In the past decade, the UK government has come under some criticism for being somewhat less than progressive when it comes to what constitutes a 'genuine and subsisting relationship' in our wonderfully diverse and multi-cultural society. Indeed, add to this the legacy of the 'hostile environment' introduced by former Prime Minister and Home Secretary, Theresa May, and now actively cultivated by our current Home Secretary Priti Patel, the UK's immigration system is a minefield for applicants for some visa routes, especially the spouse visa. Non-EEA nationals who have entered into an arranged marriage with a British citizen or settled person may, understandably, be concerned that their relationship does not fit the criteria needed to secure a UK spouse visa. In this article, we will address this specific concern, and outline the UK Home Office's current immigration rules for spouse visa eligibility.
he UK spouse visa enables individuals who are from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) to enter and live in the UK with a British citizen or settled person to whom they are married or in a civil partnership. The rules require that spouse visa applicants be:
It is also possible to enter the UK on a fiance visa for the sole purpose of getting married within six months of arrival.
Paragraph E-ECP.2.1. of Appendix FM, states that an applicant's partner must be:
And E-ECP.2.2. - 2.9 requires that:
The guidance on how entry clearance officers (ECO's) determine whether a relationship is genuine and subsisting provides a list of factors, which its states are neither exhaustive nor a checklist. These state that the ECO should look at whether the couple:
The factors also include whether:
Concerning the practicalities of the couple living together in the UK, in the case of an arranged marriage, the couple both consent to the marriage and agree to the plans made by their families
The genuine and subsisting relationship guidance also states that ECOs must be 'alert and sensitive to religious and cultural practices, and how these 'may shape the factors present or absent in a particular case, particularly at the entry clearance or first application for leave to remain. For example, a couple in an arranged marriage may have spent little time together prior to the marriage. For many faiths and cultures, marriage marks the start of a commitment to a lifelong partnership and not the affirmation of a pre-existing partnership.'
An additional section specifically on arranged marriages also explains, for the benefit of ECOs that 'in an arranged marriage, the family of both spouses take the leading role in arranging the marriage, but the choice of whether to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses. This form of marriage is acceptable in the UK, where both parties are free to decide whether to proceed with the marriage. There is a clear distinction between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. It is important that you understand the difference between the 2'
As such, the Home Office immigration rules do make specific allowances for arranged marriages, and other cultural differences around marriage. And in doing so, they make a clear distinction between arranged and forced marriage and reiterate that the former is fully acceptable in the UK. Home Office ECOs are, nevertheless, taught to be alert for the existence of factors that may mean a marriage is not genuine, whether arranged or not. They will look for factors such as whether there are concerns over whether consent was given, the marriage has not been formally registered, there are suspicions of a sham marriage, the applicant or their partner fails to attend an interview, or there is evidence of money being exchanged in return for the relationship (i.e. other than a dowry).
The Home Office rules make it clear that arranged marriages are entirely acceptable from an immigration standpoint. As such, anyone applying for a spouse visa who is in an arranged marriage should not be unnecessarily concerned that their application will be rejected. If there is any reason that your marriage may be considered to be not genuine and subsisting, it is important to seek the assistance of immigration solicitors who will be able to assess your case and provide a cover letter explaining any circumstances which may give rise to any concern. Doing so will give you and your partner the best chance of being able to live together in the UK.
It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
TI have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.
I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.
Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.
I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
530 ReviewsREAD ALL REVIEWS