By Sidraa Razaq, Shire Solicitors
When a client visits our offices wanting advice on a UK spouse visa, we often find ourselves providing advice on an area known as the “Surinder Singh route”.
You may be wondering who Surinder Singh is.
Mr Singh was an Indian citizen who alongside his British wife worked in Germany for a number of years. When they later divorced, it was decided by the Home Office that he was to be removed from the country. Mr Singh appealed this decision.
On appeal it was confirmed Mr Singh could stay in the UK because his ex-wife had fully exercised her right to free movement by working in Germany for a long time.
So in other words it was decided the right of freedom of movement does not only allow someone to move to another EU country, but it also allows a person to return back to their own EU country.
So how does this decision apply to those people who want to bring their spouse over?
If you are a British national, Surinder Singh allows you to secure UK immigration rights for your non-European spouse who wouldn’t usually be able to come in to the UK.
This is because the criteria for the Surinder Singh route is must easier to satisfy than the usual spouse visa requirements. For example there is no need for you to fulfil the minimum income requirement.
So can you rely on the Surinder Singh Route?
If your spouse lives in an EU country and you are a British national, your spouse can apply under this route.
But you must both satisfy the following:
- Firstly your spouse will have to prove that another EU country was their residence for a minimum of three months. Residence doesn’t mean general visits. Therefore weekend visits and holidays to the country will not count.
- Your spouse will have to prove they lived there with you and you both integrated there.
- You must have exercised your treaty rights in the EU state which your spouse lived in. So in other words, you have to either work, be in self-employment, self-sufficient or a student.
We must point out the relevant EU member state will decide whether or not the 3 months residency requirement is actually genuine. Those parties who choose to take advantage of this route by using it fraudulently will be penalised.
So for example if the Home Office feels an application does not seem genuine, they will either write to the applicant requesting for further evidence; refer the matter to a senior caseworker to consider inviting the applicant to a “credibility interview”; or the application will be refused.
It is highly important that you instruct an experienced solicitor who can advise you correctly in order to maximise your chances of a successful application
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