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Appealing UK Spouse Visa refusals

Written by
Damon Culbert, Immigration Advice Service
Date of Publication:
06 June 2018

The UK Spouse Visa is one of the most common visa types applied for in the UK. The number granted last year was higher than any other settlement visa (after students). Yet it’s also one of the most difficult to receive, owing to the strict requirements imposed upon it – including a £18,600 minimum income of the UK sponsor. The latest figures, however, show that in the last quarter of 2017, successful visa appeals were at 50% and that more appeals than ever were submitted. This shows that not only are more people willing to appeal their refusal first time around, but also that the Home Office’s initial decision is incorrect half of the time.

If you’ve had your Spouse Visa refused

In recent years, the Home Office has cracked down on fraudulent marriage, scrutinising every application to ensure there is proof the relationship is ‘genuine and subsisting’. Most applicants are refused on the basis of a lack of evidence. But there are some cases in which the opposite is true, with a large amount of communication being deemed suspicious. Because of this difficult middle ground, even genuine couples struggle to prove their relationship adequately. This results in unjust visa refusals and the imminent threat of removal.

There is also the issue of the minimum income requirement. Since 2012, applicants are expected to prove that their UK sponsor has an income of at least £18,600 to be considered for the visa – with this expectation rising by £3,600 for the first dependent child and £2,400 for every child after. This can be a deterrent to many applicants who do not meet the threshold but is also one of the central reasons applicants are denied their Spouse Visa.

In 2017, the Home Office was required to assess all forms of income, as well as consider other factors as to why the applicant was unable to reach this threshold to keep the route open to those not making £18,600 per year. This means that applicants can use the solid chance of a prospective job for the non-EEA partner to make up the difference if their own salary doesn’t count, as well as using the joint income from their household.

Having your Spouse Visa extension refused

If the applicant is in the country on a Spouse Visa already, there may also be the chance of refusal when applying for further leave to remain. This could be due to the Home Office believing that the relationship is no longer genuine or even that there has not been a good enough level of development in English Language ability. It is important to act quickly when a Spouse Visa extension has been refused, as the applicant may be asked to leave the country within a couple of weeks.

The appeal process

The decision on a Spouse Visa can be appealed if it appears that the Home Office has not applied the law correctly. The applicant will have the opportunity to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

The appeal process involves providing further evidence or arguing that the evidence provided is sufficient to prove a genuine and subsisting relationship. It can be a difficult process, so the news that 50% of Home Office decisions are now overturned will be welcome to those migrants who are facing their visa refusal preventing them from spending their life in the UK with their spouse.

Appealing to the First-tier Tribunal to give your case orally in court costs £140 while applying for the judge to read their case again without court presence costs £80. If the applicant is already in the UK, they must submit their appeal 14 days after it is sent out by Home Office, 28 days if they are applying from elsewhere.