See version 14.0 of the Family Policy guidance published for Home Office staff on 24 June 2021.
The Home Office introduced a three-tiered system of supporting documents required for the partner and parent routes under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. Evidence under tier 1 has the most weighting, whereas tier 3 documents add the least value. Examples of the evidence categorised under the three tiers are set out below:
- Birth certificates and marriage certificates.
- Home repair bills and HMRC letters which confirm child tax credits.
- Photographs and travel tickets.
In recent years, the Home Office have placed greater emphasis on the quality over the quantity of supporting documents for Appendix FM applications. The introduction of the three tiers is hardly surprising and it is worth highlighting that the documents listed in the two tables are non-exhaustive.
The three tiers will help practitioners and applicants to focus on collating the most valued documents instead of filtering through pages of message transcript and photo albums. A caseworker is likely to miss an important tier 1 document if it is hidden amongst a folder of letters of support from friends and family members (which are tier 3).
The tables also act as a good reminder that applicants should update their records regularly if they wish to rely on certain documents as supporting evidence (e.g. updating address on the Electoral register even when there are no upcoming elections). It is also crucial to ensure that the information provided to the Home Office is consistent with the information provided to other authorities (e.g. HMRC, DWP and the NHS) to reduce the chances of the application being delayed or rejected due to inconsistencies in the supporting evidence.