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Staying in the UK on a Spouse Visa After a Divorce

What if you are staying in the UK on UK spouse visa with your partners visa and now you and your partner are going to separate? You will lose your visa status once you divorce or separate from your partner. Staying in the UK on a spouse visa after divorce will not be possible but there are other visa categories for which you can apply and stay in UK. But, if you are not eligible for any other visa category, then unfortunately you might have to leave UK. UK spouse visa allows you to enter and live in UK when your partner is either a British citizen, has settled in the UK or has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK. You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply. What happens if you both decide to divorce? Firstly, you must tell the Home Office when you are divorcing or separating from your partner if your visa is based on this relationship. If you don’t inform the Home Office about the divorce then it could affect any new visa applications in the future. 

Visa categories to apply for after divorce

Self and parent route

After a divorce, you can apply for other visa categories to stay in the UK if you are eligible. One route is settling in UK on your own. Firstly, you should check the eligibility of whether you can settle in UK or not and - if you can settle in the UK yourself - then this is probably the best option you can choose. Under this visa, you will be able to stay in the UK independently from your partner. Another way of staying in UK is via the parent route. If you are a parent of a child who is British, settled in the UK or has lived in the UK for a minimum of 7 years then you might be eligible to live in the UK by applying as a parent. You will, of course, need to meet some eligibility requirements for this.

Work visa route

You can also switch to a work visa if you are employed. Through your employer, you can get a work visa under the category of Tier 2 General visas. You need to get a job on the shortage occupation list. This can be a complex process but you can stay in UK through this route - especially if you work for a large organization. You should talk to your employer to see if they will sponsor you. You will have stay in your job to keep this visa. After 5 years, you can settle by yourself. You should check if you are eligible to settle before you try to get a visa through your employer.

If the reason of divorce is domestic violence

If there is a domestic violence from your partner who is a British Citizen or person settled in UK or a member of HM forces who has served for minimum 4 years, which led to break down of your relationship, then you will usually be able to apply to settle in the UK. You should get specialist legal advice if you have faced domestic violence and you are worried that divorcing from your partner will affect your visa status. You should note that when you were living in UK on UK spouse visa and now you are separating from your partner then to be able to apply for other visa category and stay in UK after divorce you must apply as soon as possible after the relationship breaks down. 


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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.