What is a Marriage of Convenience?

What is a Marriage of ConvenienceThe Home Office suspects that my marriage is a sham – What does ‘Genuine and Subsisting’ mean?

Harneet Manku, a specialist Immigration Lawyer at Vienna Kang Advocates, answers a number of key questions regularly asked by clients:

What is a marriage of convenience?

A marriage of convenience is also referred to as a sham marriage or a contract marriage.

If the Home Office believes that the main purpose of your marriage was to get a visa to live in the UK, your application will be refused.  To avoid a refusal on this ground, you must prove to the Home Office that your marriage is ‘genuine and subsisting’.

What is a ‘genuine and subsisting’ marriage?

The Home Office does not provide a definition of ‘genuine and subsisting’. A genuine marriage is a marriage that:

  • has been legally registered;
  • did not take place to help one of the partners get a visa; and
  • both partners want to stay married for a long time.

How do I prove my marriage is ‘genuine and subsisting’?

The Home Office requires applicants for a visa to provide documentary evidence which supports a claim that a marriage is genuine and subsisting.

What documents do I need to prove my marriage is genuine and subsisting, and not a marriage of convenience?

The Home Office provides limited guidance on the documents you should provide to support your application for a visa.

Although it is compulsory for applicants to provide their marriage certificate with their application, a marriage certificate alone is not enough. In many cases, written representations will also be of assistance.

At Vienna Kang Advocates, our specialist Immigration Lawyers recognise that no two cases are the same. With careful consideration of your individual circumstances, our highly experienced immigration team can advise you precisely what you will need to submit as well as providing full representations on your behalf.

Why do the Home Office believe my marriage is not genuine and subsisting but a marriage of convenience?

There are many reasons for this. It may be that you and your spouse:

  • are from different cultural backgrounds;
  • cannot communicate fluently in a mutual language;
  • have a large age gap between yourselves;
  • were interviewed by the Home Office about your marriage, but your answers did not match each other’s.

You may also have not provided enough evidence to prove your marriage is genuine and subsisting.

In the vast majority of cases, when the Home Office state in writing that they believe your marriage is not genuine and subsisting, they will also set out their reasons for coming to this conclusion.

Our specialist Immigration Lawyers can look at the information provided by the Home Office and advise you on your next steps.

My visa has been refused because the Home Office think my marriage is a marriage of convenience. What can I do?

If you are accused of entering into a marriage of convenience, not only will your visa be refused but you could face criminal proceedings and deportation from the UK.

In most cases you will be granted a right of appeal. This means you can appeal the decision. If you are applying from inside the UK, you must file your appeal within 14 days from the date you received the refusal. If you are appealing from outside the UK, you must file your appeal within 28 days from the date you received the refusal.

It is essential to observe these timeframes as they may be varied in only very limited circumstances.

Our team of specialist Immigration Lawyers provide urgent advice on appealing against visa application refusals and how best to prove that your marriage is genuine and subsisting.

Call us on 0121 726 9116 for a free confidential chat to see how we can help or alternatively click here to send us a message and one of our specialist Immigration Solicitors will call you.