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:
- Submit supporting letters detailing the relationship between the applicant and the UK partner; and
- 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.
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.
When you submit the application, both the applicant and the UK partner must be 18 years old 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 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.
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.
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.
If the applicant or their UK partner have previously been married then evidence to prove that relationship has broken down must be submitted
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
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
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.
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