Following on from our last article, there are a number of technicalities to be aware of when making an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit application.
If you are applying on the basis that the relevant EEA national is your spouse or civil partner, then you will need to provide evidence of your relationship with your partner.
What evidence is required?
You may think it is sufficient to simply provide your marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate as evidence of your relationship, but this is not the case. The Home Office receive a large volume of applications and a lot of them rely on being the spouse or civil partner of an EEA national. Unfortunately, a significant amount of these applications are suspected to be sham marriages (or sham civil partnerships). Fraudulent documents are sometimes submitted which usually include marriage certificates. Even if the marriage or civil partnership certificates are genuine, the relationship may still be deemed as sham if the decision maker is not satisfied that the relationship is genuine.
The relevant Home Office policy clearly states that if a caseworker processing an application is in any doubt that an Applicant’s marriage is a marriage of convenience or is misrepresenting facts, they can request further documents as evidence or can invite the Applicant for an interview. Again, it is advised that sufficient evidence is provided at the outset if your matter is not straightforward. Examples of where the Home Office may argue raises reasonable doubt is if you and your partner only met each other recently, there is a clear language barrier, there is a significant age difference and if the marriage was arranged. Although for clarification, an arrange marriage is acceptable as a valid marriage as long as there is evidence to show there was consent from both sides and there are cultural factors to support the norm.
Therefore, it is always best to provide additional evidence. Additional evidence may include photographs of the wedding/civil partnership, photographs on holidays, holiday bookings, bills in both names, birth certificates of children and testimonials from friends and family members.
What about dependent parents?
Under the new guidance, it is correct to say that dependency is assumed, but that is not the end of the matter as you must prove the relationship. In the absence of concrete evidence to establish the direct relationship such as a birth certificate, the decision maker can carry out further investigation.
EEA Family Permit
The EEA Family Permit will still run alongside the EU Settlement Scheme until the end of the transitional period. There are certain situations where an Applicant will have to apply for an EEA Family Permit instead of the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, which includes:
- If the relevant EEA national has not been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit.
- The relevant EEA national is your durable partner. A durable partner is when you have lived together in a relationship akin to marriage with the EEA national for at least two years. The relevant EEA national must have the relevant documents at the time of the application.
- You are the extended family member of the EEA national.
- You have a derivative right of residence in the UK.
We highly recommend seeking advice from one of our experienced lawyers if you are considering applying under either of these routes.