I wonder if you guys can help me. My wife (Albanian National) was refused an EEA family permit on the grounds that the ECO believes that this is a marriage of convenience. Link to image: http://pasteboard.co/1w1SDRuX.jpg

Here is a short, rough timeline.

We met in 1998, married in 1999. We had two kids, one in 2001 and the other 2004. We have lived in Greece since 1998.

I came to the UK in September 2015, started working full time October 2015. I’m currently employed and I earn about £1100 after tax.

My kids joined me in February 2016, one has started school and the other is awaiting a placement.

In my wife's application we included:

Her passport, my passport, marriage certificate, a joint bank statement from Greece, her right of residence card from Greece (which is given on the basis of being married to a Greek Citizen), my utility bills, council tax, payslips, p60, letter from employer/accountant.

Basically the ground for refusal is that she has not provided any documents to demonstrate that we are in a genuine subsisting relationship. Considering I have been married with her for so long, having had two kids and lived together in Greece just before I came here I thought that would be enough.

I generally speak to her for 2-3 hours a day using skype on a VOIP app from the i phone so I have no idea how to get the logs from these apps to show that I am in contact.

I have done a little bit of searching and found this article, which by the sounds of it her application should not have been refused, this is taken from : here

  1. EUN2.10 What if I suspect a marriage / civil partnership of convenience? When a marriage / civil partnership of convenience is suspected, the burden of proof is high and rests with the ECO. However, in these cases the ECO is entitled to interview the applicant. Factors to consider include:

an adverse immigration history; doubts about the validity of documentation; application follows soon after the marriage / civil partnership; no previous evidence of the relationship.

The ECO should not consider the following cases as marriages / civil partnerships of convenience where: there is a child of the relationship; there is evidence to suggest cohabitation.

There is an appeal form in there but I think that route is too long and I believe re-applying might be a better solution, my questions are these:

  1. Should I include the refusal letter of the first application indicating the mistake (if indeed it is a mistake) that the fact that we have two kids together has been overlooked?
  2. Should I include family photos stretching back the last 17 years or so?
  3. Will screenshots of the conversations help?
  4. Should I include a family certificate?
  5. What else can I include to strengthen my case?

Edit based on answers:

Do you know how i can make an informal complaint to the British consulate?

I don't want to have any doubts on my mind of not submitting enough information this time round so maybe including more evidence might be a good thing just to show that i am providing things which they felt were "missing" also what are the chances that my next application will be assigned to the same ECO?

Before i apply i will post a picture of the letter i will write to them just so that you can guide me as i do not want to be seen as putting the blame or telling them how to do their jobs.

Also from the letter i posted there were " no specific circumstances defined that gave the ECO a reasonable ground to suspect that the marriage is one of convenience"

" First, there is no burden on the claimant in an application for a family permit to establish that she was not party to a marriage of convenience unless the circumstances known to the decision maker give reasonable ground for suspecting that this was the case. Absent such a basis for suspicion the application should be granted without more on production of the documents set out in Article 10 of the Directive. Where there is such suspicion the matter requires further investigation and the claimant should be invited to respond to the basis of suspicion by producing evidential material to dispel it."

I guess the above is correct, but no invitation was received by them? should i include Article 10 to my letter?

Edit based on answer 2:


Thanks for that, i posted an answer as the comment field was very limited in characters.

I have spoken with my wife and she told me that from the list of documents we provided they have kept everything apart from her passport and some utility bills.

So they've kept a the original marriage cert, my payslips/p60 letter from employer and also a Sponsorship declaration i did from a solicitor in the Uk (cost me £75). is there a reason as to why they do this?

Also how do i go about sending this letter, i have no address or where to send it. Do you believe that it is necessary considering i'll be making a fresh application?

Thanks once again

  • Comment added^^
    – george
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 22:14
  • If you have an additional question you should ask it as a new separate question. The design of the site seeks to avoid lengthy forum-like threads where different information gets lost. Also, other people who may be better able to answer your question are more likely to see the new question if you post it separately. I don't know why they would retain your original documents.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 18:00
  • 1
    Here's a wild speculation. Suppose several documents got separated from the application and lost early in the process. The application would have problems, such as lack of proof of marriage duration, without those documents. That would also explain the documents not being returned. Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 20:38
  • @PatriciaShanahan a few weeks ago I learned that the loss of documents is not at all uncommon in applications that are handled by third party processors.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 3:56

1 Answer 1


Maybe they're hoping they can keep you out until after the UK leaves the EU. The decision is, as you have laid out, completely illegal and noncompliant with the UK's own guidance.

To answer your questions:

  1. Should I include the refusal letter of the first application indicating the mistake (if indeed it is a mistake) that the fact that we have two kids together has been overlooked?

Yes. I wouldn't discuss whether it is a mistake. Just point out that you have two kids, and that their guidance says that this means your marriage is not one of convenience.

  1. Should I include family photos stretching back the last 17 years or so?

No. Prove your kids' existence with their birth certificates. If you give superfluous evidence like photographs, you won't help your application, and you could hurt it if they find something that appears "inconsistent."

  1. Will screenshots of the conversations help?

No, see answer for #2. Keep it simple.

  1. Should I include a family certificate?

What is a family certificate? If you mean your marriage certificate and your childrens' birth certificates, then yes.

  1. What else can I include to strengthen my case?

You should include nothing else. Your case is simple (not to mention ironclad); keep the application simple. Prove only the facts you need to prove:

  • You are an EU or EEA or Swiss national
  • You're married to your wife
  • You have two children with your wife

In conclusion, another reason not to add additional evidence is that it makes it more likely that the ECO will miss the crucial evidence: the legal documents. The ECO should thank you, too, for not including extra evidence, because you will have reduced the ECO's workload.

You may want to consider appealing the decision concurrently with your new application, in case the new application is also denied. There are stories floating around on the internet where multiple EEA FP applications were denied.

Before you appeal formally, however, or even reapply, you might want to make an informal complaint to the British consulate (specifically to the Entry Clearance Manager [ECM]) calling attention to the fact that the the ECO has not met the burden of proof to establish a suspicion that your marriage is one of convenience, and that in light of your two children, the decision doesn't comply with the guidance.

(The presumption that you should have presented evidence substantiating a genuine marriage when you've been married for nearly 2 decades is preposterous, even in the absence of children.)

For an example of this approach, have a look at http://www.immigrationboards.com/eea-route-applications/refusal-of-eea-family-permit-reapply-or-appeal-t106017.html.

You may also want to read these answers of mine and follow the links in them.

  • In this case, being in the EU is irrelevant. The decision was clearly the wrong one by any measure including the UK's standards. Any hope of keeping a (~18 year) spouse of a legal resident out for the entire two years it would take for the Brexit to be finalized seems dim at best. Further, even if the UK does leave the EU, this does not necessarily leaving the EEA. That would either have to be part of the negotiated exit, or be handled separately altogether and might not happen at all.
    – ouflak
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 7:02
  • To support the recommendation of a complaint to the consulate or other official: I spent several months trying to obtain a document from the US IRS. Two offices each claimed I had to get it from the other. For my final letter, I sent a copy to my congressman. Within a week, EACH office sent me a huge package containing the requested document and a hundred others.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 8:56
  • Hi guys, Thanks for the comments, i think it is best if i just re-apply with a covering letter and then hopefully they cannot make that mistake again. I just need to be-careful of how to phrase it.
    – george
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 8:59
  • @ouflak yes, the opening is more of a wry comment than a serious hypothesis. But since freedom of movement is one of the more significant issues driving the vote leave camp, it seems likely to me that they'll pursue leaving the EEA as well.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 12:29
  • @george you're probably right. The case of the multiple rejections was not marriage of convenience case but a "qualified person" case hinging on a somewhat more subtle question.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 12:31

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