The Spouse Visa and other UK partner visas
The UK partner visas allow overseas nationals who are in a genuine and subsisting relationship with a British citizen or person with settled status to join them in the UK. The partner visas fall into the UK family visa category, there are several different types suitable for different types of relationships.
The UK partner visas include the:
- Spouse Visa – for married partners of British citizens and settled persons
- Unmarried Partner Visa – for partners who have been in a relationship with a British citizen or settled person for at least two years
- Fiance Visa – for the fiancés of British citizens and settled persons planning to marry their partner in the UK
The Spouse and Unmarried Partner Visas can both be used as a route towards permanent settlement in the UK. After living in the UK for 5 years under these visas, you can become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. After holding ILR for 12 months you can also be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
The Fiance visa is only valid for 6 months, but you will still need to prove that your relationship is genuine. After marrying your fiance in the UK, you can apply for a Spouse Visa.
The genuine relationship requirement
The genuine relationship requirement is one of the main requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for any of the partner visas. The Home Office takes a tough stance against sham marriages and relationships that are used to obtain British visas, the genuine relationship requirement was created as a way to prevent these circumstances.
The guidance for meeting the genuine relationship requirement can be vague, but you must be able to provide evidence that your relationship is genuine and subsisting. Usually, this means that you have been together and lived with your partner for at least two years. However, there are exceptions to this on the grounds of cultural or religious beliefs.
How do you prove your relationship?
Because the Home Office guidance is vague, it can be difficult to know how much evidence you must provide to adequately meet the genuine relationship requirement. The evidence of your relationship is the most significant part of your spouse or unmarried partner visa application, so you should ensure that you submit a substantial portfolio of supporting documents alongside your application.
The evidence that you will need to provide will vary depending on the type of partner visa that you are applying for.
If you are applying for a Spouse Visa you will need to prove that you are married or in a civil partnership with your British partner and that the marriage was not one of convenience for the purpose of obtaining a visa.
Unmarried Partner Visa applicants will need to demonstrate that their relationship is genuine by proving that they have been in a relationship for at least two years and that they have previously lived together.
Fiance visa applicants can prove their relationship by providing evidence of civil marriage plans or enquiries.
What documents can you use to prove your relationship?
There are a number of documents a couple can use to evidence their relationship, they include:
- A written statement detailing your relationship with your partner
- Your marriage or civil partnership certificate if you have one
- If you or your partner have had a previous marriage or civil partnership you will need to provide divorce certificates
- If you are applying as an unmarried partner you should provide evidence of cohabitation for at least 2 years, this can include documents such as tenancy agreements or shared utility bills
- Fiance visa applicants should provide proof of their plans to marry in the UK, including information about the wedding ceremony and any booking confirmations
- Statements from friends and family detailing your relationship
- Evidence of any trips you’ve taken together such as travel itineraries or hotel bookings
- Photographs that you have together that can be used to cover the chronology of your relationship
- Evidence of joint financial responsibilities can also be used, this could include bank statements from a joint bank account and utility bills
Do I need to prove cohabitation with my partner?
When it comes to demonstrating that your relationship is genuine, providing evidence of cohabitation with your partner is a key part of this. Usually, you must show that you have lived with your partner for at least two years, this does not have to be a continuous period and can have taken place in different areas or countries. You can prove your cohabitation by supplying tenancy agreements or joint documents such as utility bills.
However, due to cultural and religious factors, some people may not be able to meet the cohabitation requirement. This does not mean that their relationship is not genuine. If you are not able to meet this requirement due to cultural reasons, it is important to explain this to the entry clearance officer so that they do not doubt the authenticity of your relationship. You can use other evidence such as photographs together to verify your relationship.
It’s worth noting that you will need to provide the Home Office with a good reason as to why you have not lived with your partner for at least two years previously, only in exceptional circumstances will you be able to avoid this requirement.
How do you write a proof of relationship Letter?
When writing a proof of relationship statement about you and your partner you will need to provide a timeline of your relationship together. You should include details about how and when you met your partner, how your relationship developed and your intention to live together in the UK. The letter should be no longer than 2 A4 pages.
If a friend or family member is writing a statement for you they should include information about how they are related to you and your partner, a description of your relationship with your partner and how they became aware of it and a statement that in their opinion they believe the couple is in a real, genuine and ongoing relationship according to their knowledge and experience.
How can London Immigration Lawyers help?
Proving your relationship to the Home Office can be difficult to do and failure to meet this requirement could result in your visa application being refused. Our lawyers have helped thousands of clients to successfully apply for UK partner visas, they know exactly what it takes for an application to be successful.
Our lawyers can advise you about all of the evidence that you should submit alongside your application and can help you to gather any documents that you may need. We also offer document and application checking services in which our lawyers will check that any documents you plan to submit are accurate and translated correctly.
For more information about how our lawyers can assist you with your application, get in touch today on 020 4502 8582.
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