Spouse Visa Curtailment After A Divorce
If you are going through a divorce while living in the UK with a Spouse Visa or Civil Partner visa, you may be worried about retaining legal residency after the Spouse Visa curtailment. It is important to assess your options for staying in the UK after a divorce. It is also highly recommended that you seek the help of an immigration lawyer, who can help you find the right visa to remain in the UK.
So what happens to your Spouse Visa after a divorce? According to UK law, the dependent party will no longer be eligible to live in the UK as their leave is reliant on their relationship with the UK sponsor. However, there are a number of options which may be available to you in order for you to stay.
- What Will Happen to my Spouse Visa if Separate From My Spouse or Partner?
- What Information Do I Need to Give to the Home Office?
- How Do I Contact the Home Office?
- What Are My Options After a Spouse Visa Curtailment?
- How Can I Stay in the UK After a Spouse Visa Curtailment?
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Will Happen to my Spouse Visa if Separate From My Spouse or Partner?
If you are in the UK on a Spouse Visa and you separate from your spouse or partner or your relationship breaks down, you will be subject to a Spouse Visa curtailment and your visa will be cut short.
This is because your Spouse visa is only valid in the UK as long as your relationship is genuine. If your relationship with your partner ends, you will no longer be eligible to remain in the UK on your visa, and you will have to seek other arrangements.
The Home Office will usually allow you 60 days to make arrangements for leaving or remaining in the UK. You must make the Home Office aware as early as possible that your marriage has ended.
Overstaying on a cancelled Spouse Visa can have dire consequences in the long run, including being convicted of immigration fraud, immediate deportation and being barred from reapplying to the UK.
What Information Do I Need to Give to the Home Office?
When your Spouse visa relationship breaks down, you will need to contact the Home Office by email (or by letter, if you don’t have access to email).
Your email must contain both your and your ex-partner’s:
- Date of birth
- Passport number
- Home Office reference number
If you or your ex-partner have children in the UK, you must also include:
- Their names and dates of birth
- Names of their parents or guardians, and who they live with
- How much time they spend with you or your ex-partner
- How much child maintenance or financial help you give each other
- Details of any family court cases you’re involved in
Alongside this, you should also attach either:
- A public statement if you do not want the Home Office official to tell your ex-partner any details from your email
- A consent form if you’re happy for the Home Office official to tell your ex-partner details from your email
You will need to make sure that you print one of these forms off, sign it, and attach a scanned copy of it to your email.
How Do I Contact the Home Office?
Your notification to the Home Office should be sent to: [email protected]
Make sure to include the words ‘MARRIAGE BREAKDOWN’ in the email subject line.
If you’re unable to send an email, you may instead send a letter to the following address:
UK Visas and Immigration
Status Review Unit
New Hall Place
Make sure that whichever method you choose, you include all the necessary information and a signed public statement or consent form.
What Are My Options After a Spouse Visa Curtailment?
After you notify the Home Office of your relationship breakdown, you will need to check what your eligibility will be to continue staying in the UK.
You will normally have 60 days to do either of the following:
- Apply to stay in the UK under a different visa or a settlement scheme
- Start preparations to leave the UK
Note that if your Spouse visa already had less than 60 days’ worth of validity when you informed the Home Office of your relationship breakdown, your visa’s expiry date will remain as it is.
Additionally, the Home Office may decide to either curtail the visa immediately without the 60 day grace period, or allow for a longer curtailment period.
Longer periods of curtailment are usually only given in exceptional circumstances, such as if the visa holder has been a victim of domestic abuse or domestic violence.
How Can I Stay in the UK After a Spouse Visa Curtailment?
In order to stay in the UK after a Spouse visa curtailment, you will have to apply for a new immigration status. Some of the options available to you may include:
- A work visa, such as the Skilled Worker visa
- Apply for another Family visa, either:
- As a parent of a child who is a British citizen, is settled in the UK, or has lived in the UK for at least 7 years
- On the basis of your private life, such as if you’re between 18 and 24 and you’ve lived continuously in the UK for more than half your life, or if you’re 18 or over, have spent less than 20 years in the UK and would have significant problems living in the country you’d have to go to
- The EU Settlement Scheme, if you’ve retained right of residence
- Indefinite leave to remain, if you’ve spent 5 years’ worth of qualifying residence in the UK
If you’re unable to find a suitable immigration route that you’re eligible for, it is likely that you will have to leave the UK once the 60 day curtailment period expires.
How Can IAS Help?
Our dedicated immigration solicitors can help you if you are experiencing a Spouse Visa or Civil Partnership visa curtailment. There is a short timeframe in which you must make a decision if you want to remain in the UK if a Spouse Visa is curtailed after a divorce.
Our lawyers are based around the country and can meet with you immediately to discuss your different options. We will work with you to assess your best visa options, quickly and comprehensively.
Get in touch with IAS on 0333 4149244 or use our online enquiry form to discuss your options for staying in the UK after a divorce. Our team of immigration lawyers are based across the UK, including in London, Manchester, and Birmingham. You can also use the office finder to find the closest branch to you.
Last modified on July 17th, 2023 at 6:05 am
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A Spouse or Marriage Visa allows the partner of a person with settled status in the UK to immigrate to the UK to join their spouse.
With a Spouse Visa, the UK spouse acts as the sponsor for the non-EEA spouse This visa requires the couple to be in a genuine relationship – a requirement strictly assessed by the Home Office. There must also be proof that the UK spouse has a minimum income of £18,600 in order to show that the couple will not be relying on public funds during their time in the country.
The initial period you can come to the UK on a Marriage Visa is 30 months. After this, you will be required to apply for a Spouse Visa extension. The extension of a Spouse Visa is dependent on both parties still living together and providing proof of a continuous relationship.
For a Spouse visa holder, divorce proceedings will change your immigration status. In the UK, over 40% of marriages end in divorce and this figure is on the rise every year. There are many reasons a judge will grant a married couple a divorce including:
- unreasonable or abusive behaviour;
- desertion; or
- living apart for more than two years.
Both parties must agree to the divorce, but after the couple has been living apart for longer than five years then one person may petition the court for a divorce without the partner’s consent.
If you are in the UK on a Spouse Visa, divorce doesn’t have to mean uprooting your life and a Work Visa could be the key to continuing your life in the UK. However, this route is only possible if you make the application for a Skilled Worker Visa from outside the UK. If you are already working, you may be able to get your employer to sponsor your visa to allow you to stay. This will depend on whether or not they hold a Sponsorship Licence and can provide a Certificate of Sponsorship. However, you will only be able to do this by negotiating with your current employer, so that you can leave the UK and apply from there. If this is the case, the employer will need to go through the Resident Labour Market Test (unless your profession is in shortage in the UK).
In the UK, there are over 29,000 businesses currently in possession of a Sponsorship Licence which allows them to employ a Skilled Worker Visa holder. In order to be eligible for this visa, you will need to be earning £30,000 and prove that you have savings to support yourself. Certain jobs are exempt from this income requirement, such as nursing.
The Home Office is aware of the effects a divorce can have on the children affected, this problem is only made worse if one parent is forced to leave the country.
You may be eligible to apply for a Family Visa on the basis that you are a parent or primary carer of a child that is either a British Citizen or a settled person. You may apply if you have sole or shared parental responsibility for the child.
You do not need to be in a relationship or married to your child’s other parent in order to be eligible for this visa. You do need to prove you play an active part of your child’s life in order to stay in the UK as a parent. This can be established in a multitude of ways including a letter from your child’s school stating you attend the child’s parent’s evenings and/or are known to the school.
There is no minimum income requirement for parent visas but you do need to prove that you can live in the UK without needing access to public funds. This visa lasts the standard 30 months after which it can be extended assuming the child is not above the age of 18.
Those who have been in the country for a long period of time are able to apply to settle in the UK. For example, you may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain status. The period is very strict, you must have been in the UK for at least ten years, this marked from when you arrived in the UK with a visa to the time of the cancellation of your Spouse Visa.
There are some significant stipulations when applying for long-term residency in the UK. For example, ten years of residency is reliant on you being in the country for the majority of that time. This means you cannot leave the country for longer than three months at a time and cannot leave the country for longer than 540 days in total.
Restrictions like the English Language Test and the Life in the UK test are still in place for long-term residents and any time spent in prison, young offenders or secure hospital does not count towards your continued residences in the UK. However, if you are able to apply for the long-term residences then this should be your first port of call. Settled status means you are no longer at the mercy of continuous visa applications and ever-changing circumstances over the course of your time in the UK.
Your legal residency in the UK should not be determined at the hands of your abuser. If you are currently on a Spouse Visa experiencing violence in your relationship and you want a divorce, you are legally entitled to apply to settle in the UK regardless of how long the marriage lasts.
Domestic abuse is recognised as psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse. You will be asked to provide proof of the abuse. This can be, for example, court documents if you were granted a domestic violence protection order, a domestic violence protection notice or medical proof of domestic violence.
The breakdown of the relationship during the probationary period needs to be set out in a letter to the Home Office outlining your case for settled status. It is possible to apply something called a ‘Concessions for Victims of Domestic Violence’. This route allows you to stay in the UK for three months while you apply for settled status.
One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, do not let immigration fears stop you from getting help. The threat of Spouse Visa curtailment should not be used against you in a relationship.
Your ex, spouse or partner cannot cancel your Spouse visa.
As your Spouse visa was originally issued by the Home Office, they are the only ones who have power to cancel or curtail your visa. They are also the only ones who can ultimately make you leave the country.
Divorces are a very tense time in the lives of everyone involved. Assessing your options early can save you many stressful hours in the long run.
The lawyers at IAS are well versed in many different types of visa application, including those following a divorce. We will be able to put you on the right path to staying in the UK after your divorce.
Our services include:
- assessing your eligibility and your best options for staying in the UK after a divorce;
- checking your documents to ensure that they are sufficient for your application;
- preparing a Letter of Representation to go with your application;
- liaising with the Home Office during your application process;
- completing each part of your application form to the highest standard.
Get in touch on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to speak with one of our expert immigration consultants about your options for staying in the UK after a divorce.