Divorce & Immigration – Does Divorce Affect Your Right to Remain in the UK?
7th March, 2023
From new financial responsibilities to moving out the family home, there are a number of significant life changes that can occur as a result of your divorce.
In some cases, getting a divorce could even impact on your ability to remain in the UK. If you are getting divorced and you are unsure about how your immigration status could be impacted, we would recommend seeking advice from a specialist.
Ward Hadaway have specialist divorce and immigration solicitors who can work together to check your eligibility to stay in the UK and support you with the next steps, both in respect of any potential immigration issues and in your divorce.
Keep reading to find out more about the effects of divorce on your right to remain in the UK.
Does Divorce Affect Your Right to Remain?
Whether or not you can stay in the UK after a divorce depends on several factors, with the deciding factor typically being your current immigration status. Whilst the outcome of individual situations may differ slightly due to varying circumstances, we have provided an overview of how different immigration statuses can be affected by a divorce:
- Spouse Visa – If you are in the UK with leave to remain based on your marriage or civil partnership, then UK immigration laws state that you are only allowed to remain in the UK for as long as that relationship lasts. If your relationship ends before your visa is due to expire, or before you apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain), your leave to remain in the UK will also end, and your right to live and work in the UK on a Spouse visa will be cancelled. You will be given a specified period of time, usually 60 days, in which you must either apply for another visa or leave the UK.
- Dependant visa – if you are in the UK with leave to remain as a dependant on your spouse’s visa (for example, as a dependant of a Skilled Worker, Student visa holder, Graduate visa holder etc.), your visa would also be cancelled if your relationship were to end. You would have to apply for another visa or leave the UK in these circumstances, just like with the Spouse Visa.
- Other visas – If you hold a different type of visa which is not connected to your relationship, such as a Skilled Worker, Student, Global Business Mobility or Graduate visa and you are the main visa holder as opposed to a dependant, your divorce or separation would not most likely not impact on your right to remain in the UK.
- Citizenship or ILR – If you have secured your ILR status or submitted your nationality application, getting a divorce or separating is unlikely to affect your immigration status, and you will not be required to the leave the UK.
You and your partner need to tell the Home Office that you’re separating or divorcing. If you fail to notify the Home Office and they become aware of your separation or divorce from another source, they may find that you have deliberately attempted to deceive the Home Office, which could also impact future visa applications.
Potential Ways to Remain in the UK
It is important to note that if your current visa is impacted by your divorce, then you may qualify for a different visa. There are several different ways you could potentially remain in the UK, including:
If you have lived in the UK for 10 years
If you have lived in the UK continuously for 10 years or more with a valid visa, you may be eligible to apply for ILR.
If you have children in the UK
If you have children aged under 18 who live in the UK then you could be eligible for a Family visa as a parent, however there are various conditions that you’ll have to meet to be able to stay in the UK as a parent.
Switch to a work visa if you’re employed
Another option for remaining in the UK would be to obtain a work visa (also known as a Skilled Worker visa) through your employer. Again, there are a number of criteria you will need to meet to be eligible for this visa, however our immigration solicitors can support you through this process.
Other ways of staying
If you do not qualify for any of the above, then there are routes to obtaining a UK visa if you:
Have lived continuously in the UK for at least 20 years
Are between 18 and 24, and have spent at least half your life living continuously in the UK
Are over 18 and have no ties with the country that you’d have to return to
Navigating your immigration options following a divorce is not an easy process, and your best option is to talk to a specialist immigration adviser about staying in the UK, so they can help to identify the best route for you based on your current and future needs.
How Can Ward Hadaway Help?
Our specialist divorce solicitors and immigration solicitors can support you through this already challenging time by checking your eligibility to remain in the UK following your divorce and helping you to obtain another visa if yours is to be cancelled. Get in touch with our team today to discuss your situation and get the support you need.
If you would like support or advice about any of your family circumstances, please complete the form below and a member of the team will be in touch to find out more.
Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.
This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.
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From new financial responsibilities to moving out the family home, there are a number of significant life changes that can occur as a result of your divorce. In some cases, getting a divorce could even impact on your ability to remain in the UK. If you are getting divorced and you are unsure about how your immigration status could be impacted, we would recommend seeking advice from a specialist.
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