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A third-country person has pre-settled status based on being married to an EEA national. They lived together in England from 2018 but the latter left the UK in 2022. They never divorced.

The third-country person needs to apply for settled status based on "retained rights", which requires "evidence of termination of the relationship", such as a divorce. A divorce apparently requires both to be present in the UK, however, the EEA national has no intention to travel to the UK.

How can they provide "evidence of termination of the relationship" otherwise?

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  • "A divorce apparently requires both to be present in the UK": not if they were divorced somewhere else. Were they? Did the EEA national leave before or after the end of the transition period? Did the relationship end before or after?
    – phoog
    Dec 9, 2023 at 18:35
  • Does "the later" mean "the latter" -- that is, the EEA national -- or "they later" (in which case it seems they're both outside the UK, which would be rather different from the non-EEA spouse having continued to live in the UK since before the end of the transition period).
    – phoog
    Dec 9, 2023 at 18:56
  • If they're not yet divorced, are they in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or England and Wales?
    – phoog
    Dec 9, 2023 at 19:07
  • Hi @phoog thanks for the remarks. I've edited the question now. To answer specifically: They never divorced anywhere. The EEA national left in 2022. I mean "the latter", i.e. only the EEA spouse has left the UK. The non-EEA spouse lives in England. Dec 11, 2023 at 18:08
  • We don't know how to pinpoint the end of the relationship. Home Office seems to consider "both being in the UK" a requirement for a relationship, so that would be up to 2022. Unfortunately "one leaving the UK" is not considered evidence of termination of the relationship either 🤷 So we're in this situation where we can't satisfy Home Office with evidence that the relationship is continued or terminated, even though the non-EEA spouse should have the right to stay in the UK in either case. Dec 11, 2023 at 18:14

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They never divorced anywhere

I'm fairly certain that this means that the relationship hasn't ended, so it won't be possible to prove that it ended by any means.

Since that interpretation means that the non-EEA spouse does not qualify for the EU settlement scheme, I would advise the third-country national, before proceeding any further, to engage an immigration lawyer who has experience with EUSS applications. I would start with https://freemovement.org.uk (with which I have no affiliation).

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  • I think your reasoning and conclusion are sound. But I'll suggest that "...not to proceed without engaging an immigration lawyer..." contains two negatives in one sentence. The sentence would be easier to comprehend if it were phrased in the positive: "...that you proceed only after engaging an immigration lawyer..." Dec 13, 2023 at 20:37
  • @DavidRecallsMonica sound advice. Perhaps I've been reading too many statutes lately.
    – phoog
    Dec 13, 2023 at 22:37

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