Requirement for a Genuine and Subsisting Relationship

Requirement for a Genuine and Subsisting Relationship

Numerous UK visa pathways, including the Spouse Visa, Civil Partner Visa, and Unmarried Partner Visa, necessitate applicants to prove the authenticity and continuity of their relationship. Dependents of individuals residing in the UK under work or study-based routes must also establish a “genuine and subsisting relationship” when seeking a dependent visa. This requirement holds significant weight, as it often forms the cornerstone of many applications. Furthermore, if married applicants fail to demonstrate the genuineness of their marriage, it may raise suspicions that their union was orchestrated solely to bypass immigration regulations.

While certain aspects of the immigration rules are stringent in delineating the specific documents needed to fulfil various criteria, there are no mandatory documents or facts that you must present to demonstrate that your relationship is ‘genuine and subsisting’.

Given this, it’s understandable that applicants may find the lack of detail frustrating. However, in many respects, it’s beneficial that the Home Office doesn’t aim to overly define what constitutes a genuine and subsisting relationship. Relationships vary widely, and the Home Office acknowledges that it cannot prescribe a specific formula for them.

Decisions regarding whether a relationship is genuine and subsisting are made on a case-by-case basis, considering all available evidence and individual circumstances.Various factors may be taken into account by decision-makers when assessing the nature of a couple’s relationship, specifically focusing on whether it is genuine and subsisting. These factors include, but are not limited to, evidence such as:

  • They are currently in a long-term relationship.
  • They have been or are currently living together.
  • They have children together (biological, adopted, or stepchildren) and share responsibility for them.
  • They share financial responsibilities, such as a joint mortgage or tenancy agreement, a joint bank account, savings, and utility bills, in both of their names.
  • The applicant, their partner, or both have visited the other’s home country and family, and can provide evidence of this. (The fact that an applicant has never visited the UK must not be regarded as a negative factor, but it is a requirement of the Immigration Rules that the couple have met in person.)
  • They, or their families acting on their behalf, have made definite plans concerning the practicalities of the couple living together in the UK.
  • In the case of an arranged marriage, both individuals consent to the marriage and agree to the plans made by their families.

Case law on this topic also provides further insight into what may be expected from a ‘genuine and subsisting relationship’. In Naz (subsisting marriage – standard of proof) [2012] UKUT 40, the Entry Clearance Officer refused the application because:

“It is reasonable to expect that in a genuine, subsisting, supporting, and affectionate relationship… there would be significant evidence of regular contact, signs of companionship, emotional support, affection, and abiding interest in each other’s welfare and well-being…I am not satisfied that you have genuinely formed a relationship that is durable with outward signs of affection and companionship.” – para. 3

If the Home Office harbours doubts regarding the genuine and subsisting nature of a relationship, it may undertake further checks, interview the parties, or arrange a home visit.

We frequently aid foreign national spouses, civil partners, and unmarried partners in relocating to and settling in the UK with their British citizen or settled partners. For expert advice and assistance, please contact us at 07493269875 or through our inquiry form below.


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