SPOUSE VISA

The Story of Rosa and Chad

The idea

As a wedding videographer, I make a living out of couples love stories. Filming weddings for a living, I see wedding days as a culminating or confirmatory point of a couple’s relationship. For most couples these days is the public proclamation, a confirmation of their relationship. Whatever marriage means to a couple, it’s common sense it should follow a life together.

Not for Rosa and Chad. Rosa and Chad are a young, married couple. They have been living in opposite parts of the world since they got married in 2017 - her in England and him in New Zealand. Due to UK immigration laws Chad had to leave the UK when his working Visa ran out, little after their honeymoon.

When Rosa called early in the summer of 2018, the couple were getting ready to apply for a Spouse Visa for Chad. Were it to be conceded, Rosa hoped to hire me to commit to film his arrival and their reunion - this time for good.

Meeting; romance

Rosa and Chad met online, via a dating app, in June 2016. Their love story is similar to most couples’: they met, started going out and eventually fell in love with each other.

Six months later, in January 2017, Chad asked Rosa to marry him - she said yes. Because Chad’s working Visa was coming to an end in a few months, they wanted to commit to each other officially and hoping marriage would change Chad’s immigration status.

Reality sinking in

However, UK emigration laws do not grant the a foreign national spouse of a British citizen the automatic right to reside in the UK. Because Chad’s Visa was ending, he had to apply for a Visa.

It should have been simple, since Rosa and Chad met nearly all the legal criteria necessary for Chad to be granted a Spouse Visa. The one of the criteria proving a stumbling block was what is known as the minimum income requirement (MIR). Introduced in 2012, the MIR exists to prove couples have enough money to support themselves without claiming public funds. 

To fulfil this MIR, Rosa, as the sponsoring partner, must show evidence she earns more than £18,600 per year (and have a 6 month past record to prove it) to be able to sponsor Chad. Having recently graduated from University and managed to get a job, she could not meet such requirement.

Using an exception in the law, this requirement can be replaced for saving of at least £16,000. Using friend family, Rosa and Chad worked hard to gather all the money.

The documentary

By late summer 2018, even before they had managed to gather all the funds to apply for Chad’s Spouse Visa - and given how cash strapped they were - Rosa and Chad had given up the idea of having Chad’s arrival filmed.

I had by this time grown quite found of their story and I had been thinking that it was such a good story to tell on film. I had been thinking of shooting a documentary for a while, so I proposed them to take the project on as a personal project, as long as I was in charge of it.

As of November 2018, when we started the production of this documentary, Rosa and Chad had already applied for Chad’s Spouse Visa and were holding their breath for a decision by the Home Office.