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How to Prove Your Relationship to the Home Office

When applying for a visa on the basis of your relationship to a British national or a person who has settled permanently in the UK, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that your relationship is genuine and subsisting (i.e. you are still together). This is entirely understandable, as there have been past cases of applicants seeking a spouse or fiancé/fiancée visa under the family migration route who have not been entirely honest about their relationship. In some of these cases, the supposed relationship didn’t exist at all – these are so-called ‘sham’ relationships or marriages. It is even possible for the UKVI to wrongfully refuse applications for genuine cases whereby they have reason to suspect that the relationship is a sham. In this article, we will explain how to prove your relationship to the Home Office.

What do I need to show as proof when applying for a spouse or partner visa?

When applying for a spouse or partner visa, you will need to satisfy the Home Office that you:

  • are in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
  • Have been living together in a relationship for at least two years when you apply
  • You are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within six months of arriving

Your partner must:

  • be a British or Irish citizen, or;
  • have settled in the UK - for example, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence, or;
  • be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status - they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021, or;
  • have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa, or;
  • have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

What documents can you use to prove your relationship?

You will need to submit several documents to UKVI to prove your relationship. The evidence you send should be less than four years old, be from official or verifiable sources (such as the government, your doctor, your dentist, or a local authority), and must show that you are in a genuine relationship with your partner/spouse. The exact documents you need to provide will depend on your circumstances, and these will be explained to you by UKVI. Some items you may need to submit to the Home Office include your:

  • marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
  • tenancy agreement, utility bills or council tax bills stating that you live at the same address or pay bills together
  • a bank statement from a joint bank account, or stating that you live at the same address
  • a letter from your doctor or dentist confirming that you live at the same address

If you are unsure if the documents you have collated are enough to prove your relationship, speak to an immigration Solicitor, who will be able to check and confirm this for you.

Do I need to prove that I live with my partner?

Paragraph GEN.1.2. Of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules states that a partner is defined as “a person in a genuine and subsisting relationship to a person who is their spouse or civil partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, or a person who has been living together with the applicant in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application”.

As such, the requirement to have lived together only applies to those who are not married or in a civil partnership.

How should I write a proof of relationship letter to the Home Office?

As part of your spouse or partner visa application, it is advisable to prepare and send a ‘proof of relationship letter’. This should be kept brief and to the point, and explain the circumstances of your relationship. Ideally, you should include:

  • a timeline of your relationship together
  • details of how and when you met
  • how your relationship developed
  • your plans to live together in the UK

It is also possible to ask a close family member or friend who know you well to write this letter. If so, they should include further details about how they know you (or your partner), when and how they first understood you were in a relationship and their belief that your relationship is genuine and will continue in the UK.

How do you prove a subsisting relationship is genuine?

In addition to the core documents outlined above and proof of relationship letter, we recommend submitting a portfolio of additional information which makes it 100% clear that your relationship is genuine. This may include photos, copies of instant message correspondence, texts, and letters that show when you met that your relationship developed over time, and you are still together. Again, if you are unsure if you have prepared enough information to back up your case, speak to an immigration Solicitor who will review and confirm this for you before it is submitted to UKVI.

How can our immigration lawyers help?

As a top-tier immigration law firm based in London, Reiss Edwards has handled thousands of spouses and partner visa applications and understand what UKVI are looking for when they make a decision. We will prepare a covering letter where appropriate to ensure that case officers have all the information necessary to make a positive and timely decision. Depending on your needs, we can handle all aspects of your application or review your form and documents prior to final submission. If you are not yet ready to apply for a spouse or partner visa, we explain the process to you, the other visa options you may have available to you, and the timeframes and costs involved. We can also assist anyone who has received a refusal of their application to have the decision overturned in a prompt and efficient manner.

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