Successful UK spouse visa extension upon appeal with costs recovered
The client approached us after she had prepared and submitted her UK spouse visa extension application without legal representation. She had realised too late that her visa was expiring and rushed to put in an application in order to not become an overstayer. While she knew about the spouse visa extension requirements she was meant to meet, including the one for English language, due to the shortness of time, she failed to sit the language exam and submitted her application without relevant evidence, hoping she would get it later. As at that time surrendering the passport with the application was mandatory, she was then refused access to the test and her booking was cancelled. It was at this point that she approached our team.
Even though the client had approached us with one specific issue, our team carried out full assessment of the application that had been submitted, to ensure that there was no other issues that would harm the clients case later on.
If you require assistance with your spouse visa extension call 020 3372 5125 or fill in our online enquiry form to get in touch with our spouse and family visa solicitors. Spouse visa applications are costly, do not let your money go to waste.
What are extension requirements for spouse visa?
The requirements for spouse visa extension application are very similar to that for entry clearance. To successfully apply for spouse visa extension, you must prove the following:
- Relationship requirements: overall, to meet this requirements the couple needs to remain in genuine relationship and reside in the UK together.
In the case of our client the couple was living in the UK and had ample evidence to show cohabitation and the relationship in general.
- Financial requirement: as with entry clearance applications, the extension applications too require proof of the couple meeting the financial threshold of £18,600 income per year from permitted activities.
Both our client and her sponsor husband were working and had income above the required level. She had also provided the relevant evidence.
- Adequate accommodation: with extension applications, the requirement to have adequate accommodation for the couple still needs to be met.
Our client and her husband were living in a two bedroom rented apartment which more than met their needs. She had produced the required evidence and our immigration lawyers were satisfied that this requirement too was successfully met.
- Language requirement: unlike the entry clearance applications, or rather initial leave to remain as a spouse, where language requirement is at level A1, with extension applications the applicants need to prove knowledge of English at a minimum of A2 level.
This was where our client was failing to meet the requirements, due to her inability to sit the test.
Our immigration team thoroughly assessed the client’s circumstances to understand whether there were any exceptional circumstances that would have exempted her from providing evidence for English Language knowledge. As none was identified, the team then assessed the reasons behind her late start to application which had led to her being unable to sit the test prior to submission of the application. It transpired that our client was working full time and also studying for her professional advancement, at the same time, her husband had some health issues which had also consumed a lot of her time and attention. All these factors together had led her to realise only about a week prior to the date of expiry of her visa, that she was due to submit her application. She raced to book a test, but was unable to find anything available and booked the first available one, which was after the date when she had to make her application. As she didn’t realise she will need the original of her passport, she submitted it with all her documents. Without her passport, she was then turned away from the centre and unable to sit the test.
How we helped
Our lawyers put together a detailed letter of representations, explaining her circumstances to the Home Office and how she met all other requirements. We also explained the reasons behind her inability to provide the required Language certificate. Together with these, we provided evidence of her successful professional career and the Language courses she undertook and successfully finished, for her professional work. Our lawyers requested the Home Office to either apply their discretion and accept alternative evidence of her language knowledge, or send her passport back for her to sit the exams. Unfortunately the Home Office did not respond, despite repeated letters from our lawyers. After several month of wait, the Home Office made a decision and refused her application.
Our spouse visa lawyers assessed the decision and advised the client that she had very high chance of succeeding in an immigration appeal, as the Home Office had acted directly against its own published policy by not returning the passport to allow her to sit the exam.
To find out more about how we can help you with your spouse visa application, get in touch with our immigration lawyers by calling 020 3372 5125 or filling in the online form.
Once our client gave instructions to our immigration solicitors that she wished to go ahead with the appeal, robust appeal grounds were drafted by one of our senior solicitors specialising in UK spouse applications and appeals. The next step was to lodge the appeal and then start getting ready for the future hearing. Once the appeal was lodged, we wrote to the Home Office giving them one more chance to reconsider the decision and to return her passport for the test. There was no response to this fro the Home Office and the appeal had to progress to the hearing.
Eventually the hearing date was appointed and our immigration team worked closely with the client and the barrister who would represent the client at the hearing, to prepare a the strongest possible case. With everything ready, a day before hearing, the representative of the Home Office contacted our office proposing to settle the matter. This was refused, explaining that our client had already incurred costs and that Home Office was given ample opportunity to reconsider.
On the day of hearing, the Home Office conceded to withdrawing the refusal, returning the passport to allow our client to sit the exam and making fresh decision after the certificate became available. We requested the judge to award our client her costs as the Home Office has acted in a way that resulted for wasted costs for our client.
Shortly after our client collected her passport, passed the exam and was granted her leave. She was also able to recover her full costs from the Home Office. Our client was extremely pleased with the outcome and so were our lawyers, knowing that they managed to keep a happy couple together in the UK.
For assistance with your spouse visa application or appeal, call our immigration lawyers at 020 3372 5125 or fill in the form. We offer free initial assessment for such matters.