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I am a US citizen.

Standard visitor visa seems like it's not long enough.

I would like to come and go as I please. I would like to add I'm currently in the UK, have been here for 3.5 months.

I will be traveling to Germany soon for work, then coming back, then leaving the UK for a few months, but would like the option to come back after that if I want to (September 2020).

I work remotely, will continue to do so, and am able to show any authorities that I don't plan on moving here permanently.

I want to avoid being denied entry in September as I will have stayed here from March 10-July 17 2020, which is encroaching on the 6 month limit.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Willeke Jun 21 at 4:16
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Standard visitor visa seems like it's not long enough.

I would like to come and go as I please. I would like to add I'm currently in the UK, have been here for 3.5 months.

There's no way to do what you want. As a US citizen, there is no visa you can apply for which gives you anything above your visa-free entitlement to apply for entry for 6 months at the border, as you have been doing so far. Unless you apply for a settlement visa.

I will be traveling to Germany soon for work, then coming back, then leaving the UK for a few months, but would like the option to come back after that if I want to (September 2020).

As a US citizen, you can use the ePassport gates, as I'm sure you know. These gates use an unknown function to determine whether an individual should be rejected and sent to speak to a border officer. It's likely that long stays in the UK are a factor in determining whether you'll be required to speak to an officer and justify the purpose of your visit, and your ability to support yourself.

I work remotely, will continue to do so, and am able to show any authorities that I don't plan on moving here permanently.

You are currently breaking immigration law. You are not allowed to work while visiting the UK. It doesn't matter that this work is being done remotely. Doing a little remote work while on holiday is a bit of a grey area, but if you are staying for long periods in the UK, while depending on remote work to support yourself, you are certainly breaking the law, and if found out you will be denied entry to the UK, and will possibly incur a ban as well.

I want to avoid being denied entry in September as I will have stayed here from March 10-July 17 2020, which is encroaching on the 6 month limit.

If you're planning to live long term in the UK, you should apply for a settlement visa. Since you work remotely for a foreign company, this could not be a Tier 2 work visa, unless your company has a UK division which is willing to sponsor you. You could consider the Global Talent visa if you are highly skilled and work in a qualifying field. The remaining option is a family visa on the basis of your relationship with your girlfriend. Since time spent with her while visiting the UK does not count as cohabitation for the purposes of the unmarried partner visa, you'll need to marry or enter a civil partnership with her to qualify.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Please go to the chatroom for additional comments, the option here is locked. – Willeke Jun 20 at 17:13
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The UK (and many other countries) have a rather odd (to you) view on remote work. You're not allowed to do it there on a visitor visa. So stop!

Interview with UK firms and get a job with one, that lets you work where you would like to be located, and that is of a type that qualifies you for a long term UK visa. Given that you stated that you want a visa that will let you re-enter the UK at will for years, that is the most easily obtained visa that will do that.

However, once you have that you may want to think about accruing UK residency so you can make a bid for citizenship. Presumably your partner does not want to come to your home country permanently...

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    That same "funny view" is shared by most if not all EU countries (and AFAIK also the US). If you're doing work while located in country X for any significant period of time, the income from that work is also supposed to be taxed in country X. (Technically the tax treaties between countries are what decides here, but most of them determine taxation by where the work physically took place, not where the employer is based.) And filing income tax is not something that "visitors" typically do; it screams "resident". – TooTea Jun 20 at 13:39
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    @TooTea I hope I didn't offend, and sorry if I did! What I meant was, "it's odd from OP's POV". – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 20 at 14:52
  • Also, if the OP can do remote work not only he might be violating the visa, but he has one less reason to return to the USA so there is a higher risk of him deciding to overstay his visa. – SJuan76 Jun 20 at 21:46
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    The laws seem oddly out of sync with modern realities. I have a contract with a company, and where I hit the keys on my keyboard should not matter (my living room, my bath room, the office, the beach, some National Park in a foreign country). – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jun 22 at 7:24
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    Interviewing with a UK company and getting a job with one is not sufficient. You will need to get a job which leads to a visa. This answer implies that just getting any job will make it possible to get a visa. – JBentley Jun 22 at 9:30
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To do what you're intending, I think your only available option is to get pre-settled status in the UK via the Surinder Singh route. Essentially it involves:

  1. Move to Germany with your girlfriend
  2. Stay until end of year
  3. Apply for EEA Family Permit, so that you get it before end of 2020
  4. Come to UK with EEA Family Permit
  5. Apply for Settled Status

Potential pitfalls:

  • Relationship not deemed as long-subsisting (can't remember the right term but it's something like this) - usually this means you have to have been together 2+ years. Alternatively you'd need to get married first.
  • The short-term nature of your stay in Germany could be perceived as trying to circumnavigate the rules, so you'd need good reasons for moving there and back again.

More information: https://www.ein.org.uk/blog/family-members-british-citizens-surinder-singh-route-after-brexit

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    The route you mention is now only available to returning migrants (until 2022), I don't think you can start the route after the 30th of January 2020. This is because free movement during the transition period is possible because of Withdrawal agreement rules and not EU treaty rules. Look at the UKVI's policy document on this : gov.uk/government/publications/… – KillaKem Jun 22 at 8:50
  • This by no means the "only available option". There are others e.g. work visa, getting married, etc. – JBentley Jun 22 at 9:32
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    Getting married won't help that much. 10,000s of UK families including a foreign spouse are kept apart by the UK's anti-family rules, which are ranked as the most draconian in the developed world. medium.com/@bouridiop/… – Alex Smooth Websites Jun 22 at 9:37
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    @AlexSmoothWebsites As someone who has done exactly that (US based partner), I strongly disagree. You will have to provide evidence that your relationship is genuine and not a sham, and that you can financially support both people. The salary requirement of ~£18k will be a barrier to some, but (depending on which source you use) the average salary in the UK is around £30k, so it's a stretch to say that getting married "won't help that much". Provided you meet the requirements, you will get a visa. My point that your answer is not the only availabe option, remains. – JBentley Jun 22 at 13:31
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    @IvanMcA exactly. It's very wrong - I shouldn't lose the right to live in my home country with my spouse, just because my spouse is foreign. It's nothing to do with sham marriages either, although that's a popular excuse - arguably, a sham couple is more likely to have the money. My wife and I were relatively lucky but there are literally 10,000s of kids who are separated from one of their parents because of this - the Govt could end their suffering tomorrow if they wanted to. Btw, as far as I remember, his income won't be considered, so his girlfriend would need to be over the threshold. – Alex Smooth Websites Jun 22 at 21:15

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