The Genuine Relationship Rule in UK Spouse Visa Applications

As top immigration solicitors London it is our duty to update you with the most relevant UK spouse visa news that can help support your application process and this article will discuss the genuine relationship rule in UK spouse visa applications with reference to Appendix FM SE of the UK immigration rules. 

The Spouse Visa UK is one of the most popular immigration routes that will allow a British national or settled person to bring a foreign spouse into the UK. If the foreign spouse meets all of the requirements he/she will be given the status of limited leave to remain for a period of 5 years after which they can apply for indefinite leave to remain also known as permanent residence or settled status. 

However, the process is not so easy in the UK and the Home Office is very strict when considering if a relationship between a British national / settled person with a foreigner is genuine or not and this will need to be proved to them by the couple in question. Our team of UK spouse visa lawyers confirm that in order to apply through the spouse visa route, you will need to show 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. This is why we have written this following article to give you 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

When you apply for a Spouse Visa UK, 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 it 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. The couple will need to provide proof of their relationship, and it may be difficult to do so in situations where they have not lived together or spent much time together before their marriage (this can be the case for people who follow certain religious beliefs).

Therefore you must do your utmost best to provide suitable evidence to support your case. Such evidence that demonstrates your relationship is real includes:

  • 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 Expert Legal Team

At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.

Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below. We usually reply within a few hours.

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