A mistake by the Home Office nearly cost us everything

I have served my country in the British Army for over 11 years. I met my wife, Maria, who is a Ukrainian national, when I was serving overseas.  We married in 2006, and when I had to return home, she was granted a spouse visa to live with me in Ministry Of Defence Family Service Accommodation here in the UK.

 

We had not been married long when I was posted to Cyprus. Maria came with me and we lived there for a number of years. We hadn’t been there long before we were blessed with our son, Michael.

 

In 2008, while we were still living in Cyprus, Maria’s UK Visa expired, but at the time, this was not considered to be an issue or a priority. She had only recently given birth to our first child, and as the wife of a serving member of the British Army in Cyprus, she had a valid residence permit to reside there with me.

 

In 2011, I was posted back to the United Kingdom. Maria was correctly advised by the Army Welfare Officer to apply for a spouse visa, which she did. However, the visa section of the British Embassy mistakenly granted her 2 years’ limited leave to enter. By this point, Maria was entitled to be granted Indefinite Leave to Enter because we had been married and living together for more than 4 years. Unfortunately, due to the mistake made with her visa, this was never granted.

 

In 2013, I was sent to the Falkland Islands. As dependents are not allowed to accompany Armed Forces members to the Falkland Islands, Maria and Michael had to remain in the UK. While I was away, Maria’s visa was due to expire and she was required to submit an application to the Home Office for permanent residence. Maria’s application was refused because I wasn’t in the country to sign her Sponsor’s declaration and provide my original passport. Despite the fact that the Army Welfare Office had provided a letter stating that I had been deployed overseas and was unable to do these things, my wife’s visa was refused and she was left without permission to remain in the UK and was threatened with being removed. Our son was still very young at the time, and I was too far away to be of much help or comfort. She was left utterly helpless.

A mistake by the Home Office nearly cost us everything, but thanks to Linder Myers, we have our lives back.

One of my friends had been in a similar position and recommended that I use Linder Myers. As soon as I returned to the United Kingdom, I called them, and instructed them to represent my wife. Their Senior Immigration Advisor, took over our case, and was incredibly reassuring and helpful. She lodged an application for permanent residence on Maria’s behalf, and explained to the Home Office that Maria should have been granted Indefinite Leave to Enter when she lodged her application from Cyprus in 2011, instead of 2 years’ limited leave.

 

Our Advisor cited their obligations under the Military Covenant to all those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown and their families, and pursued the matter relentlessly. It took 6 months to resolve our case, but thanks to Linder Myers, my wife was eventually granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.

I honestly cannot thank Linder Myers enough for all the hard work they put into my wife’s application. The mistake made by the Home Office nearly cost me everything, but thanks to Linder Myers, we have our lives back. Michael is doing really well in school and we are very happily settled in the UK. I may be posted abroad again, but if that happens, I can leave to serve my country, knowing that my family will be waiting for me when I come home.