Individuals who are in a relationship with a British citizen (or with someone who holds indefinite leave to remain) can apply to join their partner in the UK if the couple intends to live here permanently. Poorly prepared applications are refused, and with appeals taking anything up to a year to be heard, that means a significant period of separation for the unlucky couple involved. To minimise the chance of refusal, we recommend following our top tips for successful partner applications:
- Provide evidence to demonstrate that previous relationships have broken down permanently
If either party to the relationship has previously been married or in a civil partnership, evidence to demonstrate that the relationship has been terminated must accompany an application. This means submitting original evidence of divorce or dissolution, with certified English translations where appropriate. You cannot assume that just because a relationship ended a long time ago, no evidence is required.
- Provide evidence to demonstrate that your relationship is subsisting
Evidence must accompany your application to demonstrate that your relationship with your partner is subsisting. If you are residing together when the application is submitted, this can include evidence relating to your cohabitation, photographs of you spending time together and any letters/cards you have exchanged. If you are separated, you should include evidence relating to the time you have spent together (flight itineraries, photographs etc), together with documents which confirm that you are in frequent contact while apart (call records, social media records etc).
- If applying for entry clearance as a fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner, you must demonstrate that you intend to marry your partner in the UK
Fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner applications are often refused because the visa officer doesn’t believe that the couple really intends to commit. Marriages and civil partnerships cannot be arranged until both individuals are present in the UK (couples are required to give notice of their proposed marriage/civil partnership at a designated register office), so proving your intentions can be difficult. Couples should aim to demonstrate that they have researched their proposed marriage/civil partnership in the UK; for example, can you include evidence of your proposed venue, dates, costings, etc?
- Provide specified documents to demonstrate that the strict financial requirement can be satisfied
The financial requirement is complex and can be satisfied by relying on various sources of income and/or cash savings. To meet the Immigration Rules, very specific documents must accompany an application, and applications are refused if documents are missing, do not contain all required details, or are not provided in the correct format. It is never guaranteed that you will be given the chance to add extra documents to your application, so you need to include everything first time.
- Make sure you know how much income you require to meet the Immigration Rules
The financial requirement is usually satisfied by relying on income of at least £18,600 per annum, but this amount might increase if there are children in your family. British children don’t affect the amount required, but non-EEA children often do. Ensure that you know exactly how much income you need before your application is made.
- If you’re from a country listed on Appendix T, don’t forget to undergo screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis
Unless qualifying for an exemption, individuals from a country listed in Appendix T to the Immigration Rules must undergo screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis. The screening must be undertaken at an approved clinic and medical certificates are only valid for 6 months, so further screening may need to be undertaken if the submission of an application is delayed.
- Understand the English language requirement
To secure a partner visa, individuals who are not from a majority English speaking country must demonstrate that their English language ability is at or above Level A1 CEFR (Level A2 CEFR if extending leave to remain). If you have completed an English test, it must be an approved English language test which is valid and which was sat at a test centre approved by UKVI. Alternatively, if you wish to rely on a degree, depending on in which country the degree was awarded, specified evidence from UKNaric must be provided to demonstrate that the qualification was taught in English and that it is equivalent to a UK taught Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD. Make sure that you know what documents you need, and that you include the original items required.
With careful preparation and attention to detail, you can reduce your chances of refusal in this challenging immigration route. Latitude Law’s team of experts can offer you full advice and assistance, and can be contacted on 0161 234 6800 (Manchester) or 0151 305 9600 (Liverpool).