I hope someone can help.

I have read a bunch of posts about family visas, but can't find reference my questions, so I hope someone can give some insight.

Some background first.

I am a British Citizen. my wife is Mexican and we have a 2-year-old son, who is also British.

My wife and I have been in a relationship for over 11 years and got married in 2016.

During the 11 years of our relationship, we have visited the UK almost every year to visit family, Christmas etc. and have always left the country on time.

My wife still has her parents and a large family still in Mexico.

We have recently been living and working in Chile until last year when I lost my job.

In December 2018, we decided to move back to the UK as my parents are old and unwell and I have a better chance of finding a decent job.

We all traveled to the UK, myself, my wife, my son, my dog. Of course, I know better now, but at the time, I foolishly thought that my wife staying with me in England was a simple process. Now we have done the research, we realize it is a little more complicated than we imagined.

Fortunately, when we arrived at the UK border in a van full of cases and a dog cage, the border agent stamped my wife's passport for 6 months.

My wife and son are returning to Mexico after being with me for 4 months, as she obviously needs to leave before her 6-month passport stamp expires.

I am currently looking for work in the hope that I can get a decent job, and after 6 months, apply for a Family/spouse Visa so that my wife and son can finally be in England with me.

So finally to my questions... sorry for the long intro.

While I am working the 6 months period, is it ok for my wife and son to come to England to visit? I really don't like the idea of not seeing them for 6 months.

If they can come and visit, is it recommended not to return until after 4 months? (the time they have just spent in the UK),

After that time, would it be ok for them to come for 2 months and then return to Mexico for 2 months, then visit again? What do you feel are the correct limits to this?

I have read that if a customs/border agent feels that someone is trying to live in the UK without a visa, they can be rejected entry. Obviously, I want to be with my wife and son as much as possible, but I don't want to damage our chances of getting a long term visa. We really want to do the process properly.

Would the border agents see it as a bad thing that a wife and child are coming to visit dad? And they have a return ticket and a long history of visiting for holiday a returning to Mexico correctly?

I know this is a lot to take in, but it seems that there are many ways that the process can go wrong. We just want to make sure we are doing everything correctly.

Thank you very much for your time and help.

1 Answer 1


I followed links on the Home Office web site until I got to this page where it says your wife won't need a visa to come to the UK as tourist (you already knew that).

However importantly it also says:

You may want to apply for a visa if you have a criminal record or you’ve previously been refused entry into the UK.

Now, I know neither of those apply to your wife but it means she can apply for a visa if she wants to. The advantage of doing so is that if she is refused entry (on the grounds she won't leave), she will be at home in Mexico rather than tired and stressed in the Heathrow arrivals hall with a cranky child in tow. (It will also be possible to appeal the refusal, and I suspect that by going the formal route, the Home Office may be a little bit more sympathetic - I could be wrong.)

Note that it theoretically possible for a border agent to refuse entry, even with a visa - but I think that is very unlikely to happen.

On timings, I think your wife needs to spend significantly less time in the UK than in Mexico. I would suggest no more than one month in three. It would also help if you went to Mexico from time to time (although obviously, this means taking time off work).

(Aside: does your son have a UK passport? If not, I suggest you get him one - that way there is no question of refusing him entry.)

  • There is no right of appeal for a UK Standard Visitor visa
    – Traveller
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 18:14
  • 1
    Actually my comment wasn’t fully accurate - there is a human rights appeal route, but I doubt the OP would want to rely on that based on their question :-)
    – Traveller
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 9:12
  • Thanks for the comments. I had considered the human rights aspect of family separation, but I think it is probably simpler just to apply for a spouse visa before going into the slightly more aggressive route of claiming human rights. My son does have a UK passport, so it is really just my wife that I am talking about. It doesn't seem fair and we don't really like/agree with the situation, but it seems that we will just have to suffer for a year to have a long term future together in the uk.
    – david851
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 12:52
  • @david851 The human rights aspect has (I think) already been decided - the salary limit on bringing in a spouse has been declared lawful. Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 21:44

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