UK spouse visa: what you need to know regarding absence days

The civil partner or spouse visa is not limited to the number of absence days from the UK or have any residence requirements, like the way most visas are. However, despite these, there are a number of factors the partners must be aware of if their future application to remain is to be successful.  

For partner applications to be successful, the partners have to prove beyond any doubt that they intend to remain and live together permanently in the country. The Immigration Rules in the UK, paragraph 6, clearly states that the intention by partners to live together should be evidenced by a clear commitment from both individuals to live together following the outcome of the application. And when the partners apply to remain in the country, the applicant has to prove that since the last application, he or she has been living with the partner in the UK. And still, both partners have to present physically when submitting the application.

The applicants and their spouses are allowed to be absent from the country for a limited period of time, but the reason for their absence has to be consistent with the intention to live permanently together in England.

So, what are some of the acceptable reasons for absences in the UK?

According to the Home Office, some of the acceptable reasons include holidays as a couple, or generally, time that is spent by the partners oversees working, training or studying. It is worth noting that this isn’t an exhaustive list for the reasons of absences; there may be other valid reasons why the partners may be absent. What happens at this point is that the partners have to provide reasonable evidence to the Home Office, trying to explain why they were absent. Please know that the Home Office may accept or reject your reasons, so it’s better to make sure that the reasons are valid.

How to show the consistency of your absences with your intention to live together?

When an applicant takes a short trip or a holiday vacation with his or her partner, it does not show any inconsistency in your intention to live together with your partner. However, if you are absent for too long, you will have to explain to the Home Office the reason why you were absent, and you have to provide evidence showing that your reasons are actually true. You will also have to show the time period these reasons lasted in order to prove that the UK remained to be your permanent home.

If both the applicant and his or her partner has been separated for a long time, it may call to question the realness of the relationship. For this reason, both parties have to show evidence of how the relationship has been during the periods they have spent apart, by providing evidence of regular visits and/or communication.

So, are the absences limited?

Currently, a partner is not limited when it comes to the time he or she can be absent in the UK. However, according to the Home Office’s guidance, if one of the partners spends a majority of the time abroad, then that will be a reason to doubt whether the couple is serious about living in the country permanently. When you apply to bring your partner to the UK, it is expected that you will spend the majority of the time together as a couple in the country. And you know, this makes a lot of sense as the main purpose of applying for the spouse visa was for the non-EEA national to join their partner in the UK to live as a family.

The Home Office, however, is obliged to consider every case on its merit, where everything is taken account, from the reasons of travel, your absence period, and whether the couple traveled and lived together when outside the UK.

Who is exempted?      

An applicant sponsored by a member of the British council or the HM Diplomatic Service, Department for International Development, or even a Home Office on a tour of duty overseas and has joined them overseas, then that individual is allowed to remain outside the UK until their period of residence is complete. After this period, the applicant is also required to apply for indefinite leave or further leave to remain.       

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