My boyfriend and I are US citizens. He will be attending a 13 month long graduate program in the UK. We want to partake in this adventure together. Would I be able to get a long term visitor visa for a year? On the UK website I have only noticed that "long term" visas start at 2 years. I don't need 2 years. I also don't really want to spend money on a student visa because I have my nursing license here in the states and I am taking my BSN online while hopefully over there. I also have had no luck with finding a sponsor due to the fact that I can not apply for jobs on the shortage list like "nursing" because my license does not transfer. So far my only option is to head over there for a 6 month visit in hopes to find a visa for another 6 months after returning home (or even more stressful.. try an do another 6 month visit with the risk of being refused) I think I already know the answer... Just would love to have some tips, input or suggestions.

Thank you in advance!!!!

  • A long term visitor's visa doesn't allow you to stay for longer than six months. It just allows the holder a period of two years (or however long) within which they can make multiple visits. That's essentially useless for a visa-exempt visitor like you. Your best bet is probably to find your own program of study during the same year. However, this is off topic here; you should ask at Expatriates. – phoog Jul 16 '17 at 19:16

Can I get a 1 year UK long term visitor visa?

It's a moot point because even if they did offer such a visa you would not qualify. The longer term visas are for people with a lengthy performance history and who have a really strong premise.

You want to cohab with your boyfriend while he attends graduate school in the UK, depending on your cohab history you might be able to qualify as a trailing partner. You would need some very hard evidence of two years continuous cohab and evidence demonstrating a fully partnered lifestyle, and these visas (unmarried partners) are hard to get in the first instance. To investigate this, your boyfriend's school has an officer entitled, "Authorising Officer" who can provide more details.

That leaves you with the visitor programme, and while the Immigration Officer who lands you can authorise up to six months, there's no guarantee that she actually will. Six months is the maximum and generally issued, but it's not a bankable assumption, especially if you show up without credible onward travel arrangements within the six month window and some hard accommodation evidence.

The implication here is that you will 'channel hop' when your expiry date approaches and then reenter. People do this with varying measures of success. The IO will see that you are channel hopping and wonder what sort of lifestyle you have in the US that allows you to be gone for so long and what you are doing to support yourself in the UK (hopefully nothing illegal). For these reasons, the landing interview is more probing, more intense, and hence more risky. If you are unlucky and get removed from port, you will have a history that could prove awkward or embarrassing in later life (in addition to restricted mobility as far as the UK and Europe go).

The final option, as explained in the comment by 'phoog' is to qualify for a student visa that runs parallel to your boyfriend's visa. Questions about this should be taken up on Expats. They also deal with trailing partner visas.

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    Would it help if they got married? – Andrew Lazarus Jul 16 '17 at 19:39
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    @AndrewLazarus it depends on what kind of visa the primary has, and it's a question for the Authorising Officer (who, I hope, would strongly discourage a marriage of convenience). Expats may be able to offer more insight however :) – Gayot Fow Jul 16 '17 at 19:52

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