Q) I am married to a British citizen and have a 2 year probationary visa on the basis of my marriage. However, unfortunately, the marriage is not working out and I don’t want to be with my husband anymore. I don’t want to go back home as I really like the UK and feel settled here. What can I do to stay in the UK if I choose to end my marriage?
A) If there are issues of Domestic Violence, you may be able to regularise your legal status under the provision of being a victim of domestic violence. If however the marriage has broken down as you simply no longer want to be in it, then you need to look into the possibility of remaining in the UK under the basis that there are strong, exceptional, compassionate circumstances including any human rights reasons. If you seek to remain in the UK under this basis, then you will have to make a very strong case to the Home Office. You will need to argue the strength of your ties within the UK compared to your own home country and whether you would suffer hardship if required to leave the UK.
The Home Office will consider the following factors: the length of time the applicant was married before the breakdown, the length of time the applicant has been resident in the UK, the applicant’s age and the proportion of time spent abroad before entering the UK, and whether there are any children of the marriage. If there are children of the marriage, it may be possible to apply for a different visa to remain in the UK, this is called “a person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom to exercise access rights to a child resident in the United Kingdom”.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the British spouse or spouse with settled status can inform the Home Office of the breakdown of the marriage during the 2-year probationary period and may seek to get the foreign spouse’s visa cancelled. The Evidence and Enquiry Unit at the Home Office which investigates such matters state: “In this situation, we may curtail (cancel) your former partner’s permission to stay in the United Kingdom. However, this will not automatically happen if the basis of his/her stay has changed – for example, he/she may qualify for permission to remain on a different basis, or there may be other compassionate or relevant reasons why it would not be appropriate to curtail his/her stay. If you write to tell us that your relationship has broken down, we will consider whether it is appropriate to curtail your former partner’s permission to stay.
Before taking any action, we will ask for your permission to use the information you have given us. If we decide to curtail your former partner’s permission to stay, he/she will have a right of appeal, which means that he/she could remain in the United Kingdom for some time before we can consider removing him/her”.
By Raheela Hussain, Principal Solicitor of Greenfields Solicitors. The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. For legal advice regarding your case, please contact Greenfields Solicitors on 020 8884 1166 for a Consultation with a Solicitor.