Most Common Reasons Why Spouse Visa Extension Is Refused/Rejected or Denied
The UK Spouse Visa is designed to enable foreign nationals with a spouse or partner who is a British citizen or is settled permanently in the UK to live with their loved one in the UK. The visa works in such a way that successful applicants are initially granted a stay of up to two and six months, but if they wish to stay longer to secure indefinite leave to remain after five years in the UK, they need to apply for a visa extension. Unfortunately, just because a person secured a partner/spouse visa the first time around in no way guarantees, they will receive a visa extension. Indeed, the same eligibility criteria which were met initially must be met again when applying to renew. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common reasons why spouse visa extension applications are refused/rejected or denied.
Reason 1: You don’t meet the higher English language requirement
One of the most common reasons for being refused a spouse/partner visa renewal is that the applicant does not meet the English language requirement. The reason for the confusion here is that the requirement changes between the initial application and the extension application, as the Home Office believe that the language skills of the person applying should have improved after spending two and a half years in the UK. This change was brought in May 2017 when the Home Office outlined this requirement, “From 1 May 2017, applicants who have completed 2.5 years (30 months) in the UK with leave as a partner or parent under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules, and who are applying for further leave to remain in that category, will be required to obtain an approved English language speaking and listening qualification at level A2 or higher unless they:
- Are a national of a majority English-speaking country (Annex B);
- Hold a degree taught or researched in English (Annex C); or
- Are exempt from the requirement”.
For this reason, you will need to ensure you pass a CEFR level A2 or higher English language test and provide a copy of your pass certificate to UKVI with your extension application.
Reason 2: UKVI believe you are no longer living with your spouse/partner
As you will know from your first application, UKVI case officers are always on the lookout for spouse/partner visa applications that are not genuine; i.e., the relationship on which the application is based is not authentic and ongoing. The same applies when you apply for your extension. If the Home Office have any reason to suspect that you are no longer in the relationship with your British or settled partner in the UK, they will refuse the application. This is why it is so important to submit plenty of recent evidence with your application to show you are still living with your partner, you are both still in a genuine relationship, and you have shared financial commitments. The Home Office provides a list of the documents you may wish to include with your application. These are listed in three tiers, with tier one being the most valuable when it comes to proving your ongoing relationship. These include:
- Tenancy agreement
- Utility bill
- Marriage certificate
- Joint bank statement
- DWP/HMRC letters to demonstrate family unit as claimed
- Car finance agreement documents which evidences address as claimed
- Insurance documentation which evidences address as claimed
- Evidence of joint finances business ventures or commitments (such as tax returns, business contracts, investments)
We also recommend providing evidence from tiers two and three, including photographs, and holiday booking confirmations.
Some related reasons for refusal include:
- · Spouse visa proof of address
If there is a discrepancy in the addresses (e.g., two different addresses being used) provided or on tax/electoral roll records, this may lead to refusal.
- · Proof of communication for spouse visa
Where insufficient proof of communication between both partners, UKVI may refuse a visa extension application. For this reason, we recommend providing message transcripts such as emails, WhatsApp messages, and texts.
Reason 3: You and your partner no longer meet the financial requirement
Those applying for a spouse/partner visa extension are required to meet the same financial requirement they met for their initial application. The financial requirement states that both partners must have a combined income of at least £18,600 per year. If you have children, you will need to show additional income of £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each child you have after your first child. It is possible to meet this requirement in other ways, such as:
- income from employment before tax and National Insurance
- cash savings above £16,000
- money from a pension
- non-work income, for example, from property rentals or dividends
Remember, when it comes to cash savings, every pound you have over £16,000 effectively reduces the income you need to prove. UKVI will calculate this by dividing any amount over £16,000 by 2.5. And if you have £62,500 in savings, this brings the annual minimum income requirement to zero.
If your income has reduced since you initially applied below the threshold required, or you have had more children, and your income doesn’t meet the higher amount needed, you are likely to have your extension refused. If you are concerned you no longer meet the income requirement, speak to an immigration Solicitor before you apply, as they will be able to offer possible ways to satisfy the requirement in accordance with the rules. Taking the time to check this before you submit your application, documents, and payment will avoid any potential problems with meeting this requirement.
Other factors to consider may include:
- · Spouse visa refused payslips
We have seen in some cases refusals due to not providing enough payslips. We recommend ensuring you provide at least six months' worth of payslips (the most recent six months) with your application.
- · UK spouse visa refused self-employed
Another common reason for refusal is whereby applicants submit evidence of meeting the income requirement through self-employment but use pre-tax figures. It is essential that you show sufficient personal income after business expenses and taxes.
It also stands to reason that many applications are denied or refused because they are incorrect, incomplete, or the correct payment has not been made. It is also possible that the Home Office check with HMRC regarding your actual earnings, and if these do not match your stated earning on your application, they may deny the application on the grounds of false representations, deception, or dishonesty. Our primary piece of advice for all family visa extension applicants is to take your application as seriously as your initial application and provide plenty of evidence you meet the eligibility rules. Unfortunately, the Home Office doesn’t simply take the view that if you were granted a visa last time, you should be granted a visa this time. If you need any help with checking your application prior to submission, speak to immigration lawyers who will be able to do this for you, make any final adjustments, and reassure you that you have a strong case for renewal.