employment
Passports and Identification speak for themselves although take copies and put them in too. The ECO took out copies of what he needed and gave the originals back. We also put in here details of the past asylum application including any home office numbers we had.
We provided every bit of evidence we had of the church wedding including marriage certificate, letter from the vicar, reception invoice, flower invoices, ring receipts, copy of guest list, example invitation and more. We also provided photos of the day. They kept the copy of the marriage certificate we provided and the letter from the vicar.
For our relationship we provided evidence, which linked us together including photos and cards. We also go all our friends to write letters saying how they knew us, and that they supported our marriage.
For our home I provided everything I had on the property including council tax bills, mortgage statements, plan of the house and a few photos of the house.
For financial and employment we wrote down all the money we had between us, and statements to prove it. We had to rush out and get these copied as they wanted to keep them so they are obviously important. We also wrote down our employment histories, pay slips, employment contract and CV’s. I have my own company so provided a letter from my accountant, letters from clients, company accounts as well as company bank statements.
As you can see we provided a lot of information but we didn’t want to leave anything to chance especially due to my wife’s previous immigration history. I am sure you can get a visa with a lot less but we still think the effort involved in putting a comprehensive application together was well worth the effort.