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UK Spouse Visa and Divorce or Separation

If you’re residing in the UK with a Spouse Visa, a divorce or separation will affect your right to live in the UK. Reach out to our immigration lawyers if you’re going through a divorce or separation to explore your visa options for remaining in the UK after the divorce.

Call us on 0333 305 9375 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We are available to help online, via the phone, or in person.

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    How Divorce or Separation Impacts Your UK Spouse Visa Status

    The UK family immigration visa route allows British nationals and settled immigrants to sponsor their foreign spouse or partner to join them in the UK. The foreign spouse will be issued a Spouse Visa or Partner Visa. The visa remains valid (subject to renewal and upgrade) as long as there’s still a genuine relationship between them.

    A divorce or separation affects one’s eligibility to hold a Spouse Visa. You can no longer remain in the UK as a Spouse Visa holder if your relationship with your UK sponsor (spouse or civil partner) is permanently terminated.

    Home Office mandates that you inform them once your relationship breaks due to a divorce or a separation from your spouse. Failure to notify the Home office of the relationship breakdown could lead to immigration problems. Your ex-partner is also expected to inform the Home Office of the divorce. Upon receiving the notice, Home Office will curtail your visa.

    While ending a relationship is challenging on its own, it becomes more complex when it affects your legal presence in the UK. You’ll need to seek help from immigration lawyers to find alternative routes to remain in the UK.

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    Notifying the Home Office of the Change in Relationship Status

    You can tell the Home Office during the divorce process or after it is finalised. However, it’s best not to wait for the divorce to be completed before informing them so that you can start weighing your options early.

    You are to notify the Home Office either by email or by sending a letter to the Marriage Breakdown Status Review unit of the UKVI. The notice must contain your ex partner details and your information as thus:

    • Name.
    • Date of birth.
    • Current address.
    • Passport number.
    • Home Office reference number.

    You must also provide the following additional details if you or your ex-partner have children in the UK.

    • Their names.
    • Dates of birth.
    • Names of their parents or guardians.
    • Who they currently live with.
    • Visitation and custody arrangements (like how often you or your ex-partner meets with them).
    • Child maintenance and financial support arrangements.
    • Details of ongoing family court cases.

    You must also complete and attach either of the following forms to your notification mail or letter.

    • Public Statement: You are to use this form if you do not want the Home Office to divulge details of your email or letter to your ex-partner.
    • Consent Form: If you’re okay with the Home Office revealing details of your email to your ex-partner.

    You must complete, print, scan, and attach the signed form to your email or send it alongside your letter to Home Office. Home Office will contact your ex-partner using the address provided in your email.

    Contacting Home Office

    You’re to send the relationship breakdown email notification to RelationshipBreakdown@homeoffice.gov.uk. Your email must carry “MARRIAGE BREAKDOWN” as the subject line.

    If you’re unable to send an email and prefer to mail a letter, the letter is to be sent to the following address:

    “UK Visas and Immigration

    Marriage Breakdown Status Review Unit,

    7th Floor, The Capital

    New Hall Place, Liverpool

    L3 9PP”

    Ensure you include all necessary details and attach the consent form or public statement. You can then start the application process for a new visa type.

    Spouse Visa Curtailment

    Home Office will issue you a curtailment letter once they receive your notification. The letter informs you that your visa validity period has been shortened to 60 days. This means you have only 60 days to either leave the UK or seek a change of immigration status.

    You’re given 60 days’ leave to enable you to look for other routes to regularise your right to remain in the UK if you don’t want to leave the country. You’ll have to leave the UK if you cannot get another visa at the end of the 60 days.

    Home Office can extend your visa curtailment period in exceptional circumstances such as:

    • Your Spouse Visa validity period is less than 60 days. In this case, it will be allowed to run its course, at the end of which you must leave the UK.
    •  You’re due for a medical treatment that will require more than 60 days for recovery.
    • There’s verifiable proof that you’ve been a victim of domestic violence.

    They can also curtail your visa with immediate effect if:

    • Home Office finds out that your UK settled partner is the victim of domestic violence (inflicted by you).
    • You have a history of immigration abuse.

    What are My Options After a Spouse Visa Curtailment?

    Two options are open to you once your Spouse Visa is curtailed. You can choose to either:

    • Leave the UK within the stipulated leave period.
    • Or pursue a new immigration status. You can apply for a new visa, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or European Union Settlement Status, depending on your situation.

    Will My Indefinite Leave to Remain be Revoked After My Divorce?

    A divorce or separation primarily affects the UK legal status of persons with a Spouse or Partner Visa. It does not affect the right to reside of those with an Indefinite Leave to Remain, a Settled Status, or a Skilled Worker Visa.

    Your Indefinite Leave to Remain will not be revoked after your divorce. It won’t be withdrawn because of a divorce or separation. You met the qualifications to get one, and your marriage or partnership was in good condition when you got it.

    Can I Continue to Stay in the UK After My Spouse Visa Curtailment?

    Overview

    Although divorce or separation does not automatically revoke your visa, getting permission to continue staying in the UK might be difficult. If you wish to stay in the UK after your divorce, you’ll need to seek a new immigration status through other visa routes.  You can apply for either of the following if you meet the visa requirements.

    • A work visa, such as a Skilled Worker Visa.
    • Another family visa via:
      • the parent route if your child is a British citizen, has settled status, or has lived in the UK for over seven years.
      • Private life basis if you’re between ages 8 and 24 and have lived in the UK for most of your life (more than half). Or if you are 18 or over, have resided in the UK for less than 20 years, and will have difficulty living in the country you’re to return to.
    • Indefinite Leave to Remain if you’ve continuously resided in the UK for over five years.
    • Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme if you have a “Retained Right of Residence.”

    If you’re ineligible for any of these immigration routes, you’ll have to leave the UK once the curtailment period elapses. Remaining in the UK after this time will make you an illegal immigrant, and you might be charged with immigration fraud, deported, or barred from applying for any form of UK residency.

    Parent Route

    You can apply for a UK visa after a divorce via the parent route if your child or children fall into any of these categories:

    • Your child holds British or Irish citizenship.
    • Your child is under 18 at the time of the divorce and application and does not live independently of you.
    • Your child has settled status, indefinite leave to remain, or proof of permanent residence.
    • Your child is a citizen of the European Union, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, or Iceland, has a pre-settled status, and entered the UK before 31st December 2021.
    • Your child has lived in the UK continuously for more than seven years, and it would be unreasonable to ask them to leave. This only applies if you’re currently living in the UK.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers receive assistance on UK Spouse Visa and Divorce or Separation. Contact us

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      Retained Right of Residence

      Retained Right of Residence (RRR) is the UK family permit for citizens of the European Union, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway. If you’re married to a citizen of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you can use your RRR to apply for settled status under the EU settlement scheme after your divorce or separation. However, to be eligible for this scheme, you must meet the following criteria:

      • Your marriage or civil partner lasted for a minimum of three years, and you both lived in the UK for at least one year of the three.
      • You have custody of your child with your ex-partner.
      • You’ve been granted the right of access to your ex-partner’s child under 18 years.
      • You suffered from domestic abuse or violence in the marriage or civil partnership.

      If your situation matches any of these, seek professional guidance to help determine the best way to retain your UK residency. IAS immigration lawyers are always available to help.

      Cases of Domestic Violence

      Home Office might extend your visa curtailment period in the case of domestic violence or abuse. You’ll have to provide the Home Office with proof of abuse. These include CID records of violent incidences and court proceedings. Once proven, a victim of domestic violence might be able to get an Indefinite Leave to Remain.

      If the UK settled sponsor is discovered to be the victim of domestic violence, the Home Office reserves the right to revoke the visa of the sponsored partner immediately.

      How Can IAS Help?

      A marriage breakdown can be difficult and draining, especially if your marriage is the reason you can reside in the UK legally. It’s essential to seek expert assistance early to determine the best visa option to choose once your Spouse Visa is curtailed.

      If your Spouse Visa or Partner Visa is already curtailed, you’ll need to act fast, as you have limited time to obtain another residence permit. Reach out to IAS lawyers for immediate assistance. We’ll help you ascertain the best visa option for your situation and quickly work out the visa application details.

      For immediate help, contact us on 0333 305 9375 or via the online contact form. If you prefer to meet in person, we have several offices across the UK. Use our office finder to locate the one closest to you and come in so we can begin immediately.

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                FAQs

                A divorce or separation will affect your UK immigration status if you’re on a Spouse Visa. You’ll be ineligible to continue using that visa since you no longer have a relationship with your spouse or partner.

                You won’t lose your Spouse Visa immediately after a divorce, but it’ll be curtailed to 60 days to enable you to seek residency via another visa route. You’ll lose your Spouse Visa and your right to remain in the UK if you cannot get a different visa after 60 days.

                No, you can’t cancel your spouse or partner’s visa. Home Office reserves the right to do so; they’ll curtail her visa once you notify them of your separation or divorce. She’ll lose her entitlement to a spouse visa 60 days after the divorce is finalised.

                If you break up with your partner, Home Office will curtail your Partner visa and give you 60 days to get another type of visa or leave the country.

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