Revoking a Spouse Visa in the UK
The reality is that revoking a spouse visa in the UK is not a process that a UK citizen or settled spouse/partner can carry out themselves because a UK spouse visa was issued in-country by the Home Office or by the entry clearance officer abroad based on that relationship. Only the immigration authorities in the UK can revoke such a visa, however, there are a number of related dilemmas and actions that the UK settled spouse/partner can do that can affect a Home Office decision and lead to a spouse visa revocation.
There are various circumstances that may lead to such a spouse visa revocation.
1. Letter/ email of denunciation
If a British or settled spouse/partner complains to the Home office that the visa granted to their spouse or partner was not obtained under genuine circumstances, or was a sham and simply for immigration purposes and not based on love and affection and an intention to live together permanently. In that case, this can lead to the revocation of the visa granted and will result in the foreign spouse/partner remaining in the UK as an overstayer. Unless a further application is made to remain in the UK for some other purpose, that individual would be removed from the UK.
The Home Office will investigate a case like this and ask questions if such an allegation is reported to them. In many instances, such reporting occurs in a moment of upset, following a domestic argument between the parties. That is why some say that the British or settled spouse/partner always has the upper hand in a relationship, as this threat of reporting is at their disposal.
2. A divorce
The parties may divorce following which the foreign spouse/ partner may be unable to renew their visa, which requires the other spouse or partner’s co-operation. This could result in either no extension application being made or if made it would be refused. In the meantime, if the foreign spouse or partner does not regularise their status, overstaying in the UK could result in their removal.
For expert advice on how the UK divorce process works, click here.
3. Statements made to the immigration officer at a port of entry in the UK
An immigration officer has the right to revoke a visa. Suppose an immigration officer questions a foreign spouse because having a substantial absence from the UK and the answers given are unsatisfactory, this can lead to the visa being cancelled. If this occurs, the foreign spouse may then be granted temporary admission with under the Immigration Act 1971, with reporting restriction in place by the issue of form IS 96 and immigration officers bail until the immigration service decides how to finalise the matter. They will then liaise with the home office or entry clearance officer (who had originally granted the visa), and the other spouse as to the relationship’s genuineness.
4. Following an appeal
A right of appeal under part 5 of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 as amended by the Immigration Act 2014, at section 82(1) on article 8 human rights grounds (which encompasses the revocation of the spouse/ partner visa), if exercised and dismissed could eventually lead to removal.
Learn more about immigration appeals and judicial reviews, click here
5. Non-EEA national spouse or partner
If the relationship of a non-EEA national spouse or partner of an EEA national is questioned in the same manner as that of a British or settled spouse/partner, similar situations could arise. The Home Office could revoke the five-year residence card or the five-year pre-settled visa under the EU settlement scheme. The immigration officer could do the same at the point of entry, and after exhausting unsuccessful appeal rights under section 36 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016, or the appeal rights under the EU settlement scheme, the non-EEA national spouse/partner could be removed if it is found out that the relationship was a sham in the first place.
What if the spouse/ partner has obtained permanent residence under the UK immigration rules or settled status under the EU settlement agreement?
Once the spouse or partner has obtained permanent residence in the UK or settled status if the relationship is with an EEA person, that person or the British spouse/ partner or settled individual cannot instigate revocation of the other spouse’s / partner’s visa. It will be too late to do so.
What if the foreign spouse/partner is facing deportation?
If the foreign spouse/ partner is served with deportation following a criminal conviction or is removed administratively, any leave to remain as a spouse/ partner, even indefinite leave, can be revoked by the UK government.
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