Do you need a lawyer to help you with your spouse/civil partner/unmarried partner visa application?
It’s a fair question. This application is already very expensive in UK Government fees (somewhere between £2,000 and £3,000) and the thought of adding lawyers’ fees on to that is daunting. You might think that you need to take out a bank loan.
The law and procedure allow an applicant to prepare the application themselves without any professional help, and the Home Office publishes a lot of information on the subject on its website. It is therefore tempting for an applicant to consider doing so; probably many of them do and no doubt a lot of these applications are successful.
But sometimes the application is unsuccessful, which is a bit upsetting – not least because the money spent on the application is likely to have been wasted.
There are various different reasons why an application may be refused. Some of them are rather “serious”: for example on the basis of an allegation (not necessarily true) of deception. Some of them are less serious: for example that not all the requirements of the rules were met, or that required documents were not submitted or that the documents submitted did not meet all the format requirements. These latter two reasons are very common, because the rules about this are very complex and very particular and the Home Office is somewhat ruthless in its decision-making. But a refusal decision is a refusal decision, whatever the reason.
It is common knowledge that the relevant part of the immigration rules (Appendix FM) is highly complicated. (Something that judges sitting in the senior courts have on occasion remarked on.) The financial requirements are particularly difficult to address, especially if you are not applying on the basis of the “standard” requirements. Whatever else the Home Office might be good at, writing densely involved rules is definitely one of them.
Whilst we are closely aware that some lawyers are better than others, a good experienced lawyer should be able to navigate their way through the rules and should be able to (a) give good advice as to whether an application is viable and, if so, (b) prepare a strong application. The first point is as important as the second, because it is a waste of money and effort to submit an application doomed to failure – and in any case it may be that if the applicant’s situation changes then an application may become a possibility.
At the end of the day it’s up to you to decide whether to submit the application yourself or to instruct a lawyer. But if you do, and if you decide to instruct GSN Immigration, we have extensive experience in this area.