For an applicant of the UK Spouse Visa, the best evidence of their relationship with her British sponsor/partner is a valid marriage certificate duly issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) formerly known as the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Thus, as long as the UK Spouse Visa applicant is able to show a valid Marriage Certificate, it is legally presumed that her relationship as the spouse of the British sponsor is genuine and legitimate.
ECO-Friendly explains that the setup is completely different in the case of a Filipina who wants to apply for a UK Fiancée Visa who, while already separated from her Filipino husband, is still married with the latter.
In the case at bar, since the marriage in the Philippines has not yet been officially nullified or annulled by the Philippine courts, the marriage with the Filipino spouse is still binding and therefore there can be no marriage between the Filipina fiancée planning to apply for a UK Fiancée Visa and her British boyfriend either here in the Philippines or most especially in the UK.
Under an application for a UK Fiancée Visa, even if the relationship of the applicant with her British boyfriend is genuine and legitimate and they have serious plans of living together in the UK as husband and wife, the application for the UK Fiancée Visa will most likely be refused as they are not qualified to marry since the Filipina applicant’s marriage with her Filipino spouse is still valid and binding.
Since there is no divorce in the Philippines, the applicant will need to have the marriage nullified or annulled by the Philippine court which has jurisdiction over the case.
Under the Family Code of the Philippines, the Filipina applicant who plans to apply for the UK Fiancée Visa but whose marriage with her Filipino spouse had not yet been legally severed by the competent court having jurisdiction over the case need to file either of the two cases:
- PETITION FOR THE DECLARATION OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF VOID MARRIAGE
- PETITION FOR ANNULMENT OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGE
ECO-Friendly reiterates that the two actions are completely different and distinct from each other not only with respect to the grounds but also with respect to the prescriptive period.
Under the PETITION FOR THE DECLARATION OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF VOID MARRIAGE, marriage is considered to be void from the very start and therefore it is as if no marriage ever took place at all. Thus, either of the parties (husband or wife) may file for the petition at any point or phase of the marriage. There is no expiration date on when the petition to nullify the marriage may be filed.
On the other hand, under the PETITION FOR ANNULMENT OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGE, the marriage is presumed to be valid at the outset of the marriage and therefor if a petition to annul the marriage is not filed within the prescribed period fixed under the law, the marriage will be deemed valid and can never be questioned by the parties after the prescriptive period.
The Family Code enumerates the grounds for which the marriage may be considered as “voidable.” It is very important, however, that the grounds for the annulment be raised within five (5) years from the time when the actual voidable ground was discovered.
ECO-Friendly stresses the importance for the applicant to consider these issues before finally deciding on whether to apply for a UK Spouse Visa or a UK Fiancée Visa.
Feel free to contact us for more information on the difference of the proof required for an application for a UK Spouse Visa as against the UK Fiancée Visa.
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