No one wants to live away from their life partner or would be a life partner. The UK's immigration law allows such foreign individuals to join their spouse and partners who happen to be British citizen or have settled status in the UK. If an applicant applies for a UK spouse visa, civil partner visa, fiancé visa or unmarried partner visa he/she needs to meet certain eligibility and suitability requirements. One of the key eligibility requirements is that your relationship with your spouse or partner in the UK should be 'genuine and subsisting’. The Home Office decides whether your relationship is genuine and subsisting or not based on the evidence you produce. However, this is a subjective decision as no black and white specification tells you what would be substantial and enough to prove that your relationship is genuine and subsisting. So, you should submit as much evidence as possible to rule out the possibility of refusal of your spouse/partner visa refusal for lack of proof of your relationship.
Genuine and subsisting relationship
Because you are going to join your spouse/civil partner in the UK based on a marriage or civil partnership, UK's Home Office guidance states that applicants must prove that they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship with their partners in the UK. To prove this evidence in the form of documents must be provided in your application for a spouse/partner visa and also in applications for extensions of such visas you apply for
Evidence to meet the Genuine and subsisting relationship requirement
Though Home Office guidance sets out that you need to prove that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your partner who is either a British citizen or has settled status in the UK, it does not specify the evidence you and your partner must provide to meet the requirement. So, it becomes difficult for applicants to understand what documents to produce and becomes a reason for rejections of their visa applications.
There can be 2 situations in your relationship based on which you can submit supporting documents. The first is that you have not been living with your partner and the second is that you have been living with your partner.
1. Documents to prove your relationship in case you have not been living with your partner can be the followings:
- If you have taken holidays as a couple, then you can produce "hotel
- Photographs of both of you as a couple of letters from friends and family
confirming you as a couple and commitments to each other.
- Text chats or chats on WhatsApp or any other social media platform proving that you have kept in touch with each other when you were not together.
- There can be other documents such as invoices and membership cards showing you as couples.
If you did not live together because of religious and/or cultural reasons.
If you married your partner in the UK in an arranged marriage and could not live with your partner because of religious and/or cultural reasons it can be difficult for you to meet the requirement. However, Home Office does consider religious and cultural reasons when considering your applications.
2. Documents to prove that your relationship is genuine and subsisting when you have been living together with your partner can be the followings:
If you have been living together with your partner in the UK before you apply for a UK partner or you are currently living together then Home Office would like to see the evidence of your cohabitation. You can produce the following documents in such a scenario.
- If you are married, you can produce a marriage certificate to prove the
genuineness of your relationship.
- If you have a child or more than one child (biological, adopted or stepchild
of one partner), this makes a strong case for your relationship being
subsisting. You can produce a child's birth certificate, adoption certificate
- You can also produce documents such as utility bills like telephone bills
addressed to the couple or council tax statements.
- You can also produce financial statements such as joint bank statements,
joint loan paperwork etc. to prove that you share financial commitments as
If you looking for professional advice on proving your relationship you can contact Visa and Migration Ltd on 02034111261