Marriage & Domestic Violence

Marriage to a UK Sponsor

As is well known marriage can form the basis of an application for entry, residence and settlement in the United Kingdom. We provide a high quality and fearless service on behalf of those who seek to remain in the United Kingdom as part of our Immigration Services to Individuals package, where you can see Regent 6 Unbreakable Promises to individual clients.

The most common form of case are applications made from abroad to join a UK based spouse where the marriage has occurred abroad. (where both spouses are already in the United Kingdom already and are in a committed relationship, we can assist, see the section on human rights).

This form of immigration application is made currently on the basis of Rule 281 of the Immigration Rules. Although the full rule is not repeated here, you need to be aware of both what the rule states and the most common forms of refusal. The rule can be broken down as follows:

· You must show the immigration authorities that both partners must be over 21 years of age; if either is not 21 please contact our experienced Immigration Lawyers who will be able to advise further;
· You must show the immigration authorities that the UK based partner will live and be settled here or be returning to settle here;
· You must show the immigration authorities proof that you are married legally to each other;
· You must show the immigration authorities that you intend to live together in the same home as husband and wife;
· You must show the immigration authorities that you have both actually met each other (usually before the marriage has taken place;
· You must show the immigration authorities that you can support yourselves and pay for the upkeep of any dependants without the need of public benefits;
· You must show the immigration authorities that you have suitable accommodation where you, your partner and any dependents can live without it being overcrowded and making sure you have a private space, usually a bedroom for your own use.

Our experienced Immigration lawyers are aware that the vast majority of refusals take place on the basis that the:
· immigration authorities are not satisfied that you can support yourselves and pay for the upkeep of any dependants without the need of public benefits;
· Immigration authorities are not satisfied that you intend to live together in the same home as husband and wife.

Common incorrect perceptionsabout the above points include

The belief that just because a couple are willing to promise that they will not accept benefits, that will be enough. It is not. The couple needs to show that they can live as a British National would above the levels that income support would normally be required.

· It is also thought that family members or other friends can help with finance to overcome this rule. They cannot. They can assist with accommodation but not finance.
· If the couple confirm that they intend to live together that will be enough, it is not usually, evidence of the couple’s history together are often useful, Crucial is documentary evidence of contact, such as telephone records, letters, emails and even text message print outs. Our experienced immigration lawyers are best placed to advise on innovate ways of proving this to the immigration authorities or to an immigration judge.

Our experienced immigration lawyers are on hand to assist in making the application in the first place and advising on how to put the application in a manner that shows it in the strongest light and also assist with appeals.

Common incorrect perceptions about the above points include

Some cultures allow for more than one wife to be had by a man at the same time. The United Kingdom does not allow for this in its immigration and non-immigration rules. If you have more than one wife, only one can come to the United Kingdom under this immigration rule.

Your husband, wife or civil partner must obtain permission to enter the United Kingdom before travelling here. Couples who are here who are seeking to avoid being split or want to regularise their stay can either return to their country of origin.

When your husband, wife or civil partner arrives in the United Kingdom, he/she will be given permission to live and work here for two years.

During this period it is important to continue to gather evidence as this period is only probationary. Near the end of the two years, if you are still married or in a civil partnership and plan to continue to live together, your husband, wife or civil partner may apply to live here permanently. See for indefinite leave and citizenship for details of how to apply for permanent residence.

If your spouse dies during the two years or the marriage breaks down as a result domestic violence our leading immigration lawyers can, in most cases, ensure a successful application for indefinite leave.

In some cases, we apply to have your husband, wife or civil partner permission to live permanently in the United Kingdom, without the need for a probationary period as soon as he/she arrives. Contact our experienced immigration lawyers for further detailed advice.

Applications can be made by the spouses of British citizens, UK permanent residents, European Economic Area nationals who are living in the United Kingdom and of other nationals who have certain types of limited stay in the United Kingdom. Again our experienced immigration lawyers are on hand to advise.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence cases can raise difficult issues, with clients often concerned about their physical safety and the breakdown as their relationship as much as their immigration status.

The UKBA allow those whose immigrant spouses whose marriages have broken down as a result of domestic violence to remain in the UK if other conditions are also met.

As discussed more fully in the marriage page of this site, foreign spouses coming to the UK before 9th July 2012 to join UK national spouses are initially given 2 years permission to enter the UK as a spouse. Upon the completion of the two years, the foreign spouse is given permanent stay in the United Kingdom.

If the marriage breaks down in that two year period then the immigration rules do not provide a mechanism for the foreign spouse to remain in the UK.

The exception to this is where the marriage has broken down as a result of domestic violence on the part of the UK based sponsor. In those circumstances, the foreign spouse can, when here 2 year period in the UK make an application to remain on that basis.

As with most immigration rules, the desire to prevent fraudulent claims of domestic violence raises restrictions on who can apply.

The full text of the immigration rules can be obtained by contacting Regent, but in summary the rules require that the domestic violence must have occurred during the two year period and must have been the cause of the breakdown of the marriage.

The domestic violence rules for immigration matters that take place after 9th July 2012 are largely similar. The major difference being that the probationary period is 5 years, split into 2 periods of 2.5 years each.

There is no requirement as to the severity of violence (within reason), further there is no need for there to have been a divorce and a man can claim domestic violence as much as women, although clearly the credibility of such a claim may well be in doubt and tested by the Immigration authorities.

Once aspect of the law that does cause immigration solicitors and immigration lawyers some particular concern is the requirement as to evidence. These can be both complex and strict. As immigration lawyers should be quick to point out, the allegation of domestic violence is not enough to make out the case, specific forms of evidence are required to prove domestic violence.

Regent are on hand to assist. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, our immigration lawyers will be able to help in a safe and discreet environment.