Spouse visa refusal reasons UK: checklist of 29 possible reasons

Spouse Visa Refusal Reasons UK: Entry Clearance & Leave to RemainIn terms of Appendix FM, a spouse, civil, unmarried, same-sex partner and fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner visa may be refused due to a number of factors. Therefore, this provides the details and checklist of 29 possible UK spouse visa refusal reasons. Please note: usually, the spouse visa refuses due to failure of an applicant to meet the relationship, financial, maintenance, accommodation, English language requirements. However, there are also a bunch of other less common but possible spouse visa refusal reasons.

A checklist of 29 possible UK spouse visa refusal reasons

Perhaps, spouse visa refused due to the following possible refusal reasons under Appendix FM:

  1. Inability to meet the definition of ‘Partner’ under Appendix FM
  2. Spouse visa refused due to ‘immigration status of the sponsor’
  3. Spouse visa refused due to Age of the applicant or sponsor
  4. UK spouse visa refused due to the degree of relationship
  5. Spouse visa refused due to failure to meet in person
  6. UK spouse visa refusal reasons and relationship requirements
  7. Inadequate valid evidence of marriage or civil partnership
  8. The previous relationship has not broken down permanently
  9. Doubtful intentions to live together permanently in the UK
  10. The purpose of the fiancé(e) visa is doubtful
  11. The inadequate immigration status of the applicant
  12. UK Spouse visa refusal reasons due to financial requirements
  13. UK spouse visa refusal reasons due to inadequate maintenance
  14. Spouse visa refused due to inadequate accommodation
  15. UK spouse visa refused due to the English language requirement
  16. Presence of an applicant is not conducive to the Public Good
  17. UK spouse visa refusal reasons due to a deportation order
  18. UK spouse visa refusal reason due to criminality
  19. Spouse visa refused due to conduct, character, associations
  20. UK spouse visa refusal reasons due to non-compliance
  21. UK Spouse visa refusal reasons on medical grounds
  22. The applicant left or removed with a conditional caution
  23. False representation and failure to disclose material facts
  24. Spouse visa refused due to the sponsor’s undertaking
  25. Refusal due to non-compliance with the investigation
  26. Spouse visa refused due to deception in a previous application
  27. Failure to pay litigation costs to the Home Office
  28. Failure to pay an outstanding charge to the NHS
  29. Current partner is not the same as at the last grant of leave

UK spouse, unmarried, fiancé(e) visa refusal reasons

There are many common reasons for UK spouse visa refusal such as the inability of an application to prove he/she comes within the definition of spouse/partner, which is the basis of a spouse/partner visa application.

Similarly, refusal reasons relate to the immigration status of partner, age, degree of relationship, genuine and subsisting relationship, the validity of a marriage or civil partnership, the previous relationship, intention to live together permanently in the UK, immigration status of the applicant for extension applications, inability of an applicant to meet financial requirement, adequate maintenance and accommodation, and English language requirement.

Moreover, a spouse visa application can also be refused due to suitability and general grounds such as applicant is not conducive to the public good, a refusal on the basis of a deportation order, criminality, conduct, character and associations, false representation and failure to disclose material facts, current partner is not the same as at the last grant of leave.

1) Inability to meet the definition of ‘Partner’ under Appendix FM

The UK spouse/partner visa is applied for entry clearance or leave to remain on the basis of applicant’s relationship with the UK sponsor/partner and the requirements for entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner/spouse are set out in section EC-P or R-LTRP of Appendix FM, respectively. For the purposes of that section, a “partner” is defined in paragraph GEN.1.2. of Appendix FM as the applicant’s spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, or a person who has been living together with the applicant in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application.

Therefore, if from the information provided by the applicant the immigration concludes that the applicant does not meet the criteria under GEN.1.2. and does not fulfil the definition of a partner and cannot meet the requirements of section EC- P or R-LTRP then an entry clearance or leave to remain application is refused under paragraph D-ECP.1.2. or D-LTRP.1.3. of Appendix FM, respectively.

2) Spouse visa refused due to ‘immigration status of the sponsor’

An application for entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner/spouse under paragraph E-ECP.2.1. or E- LTRP.1.2. of Appendix FM, respectively, if the Immigration Status of an applicant’s partner/sponsor does not fulfil any of the following criteria:

  • in the UK or returning to the United Kingdom with the applicant as his/her partner or spouse;
  • a British citizen;
  • present and settled in the United Kingdom;
  • being admitted for settlement on the same occasion with the applicant;
  • in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection.

The Immigration Status of EEA National of a Non-EEA Partner

If an applicant has applied for leave to remain on the basis of relationship with his/her EEA (Non-EEA) partner/spouse, then for the purposes of Appendix FM, “present and settled” or “present and settled in the UK” is defined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules, which states that the EEA (Non-EEA) partner must hold a valid residence permit issued under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2000 that has been endorsed under the Immigration Rules to show permission to remain in the UK indefinitely, or a valid document certifying permanent residence issued under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 or 2016, in order to be recognised as present and settled in the UK.

Therefore, if from the information provided by the applicant the immigration officer concludes that an applicant’s EEA (Non-EEA) partner/spouse does not meet the criteria of “present and settled” under paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules then the application is refused under paragraph E-LTRP.1.2. of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules.

3) Spouse visa refused due to Age of the applicant or sponsor

If an applicant is under the age of 18 at the date of application, then an entry clearance or leave to remain application as a spouse/partner of a UK sponsor is refused under paragraph E-ECP.2.2. or E-LTRP.1.3. of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules, respectively.

If an applicant’s partner is under the age of 18 at the date of an entry clearance or a leave to remain application then the application is refused under paragraph E-ECP.2.3. or E-TRP.1.4. of Appendix FM, respectively.

4) UK spouse visa refused due to the degree of relationship

If the immigration officer deems an applicant’s relationship with the UK partner/spouse within the prohibited degree of relationship as defined by the Marriage Act 1949, the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act 1986 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004 then an entry clearance or leave to remain application as a spouse/partner is refused under paragraph E-ECP.2.4. or E- LTRP.1.5. of Appendix FM, respectively.

5) Spouse visa refused due to failure to meet in person

If the immigration either not able to verify or accepts due to certain reason(s) that an applicant has not met in person with the UK sponsor/partner then an entry clearance or leave to remain application as a spouse/partner of a UK sponsor is refused under paragraph E-ECP.2.5. or E-LTRP.1.6. of Appendix FM, respectively.

6) UK spouse visa refusal reasons and relationship requirements

If the immigration officer does not accept that an applicant’s relationship with UK partner/spouse is genuine and subsisting then the specific reasons will be stated in the refusal and a spouse/partner visa application for entry clearance or leave to remain will be refused under paragraph E-ECP.2.6. or E-LTRP.1.7. of Appendix FM, respectively. Perhaps, a genuine and subsisting relationship is usually a combination of the following factors:

Long-Term Relationship

The applicant is in a current and long-term relationship with the UK sponsor and can provide evidence to this end.

Evidence of Cohabitation

The applicant is cohabiting with the UK partner/spouse and is able to provide satisfactory documentary evidence.

Children

The applicant has biological children together with the UK partner/spouse and shared responsibility for them (and also for any adopted or step-children).

Joint Financial Responsibilities

The applicant shares financial responsibilities such as paying for mortgages, utility bills or tenancy, operating a joint bank account with the UK partner/spouse.

Visiting Other’s Home Country and Family

The applicant or the partner has travelled to other’s home country and met with family members and can provide evidence of this.

Here it is important to note that the fact that an applicant has never visited the United Kingdom is not regarded as a negative factor, but as stated above, it is a requirement of the Immigration Rules that the couple has met in person.

Arranged Marriage

The couple, or their families acting on their behalf, have made definite plans concerning the practicalities of the couple living together in the United Kingdom. In the case of an arranged marriage, the couple both consent to the marriage and agree with the plans made by their families.

7) Inadequate valid evidence of marriage or civil partnership

For establishing the validity of a marriage or civil partnership in an application for entry clearance or leave to remain as a spouse/partner of a UK sponsor, an applicant needs to provide the specified evidence as required by paragraph 22, 24 or 26 of Appendix FM-SE to the Immigration Rules. A failure to do so would deem the marriage or civil partnership invalid for entry clearance or leave to remain application as a spouse/partner of a UK sponsor/partner under E-ECP.2.7. or E-LTRP.1.8. of Appendix FM, respectively. Moreover, an application will be refused on the aforesaid grounds if the evidence furnish is not acceptable. However, the ECO needs to explain the refusal reasons in the spouse visa refusal letter.

8) The previous relationship has not broken down permanently

For establishing that the previous relationship has been broken down permanently and the relationship is not polygamous for an entry clearance or leave to remain application as a spouse/partner of a UK sponsor, an applicant needs to provide the specified evidence as required by paragraph 23, 25 or 26 of Appendix FM-SE to the Immigration Rules. A failure to do so would attract a refusal of entry clearance or leave to remain application as a spouse/partner of a UK sponsor/partner under E-ECP.2.9. or E-LTRP.1.9. of Appendix FM, respectively.

The refusal letter may refer to the date of previous marriage or civil partnership with the previous spouse/partner; however, the applicant has not provided the evidence specified in paragraph 23 or 25 or 26 of Appendix FM-SE to the Immigration Rules that concludes that the applicant’s previous marriage or civil partnership with the previous spouse or partner has been dissolved. There is no evidence that this is a polygamous relationship that falls within paragraph 278(i) of the Immigration Rules.

Fiancé(e) or Proposed Civil Partner

It is essential for grant of an entry clearance visa as a Fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner for marriage or civil partnership in the UK that neither the applicant nor partner is still married to, or in a civil partnership with, another person at the date of the entry clearance application.

If either the applicant or the partner in the UK has been married or in a civil partnership with another person then the applicant is required to provide acceptable evidence that the previous marriage/civil partnership has ended to enable the proposed marriage/civil partnership to take place.

A failure to provide the specified evidence would attract a refusal under paragraph E-ECP.2.9.(ii) of Appendix FM.

9) Doubtful intentions to live together permanently in the UK

If the immigration officer does not accept that either an applicant or his/her UK spouse either intend to live together or have been living together permanently in the UK then a spouse/partner visa application for entry clearance or leave to remain will be refused under paragraph E-ECP.2.10. or E-LTRP.1.10, respectively. The ECO will explain the reasons for this end in the refusal letter.

10) The purpose of the fiancé(e) visa is doubtful

Since the sole purpose of entry clearance application as Fiancé(e) or Proposed Civil Partner is to enable marriage or civil partnership to take place. Therefore, if the immigration office is not satisfied that an applicant is seeking entry to the UK to enable his/her marriage or civil partnership to take place with the UK sponsor then the application is refused under E- ECP.2.8. of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules.

Fiancé(e) visa extension refusal as marriage does not take place

If an applicant was last granted entry clearance to the UK as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner; however, the marriage or civil partnership did not take place during the 6 month period of that entry clearance then in terms of E-LTRP.1.11. of Appendix FM if the applicant has a good reason and evidence that the proposed marriage or civil partnership will take in the next six months then he/she can apply for Marriage or Civil Partnership Visa Extension.

11) The inadequate immigration status of the applicant

In order to qualify for leave to remain as a spouse/partner, an applicant must not be an overstayer, on immigration bail, temporary admission, temporary release and in breach of immigration laws. A failure to do so would attract a UK spouse visa refusal reasons under paragraph E-LTRP.2.2. of Appendix FM.

12) UK Spouse visa refusal reasons due to financial requirements

If an applicant fails to meet the financial requirements in terms of Appendix FM then the refusal letter will state that the applicant has not met the required level of income or cash savings necessary in his/her circumstances and the Secretary of State is not satisfied that the applicant has met the financial requirement.

UK spouse visa refusal reasons due to inadequate evidence

If an applicant has either not provided the specified evidence or covered the specified period in terms of Appendix FM-SE, then the refusal letter will state that in view of the fact that the applicant has not provided the specified evidence or the necessary evidence for the specified periods as required in Appendix FM-SE to the Immigration Rules, therefore, the Secretary of State is not satisfied that the applicant has met the financial requirement.

13) UK spouse visa refusal reasons due to inadequate maintenance

If the applicant has not been able to meet the adequate maintenance then an entry clearance or a leave to remain application as a spouse/partner is refused under paragraph E-ECP. 3.3.(b) or E-LTRP. 3.3.(b). of Appendix FM, respectively.

The refusal letter will state that the applicant has failed to demonstrate that there will be ‘adequate’ maintenance for himself/herself, spouse/partner and any dependants without recourse to public funds.

The refusal letter will further state that the calculation below sets out the applicant’s net income after accommodation costs have been deducted. These figures demonstrate that an applicant’s net income after accommodation costs have been deducted, is less than the level a British family of that size would be entitled to under Income Support.

Projected Income Calculation

The following formula has been used to calculate the income available to maintain applicant, his/her partner/spouse (and dependents) in the UK, taking into account the details of projected income and accommodation costs provided an applicant in the application:

A – B ≥ C i.e. A minus B is greater than or equal to C. Where:

  • B is what needs to be spent on accommodation; and
  • A is the projected income (after deduction of income tax and national
    insurance contributions);
  • C is the Income Support equivalent for a British family of that size.

Income support equivalent calculation

The refusal letter will also state that based on the current benefit and tax rates it is apparent that applicant’s net income after accommodation costs have been deducted is less than would be available to a British family of equivalent size. It is therefore found that the applicant does not have ‘adequate’ maintenance to support himself/herself, spouse/partner (and any dependants) in the UK.

14) Spouse visa refused due to inadequate accommodation

As per paragraph E- ECP. 3.4. and E-LTRP. 3.4. of Appendix FM for entry clearance and a leave to remain application, respectively, as a spouse/partner of a UK sponsor, is required to provide evidence that adequate accommodation, without recourse to public funds, will be available for applicant’s family.

An applicant is refused if an applicant either failed to provide the evidence or the evidence does not demonstrate that adequate accommodation without recourse to public funds will be available for the applicant’s family in the UK.

15) UK spouse visa refused due to English language requirement

If an applicant is not able to fulfil English Language Requirement, then the applications for entry clearance, leave to remain and further leave to remain are usually refused under E-ECP.4.1. E-ECP.4.2., E-LTRP.4.1., E-LTRP.4.1A. and E-LTRP.4.2. of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules and paragraphs 32B, 32C and 32D of Appendix FM-SE to the Immigration Rules.

16) Presence of an applicant is not conducive to the Public Good

If an applicant fails to meet the requirements for entry clearance as a partner because paragraph S-EC.1.2 of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules applies then the application is refused with the reason that the Secretary of State has personally directed applicant’s exclusion from the UK Kingdom is conducive to the public good.

17) UK spouse visa refusal reasons due to deportation order

If on the date of application, the applicant was subject to a deportation order then an entry clearance or leave to remain application as a partner/spouse is refused under paragraph S- EC.1.3. or S-LTR.1.2. of Appendix FM.

18) UK spouse visa refusal reason due to criminality

An entry clearance application as a partner/spouse is refused on Criminality & General Grounds for Refusal under S-EC.1.4 and S-EC.2.5 of Appendix FM; whereas, a leave to remain application of a spouse/partner is refused on the basis of criminality under paragraph S-LTR.1.3.-1.5 of Appendix FM.

19) Spouse visa refused due to conduct, character, associations

If an applicant fails to meet the requirements for entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner/spouse under paragraph S-EC.1.5 or S- LTR.1.6 of Appendix FM, respectively then UK spouse visa refusal reasons may state an applicant’s exclusion from the United Kingdom is conducive to the public good due to conduct, character, associations or other reasons. This makes it undesirable to grant either entry clearance or leave to remain – and may also include convictions that do not fall within the purview of paragraph S-EC.1.4. or S- LTR.1.3. to S-LTR.1.5.

20) UK spouse visa refusal reasons due to non-compliance

If an applicant fails to attend an interview, provide information, provide physical data, undergo a medical examination or provide a medical report then an application for entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner/spouse is refused under paragraph S-EC.1.6. or S-LTR.1.7. of Appendix FM, respectively.

If an applicant has given a reason then in the refusal letter provides an explanation that why the reason is not accepted. In case an applicant has not responded then the refusal letter states that the applicant has failed to comply with the requirement without giving any reasonable excuse.

21) UK Spouse visa refusal reasons on medical grounds

If an applicant fails to meet the requirements for entry clearance as a partner/spouse under paragraph S-EC.1.7 of Appendix FM then the application is refused on medical grounds. The refusal letter may state that the ECO has received a medical report from the Medical Referee of the applicant and the ECO has concluded that on medical reasons it is undesirable to admit the applicant to the UK.

22) The applicant left or removed with a conditional caution

If an applicant either left or was removed from the UK with a Conditional Caution issued by a constable, an investigating officer, or a person authorised by a relevant prosecutor in accordance with section 22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003  and it has been less than 5 years since the caution was issued then an entry clearance application as a UK partner/spouse is refused under paragraph S-EC.1.8 of Appendix FM.

23) False representation and failure to disclose material facts

If an applicant fails to meet the requirements for either entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK as a partner/spouse under paragraph S-EC.2.2.(a) or S-LTR.2.2.(a) of Appendix FM, respectively, then the refusal letter states the nature of false document, representations, or information, which has been furnished in support of your application. The refusal letter also provides the explanation of assessing and terming such documents, information or representations as false.

If an applicant fails to meet the requirements for either entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK as a partner/spouse under paragraph S-EC.2.2.(b) or S-LTR.2.2.(b) of Appendix FM, respectively, then the refusal letter may state that the applicant failed to disclose the material facts and provide the details i.e. which material facts the applicant did not disclose in the application, along with the reasons for not disclosing the material facts.

Since under the Rules an ECO can use discretion if the ECO deems appropriate. So, if the ECO has considered about using discretion but finally decided not to use it then can add that exercise of discretion is not appropriate on this occasion, along with the reasons of not exercising discretion.

24) Spouse visa refused due to the sponsor’s undertaking

If the immigration officer has requested the sponsor to provide the maintenance and accommodation undertaking under paragraph 35 of the Immigration Rules or otherwise, but the sponsor did not provide any such undertaking then the application for entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner/spouse is refused under paragraph S-EC.2.4. or S- LTR.2.4. of Appendix FM, respectively.

25) Refusal due to non-compliance with the investigation

If an applicant or the UK partner/sponsor has not complied with the investigation u/s 50(7)(b) of the Immigration Act 2014 of their proposed marriage or civil partnership then the leave to remain application as spouse/partner is refused under paragraph S-LTR.2.5. of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules.

The refusal letter usually states the date on which the Secretary of State gave notice to the applicant or his/her partner under section 50(7)(b) of the Immigration Act 2014 and either one or both of respondents did not comply with the investigation of the proposed marriage or civil partnership.

26) Previous UK Spouse visa application refused due to deception

A leave to remain application as a spouse/partner is refused under paragraph S-LTR.4.2. of Appendix FM if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the applicant has either made false representations or failed to disclose material facts for the purpose of obtaining a leave to enter or a previous variation of leave or in order to obtain documents from the Secretary of State or a third party in support of the application for leave to enter or a previous variation of leave.

Use of deception and spouse visa refusal reasons

A leave to remain application as a spouse/partner is refused under paragraph S-LTR.4.3. of Appendix FM if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the applicant has either made false representations or failed to disclose material facts for the purpose of obtaining a document indicating that the applicant has a right to reside in the UK.

Usually, the refusal letter provides details of the UK spouse visa refusal reasons due to deception in a previous application. Moreover, the refusal letter may further state that the Secretary of State deems that this refusal is appropriate. And it is not possible to exercise discretion in favour of the applicant.

27) Failure to pay litigation costs to the Home Office

A leave to enter or remain application as a spouse/partner is refused under paragraph S-EC.3.1. or S-LTR.4.3. of Appendix FM, respectively, if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the applicant has failed to pay outstanding litigation costs awarded to the Home Office.

28) Failure to pay an outstanding charge to the NHS

A leave to enter or remain application as a spouse/partner is refused under paragraph S-EC.3.2. or S-LTR.4.4. of Appendix FM, respectively, if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the applicant has failed to pay an outstanding charge or charges with a total value of at least £500 in respect of National Health Service (NHS) treatment that the applicant has received. This is in accordance with the relevant NHS regulations on charges for overseas visitors. And on basis of on evidence received from the relevant NHS body.

29) Current partner is not the same as at the last grant of leave

A spouse visa extension or ILR application refuses under paragraph E-LTRP.1.10. or E-ILRP.1.4. of Appendix FM if an applicant applies on the basis of a partner who is not the same partner with whom the applicant applied for the previous grant of leave.

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