Date Published: 14.03.2022
Status: Past
Type: Residency
Outcome: No further action

Appendix FM

Summary of Information

In July 2021 the IMA received a complaint about the outcome of a partner visa application via Appendix FM. There was a concern for a potential general or systemic issue with the application process, particularly around residency status and entry to the UK. The complainant believed the Home Office had not recognised their Pre-Settled Status as a sponsor as sufficient in proving that they were ‘present and settled’ in the UK.

Summary of Actions and Evidence

Having carefully considered the issues identified in the complaint, in combination with wider intelligence gathered by the IMA, pre-inquiry investigations were undertaken with the Home Office to seek clarity around the concerns shared. In response to these investigations the Home Office confirmed that Pre-Settled Status granted to an EU citizen under the EU Settlement Scheme* is sufficient in proving that a sponsor meets the relationship requirement of Appendix FM for the purpose of a partner visa application; it does not demonstrate that a person is ‘present and settled’ in the UK. The Home Office also confirmed and provided evidence that applicants are signposted to the EUSS via the application page for a partner visa, but does not provide any further assistance if the application is not made under the EUSS route.

Since the IMA has opened informal enquiries with the Home Office, it has been established that, as described above, Pre-Settled Status granted to an EU citizen is considered sufficient in proving that a sponsor meets the relationship requirement for the purposes of a partner visa application under Appendix FM. The IMA has determined that it does not have reasonable grounds that an inquiry into this issue may identify general or systemic failings in the implementation or application of Part II of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Summary of Decision

The decision is to take no further action at this stage. However, should the IMA receive any further information or complaints about this or related issues, these will be considered on their merits and in line with IMA’s internal processes. This resolution would not prevent the IMA from acting further should matters of concern in relation to this issue arise again in the future.

The IMA would encourage affected citizens to continue to report any issues whether related to this issue or otherwise.

*in the form of limited leave to enter or remain granted under paragraph EU3 of Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules, on the basis of meeting condition 1 in paragraph EU14 of that Appendix, as per paragraph GEN.1.3.(d) of Appendix FM under paragraph E-ECP.2.1.(d)

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The complaints submitted to us help build a picture of where there are common, wide-reaching, or systemic issues with how UK public bodies are implementing the Withdrawal Agreement(s) for EU and EEA EFTA citizens’ rights.