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UK Immigration Law – Proving Your Relationship is Genuine for a Spouse Visa

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How do you prove love? Emotions can't be measured. There is no ‘love test’. When it comes to UK immigration law, to get a spouse visa or partner visa you have to be able to prove that your relationship is ‘genuine’. Home Office officials therefore have to test for genuineness even if the caseworkers are not tasked with looking for love. In this article, our Spouse Visa Solicitors give some guidance on how to prove that your relationship is genuine for UK immigration purposes and your spouse visa application.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Lawyers and Spouse Visa Solicitors  

For advice on applying for a spouse visa or any aspect of immigration law call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

The meaning of a genuine relationship

To secure a partner or spouse visa you don’t need to establish love but you do need to be able to show that your relationship is genuine. Presumably, you can be in a genuine relationship without being in love with your husband, wife or partner?

According to the Oxford dictionary of English genuine means ‘ truly what something is said to be, authentic’ and relationship means ‘the way in which two or more people are connected’.

Whilst Spouse Visa Solicitors know the dictionary definition of genuine relationship what lengths does a spouse visa applicant actually have to go to in order to show that their relationship is genuine for individual immigration law purposes?

Demonstrating a genuine relationship can be tricky as we all know that there are occasions when a husband and wife can enter a sham marriage for the wrong reasons but equally there are many instances of couples meeting, forming a quick but real connection, but then struggling to prove that falling in love and genuine relationship should be one and the same thing.

The UK immigration rules and the meaning of genuine relationship

The Home Office require a spouse visa applicant to show that their relationship is both genuine and subsisting. If you have separated, even if you remain the best of friends, your relationship will not meet the ‘subsisting’ test.

You will need to meet the spouse visa genuine relationship test if you are applying for:

  • A spouse visa as husband or wife.
  • A family visa as a civil partner.
  • A fiancée visa as a fiancée to a proposed marriage or civil partnership. (For a fiancée visa you need to intend to get married or enter into a civil partnership within six months of entering the UK).
  • A partner visa as a partner who has been in a relationship akin to marriage for at least two years before applying for the partner visa.

You may question the requirement for your relationship to have been subsisting for at least two years but sadly Spouse Visa Solicitors have to advise that the eligibility criteria for a partner visa is a relationship of at least two years duration as the immigration rules don’t provide for instant love at first sight.

To prove that your relationship is genuine for the purposes of a spouse visa or partner visa the sponsoring partner needs to be:

Proving your relationship is genuine for a spouse visa

Spouse Visa Solicitors are asked ‘why do I have to prove that my relationship is genuine. Isn’t it for the Home Office to show that my relationship isn’t a genuine relationship?’

It is a good question but as you are the applicant for a visa the onus is on you to prove that the relationship is genuine. If you don’t address the issue then you risk your spouse visa application being refused and you then either having to ask for the Home Office spouse visa decision to be reviewed or repeating your spouse visa application. That is why it is best, however affronted you feel about having to prove your relationship isn’t a sham, to gather the evidence you need to give yourself the best chance of securing your spouse visa on your first application.

The exact documentation needed to prove your relationship will depend on the nature of your relationship but the basic documents required include your marriage certificate or your civil partnership certificate or official document proving the legal status of your relationship if you were not issued with a certificate . If the document is not written in English, you will also need to provide an official translation.

The other documents you will need are very much dependant on your individual circumstances. For example, if your sponsoring partner is a British citizen and is returning to the UK to live with you, provided you can accompany them on a spouse visa, then your marriage certificate ,the evidence of where you lived together overseas and supporting statement may be sufficient. In other cases, where you are in an unmarried relationship and you are joining a partner who is already living in the UK, you may need far more evidence about the length and status of your relationship, such as:

  • Evidence that you lived together for at least two years – this could be tenancy agreements, utility bills and bank statements with the same address on or official letters either addressed to you jointly or to the same address.
  • A supporting statement saying when you met and when you began living with one another.
  • Evidence of your genuine relationship through photographs or social media communications or letters or statement from a professional, such as your doctor or your employer, saying they were aware of your relationship and its existence over a two-year period.

Spouse Visa Solicitors say it isn’t advisable to try ‘shock and awe’ tactics with the Home Office and send every picture taken of you as a couple. That is because a love of photography isn’t actually evidence of a genuine relationship. You therefore need to be selective about what social media communications and official correspondence you send as well as carefully considering who would best support your spouse visa application. For example, you may have attended your partner’s work functions over a number of years and that may be considered more independent evidence than a statement prepared by a member of your family or a close friend.

When you are in a relationship it can be very hard to look critically at what proves your relationship is a genuine relationship as it seems so obvious to you and your partner and your respective families. Specialist Spouse Visa Solicitors are used to sensitively but carefully discussing your proof with you so your spouse visa application can be supported by the best written statement and supporting evidence possible to help ensure that the Home Office grant your spouse visa or partner visa.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Lawyers and Spouse Visa Solicitors  

For advice on your spouse visa application or spouse visa appeal call the expert Spouse Visa Solicitors at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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