All UK Visa applications are decided on the ‘balance of probabilities’. In simple terms, this legal term means that for the decision-maker to allow your application, he needs to believe that what you are telling him is most probably true. In other words, it is more true than not, more than 50% true.
In criminal cases, the burden of proof is significantly higher. It is called ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ and cases should have at least 75% of truth in them.
The easiest and most logical way of proving the truth of your case is by providing the decision-maker with official documentary evidence to support your case.
So, what may trigger the refusal of your British spouse visa application?
- Lack of evidence! Yes, not submitting enough documents in support of your application is a costly mistake No1.
- However, mistake No2 is submitting documents in the incorrect form.
In this trilogy of articles (3 articles on the same topic), I’ll explain the most common pitfalls applicants fall into in relation to the documents they are submitting with their British spouse visa applications. This way we’ll make sure that you’ll avoid these pitfalls in your application.
In relation to evidencing that you meet the financial requirements of your application, it is highly likely that you’ll be submitting bank statements.
If you do, you need to make sure that these statements are from a financial institution regulated by the appropriate regulatory body for the country in which that institution is operating.
Not that many people know that the Home Office has a list, where it ‘blacklisted’ a number of banks from all over the world. To ensure your bank is not among those, blacklisted, CLICK HERE. If it is, just open a bank account, which is trusted by the Home Office.
There was a client of mine, who wanted to rely on a considerable amount of money, which was in her grandmother’s account. This amount was readily available and the client’s grandmother was happy to sign any paper to confirm this. As common as this situation may seem, this source of income will not be accepted by the Home Office in general circumstances. What can you do to overcome this difficulty? Ask your grandmother (or any 3rd party) to transfer the amount into your bank account. However, you also need to bear in mind that after the transfer took place, you’ll need to wait for 6 months before you can rely on this evidence in your spouse visa application.
If you are submitting electronic bank statements, they will not be accepted as evidence of your or your partner’s financial credibility unless accompanied by a letter from the bank on its headed stationery confirming that the documents are authentic or which has the bank’s official stamp on EVERY page of this statement.
Any bank letters should always be on the headed stationery of the bank, clearly showing your name and account number. It should be dated and have the financial institution’s name and logo.
Generally, promises of third party support will not be accepted, except in very limited circumstances. Existing sources of third party support will be accepted in the form of:
payments from a former partner for the maintenance of the applicant or any children of the applicant and the former partner, and payments from a former partner of the applicant’s partner for the maintenance of that partner;
income from a dependent child who has turned 18 and remains in the same UK household as the applicant and continues to be counted towards the financial requirement for the purposes of making British spouse visa application;
gift of cash savings (whose source must be declared) provided that the cash savings have been held by the person for at least 6 months prior to the date of application and are under their control;
a maintenance grant or stipend associated with undergraduate study or postgraduate study or research.
If the payslips you are submitting with your application do not show the employer’s name, they must be accompanied by a letter from the employer, on the employer’s headed paper and signed by a senior official, confirming the payslips are authentic.
A letter from the employer should also have the person’s employment and gross annual salary; the length of their employment, the period over which they have been or were paid the level of salary relied upon in the application; and the type of employment (permanent, fixed-term contract or agency).
Together with your payslips, you need to submit personal bank statements corresponding to the same period as the payslip. This is to show that the salary has been paid into an account in the name of the person or in the name of the person and their partner jointly.
To make your application even stronger, you may consider submitting the P60 for the relevant period of employment relied upon together with a signed contract of employment.
You also need to bear in mind that the employment or self-employment income of an applicant will be taken into account if they are in the UK, aged 18 years or over and working legally, and prospective employment income will not be taken into account (except in very limited circumstances).
This is a very vast topic, causing considerable grief to the applicants and costing them refusals. In the next two articles, I’ll continue explaining major mistakes when submitting documents in support of British Spouse applications.