How to Prepare for a Spouse Visa Interview
If you or your spouse has been asked to attend an interview with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) regarding your spouse visa application, it is essential to go fully prepared. Not everyone is asked to attend a spouse visa interview, but it may mean that they have concerns over your application. The spouse visa interview is one of the main ways that UKVI assesses that applicants are in a genuine qualifying relationship and is not a ‘sham’ for the purpose of gaining a visa. In this article, we will explain how you can best prepare for a spouse visa interview.
A reminder of the eligibility criteria for a spouse visa
In order to make a successful application for a spouse visa under the family visa category, you will need to satisfy UKVI that you meet the following criteria:
If you and your UK-based partner are not yet married, you must be a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and intend to marry or enter into a civil partnership within 6 months of arrival in the UK.
In addition to the relationship criteria, you will also need to show that you have a good knowledge of English and you can financially support yourself and your children.
Why have I been asked to attend an interview?
You may have been asked to attend an interview with UKVI regarding your spouse visa application if they do not have enough information to make a decision. Alternatively, it may be because the Home Office are not satisfied that you meet the eligibility criteria. Remember, the Home Office are extremely alert to the possibility of ‘sham’ marriages, and if they have any concern that your relationship is not genuine, you may be asked to attend an interview to provide more information and evidence.
As UKVI’s own guidance for caseworkers explains, “If you think you do not have sufficient evidence (both documentary and explanation) to decide whether the relationship is genuine and subsisting, you may consider arranging an interview to explore the relationship in more detail before deciding the application”.
What will happen at my spouse visa interview?
You will be advised in your invitation letter where your interview will take place. Your spouse visa interview may take place in your home, in person at a UKVI office, or by telephone or video call.
The aim of the interview is to ask you questions to check whether you and your UK-based partner are in a genuine relationship or whether your proposed marriage or civil partnership is a sham. You can expect to be asked a range of types of questions regarding:
It is important that you provide clear, full, and logical answers to these questions. If you do not provide a response or if you refuse to answer, the interview may be brought to an end and be regarded as a failure to comply with the requirement to be interviewed.
The entry clearance officer who interviews you will write down the answers you provide – you can ask for a copy of these answers if you wish. The record of the interview must be completed during the interview, be an accurate record of what was said, and be signed and dated.
Some of the questions you may be asked to answer may include:
We also recommend taking all of your evidence and documentation with you in a clearly organised folder so that you can provide proof as and when necessary. The documents you should take with you include your passport, your marriage or civil partnership certificate, details of your accommodation in the UK (e.g. a rental agreement), and evidence that you have enough money to support yourself and your children in the UK (e.g. recent bank statements). We also recommend taking evidence that you are in a subsisting and genuine relationship with your partner, including photos, travel bookings and tickets, shared bills, correspondence, messages, letters, and emails. If possible, it may be useful to take letters from your friends or family members confirming that you are both in a genuine relationship.
It is important to take your spouse visa interview extremely seriously. It goes without saying, always be polite, courteous, and helpful in your dealings with the Home Office. It is also important to seek the support of an immigration Solicitor who can review your application and background and help prepare you before your interview. They will understand, based on the details you provide, why UKVI wants to interview you and provide guidance on how to satisfy them that your relationship is genuine and subsisting.