Top Tips on Mastering the Spouse Visa Interview
You meet someone from another country. You talk, you laugh, and you fall in love. You get married and want to move to the UK to begin your life together. So why does the caseworker examining your application for a Spouse Visa want you to attend an interview?
Normally, it is because he or she does not believe your relationship is genuine.
Faced with relentless (and frankly unachievable) targets to cut migration, UK Visas and Immigration staff will pounce on anything in your Spouse Visa application which indicates your marriage may be a sham. Sham marriages are where two people marry for the sole purpose of allowing the non-UK spouse to enter and live in Britain.
If you are asked to attend a Spouse Visa interview, there is no need to panic; however, you must take the situation seriously. Family visas are regularly refused and the inhumanity of the Home Office in relation to relationships, whether between husband or wife, or parent and child is well documented
Ciaran Price of the Migrants Resource Centre told The Guardian:
"Mothers, fathers, husbands and wives are being torn apart because the Home Office doesn't treat them as people with individual circumstances and needs.
"It doesn't seem to matter if your family has lived here for many years, or you have a seriously ill child, or, like 40% of the population, you don't have a secure job that pays well enough to let you marry the person you fell in love with."
In a Spouse Visa interview, you need to persuade the immigration caseworker/s in attendance that your marriage is genuine and not entered into merely for immigration purposes.
What types of questions will be asked in a Spouse Visa interview?
The immigration caseworker interviewing you will ask a series of questions designed to establish the depth and genuineness of your relationship. You will be asked questions separately and your answers will be compared.
Although you may feel confident that you will pass the interview, you must consider that you are likely to be extremely nervous, in a strange environment, and answering intimate questions about your relationship in your second language.
The following is a sample of questions interviewees is asked:
- Is this your first application for a UK Visa?
- Have you ever applied for a visa to another country?
- Have you ever been refused a visa?
- When and how did you first meet your husband/wife?
- Did he/she write or call you, how have you communicated?
- What was the proposal like?
- What religion is your husband/wife?
- What are your husband's/wife's hobbies or what does he/she do in his/her spare time?
- What are your spouse's family and friends like?
- Why did you marry him/her?
- What do you like most about him/her?
- Why did you get married?
- How do you feel about the differences in your cultures?
The key to success is to practice and prepare for your Spouse Visa interview. If you are working with an immigration lawyer, they can run mock interviews to help you get comfortable with answering personal questions in an interview setting.
Should I change my social media profile?
Forgetting to update your Facebook, Snapchat, and/or Instagram account is a common mistake people make prior to attending a Spouse Visa interview. Make sure that your social media accounts reflect your married life by ensuring your status is changed to married and you have photos of you and your spouse together.
If you listed yourself on dating apps during your single life, make sure you delete your profile. Being asked about your Tinder account is not something you want to happen at the interview.
What documents should I take to the interview?
The interviewer will have a copy of your Spouse Visa application and the supporting documentation, which should include:
- Your current passport or other travel documents
- Your marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Details of any criminal convictions, if applicable
- Your parent's date of birth and nationality
- Your National Insurance number (if you have one)
- Details of your accommodation in the UK
- Bank statements and details of your salary showing your sponsoring spouse meets the minimum income threshold of £18,600 per year (this amount is greater if you have children)
- Your sponsor's British passport or Indefinite Leave to remain documents
- Details of any children who are also coming to the UK
- Details of the countries outside the UK you've lived in and visited
The above list is not exhaustive. It is crucial that you have copies of all the supporting documents included in your application with you. Ensure they are indexed correctly and coherently ordered. The interviewer will take a dim view if he or she is required to wait a long time for you to locate a document they have asked you for.
Until you have your Spouse Visa approved, keep collecting evidence that your relationship is genuine and bring along any new documents that support your life as a couple. For example, if you have taken a holiday together, bring evidence such as train/plane tickets, hotel bookings, and photographs along to the interview.
How can I avoid having to attend a Spouse Visa Interview?
The best way to avoid having to attend a Spouse Visa interview is to instruct a reputable, experienced immigration Solicitor to help you prepare and submit your application. They will tell you what supporting documentation to include, collate it in a manner which prevents caseworkers from making errors, and write a strong covering letter demonstrating the genuineness of your marriage.
It is vital that you do not give the person reviewing your Spouse Visa application any reason to suspect your relationship is not genuine. By investing in legal advice, you can be confident that a Immigration lawyer will have reviewed your submission and alerted you to any inconsistencies which may cause a caseworker to question your marriage.
Love may conquer all, but it will not guarantee you a Spouse Visa. When applying, don't take anything for granted. Paying for expert legal advice can save a great deal of heartache and help ensure you and your spouse can begin your life together free from the stress of visa worries.