When you receive a spouse visa refusal letter from the Home Office it can be difficult to know where to turn. In this blog we look at the best ways to appeal a spouse visa refusal.
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Should I appeal a spouse visa refusal?
When a spouse visa applicant is told that their application for a spouse visa has been refused it is often the case that the applicant will initially feel that there is no point in appealing or trying again.
As spouse visa solicitors we meet many spouse visa applicants who have tried to make their own spouse visa application or used one or even two or more non-specialist immigration solicitors and had their spouse visa applications rejected by the Home Office. There isn’t anything more discouraging than to be told by the Home Office that your application is rejected and your dreams of settlement in the UK may lead to nothing. The advice from the spouse visa team at OTS Solicitors is ‘don’t despair’.
At OTS Solicitors our spouse visa team love a challenge so we don’t mind if you have tried other solicitors before asking us for help with a spouse visa appeal. Our spouse visa solicitors will explore your best ways to appeal your spouse visa refusal. Our spouse visa team of solicitors are tenacious and determined and will provide an honest assessment of your prospects of successfully appealing a spouse visa refusal.
Statistically, if you have had your spouse visa application refused there is a good chance that you can successfully appeal against the spouse visa decision. No two spouse visa applications are the same and there are sometimes better immigration strategies than a spouse visa appeal. That is why our spouse visa team assesses each new spouse visa appeal enquiry on an individual basis so you get bespoke immigration law advice tailored to your personal circumstances and needs.
Avoiding spouse visa refusal
spouse visa solicitors say that the best way to avoid a spouse visa appeal is to get expert immigration advice before submitting your spouse visa application to the Home Office. If you are reading this blog and you haven’t taken specialist immigration advice from a spouse visa solicitor then you may want to get expert help to make sure your spouse visa application stands the best chance of success, rather than having the stress and expense of an appeal. If it is too late for initial advice, as you have already had your spouse visa application refused, then read on.
Why are spouse visa applications refused?
Applying for a spouse visa is a surprisingly complicated process. That is because:
There are complex spouse visa financial requirements to meet and you have to produce sufficient financial evidence
You have to establish that your marriage is a genuine marriage or in other words it isn’t a sham marriage or a marriage of convenience. Again, for Home Office purposes, you have to produce sufficient evidence to show that your marriage and relationship is genuine and subsisting.
You may think that the answer to securing a spouse visa is to bombard the Home Office with evidence about the genuineness of your marriage and with your financial paperwork to show that you meet the spouse visa financial requirement. Experienced spouse visa solicitors say the answer to securing a spouse visa isn’t to overwhelm the Home Office with documents and paperwork but to prepare an excellent application supported by the correct and compelling spouse visa paperwork.
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Spouse visa refusal financial requirement
spouse visa solicitors commonly find that spouse visa applications are rejected on the grounds that the spouse visa financial requirement is not met when the reality is that the sponsoring partner of the spouse visa applicant does meet the gross income requirement of £18,600 per year but this has not been evidenced to the standard required by the Home Office. For example, you may not have demonstrated and evidenced that your sponsoring spouse has earnt at least £18,600 per year for the qualifying period as you haven’t provided enough bank statements or wage slips.
If the financial requirement is being met through self-employed income it is best to take legal advice on how to evidence the financial requirement to try to avoid a misunderstanding, on the part of the Home Office official, about your sponsoring spouse’s income or a finding that the paperwork you have supplied does not meet the rigorous Home Office evidence rules on the financial requirement.
With the benefit of reflection and a dose of hindsight, you will no doubt realise that a busy Home Office official who does not come from an accountancy background may need an explanation if your financial paperwork is not clear cut. If, for example, your sponsoring spouse has a nominal director’s income but you meet the spouse visa financial requirement through their company dividend income or their drawings from the directors’ loan account, the financial paperwork may be confusing without an explanatory letter from your spouse visa solicitor or accountant.
Refusal of a spouse visa extension application
Once you have secured your first spouse visa application it is often the case that you assume that your spouse visa extension application will be straightforward. That isn’t necessarily the case as you still need to prove that your marriage is genuine and subsisting and that you and your sponsoring spouse continue to meet the spouse visa financial requirement.
Accordingly spouse visa solicitors advise that you should treat a spouse visa extension application as seriously as your first spouse visa application and pay as much attention to your supporting paperwork.
Sometimes spouse visa holders wrongly assume that the refusal of a spouse visa extension isn’t as important as the refusal of a first spouse visa application. A refusal of a first spouse visa application or spouse visa extension application can be just as devastating to the applicant. The first refusal of a spouse visa application may mean you can't enter the UK but the refusal of a spouse visa extension application will mean you have to leave the UK, unless you can successfully appeal the spouse visa extension refusal.
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What is the spouse visa refusal appeal process?
If your spouse visa application or spouse visa extension application is refused by the Home Office then you a right of appeal because you can say that there is a human rights aspect to your case. The immigration Rules say that if your spouse visa appeal argument is based on Human Rights (such as the right to a private life in the Human Rights Act) then you have a right of appeal.
The spouse visa appeal process is:
Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal and if unsuccessful
Appeal to the Upper Tribunal.
What are the spouse visa appeal time limits?
Fourteen days if your spouse visa application was made in UK or
Twenty eight days if your spouse visa application was made outside the UK
If your spouse visa appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal isn’t successful then you have fourteen days to appeal to the Upper Tribunal if your original spouse visa application was made from within the UK or twenty eight days if your original spouse visa application was made from overseas.
That isn’t a lot of time to consult with your spouse and family, find a specialist spouse visa solicitor and gather any additional paperwork about the genuine and subsisting nature of your marriage or evidence on how you meet the financial requirement.
The First-Tier Tribunal process
You can either ask for the tribunal to consider your spouse visa appeal:
On the basis of the appeal paperwork
After an oral hearing where you and any other relevant people could be called to give evidence.
The Upper-Tribunal appeal process
You may be able to appeal against a First-Tier Tribunal decision to refuse your spouse visa application or spouse visa extension application if you have a case to say that the First-Tier Tribunal got the law on Spouse Visas wrong.
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OTS Solicitors are recommended in two leading law directories, Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession and The Legal 500. OTS Solicitors also have English Law Society accredited solicitor status as trusted specialists in immigration law.
The spouse visa team of solicitors represent spouse visa applicant from all around the world (from Pakistan to Thailand and elsewhere) so don’t let our London location deter you from contacting us as we are experts at what we do and know the UK immigration Rules and Home Office procedures on UK Spouse Visas and so can best ensure spouse visa appeal success.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
We are one of the UK’s top firms for immigration solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, Judicial Reviews, Spouse Visas, Student Visas, Work Permit Visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA Applications, asylum and Human Rights, British citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, entrepreneur visas and Investor Visas.
Our top immigration solicitors and lawyers are here to assist you.
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Posted on: Friday, 12 June, 2020