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Roses are red, violets are blue, when it comes to getting a visa, only “genuine and subsisting” will do

Roses are red, violets are blue, when it comes to getting a visa, only "genuine and subsisting" will do.

If you want to come to the UK to live with your partner for more than six months, a Spousal visa might be the best visa category for you to apply in.

Spousal visas are used when a non-EEA citizen wants to come to the UK to live with their partner, who is either a British Citizen or someone with the right to the live in the UK permanently.

In order to obtain a Spousal visa there are a number of eligibility criteria an applicant must meet. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the eligibility criteria focus on the relationship between a couple. For instance, if you want to apply for a Spousal visa, you must show one of the following:

  • that you are in civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised under UK law;
  • that you have been living together with your partner in a relationship for at least two years at the date of your application; or
  • that you are engaged to your partner or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of your arrival in the UK.

However, providing your marriage certificate or evidencing cohabitation for two years is not in itself enough. In addition to this, you must also evidence to the Home Office that you and your partner are in a “genuine and subsisting relationship”.

Unfortunately, the Home Office do not provide guidance on what they mean by “genuine and subsisting”, but generally, they expect you to provide evidence that you are in a sincere and enduring relationship. On the face of it, this may seem like a simple requirement to fulfil, especially if you are married or have a family together. However, applicants often misjudge how much evidence the Home Office will want to see before it is satisfied that you and your partner’s relationship meet its standards.

A further difficulty is that couples who seek to apply for this visa will have different immigration rights, which means that they will have lived apart during their relationship.  In other circumstances, couples may not have been together for a long period of time and so whilst living in the same country, may not have lived together in the same property. As such, a couple’s circumstances mean that applicants have to be creative with the evidence they use to support the relationship criteria.

In order to give a picture of your genuine and subsisting relationship, there are certain factors that an applicant should try and evidence (wherever possible). These include:

  • Cohabitation – showing that you have lived with your partner will be very strong evidence that your relationship is “genuine and subsisting”.
  • Shared finances – having joint expenditure in the names of both you and your partner can be used to show shared financial responsibility.
  • A history of your relationship – as strange as it sounds, you will need to provide a love letter of sorts to the Home Office. With all applications there should be a document prepared by the applicant’s partner providing an overview of your relationship.
  • Details of you future plans – these are important as the Home Office will want to know:
    • that you intend to live together and continue your relationship in the UK; and
    • what you intend to do in the UK.

Proving that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship is often the most difficult (and most time consuming) part of any spousal application. However, it is also one of the most important aspects of the application, and therefore getting your evidence correct is critical.

Fill in your details to download our free guide on evidence that may be used to show a “genuine and subsisting relationship”.

How can we help?

At Ward Hadaway our specialist immigration team have the experience and know-how to help couples start their lives in the UK together, and can provide assistance with initial spousal applications and extensions.

For more information, please just get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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