Marriage visas ruling

Posted: 22nd November 2011

Following the decision of the Supreme Court in Quila and Bibi v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the UK Border Agency has issued revised policy guidance for those making an application for entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK as a fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner, and for their sponsor.
The case challenged the requirement under the Immigration Rules that foreign spouses or partners, and their sponsors in the UK, must have reached age 21 before they could be granted a visa to enter or remain as a spouse or partner. The qualifying age was raised from 18 to 21 in November 2008.
Whilst recognising that the Government introduced the change in order to pursue the legitimate aim of tackling the issue of forced marriage, the Supreme Court held that it disproportionately interfered with the human rights of those in genuine marriages. As a result, changes to the Rules have been laid before Parliament to reinstate the minimum age of 18.
The guidance sets out how someone who was refused a visa between November 2008 and October 2011 solely on the ground of age can request a review of the decision. Further information can be found on the website of the UK Border Agency under the partners and families section, Husband, wife or civil partner, Unmarried or same-sex partner, and Fiance(e) or proposed civil partner categories.