J M Wilson Solicitors specialise in spouse visas and are the leading Firm in this type of application. Our expertise is second to none and is proven by the fact we brought the only challenge to the legality of the immigration requirement introducing the £18,600 minimum income. The challenge was to the amount of income applicants must show, the lack of an option for third party support and the failure to consider the rights of children of an applicant’s family. This ridiculous change was brought in on 9th July 2012. Prior to that applicants only had to show that applicants will be adequately maintained. This meant a spouse’s income had to be above the income support level. This was a far easier test to meet than the current one that is applied of £18,600 per year. The judicial review brought by J M Wilson Solicitors eventually ended in the Supreme Court, which is the highest Court in the UK. We succeeded in showing the Home Office had failed in its duty to consider the rights of the children in such applications and that third-party support should be a viable option for applicants, when it wasn’t previously. This meant the Home Office had to introduce a whole new section called Exceptional Circumstances contained in GEN 3.1 in order to make the rules lawful.
It is important to note the exceptional circumstances section in Appendix FM still penalises applicants, as if they succeed under this section, they will not be eligible for indefinite leave to remain until they have completed 10 years on this basis. Compare this to an applicant who does meet the requirements and does not need to apply under exceptional circumstances – they are eligible for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years.
For a Spouse Visa income is a massive factor in such cases. Applicants whose spouses are receiving Disability Living Allowance are exempt from the minimum income requirement. They must show they are receiving above the income support level. For those who don’t earn £18,600 per annum they can use savings to top up their wage to meet the income requirement. The formula used by the Home Office is rather convoluted. It is advisable to seek assistance if you find you fall into this category.
Following our success in the Supreme Court, applicants can now rely on third party support. Advice on this should be sought before you embark on this route, as it is full of pitfalls.
Application for Spouse Visa
An application for a spouse visa needs careful preparation as documentary evidence in such applications is key. The Entry Clearance Officer/Home Office are extremely strict in their consideration of the rules contained in Appendix FM of the immigration rules and the specified evidence rule. It is advisable that a legal representative is used to assist in the preparation of the application and consideration of the documents you intend to rely on. More importantly we will first check whether your circumstances meet the immigration rules. This is even more important when you are self-employed, as different rules apply and different documentary evidence is required. At J M Wilson Solicitors, we give no nonsense honest advice. If you don’t meet the rules, we will tell you. There is no incentive or desire to make applications that are doomed to fail. It does not assist you and will not assist our reputation.
Depending on which country you are a national of you will need to do an English test at A1 level. This is important and you will need to ensure the test is done and it is an accepted test for the purposes of your application. Again, the importance of getting this checked should not be underestimated.
The other requirements, such as whether you have a genuine and subsisting relationship is subjective. You are required to produce documentary evidence confirming the genuineness of your relationship. This is where our advice is invaluable. Our team has over 80 years’ experience with such applications and have seen all kinds of refusals based on this one requirement. It is therefore important that advice is sought as to what kind of documents are expected to be put with your application.
J M Wilson Solicitors take the stress and burden from you. Upon receiving your instructions for a spouse visa, you will be given a list of the documents we require for your application. This is not a general list but a list specific to your individual circumstances. Once we receive the documents, we check those documents and ensure they meet the requirements of Appendix FM and the specified evidence rule. We then begin preparing the application. Applications are now prepared online. Depending on the country documents are submitted in the country you are applying in or in the UK. This whole process has been made a shamble by the Home Office and changes from month to month. It can not be stressed enough how important it is to check where documents are submitted. The last thing you want are documents being sent to the UK only to find out that you need to send them back!
All payments are made online and an Immigration Health Surcharge (also known as the NHS fee) will need to be paid. It is advisable that you provide your own debit/credit card details, as this makes it easier if refunds are due and avoid delays.
Whilst it is both recommended and sensible to shop around for the cheapest representative. It may be tempting to go for the cheapest representative; however, it is important you choose a representative that has been tried and tested. The last thing you want to do is only use a representative because they are cheap. You could end up finding your application being refused and you end up spending a lot more money fighting an appeal to put right what was lacking in the application. We have come across many clients who have found themselves in this situation. Depending on the reasons for refusal it may be better to make a new application rather than fight an appeal. Appeals do take an extremely long time to get listed at the First Tier Tribunal and a new application can be more time efficient.
J M Wilson Solicitors has been leading the way in the area of immigration law and spouse visa since Appendix FM was introduced in 2012 and have a proven success record in many cases including in the Supreme Court. Our knowledge of the law in this area is second to none and if you need expert advice and assistance then please do get in contact with the team.