Secret for maintaining a high success rate for spouse visas.

Hunters Solicitors LLP : Secret for maintaining a high success rate for spouse visas is owed to our ‘4-stage process’

Stage 1 – The merits test

This is the initial consultation – the vital stage.

Our initial consultation is crucial. This consultation involves both parties i.e. the sponsoring spouse in the UK and a teleconference with the spouse outside the UK.

At Hunters, we provide this free consultation to determine if all elements are in-order in clients instructions. This is a crucial meeting whereby the facts surrounding the pre-marriage relationship, marriage and post-marriage are applied to the immigration rules governing spouse visas.

At this meeting we would ascertain the success rate of the application. If the success rate is low at this stage, then we advise on solutions and means to increase the success rate.

The preparation must start way before the application is submitted and we take pride in our advice and assistance that we provide to clients right from the beginning of this journey.

Case study

i. Y was in a relationship with H who had lived in the UK for the last 14 years without a legal immigration status. They have known each other for 4 months and had never lived together. They were planning to get married and make an in-country application.

During our initial consultation we advised on the best way forward – an application from outside the country, a spouse visa, rather than an in-country application which would fail on many grounds.

We advised, assisted and guided through the entire process starting from H’s voluntary departure from the UK and a subsequent successful application to re-enter the UK on a spouse visa.

ii. T is married to a Jamaican national. T is the sponsoring spouse, a British citizen. They have been married for the last 6 months. T is in full time employment. T was certain that she fulfilled the immigration requirements.
When we checked her employment history, although she was in full time employment, she had changed her jobs four times over a period of 9 months. Therefore, she had not been in a single job for a continuous 12 months or for minimum of 6 months in the current employment. We advised accordingly, and the application was lodged after fulfilling the required employment and salary criteria.

Stage 2 – Gathering documentary evidence.

Submitting the correct and pivotal information through documentary evidence is paramount for an application to be successful. At Hunters, we do not use standard lists of documents.

Our lists of documents are bespoke to cater to each individual case on its individual requirements. No spouse visa application is the same. Submitting basic documentary evidence such as your bank statements and payslips is not adequate. The documentary evidence should cover all aspects of the immigration rules to cater to the individual application. The required documents vary from case to case. Therefore, our success rate is mainly due to the meticulous submission of essential documents to cover all aspects of pre/post marriage requirements within the spouse visa application rules.

Case study

i. Z and H had been married for the last 6 years. Z was living in Eritrea. Two previous applications for a spouse visa had been rejected because Z had not passed her English test. Z and H were in a despairing situation when they instructed Hunters.

We took this matter as a challenge and submitted a fresh application with numerous documentary evidence from experts to establish that Z had made reasonable attempts to pass the English test but failed for reasons beyond her control. The application was refused on technical grounds as anticipated; English test is a compulsory requirement. Using the right of appeal, we lodged an appeal at the Tribunal. At the first-tier tribunal, the Immigration Judge accepted that the evidential and exceptional supporting documents submitted with the application was sufficient to show that Z would never be able to complete the English test successfully and the strict application of the English language requirement in this instance breached Article 8 – right to family life. The ECO therefore had a duty to put weight on the extra documentary evidence that was submitted with the application.

Client’s spouse was granted a spouse visa to enter the UK.

ii. A was the sponsoring spouse – a British citizen. L was married to A for 2 years and lived in Canada. A assumed that he was not earning £18.600 to satisfy the earning’s requirement. The couple had postponed the application for the last 2 years. at Hunters, within the initial consultation, gathered information from A.
A had a part-time job plus had a side income from a property. Having applied the formula to calculate earnings from his part time job and the extra earnings, we established that A had indeed earned more than the threshold of £18,600.

The application was successful – we submitted extensive documentary evidence to establish to the ECO that he was within the threshold. The documentary evidence included detailed statements and letters from his accountants and HMRC. A personal statement with references to items in the bank statements to establish an accumulative 12-month income of over £18,600.

Stage 3 – Online application.

We at Hunters, Solicitors acting for your case personally will complete the online application (not support staff) with direct instructions from the applicant and the sponsoring spouse and submit the online application. This is a time-consuming exercise. On average it could take around 3 to 4 hours to complete the complex online application. This service is included our one-off fee. We submit the online application with instructions both, from the sponsoring spouse in the UK and via remote access with the overseas applicant spouse. We keep to very tight time scales to avoid any delays.

Case studies

i. T and W had made an application for a spouse visa. W is the applicant entering the UK with her two minor children from her previous marriage. They have completed the online application and had assumed that the children were covered within the main application which was not the case. We were subsequently instructed and guided them to complete the online applications for the applicant and for each of her dependants.

ii. D was the sponsoring spouse and had submitted the online application by himself without legal advice. He had found the online application strenuous and omitted important information such as the previous travel dates which amounted to a substantial list. D had thought that it was not crucial information because he did not anticipated the time and the length of the application. The application was refused on technical grounds for non-disclosure of crucial information.

Stage 4 – follow-up.

We believe that this is an important stage. Our clients have access to us directly on our telephone lines and emails for updates. If there are unreasonable delays by the Entry Clearance Officer, then we ask for progress reports. We also update supporting documents if we feel that there is a need to on the individual case.

If you are planning to get married to an overseas partner or are in the process of making an application for a spouse visa, please call Hunters Solicitors for a free initial consultation.

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