The Genuine Relationship Rule in UK Spouse Visa Applications

Top immigration solicitors London confirm that in order to apply for the UK Spouse Visa route, you will need to provide evidence to the UK Home Office that you are in a “genuine relationship” and failure to do so can result in your application being refused. Unfortunately, in-depth information surrounding exactly what a “genuine relationship” is, is somewhat vague and limited so we have written this article to provide some basic advice on how to meet this requirement. 

Home Office guidelines on the genuine relationship requirement are relevant to those who are applying for the Spouse Visa, extending a Spouse Visa or applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (through family life) with a person who is:

  • A British Citizen
  • A Settled Person, or
  • Someone in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection

If you are applying for a Spouse Visa, you are defined as a ‘’ partner’’ of the person with British Citizenship or settled status. However, the term ‘partner’ can mean the following:

  • Husband or wife,
  • Proposed civil partner,
  • Fiancée or proposed husband or wife,
  • Civil partner, or
  • An unmarried partner which includes a couple in a same-sex relationship

Genuine Relationship – Appendix FM-SE

The UK immigration rules laid out in Appendix FM-SE states what documents you will need as evidence when applying for a Spouse Visa but do not necessarily elaborate a great deal on how to prove a “genuine relationship”. Therefore is best to check with our legal team if you have any questions or doubts before processing your application that the documents you do provide are good enough. 

Home Office Guidance on Genuine Relationships

The Home Office simply states that “an applicant and their partner must provide evidence that they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship”. This is very vague and many applicants fall into the trap of not knowing how much evidence they need to provide and provide too little. 

Our Practical Advice

The best immigration lawyers state that the process behind demonstrating that a relationship is genuine for a UK spouse visa application often requires a degree of innovative thinking. This is even more relevant in situations where a couple have not lived together or have not spent a lot of time together before their marriage (this can be the case for people who follow certain religious beliefs).

Therefore you must do you utmost best to provide suitable evidence to support your case. Such evidence that demonstrates your relationship is real even in the case that the couple has been living apart for a long period of time or have in fact never lived together include:

  • Photographs of the couple together;
  • Evidence of holidays that have been taken together (flights, hotels);
  • Evidence that the couple have kept talking whilst living/being apart;
  • Letters or emails of support from friends and family that mention the couple;
  • Any evidence of joint financial commitments;
  • Any other formal documents that indicate that the two individuals are a couple (invoices, bills, memberships for gyms, clubs etc).

If the couple has lived together prior to making the Spouse Visa application then evidence of this would need to be provided to the Home Office in the form of tenancy agreements, mortgage statements, bank statements and/or utility bills etc. (The more, the better).

Ask our team of Top Immigration Lawyers London

Being able to demonstrate that your relationship is genuine in order to apply for a UK Spouse Visa can be very challenging and we often meet with couples who have been refused on the grounds that they did not provide enough evidence or the evidence that they supplied was simply not strong enough. If in doubt, reach out to us by calling +44 (0) 20 7269 9590 or fill out the form below and we will reply to you within 24 hours (during working days).