* The FLR(M), for those of you who are not immigrants to the United Kingdom, is the name of the form used by the spouses, civil partners, and long-term unmarried partners of British citizens (UKC) or permanent residents to apply for “Further Leave to Remain” – i.e. temporary residency, i.e. the first step towards citizenship. If you get FLR, you are given permission to remain in Britain for two years. At the end of these two years, you must either apply for SET(M), which is “indefinite leave to remain” – i.e. permanent residency – or return to your country of origin. After living in the country as the spouse/partner of a British citizen or settled person for three years, you are then eligible to obtain British citizenship.

Because all the rules change in April, and according to all sources we’re looking at major changes to make things more restrictive, Dom and I will be applying for FLR in March. I would say we have a decent chance of getting the visa. I am, however, very worried about the maintenance requirements. At the moment, neither of us have a job. We’re living off my student loans and hoping one or both of us will be able to find a job soon. For me, getting FLR will make that much easier, as I’ll then be allowed to work as many hours as I want whenever I want. Right now, the student visa limits me to 20 hours/week during term-time, which is very unfortunate as there are many more full-time jobs open around here than part-time.

But, I met someone on the immigration forums I haunt who was in a similar situation two years ago. She is a US citizen (USC), and her husband is a UKC. At the time, she wasn’t working, because immigration rules didn’t allow her, and he was an unemployed student living off of his student loans. They also had £5000 in savings. They applied for, and got, the visa. My student loans give me more each term than they had in savings, so it probably evens out. I also have a budget drawn up to show that we can afford our rent and council tax without recourse to benefits, so I’m really optimistic that our application will be approved. I’m also hoping to include a letter of support from my father-in-law.

I’m trying very hard to not be too optimistic, as that usually leads to disappointment. I really don’t know what I’ll do if the application is denied. Continue on as I have been, I suppose, but out £550. The process is very stressful, so I’m sure I’ll be posting updates along the way. I’m not yet sure if I’ll do the in-person appointment or not. If I do, then I’d know on the day whether or not the application has been approved or denied, but those appointments are only for straightforward applications, and I’m not sure if ours would count as “straightforward”.

Since we’ll be using all our “extra” money to apply for the visa, I’m going to have to hold off on getting my birth certificate corrected. *sigh* All the more reason for me to find a job as quickly as possible, I suppose. I do, in fact, have a job I’d really like to get that I’m applying for soon. But I really don’t think I will get it. And if I did get it, I’d have to have the spousal visa, since it’s full-time.

But… That’s where things on the immigration front are now. There will be updates, I’m sure, probably about how I can’t find some document or another that we need to apply or how the banks are being dicks about giving us the proper statements (they do it to everyone). 😀

* Massive changes to immigration rules will be put into place in April 2012. I believe these rules will apply to me, since if I get the visa, I’ll be considered already in the pipeline, but if someone randomly happens upon this post looking for information, these rules are NOT CURRENT. The best source of information is, of course, the UK Border Agency.