If you are applying for a marriage visa to join your partner in the UK, it is critical that you get it right the first time round.
If you get it wrong:
- It is likely to be refused
- The £1700 you spent on application fees will go to waste
- An appeal to the Immigration Tribunal will cost you £140
- You will have to hire a lawyer for the hearing at additional cost
- It will take about 9 months before the case comes to court
- You will be separated from your partner throughout this time
Here are 7 steps to help get your marriage visa granted the first time round.
1. READ THE RULES
The Home Office is regularly changing the Immigration Rules and Policies, sometimes several times a year.
It is very important that you read up on the most recent version of the Rules and Policies at the time you are submitting your application.
2. GATHER THE ‘SPECIFIED EVIDENCE’
A few years ago, it was possible to submit various pieces of evidence to demonstrate that you met the requirements of the Rules.
That is no longer possible.
The Home Office has now made a list of documents that you must submit with your application in the format that they require.
This is called ‘Specified Evidence’.
Unfortunately, the list is not drafted in a very user-friendly and will take some time to go through it but this is essential. You can find a link to the list at the end of this article
3. SUBMIT ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS
The Home Office require original documents to be submitted. This applies to your bank statements and marriage certificates as much as it does to your passport.
It is advisable to also send copies of every document you submit but copies alone will not be enough.
4. DON’T FORGET TO PAY THE NHS SURCHARGE
As part of the visa application, you will need to pay £200 per year for healthcare in the UK.
This is known as the NHS healthcare surcharge and is not optional and is in addition to your visa application fee.
Marriage visas are issued for 33 months and therefore you will need to pay a total of £500 to cover the duration of your visa.
5. CHECK HOW MUCH YOU NEED TO BE EARNING
Your partner needs to be earning a certain amount, or have enough savings, in order for you to be allowed to join them in the UK. This is called ‘meeting the financial requirement’.
You DO NOT need to meet the financial requirement if your partner has refugee status or humanitarian protection.
If you do need to meet the financial requirement, you will need to prove that your partner earns a minimum annual income (before tax). The amount depends on how many people are trying to come to the UK.
|Family member||How much your partner needs to earn per year before tax|
|You and one child||£22,400|
|Each additional child||£2,400|
The financial requirement can be met through income from employment, self-employment, rental or investment, and savings.
You will need to read the Home Office guidance for full details. You can download it via a link at the end of this article.
6. ENCLOSE APPENDIX 2
Nearly all marriage visa applications are completed and submitted online now.
However, the paper version of Appendix 2 has not been included in the online form and must be included with the documents you submit to the Visa Application Centre.
Appendix 2 is a form to explain the background to your relationship with your partner and detail how you meet the financial requirements of the Rules. You can download it via a link at the end of this article.
Many clients have instructed me to appeal against refusal decisions where they did not submit Appendix 2 with their applications, simply because they were not aware of its existence.
While they succeeded on appeal, it resulted in additional expenses, more anxiety and several months separated from their partners.
7. CHECK WHERE YOU NEED TO SEND YOUR DOCUMENTS
While traditionally applicants would submit all their documents to the Visa Application Centre or British Embassy in their country, the Home Office has now begun processing applications from a number of countries at its offices in Sheffield.
In such circumstances, you would submit your visa application form, passport, passport photo and evidence that you have paid the fee online to your local Visa Application Centre.
You must then within 14 days send all your supporting documents to the UK Visas and Immigration office in Sheffield.
Following these steps will not guarantee that your application will be successful but it will certainly increase your chances.
If you know of any other good tips to prevent your marriage visa being refused, please do share them below in the comments section
Visadreams.com, Diary of an Immigration Lawyer, is a blog run by Fahad Ansari, the director and principal solicitor of Riverway Law, a niche UK immigration and nationality law practice based in London. If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your details here.