Proof of 'single status' of dependent children for Portugal GV applicants from the UK

Hello everyone,

Just wondering if anyone from the UK has managed to successfully ‘prove single status’ for their ‘dependent children’ as part of their Portuguese GV application?

We are in the process of collecting our documents for our Portuguese lawyer to submit to SEF. I am applying for my husband and our 2 children who are 17 and 19 years. As regards documents for the kids - proof of being financially dependent and proof of studying full-time are not a problem.

But how do you prove they are single?

The marriage indices of the UK General Register Office (GRO) are updated only to the past 18 months, so absence of a marriage certificate from this register does not prove they didn’t get married in the past 18 months.

The GRO advises to then check with your local register office and get a certificate saying there is no local record of a marriage in the past 18 months. But our local register office says they only issue a ‘Certificate of No Impediment’ to people who intend to marry abroad. Our kids aren’t intending to marry so they can’t get one of these. (And in any case it still wouldn’t mean they hadn’t got married in another local area).

Regarding the Statutory Declaration option, by which they simply sign, in the presence of a notary, a statutory declaration of fact declaring that they are not married - our Portuguese lawyer says they don’t usually submit (these kinds of) affidavits on this matter, considering that the majority of countries are able to print statements confirming a persons’ marital status.

The lawyer suggested instead -

However this form seems aimed at confirming the marital status of people who either are or were previously married, rather than those (such as our kids) who have never been married and for whom therefore there is only the absence of any records proving otherwise.

So my question is, has anyone from the UK successfully found a solution to this and if so would you mind explaining the way forwards?

Thanks for all help and suggestions.

I suppose you would only need to prove this for one child who is already of age, i.e. 19?
This here website suggests that either a CNI or a statutory declaration (or perhaps a combination of both) are a way forward:

As I pointed out the CNI is only provided to those intending to marry (they are not) and the statutory declaration is apparently not accepted in Portugal (unless there are other UK applicants who’ve had it accepted in which case I’d be interested in knowing).

btw they both require proof as they are both over 16 which is the legal age of marriage in the UK.

So you actually spoke with the register office and they refused to issue the CNI unless you declare that your children intend to marry?

Regarding the 17yo - my understanding was that for the GV purposes no additional proof of dependency is required for the children younger than 18. Am I missing something in the SEF requirements?

Hello, yes, correct vis a vis my local register office and the CNI. However it’s possible other register offices may have a different stance.

However I’m thinking of simply asking the register office if they would provide a basic letter stating that no marriage records exist (and hoping they’ll oblige) and combining that with the certificate from the GRO. I don’t really see what other options there are. That D70 form alternative seems a bit much - has to go through the attorney general and then the courts.

Re your second question-
I was advised (by my Portuguese lawyer) that the proofs of financial dependence, being single and studying full time must be supplied for children who are 16, 17 and 18+. I guess it makes sense (at least for UK applicants) since compulsory education in the UK is only up to 16. After that children are legally free to leave school, work, marry (as I understand it).

As far as I am aware the SEF requires additional evidence only for ‘children of age’, and the age of majority is 18 by law in both Portugal and the UK.
So in my case I do not plan to submit any additional evidence of dependency for minors unless the SEF comes back to me and asks for it.

In respect to CNI, maybe I misunderstand, but is there any reason why you can’t simply state to your local register office that your children ‘intend to marry’ and therefore should receive the CNI?

I would be curious to know what evidence of financial dependency you provided for a minor?

I believe in the UK a parental permission is required for a minor to get married if they are 16-17 years old.
But that should be irrelevant for the SEF purposes in my opinion.

According to it’s 16 and over:

"You can get married or form a civil partnership in England or Wales if you’re:

  • 16 or over
  • not already married or in a civil partnership
  • not closely related

However according to various media reports there does appear to be various campaigns and plans to raise the age to 18, but it doesn’t seem the law has changed yet. Perhaps in the near future.

Re evidence of dependency etc. -

I’m just going with what my lawyer advises me as I haven’t personally studied SEF’s fine print, am not a lawyer and don’t have knowledge as regards to what they have in practice accepted or not accepted.

In any case the way I see it is that, aside from a bit of extra inconvenience to myself there’s no harm in providing more evidence than they strictly ask for. I’d rather provide more evidence that they then choose to ignore than risk having my application delayed (or worse, outright refused) because of insufficient information.

Since I need to provide this for the 19yo there’s not in practice much extra hassle in gathering the same information at the same time for the 17yo.

Also the 17yo will have turned 18 by the time of the 1st renewal and so I will eventually have to submit this evidence for them anyway.

Re proof of dependency for my 17yo -

The lawyer initially said proof you’ve paid their school fees, but as we’re in the state sector we can’t provide that.

They then said bank statements showing bank transfers to them. They get a bit of pocket money into their bank account so that’s what will be evidenced.

Perhaps also anything to evidence the home address, showing that it’s the same as the parental/Main Applicant address, e.g. a letter from school stating they are full-time enrolled and evidencing the home address, their NI number letter, their own bank statements, etc.

But the lawyer seemed primarily interested in bank statements evidencing bank transfers.

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As regards the CNI, I’m afraid I’m not prepared to lie in any of this. Also having glanced at the CNI application form, if I recall rightly you have to provide the name of the other party to the marriage (and maybe their address and other details, I can’t quite remember), date and location of the intended marriage, etc. So it would be starting to become a rather large fabrication!

Ok, if the CNI proves difficult to obtain I would just go ahead with the statutory declaration.
If SEF finds it insufficient, they would come back to you and ask for more, but hopefully not.

Also going back to the CNI, remember you have to submit all this information again at the 1st and 2nd GV renewals. If each time you’re telling your local register office they intend to marry it starts to look a bit questionable. Also if SEF receive a CNI and the CNI is for people who intend to marry, well, they are supposed to be single throughout their five years of GV residency. Supposing they even overlooked the first CNI, what about when they receive the 2nd and the 3rd?

I’m thinking it will likely be a combination of -

  1. GRO search of the UK marriage index stating no records found (but this won’t cover the last 18 months);
  2. Local register office letter stating no local records of a marriage - if I can persuade them to provide this; and
  3. A statutory declaration which can be added as an extra precaution.

I hope this will be sufficient and that I don’t have to go through the palaver with the D70.

Unless there’s someone else out there from the UK who has found an easier alternative that they have used successfully!

Does your GRO paper say anywhere that it’s older than 18 months?

I haven’t applied yet so don’t know.

Ah, so you may want to get the GRO paper first, and it just may cover what you need entirely.

Most likely any certificate they issue will specify the dates, but yes can wait and see.

Hi Elle, Did you have any luck with this? Also applying for GV in Portugal with kids exactly the same age - and am having the same problem with the same problem with the CNI… would love to know how you resolved it!!

Hi Leonora, So in the end I submitted the no trace marriage letter for the 19yo. The 17yo could not be provided with a similar letter as its not yet 18 months since their 16th birthday. I also had each of them sign a statutory declaration and have submitted those as well, purely as an additional assurance for what it’s worth. A notary can provide you with notarised declarations. In the end I gave up with the local register office and wasn’t able to obtain anything from them.

The no trace marriage letter only gives the date FROM which they search the register. You can provide the 16th birthday as that date since they’d have been unable to marry before that. It then also adds that they are unable to search up to the current date due to records becoming available only 18 months after the marriage is registered. So it’s somewhat imperfect as a complete guarantee but it seems to be all that’s available in E&W.

I guess we will have to re-apply and re-submit updated versions of these over time due to their limited validity as far as SEF is concerned. So the 18 months not covered at this stage will be covered in future searches.

My application was only recently submitted in the past week or so, so I can’t yet provide any intell on whether it’s been accepted by SEF or not. But the lawyer seemed sufficiently satisfied with all the paperwork to go ahead and submit the application. Will only know for sure in due course.

I’d love to know how other UK applicants have got on with this, if they are applying for kids of similar ages!

Good luck!