Many clients worry about how to gather evidence to prove that their relationship is genuine, especially supporting documents. A common concern is what type of paperwork is valid and sufficient to show the UK Visa Officer that a couple is related as claimed and that they are in a genuine relationship. The type of UK Visa relationship evidence that a client submits is the most important part of the application.J SUDRA – Immigration Lawyer / Former UK Visa Officer
The main aspect the UK Visa authorities look for when assessing UK Spouse / Partner Visas is if the relationship between the UK Sponsor and the overseas partner is genuine. This comes before any financial requirements are even considered as the relationship is what forms the foundations of the actual visa process.
It is vital to show correct and up to date proof of your relationship. The type of UK Visa relationship evidence you submit can make or break your entire UK Spouse/ Partner Visa application. A visa refusal will lead to considerable heartbreak, anguish and unintended expenses.
The aspects UK Visa Officers consider when assessing if a relationship is genuine is:
- Is the UK Sponsor and overseas national related as claimed in line with the Visa application form details and have they met physically in person.
- Remember that the UK Visa authorities are using the data on the on Visa application form and the supporting documentary evidence to make a decision. Nearly 90% of all UK Spouse & Partner Visas worldwide are now decided by the UK Visa authorities on just the Visa application form and supporting paperwork. They rarely interview couples or refer back to them to clarify any issues or discrepancies. You must get it right the first time! Here is a list of problems that can come up when making an application: https://www.ukspousevisahelp.com/potential-visa-problems/
- If they are married then is there evidence of the marriage. The document that proves this is a valid certified Marriage certificate. If it is in another language then it must be translated.
- If they plan to marry in the UK, then is there evidence of civil marriage plans. This list can be quite long and there is no set pattern of what can be presented to the Entry Clearance Officer. The most common piece of evidence is a confirmed marriage booking from a Registry Office in your local area. Certain registry offices permit tentative marriage date bookings and many others will not allow a date to be booked until the overseas national is physically present in the UK with a valid Marriage / Fiancee Visa. If this evidence can not be obtained then the next best form of evidence is to show that at the very least the Sponsor or even the overseas national has made marriage enquiries with the registry office. These enquiries are normally emails sent to the registry office asking about dates they have for a civil marriage and any local procedures to follow. Basically you are creating an electronic paper trail which is a very effective form of evidence to prove your INTENTIONS to marry. Check here for how to make such enquiries: https://www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships
- Other documents to show can be: private venue bookings if the marriage is going to take place elsewhere, wedding reception arrangements and catering arrangements.
- You can even use letters of support from family and friends who are aware of your relationship. They can describe how you met, what they think of your relationship and other positive attributes. The letter does not have to be very long and 1 page is more then enough. Even with an arranged marriage , such letters do help as often the family member may know the couple on a very personal level and may have even helped set up the marriage or introduced the couple.
- For unmarried couples the UK Visa rules state that they should have been in a relationship for at least 2 years and have sufficient documents across that time frame to prove that the relationship is genuine. The documents will be utility bills, tenancy agreements, bank statements, medical letters, employment documents and general forms of local and national government department letters.
What else can I use as evidence?
You may wish to provide photographic evidence as proof of your relationship. We instruct our clients to at least provide some photos as proof and this can be in the form of:
- General photos of your relationship. This is photos of you as a couple in a social setting such as visiting a restaurant, a walk in the park, various “selfies” with each other and photos with family and friends.
- Marriage / Wedding day photos. These are photos of you both signing the marriage registry book at your civil wedding. Other photos can be inside the venue with family / friends and even outside of the venue. Remember that certain marriage registry offices in other countries DO NOT permit any photography inside the venue. If this is the case then it is prudent to take some photos outside the venue, which may couple do. Other types of wedding photos are the religious events that are central to the actual wedding. In certain Islamic countries, they have a wedding ceremony known as the Nikah Namah which is a marriage contract between the couple. Typically the bridge and groom will sign the marriage contract and photos are taken of the signing.
- You also show evidence of visiting each other such as e-ticket copies, airline boarding card stubs and flight itineraries. The UK Visa officer also looks at the Immigration entry stamps in your passports to verify if you have visited each other or at least one of them has visited the other. We instruct all our clients to provide this evidence as it not only verifies the identity of the couple but confirms, as mentioned at the very start of this article, that they have physically met each other in person. This then begins the crucial assessment process of checking to see if the couple are related as claimed.
Remember that UK Visa Relationship evidence comes in many forms and can be complex to presented correctly to the UK Visa authorities. Contact us today to see how we can help you get it right the first time.