A spouse visa allows a person to enter the UK to live with his or her spouse – assuming their spouse is already settled in the UK or is a British citizen.
But what happens if your application is refused? In this article, we outline why marriage visa applications can lead to refusal, and provide advice on what you can do to appeal the decision.
While having a visa refused can be a traumatic and distressing experience for both you and your family, appeals can often be successful. According to figures from the Home Office, 50% of visa decision appeals were successful in the last quarter of 2017. This means there’s a good chance that the decision can be overturned.
UK spouse visa applicants need to fulfill certain requirements in order to qualify, such as being legally married, at least 18 years of age, having suitable accommodation in the UK and satisfying the necessary English language requirements.
The visa is granted for a period of 33 months (if you’re applying from outside the UK) or 30 months (if you’re applying from inside the UK). After legally staying in the UK for 5 years on a spouse visa, you become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
Every year, thousands of applications for the UK spouse visa get refused by the Home Office. There are various grounds for such refusals. In recent times, the Home Office has become more focused on refusing fraudulent applications, with officers trained to detect cases of marriage fraud. However, even minor issues with your application can result in your visa being refused.
While there are strict guidelines when it comes to making a spouse visa application, you can appeal and stand a reasonable chance of success if your relationship is genuine and you have the necessary evidence to show that this is the case.
Why Would Your Spouse Visa Be Refused?
There are a number of reasons why a spouse visa might be refused. However, two of the most common are a failure to meet the necessary financial requirements and a lack of proof that your relationship is genuine.
Your spouse visa application can fail if you don’t meet the financial requirements. For spouse visas, the spouse must earn at least £18,600 per year or the couple must have savings. If these requirements are not met, your application will be refused.
Another common reason for refusal is if the couple in question fail to prove that their relationship is genuine. A legitimate relationship can be difficult to prove if the couple haven’t been married long. You’ll often need to provide evidence, in the form of documentation and photos, to prove that you live together and jointly celebrate milestones. Supporting letters from friends and family will also help with your application.
Appealing a Refused Spouse Visa Decision
If your application is refused, you have the option to appeal against the decision of refusal to the British Embassy and British High Commission in your country of origin or First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in the UK if you have given right in refusal notice. Unlike applications under other visa categories, a spouse visa cannot be put under an Administrative Review.
The right of appeal is generally granted under section 82 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. After your appeal, an immigration judge will decide whether the refusal decision of the Entry Clearance Office was correct or not. The judges have the power to overturn the decision of visa refusal.
Appealing to the First-tier Tribunal costs £140 if you appear in person, or £80 if you ask the judge to read your case without court presence.
The applicant has to apply for appeal within 28 days of getting the refusal decision from outside the UK or within 14 days if the application was made from within the UK.
Generally, it can take up to 12 months for a court to hear a case. Due to this, it’s often faster and easier to make a new application for a family visa.
If you’re looking to appeal a refusal in the UK, our solicitors can help by:
- Checking the accuracy of your documents.
- Assisting you in gathering the evidence you need to show that your relationship is genuine.
- Preparing a Letter of Representation.
- Speaking directly to the Home Office.
- Helping you complete your application form.
- Discussing the relevant UK immigration rules which apply to your case.
- Producing comprehensive documentation to support your appeals case.
Representing you at the full hearing prior to the Tribunal.