UK Fiancé Visa
This is part 1 of 3 of the articles, which are devoted to the fiancé visa immigration route. Later in this article, I explain why there are 3 parts.
A fiancé is a man to whom someone is engaged to be married. A fiancée is a woman to whom someone is engaged to be married.
There is an immigration route, which allows non-EEA nationals to enter the UK for the purposes of marrying the person they engage to.
To succeed in their entry clearance application (visa application made from outside the UK) fiancés need to:
- Meet the Suitability Requirements
- Meet the Eligibility Requirements
- Follow the correct procedure.
The Suitability Requirements
This is where the decision-maker start deciding your application. They start with the suitability requirements to make sure that ‘you are a suitable person’ to enter the UK.
There are two types of suitability requirement: mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory is when the decision-maker
has to refuse your application if you are caught by one of the specified mandatory grounds.
The word ‘discretionary’ comes from the word ‘dyscrecyounne’. It means “ability to perceive and understand”. People started using it in the 13th century. From the middle of 14th century the word acquired a richer, more up-to-date meaning: “moral discernment, ability to distinguish right from wrong.”
In other words, if the applicants are caught by one of the discretionary grounds for refusal, the decision-makers have a ‘discretion’. They can either allow or refuse such an application.
There are 8 mandatory and 5 discretionary grounds. They are largely about issues of criminality, applications dishonesty, debts to the Home Office or NHS. You may check out if you are caught by one of them HERE.
The Eligibility Requirements
All eligibility requirements of UK Fiancé Visa can be divided into four categories: relationship, financial, accommodation and English language requirements.
These requirements are very detailed and substantial. To be able to deep analyse them all and provide you, guys, with a clear explanation of them I’ll divide this article into 3 parts. This is going to be part 1 of 3.
It is about the relationship between the fiancé and the spouse to be. In legal terms, they are known as the Sponsor. There are 9 relationship requirements.
- The Sponsor’s Immigration Status
The sponsors, those who want to marry the fiancé, should either be British citizens, hold Indefinite Leave to Remain or be in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection.
- The Sponsor is Over 18
- The Fiancé is over 18
Both the Sponsor and the fiancé have to be over the age of 18.
- Not Related
They must not be within the prohibited degree of relationship. In other words, they should not be related to each other in a way, which is not allowed by law.
- Met in Person
This is to avoid proxy weddings. A proxy wedding or proxy marriage is a wedding in which one or both of the individuals being united are not physically present, usually being represented instead by other persons. If both partners are absent a double proxy wedding occurs.
- Genuine and Subsisting
The relationship between the parties is genuine and subsisting. The Home Office does not actually explain in their guidance what they mean by genuine and subsisting relationship. For this reason, you should take a logical and practical approach. How do you do this? Imagine you have a rich uncle who wanted to get married, to settle down and have family for a really long time. To speed things up he told you that he would give you a substantial amount of money if you prove to him that you met THE ONE and it is real this time. Uncle is very serious about seeing you in a happy relationship and therefore will not take your word for it. He needs evidence. What will you show him? If I were you, I would consider collecting photographs, tickets, bookings records of holidays together, documents confirming financial commitments (if you have them in the relationship). For example money transfer slips or expensive gifts from your UK Sponsor. You can also provide evidence of memberships of the same clubs, statements from family members and friends and so on and so forth. Basically, anything, which will show you that you love spending time with each other and you are committed to make this work.
- Parties Intend to Get Married
You need to provide evidence of your intended wedding ceremony arrangements (a wedding dress, a wedding party, cakes, limousines etc).
- You are Not Married to Someone Else
The Home Office makes two points here. In the rules they say that 1. any previous relationship of the parties must have broken down permanently; and 2. They can only marry each other and not anyone else. This is to make sure that you don’t change your mind just before the big date, I suppose.
- Intention to Live Together
This particular rule gets a lot of couples by surprise. How do you prove that you have the intention to live with each
other after marriage?
Well, the Home Office spends a lot of time explaining these particular requirements in their guidance:
Here is the approach they encourage the decision-makers to take:
‘In assessing this part of the Rules it is useful, if possible, to have the views of both parties tested by the ECO. Where both partners are clearly committed staying together irrespective of whether they live in the UK or not, the intention to live together will be shown. However, if it is clear that the sponsor will not leave the UK to live with the applicant elsewhere should the application for entry clearance be refused, the ECO will need to examine the reasons for this and how this bears on the relationship between the parties.’
In a case considered in the High Court in November 1996 Keen J held that:
‘The concept of intention is no doubt a complex one, but it appears to me that one can indeed have a genuine intention, notwithstanding that the carrying out of that intention is dependent on, or could be frustrated by, some extraneous event.’
He went on to conclude that the requirement of the Rules relating to the intention of the parties to the marriage could be met where the British citizen (or legally resident foreign national) spouse insisted on remaining in the UK. In other words, a conditional intention to live together could be sufficient to meet the ‘intention to live together permanently’ requirement.’
These were 9 elements of the relationship requirement. In the next article, I’ll explain all elements of the financial requirement. I’ll finalise this trilogy of articles by explaining the accommodation and English language requirement. I’ll also be explaining why you should avoid taking the fiancé route.