- 16 May 2019
For years many couples have become frustrated by the requirements for a spouse visa as the rules and guidance are difficult to understand. A significant amount of applications are rejected on the basis of the applicant not providing the adequate documents to evidence the relationship requirement. The Home Office guidance states, “an applicant and their partner must provide evidence that they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship” But what does this mean?
The guidance is unclear on what documents are suitable to evidence this requirement, apart from confirming that the marriage or civil partnership certificate is mandatory. Unfortunately, it is not enough to simply provide the Home Office with a marriage or civil partnership certificate to evidence the relationship. Thus, it is not surprising that applicants fail to understand the number of documents they need to submit as evidence of their relationship.
There are certain situations where it may be difficult to prove that a couple are in a genuine and subsisting relationship due to cultural or religious differences or practices. For example, in certain cultures it is unacceptable to cohabit prior to marriage or because the marriage was arranged, there was no opportunity to cohabit. Consequently, the applicant and the sponsor would not have cohabited at all or even have known each other for a long period of time, but this does not necessarily undermine the genuineness of their relationship. It is important to explain these cultural differences to avoid the entry clearance officer doubting the authenticity of the relationship.
There are a number of documents a couple can provide to evidence their relationship; examples include:
- Photographs of applicant and sponsor at their wedding/civil partnership or on holidays
- Wedding/civil partnership invitation card
- Flight and hotel bookings with names of both the applicant and the sponsor
- Statements from friends and family to evidence relationship is genuine and subsisting
- Evidence of communication between applicant and sponsor such as emails, calls logs, WhatsApp messages, Skype logs and other social media correspondence
- Evidence of joint finances, such as joint bank account
- Evidence of cohabiting such as tenancy agreements with names of both the applicant and sponsor
- Testimonial from applicant and sponsor explaining the development of their relationship
- Letters of correspondence addressed to the applicant and the sponsor at the same address
- Evidence that the Applicant and the Sponsor have visited each other’s home countries
A significant amount of applications are rejected on the basis of the applicant not providing the adequate documents to evidence the relationship requirement.
To conclude, it is highlighted that a marriage or civil partnership certificate is not sufficient on its own to prove that a relationship in genuine and subsisting. This may seem unusual, but routinely the Home Office have to distinguish between sham marriages and genuine relationships, especially with the increase in the number of sham marriages. Although a genuine couple who have entered into a marriage or civil partnership for the convenience of immigration will not be seen as a sham. It is strongly advised to seek legal advice before submitting an application to avoid a rejection.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.
About this article
SubjectSpouse Visa – Is your relationship genuine and subsisting?
Published16 May 2019
Read, listen and watch our latest insights
- 22 September 2023
Talking Employment Law: New family friendly rights
In this first podcast in the ‘Talking Employment Law’ series, Lucy Densham Brown and Rebecca Dowle, members of the employment team summarise some of the big new family-friendly Bills that are working their way through parliament.
- 20 September 2023
- Commercial Real Estate
Commercial buyers beware of residential Stamp Duty Land Tax
This article discusses a recent case in which a property buyer calculated the Stamp Duty Land Tax due on the purchase at a lower rate, due to the mixed-use purpose of the property.
- 19 September 2023
- Privacy and Data Protection
Organisations’ use of social media: Data protection
Social media applications (or commonly known as ‘apps’) are being developed all the time and we are constantly being introduced to new social media platforms, some of which take almost no time to gain huge popularity.
- 14 September 2023
Entrepreneurial Dreams: What is the Innovator Founder Visa?
In an era defined by innovation and entrepreneurship, the United Kingdom has made a substantial effort towards fostering its reputation as a global hub for start-ups and innovators. The introduction of the UK’s ‘Innovator Founder’ route has marked a pivotal moment in the country’s immigration policy.
- 11 September 2023
- Corporate and M&A
Changes to the tax treatment of Employee Ownership Trusts
The government published a consultation on 18 July 2023 seeking the public’s views on its proposals to reform the tax treatment of Employee Ownership Trusts and Employee Benefit Trusts. Parties are invited to express their opinions via email via the government website until the consultation closes on 25 September 2023.