Are you in Love? The UK Spouse Visa Genuine and Subsisting Relationship Test banner


Are you in Love? The UK Spouse Visa Genuine and Subsisting Relationship Test

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Immigration lawyers say the Home Office test for a UK spouse visa or partner visa isn’t ‘are you in  love?’ However, to meet the eligibility criteria to secure a family visa, you do need to be able to demonstrate that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship. In this article, our Spouse Visa Solicitors look at how best to go about proving love, or at least showing to the Home Office satisfaction that your relationship is real and enduring and meets the spouse visa eligibility criteria.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Lawyers and Spouse Visa Solicitors  

Contact the Spouse Visa Solicitors online or call the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 for help with your spouse visa application.

When do you have to show that your relationship is genuine and subsisting?

Most people assume that the ‘genuine and subsisting relationship’ test only applies to applications for spouse visas as they have read newspaper stories about Home Office investigations into sham marriages. However, if you are relying on a relationship for your visa, you will need to be able to show that your relationship is genuine and ongoing.

You have to be able to show your relationship is real and ongoing when you apply for:

  • A partner visa based on an unmarried relationship
  • A spouse visa
  • A civil partnership visa
  • A family visa
  • A dependant visa where you are in a relationship with the main visa applicant (such as a skilled worker visa applicant)

Proving genuineness

How do you prove you are in love or that your relationship is real?  A photo is just one moment in time and who knows whether the loving expressions in a photograph and heart emojis in a text exchange are genuine?

Spouse Visa Solicitors are pleased to report that you don’t have to provide set documents to prove the status of your relationship. That’s a fair approach as no two couples and their relationships are the same. One couple may text frequently, but who is to say that the second couple love one another less just because they are not on social media as often as the first couple? The Home Office expects people to contact their partners but if you are not a couple that is ‘into social media’ there are other ways that immigration solicitors can help you prove that your relationship is real, even though you may not have been texting your partner throughout each day.

The Home Office relationship criteria

Whilst there is no set Home Office ‘love checklist’, Spouse Visa Solicitors can advise you on the sort of paperwork that will help support your spouse visa or family visa application.

One of the most obvious demonstrations of love is having children together, although that isn’t a mandatory requirement for a spouse visa! However, if you do have children together don’t assume the Home Office will accept your word for it. Expect to produce birth certificates. Also, even if you have had children together, you still need to be able to show that your relationship is ongoing. If the relationship has ended but you remain on good terms, you can't rely on your relationship to secure a family visa or dependant visa.

From a Home Office perspective, one of the more questionable aspects of whether a relationship is genuine or not is when a couple have only met briefly ( for example, an arranged marriage or a holiday romance where repeat meetings are unaffordable). In this scenario it is best to get Spouse Visa Solicitors to provide information to the Home Office rather than assume Home Office officials will understand that little or no contact before marriage is the norm in some countries or where ‘you know they are the one’.

Documenting your relationship

Whilst there is no official paperwork that you must provide, it is best to provide evidence of your relationship, such as your marriage certificate , the birth certificates of any children you have had together, as well as evidence of your living with your partner, where relevant.

Ideally, it is best to take advice from Spouse Visa Solicitors well in advance of your spouse visa application so you know what is the best paperwork  to provide. For example, if you are renting a property together, then for convenience only one name may be on the tenancy agreement or whilst you are sharing your finances, you don’t have a joint account or only one of you pays all the utility bills on the property. If the paperwork trail isn’t perfect (and it often isn’t ) Spouse Visa Solicitors can help you identify other documents  that may help you evidence your relationship. For example, items of expenditure on credit card bills or deliveries to your rental property.

Spouse visa interviews

Not all spouse visa applications result in a Home Office interview. To reduce the risk of being called for an interview it is best to spend the time on getting the right paperwork together to prove the relationship as well as explaining any apparent evidential issues or weak spots in your application. For example, that the marriage was arranged and, as is normal, there was limited contact between husband and wife before the wedding and accordingly no evidence of a relationship or cohabitation before marriage. However, in the case of an arranged marriage, you should be able to show evidence of the wedding planning and ceremony, communications after the marriage and the plans to live together once reunited through a spouse visa.

Don’t forget – the spouse visa extension application

Once you have got your spouse visa it is easy to forget that you will need to apply to extend your spouse visa before you are eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. When you apply to extend the spouse visa you again need to show that your relationship is genuine and subsisting. Spouse visa extension applicants often assume that it is obvious that they are in a relationship as otherwise they would not be applying to extend their spouse visa. However, Home Office officials still need the evidence to show that the relationship is genuine and subsisting.

OTS Solicitors – how our London Spouse Visa Solicitors can help you

Our Spouse Visa Solicitors can help you with:

  • Pre-application spouse visa advice, including advice on meeting the genuine relationship test and spouse visa financial requirement
  • Spouse visa applications
  • Unmarried partner, civil partner and family visa applications
  • Dependant visas for children
  • Spouse visa appeals
  • Spouse visa extension applications
  • Settling in the UK and indefinite leave to remain applications after entry on a spouse visa
  • British citizenship applications after entry on a spouse visa
  • Options to remain in the UK if your relationship breaks down or your partner passes away
  • Switching from a spouse visa or to a spouse visa

UK Online and London Based Spouse Visa Solicitors  

For spouse visa advice call the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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