Spouse Visa UK: What is a ‘sham marriage’?
The UK Spouse Visa is notorious for high refusal rates and unprecedented speculation on behalf of
the Home Office. Immigration enforcement has gate-crashed weddings and generally invaded
people’s personal lives when investigating so-called ‘sham marriages’.
But what is a sham marriage and why is it relevant to Spouse Visa applicants?
A sham or a scam?
The first point to consider is that the UK Spouse Visa rules dictate the applicants must be in a
genuine, long-lasting relationship. As a result of this requirement, UKVI will dig deeply into your
relationship to establish its sincerity. If, for any reason, the decision-maker perceives the relationship
to be a ‘sham’, it will result in a visa refusal.
The definition of a sham marriage is one in which a couple chooses to marry for the sole purpose of
an immigration advantage. Indeed, a UK Spouse Visa will allow any non-British individual to move to
the UK and seek settlement after a mere five years. Seeking a Spouse Visa when you’re not really the
spouse of a British national is considered a direct abuse of the immigration rules. If the couple are
not genuinely together, UKVI will consider the relationship fraudulent and the application itself
deceptive. You may even be banned for a certain amount of time from applying again.
Similar to a sham marriage, however, is a ‘marriage of convenience’. Here the couple may genuinely
be together, but decide to marry for the purpose of a visa. This is much harder for UKVI to prove, but
nonetheless stresses how crucial it is to hire an immigration professional: you wouldn’t want to slip
up casually that you had planned to marry for visa purposes.
Through the eyes of UKVI, sham marriages and marriages of convenience are virtually the same.
Therefore, applicants must be vigilant when it comes to proving that they are in a genuine
How to pass the ‘genuine relationship’ test
Part and parcel of proving to the UK Government that the relationship is real involves submitting
evidence of having met at least once, proof of a legally binding marriage (with a certificate) and a
declaration that the couple intends to live together under the same roof in the UK. To build a
compelling case, applicants may submit years of evidence of their relationship such as travel tickets
and holidays taken together, text message exchanges and photographs together.
It is important to note that even having children and being married will not guarantee a successful
Spouse Visa application.
How can 1 Absolute Advisor help?
Our immigration lawyers in London are well versed in the UK Spouse Visa rules. We know exactly
what UKVI is looking for when it assesses your relationship and how you can prove you are genuinely
together. Don’t be a victim of UK Spouse Visa Sham Marriage
By hiring an immigration professional, you can mitigate against the high risk of a visa refusal. We will
even help you to build a compelling portfolio of supporting evidence which documents your
relationship from the day you first met.
If you need help with your Spouse Visa UK application, get in touch with 1 Absolute Advisor today on
0207 993 6762.