Spouse visas are one of the most complex and evidentially demanding visa applications you can make. With rejection rates of up to 25%, make sure you’re not leaving yourself vulnerable to refusal for one of these 4 common reasons.
1. Problems evidencing sufficient funds.
While it might sound straightforward to meet the income threshold of £18,600 this is one of the most common reasons a spouse visa might be refused. Even if you earn above the threshold, you must then prove you have been doing so for a minimum of 6 months with the same employer, and if you are self employed you will have to submit a veritable mountain of documentation.
There are some allowances for sponsors claiming certain benefits and it is also possible to sponsor your spouse relying entirely on cash savings (this requires you to have held £62,500 for a minimum of 6 months). These both have separate evidence rules, and if you do not provide sufficient evidence within the rigid evidential guidelines then you can expect a refusal even if you do meet the criteria.
You should also check there are no discrepancies between documents, for example between your payslips and your employer letter, as this can also lead to a refusal.
Evidence you are likely to have to provide includes:
- Bank Statements
- Letters from your employer
- Letters from your bank
2. Insufficient evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship
Based solely on the form you would be forgiven for thinking that your marriage certificate would be sufficient evidence of your relationship. A lack of clarity on the part of the Home Office around what exactly constitutes adequate proof of a genuine and subsisting relationship has resulted in many frustrating refusals for genuine couples who had plenty more evidence to provide but did not realise it was necessary.
With regard to evidence a good rule of thumb is more is better, especially where you are living separately and looking to bring your spouse to the UK to join you. If you are not living together at the time of application you need to explain why, and prove you are in a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship. Good examples of evidence you can provide include:
- Printouts of your private messages, with times and dates visible. If these are not in English you must also provide certified translations.
- Pictures together. Wedding pictures are a given, but you should also provide other pictures from a range of events, holidays and family gatherings.
- Evidence of shared financial responsibilities. If you live together this will be easy, but if not then consider if there is anything you pay for together.
- Letters of support from family and friends confirming they know you as a couple and can vouch for your relationship.
- Records of holidays you took together, including itineraries, hotel bookings and flight bookings which show both your names.
- Birth certificate for any children you have together (even if they are not applying with you for whatever reason).
- Evidence of how you keep in touch and maintain your relationship if you are not living in the same country. Evidence of Skype or calls, evidence you visit each other, evidence you buy gifts for each other and evidence of anything else you use to interact with each other is vital.
- Evidence of cohabitation in line with Home Office guidelines in the form of bills, NHS letters, tenancy agreements and letters from other reputable sources.
- Evidence you intend to live together if successful, including evidence relating to the property you will be living at including your tenancy agreement.
3. Problems meeting the English Language requirements
There are a number of ways applicants can demonstrate they meet the English Language requirements, but it is important to remember that the level differs depending on whether it is your first application in this category, an extension of a previously obtained spouse visa, or indefinite leave to remain. While A1 is sufficient for your first application, only B1 is acceptable for those seeking to make England their permanent home.
If you are lucky enough to have a degree taught in English from a recognised institution this part of the application can be a lot easier, however if it was not taught at a UK university you will have to get a NARIC certification to prove the degree was taught at a level above the specified CEFR level.
If you do not have a degree, then be prepared to have to locate a test centre offering you the chance to sit one of the approved exams. Beware that not all test centres offering IELTs are UKVI approved so you should always check your English test was taken at an approved centre to avoid an eye-watering waste of time and money both in taking the test and submitting an application which does not meet the requirements and is likely to be refused.
4. Errors in the application form
This might seem obvious but you should double, triple and quadruple check the application is free from any errors, inconsistencies or typos. Any error could lead to a potential refusal, and it is worth taking the extra time to ensure everything is accurate instead of risking a time consuming and costly refusal which could ultimately result in a black mark on your visa history.
Due to the complexity of this type of application it is highly recommended you seek expert advice to ensure everything goes smoothly. We have extensive experience with this type of application so please contact us at email@example.com or on 01403 801 801 to find out how we can help you.