Has the Spouse Visa guidance changed?
Navigating the UK immigration rules is fraught with difficulty. The immigration rules change frequently – they have even more than doubled in length since 2010. Indeed, the rules remain complex and the application process bureaucratic. And that was even before Brexit came with a swathe of new immigration rules that were introduced 1 January this year.
Fortunately, the Spouse Visa Guidance for 2021 remains unchanged. While many visas and routes are adapting to the post-Brexit points-based immigration system, the Family Visas route remains largely the same. However, that is not to say the process is any easier. In fact, the UK Spouse Visa remains one of the most difficult visas to achieve with many applicants struggling to grapple with the stringent criteria.
The financial criteria
One of the highest hurdles to overcome is the financial aspect. Although the Spouse Visa guidance dictates the British spouse must earn more than £18,600 to sponsor their loved one to come to the UK, the rules are slightly more flexible now. Couples who fall short of the salary requirement can instead use their joint savings – but they must have a minimum of £16,000 between them to satisfy the financial prerequisite. Some are able to use a combination of both earnings and savings, however, it is best to seek legal advice in this situation since applicants may need an exemption from the Home Office.
It is also important to note that the financial requirements increase per each dependent, such as a child, who is going to be living in the family household in Britain.
Meeting the financial criteria is crucial as it demonstrates you and your family will not be reliant on the state for welfare support. Migrants in the UK under a Spouse Visa are prohibited from accessing benefits until they have a more solid status, such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
The genuine relationship test
The second hurdle to overcome in the Spouse Visa application is the subjective ‘genuine relationship test’. Here, a UKVI immigration officer will scrutinise and examine your Partner Visa application in search of any possible discrepancies.
The Home Office has pledged to crackdown on ‘marriages of convenience’ and ‘sham marriages’. The difference between the two is that the former involves a couple who has decided to marry for immigration purposes whereas the latter is a fraudulent arrangement made deliberately for immigration advantages. For this reason, the immigration officer will assess to see if your relationship is genuine, long-lasting and appropriate for marriage.
Overcoming this criterion can be difficult without professional guidance since the onus is on you as a couple to prove to the immigration officer that you are in a legitimate relationship.
You need to prove that you have met on multiple occasions and that you have spent time together as a couple. You can submit evidence such as photographs together, text/email exchanges dating back to when you first started dating and travel tickets and other documents when you met up with each other. In addition, you could submit evidence of purchasing gifts for one another.
It may help your case if you have lived together prior, as you could submit evidence of joint utility payments or a tenancy agreement. A joint bank account will also help your case.
You must also outline your intention to live together as a family unit when under one roof in the UK.
Documents to submit
To prove you can meet the financial requirements and genuine relationship test, you will need to send a bundle of evidence to UKVI.
You will need:
- Evidence of your marriage or civil partnership, such as the marriage certificate
- Proof that you and your partner have lived together for at least 2 years
- A valid passport
- Proof of income and/or savings to satisfy the financial requirement
- Proof that the Sponsor is a British citizen or someone with Settled Status
You will also need to provide proof of your joint accommodation which must already be set up in the UK. If you have children or adult dependents that are living with you, your chosen accommodation must reflect this with the appropriate number of bedrooms.
Additionally, the person coming to the UK must be able to communicate to a certain level in English. To do so, he or she must take an English language test and then submit this certificate inside the Spouse Visa application.
How can Manchester Immigration Lawyers help?
Here at Manchester Immigration Lawyers, we have specialist family immigration lawyers on hand to assist you. Our lawyers handle Spouse Visa applications every day, and know exactly what UKVI is looking for in each application.
We therefore offer bespoke Spouse Visa Application Guidance in which your IAS lawyer will ensure you meet the criteria, assist you in building a portfolio of evidence and submit your application to the highest standard.
If you need guidance with your UK Spouse Visa, speak to our friendly customer care team today on 0161 532 7993.