Appendix FM Visa Rules: Relationship Requirement

Appendix FM Visa Rules: Relationship Requirement

Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules sets out a relationship requirement for anyone wishing to apply for a visa to join their partner in the UK. The relationship requirement is an assessment of whether the applicant’s relationship with their partner is genuine and subsisting.

Here we will look at the relationship requirement set out in Appendix FM along with evidence that can be included in your application to demonstrate that you meet the relationship requirement.

There are no specified evidence requirements in the rules to show that the relationship requirement has been met. Therefore, it is a matter of collecting the best available evidence that the relationship is legally valid, genuine and subsisting.

In order to meet the relationship requirement under Appendix FM the applicant should do two things:

  1. Submit supporting letters detailing the relationship between the applicant and the UK partner; and
  2. Submit relevant documents in support of your application

If you require help with compiling the correct supporting documents or template letters written by our immigration experts, then take a look at our “Do Your Own Partner Visa Pack” service where we provide you with a list of documents and template letters based on YOUR specific circumstances.

The applicant’s partner has to be British or ‘present and settled’ in the UK

The UK partner can be British or they could have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or they could have permanent residency, refugee status or humanitarian protection.

The meaning of being ‘present’ and settled’ in the UK is set out in rule 6 of the Immigration Rules and means that the UK partner should have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or the right of abode.

An EEA national with a permanent right of residence in the UK will be considered as ‘present’ and ‘settled’. This also applies to a non-EEA family member with a permanent right of residence in the UK.

Evidence

As part of your visa application, you will need to submit your UK partners travel documents, for example a passport. This should show what your UK Partners immigration status is and whether they are considered to be ‘present’ and ‘settled’.

The applicant and the UK partner must have a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship.

The applicant must submit evidence proving that their relationship with the UK partner is genuine. Failure to prove that the relationship between the applicant and the UK partner is genuine and subsisting is one of the main reasons for refusal of a UK Partner Visa.

Communication between applicant and their UK partner.

A good way to show that a relationship is genuine and subsisting is by including evidence of communication between the applicant and their UK partner.

The applicant can include chat history from their Facebook, Whatsapp or Viber. Click here for simple instructions on how to export chat logs.


Chat logs can be very long so it might be a better idea to include one page for every week or month instead of including all the chat logs. You can, if you wish, send the complete chat logs.

The main thing to remember is that by submitting the chat logs you want to demonstrate communication between the applicant and their UK partner over the longest period possible.

We recommend to include this as we have seen many visa applications refused because of a lack of ‘communication evidence’.


You could also include letters, phone bills or cards as communication evidence.

When you submit the application, both the applicant and the UK partner must be 18 years old or over.

Evidence

You should include copies of the applicant and the UK partners passports or travel documents to prove to the Home Office that you are both aged 18 or over.

The person applying for a visa and their UK partner must have met in person.

At the time of the application, the couple must have met. This requirement allows for marriages where the couple do not meet until the day of the wedding such as arranged marriages.

However, marriages that may be legal in the country in which they take place such as marriages by telephone or by proxy may be excluded unless the couple have met before the date of the application.

Evidence that the applicant and the UK partner have met

The simplest way to evidence that the applicant and the UK partner have met is by submitting photographs.


You can include 2 or 3 photographs per page. It is not recommended to include hundreds of photographs.


We recommend that the photographs should:

– Include both the applicant and the UK partner together

– Be annotated with the date and location

– Be over a period of time instead of just submitting photographs from one occasion


DO NOT take lots of photographs together and try to deceive the Home Office that they were taken on different occasions as this will result in an instant refusal of your visa application and will seriously affect any future visa applications you may want to make to the UK.


An alternative form of evidence, if the applicant and UK partner do not have photographs together, would be travel documents showing that either the applicant or the UK partner has travelled to see the other or that you have travelled together.

The applicant and their UK partner must NOT be within the prohibited degree of relationship.

Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules states that the applicant and their UK Partner must not be within the prohibited degree of relationship, as defined in the Marriage Act 1949, the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act 1986 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Evidence

In England and Wales, the Marriage Act 1949 prohibits a marriage between a person and any person mentioned in the following list:

• adoptive child
• adoptive parent
• child
• former adoptive child
• former adoptive parent
• grandparent
• parent
• parent’s sibling
• sibling
• sibling’s child

In the list “sibling” means a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister.

The Marriage Act 1949 prohibits a marriage between a person and any person in the following list, until both parties are aged 21 or over, and provided that the younger party has not at any time before attaining the age of 18 been a child of the family in relation to the other party:

• child of a former partner
• child of a former spouse
• former civil partner of grandparent
• former civil partner of parent
• former spouse of grandparent
• former spouse of parent
• grandchild of former civil partner
• grandchild of former spouse

There must be an intention, from the applicant and their UK partner, to live together in the UK permanently

The Home Office will want to make sure that the marriage is not a sham marriage with the sole purpose of gaining entry to the UK and that there is no intention of living together permanently.

Evidence

Evidence to include can be shared financial responsibilities, any cohabitation, having visited each other’s families and having made practical arrangements for life together in the UK.


It is recommended to show this requirement in the statements written by the applicant and the UK partner.  


To give yourself the best chance of success with your UK Visa application we highly recommend our “Do Your Own Partner Visa Pack” service. VisaHelpUK will provide you with a complete document checklist and template letters created to suit YOUR circumstances.

If the applicant and their UK partner are married or in a civil partnership then a marriage certificate or a civil partnership certificate will need to be provided

The applicant and their UK partner will need to show that they are legally married according to the laws of the country in which their marriage took place.

Evidence

The marriage certificate must be in English otherwise it will have to be translated and this translated version must be included in your application pack along with the original. Click here to see the requirements that must be met for any translated document.

If the applicant or their UK partner have previously been married then evidence to prove that relationship has broken down must be submitted

Divorce certificate

A divorce certificate must be submitted. If the divorce certificate is not in English then this must be translated and both the original and the translated version must be included in the visa application. Click here to see the requirements that must be met for any translated document.


A ‘decree absolute’ divorce certificate must be submitted if the divorce was made in the UK. A ‘decree nisi’ certificate will not be accepted because legally a person is not divorced until the ‘decree absolute’ divorce certificate has been issued.

If applying for a UK Fiance Visa, the applicant must intend to marry their UK partner

The applicant must be entering the UK to enable their marriage or civil partnership to take place before the 6 month Fiance Visa expires.

We recommend getting married soon after arriving in the UK as it can take time to prepare for the FLR M application.

Marriage & honeymoon plans

The applicant must submit evidence persuading the Home Office that they intend to marry their UK partner.

Any wedding arrangements that have been made can be included as evidence of this. The applicant can include:


– Receipts of wedding related items

– Wedding invitations

– Wedding plans


You can also state your intention to marry in supporting letters written by the applicant and their UK partner.

If applying for a visa as an Unmarried Partner then the applicant and their UK partner must be in a relationship similar to marriage or a civil partnership for at least 2 years

This is a very important part of the Unmarried Partner visa rules. The definition of a partner is laid out in Appendix FM which states

“For the purposes of this Appendix “partner” means-

(iv) a person who has been living together with the applicant in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application…”

To prove this, you must submit evidence that shows that you and your partner have cohabited for two years before your visa application was made.

Documents that show joint commitments like bank accounts or joint tenancy agreements should be included along with letters of correspondence. The letter of correspondence should have the address, that the applicant and their UK partner have lived together in, on it

Statements from a third party, such as friends or family, which specifically state that the applicant and their UK partner have been living together for the past 2 years can also be included.  

Evidence of 2 years cohabitation prior to the application

Examples of what you should include:

Letter from landlord’s/estate agentsItems of correspondence addressed to both of you at the same address

Title deeds to the relevant property
Household bills
Doctors records

If you’re unsure of what to include, our “Do Your Own Partner Visa” service can provide you with a document checklist and template letters, including a statement from third party template, to help you complete the visa application yourself.

What if the applicant does not have much relationship evidence?

Because there is not any comprehensive Home Office guidance to follow, the Home Office decision maker can exercise discretion as to whether they believe the relationship to be genuine and subsisting.

For this reason, we always recommend including as much evidence as possible in support of your visa application.  

If the applicant is not able to provide sufficient relationship evidence we always recommend a statement from a third party in order to strengthen the visa application.

A statement from a third party is a letter, which can be written by a family member or a friend or someone else like a Doctor, stating that the relationship between the applicant and their UK partner is genuine.

We recommend that you request the person writing the statement to provide you with a scanned copy of their passport or driving licence. This gives the letter more credibility.

At VisaHelpUK, we think immigration advice should be uncomplicated and easy to access – so that’s exactly what we provide.

No fuss, no expensive fees, no long waits; just a straightforward, easy to use “Do Your Own Partner Visa Pack” based specifically on YOUR circumstances so you can get on with what’s important to you – submitting your visa application.

If you require assistance with completing the application, we provide you with a document checklist and template letters compiled by our OISC regulated Immigration Advisers.

For a fraction of the cost of instructing an Immigration Adviser you can get all the help you need to complete the application yourself.