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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7600
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My unmarried application was refused based on not living together

Customer Question

My unmarried application was refused based on not living together for a period of 2 years. we got engaged last year (25th oct 2010). I need your advise.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.


Thanks for your question.

To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following:-

  • 1. What nationality are you
  • 2. Where are you
  • 3. If in the UK, please state your present immigration status

Kind regards.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hello Tom,

I am from Nigeria. Currently residing in Nottinghamshire county. As stated, my application got refused on Tuesday (11/10/2011).
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.



I note your application has been refused, but what was your status in this country before you submitted your application - what visa did you hold or were you illegal?


What nationality us your partner and what is their immigration status in the UK?


Kind regards.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was on Post Study work visa which ran out on 1 oct 2011 after I submitted my application. My partner is a British citizen.
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.



When do you intend to marry?


How long have you actually been living for?


Kind regards,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We intend to get married by October next year. I moved into her house on the 18th of oct 2010. Before I moved in, I was living in her house but kept goin back to manchester for job interview. On my bank statment, it say 18 of october. So the ECO classed it as the day I started living there.
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

Regardless of what the ECO considers your move in date to be, when do you consider that you first started cohabiting?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
In Aug 2010.
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.




Thanks for your reply.

If even you do not consider that you have been living together for the required 2 years then there is no point whatsoever in appealing the decision. The requirement is very strictly enforced and you would not be successful in arguing on the basis of 14 months cohabitation, even if they accepted your earlier start of cohabitation.


Instead I would spend the money you would have spent on the appeal on instructing a solicitor to prepare an out of country fiancé or spouse visa for you to submit from your home country. You will not have any leave to remain once you do not appeal and therefore the UKBA would not entertain an in country application.

You can either marry here in the UK and then apply directly for a spouses visa at the UK embassy in your home country; Once application, one application fee.

Alternatively, you can apply for a fiance visa so that you can return here specifically for the purpose of marrying. Once married you would then have to apply for a spouses visa (settlement). Two applications, two application fees.


The eligibility criteria is largely similar for both applications.The advantage is that if your fiance visa is refused then you are not married. If you marry and you spouses visa application is refused initially and then on appeal then you are stuck being married but in different countries.


Here is the criteria you would need to fulfill for a fiance visa, as I say the criteria is largely the same for a spouses visa. If you meet this you will almost certainly not be refused a spouses visa:-


  • You plan to marry within 6 months of her arriving here
  • You plan to live permanently together here
  • You have met each other
  • You can support each other without the need for public funds
  • You have suitable accommodation which is owned or lived in only by you or your household and where you and your dependents can live without any help from public funds
  • That neither of you are younger than 21 years of age. (birth certificates, passports)

You have to produce to the UKBA documentation that proves the above. This would be some of the following:-

  • If you are to apply for a fiancé visa you will have to show evidence of your intention to marry, so things like purchase of a ring, evidence of having met (photos correspondence etc), booking of a wedding venue, evidence of invites etc.
  • Bank statements from both you and your wife going back 6 months showing the income/capital you have available
  • Payslips (6 month of) and a letter from your employer stating that you have a permanent job, contract of employment
  • Documentary evidence of any other assets you hold (eg. Shares, evidence of ISAs or bonds)
  • Marriage certificate, Birth Certificate, passport
  • Evidence of correspondence between you and your wife showing that the relationship is credible and genuine (eg. Emails, letters, evidence of previous trips, photos showing you together, phone records
  • Evidence of the accommodation where you will live (ie. land registry officials copies of the property that you own, mortgage documentation, copy tenancy agreement if you rent, council tax statements, house report by a solicitor, letter from landlord confirm he is happy to give you a further tenancy agreement
  • Evidence that you can speak English:
  • You should also include job adverts showing jobs available that you could do when you come here and show, via your CV, that you have the qualifications and work experience that you would be a viable candidate for those roles

Further information here:-



The application will have to be supported by evidence proving the above eligibility criteria. They key to a successful application is producing well-collated documentary evidence for the above criteria. You will also have to produce statements made by both of you explaining and supporting how you meet the eligibility criteria.


You will need to apply for fiance/spouses visa using form VAF4 which is available for download from the UKBA website



You should consider instructing a immigration solicitor based here in the UK to prepare an application for her (whichever way you decide to do it). You can find local solicitors via:-

It should cost around £1000-1500+ VAT. It will save you money in the long run, in all probability.


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I will answer your follow up questions you may have.

Kind regards,


Thomas and 2 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I still want to lodge an appeal regarding my issue. As I don't know how to go about it.
My Miss birthday is on the 23rd of this month, if I don't lodge this appeal, I would be removed from the country before her day. If you could help in providing a sample letter of appeal which will guide me. It would be appreciated.
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.
There is literally no point in you appealing, you will just spend money getting someone to represent yourself and then be left in the same position as you are now.

An overstated alone is not sufficient grounds to refuse a fiance/spouse visa when you make the application.

Kind regards