UK Spouse Visa is a type of visa that allows individuals who are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or someone who has settled status in the UK to live and work in the UK. The visa is typically granted for an initial period of 30 months and can be extended after that time period. UK Spouse Visa is important because it allows individuals to join their spouse or civil partner in the UK and build a life together. Without this visa, individuals may not be able to live and work in the UK and may be separated from their loved ones.

Acquiring a Partner Visa is the initial step towards achieving Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and eventually British Citizenship. Meeting certain financial conditions and proving the authenticity of your relationship are the key eligibility requirements for a UK Spouse Visa application. Contact our team of immigration lawyers for expert advice on how to apply for a Spouse Visa and gain entry into the UK if your partner is a British citizen or settled person. Note that this visa differs from the UK Marriage visitor visa, which only allows entry for marriage or civil partnership purposes, regardless of your partner’s nationality.

What is a spouse visa?

The UK Spouse Visa is specifically designed for non-UK citizens over 18 years of age who are engaged, married to, or planning to enter into a civil partnership with someone over 18 years of age residing in the UK. It is a type of settlement visa referred to as the UK partner visa.

The qualifying criteria for a UK Partner Visa vary depending on the circumstances of your partner. If you are seeking to join your partner or spouse from outside the European Economic Area in the UK, you must apply for a UK Partner Visa.

 

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Holding a Spouse Visa in the UK grants you the right to work similar to that of British citizens. However, you cannot access most benefits such as public funds, housing allowances, or tax credits. Also known as a UK marriage visa, a Spouse Visa permits married partners of UK citizens to immigrate to the UK since they are married to someone who is ‘settled in the UK,’ which means that they are ordinarily residing in the UK and have no immigration restrictions on how long they can stay in the country.

Who can apply for a spouse visa?

If you meet the following criteria, you are eligible to apply for a UK Spouse Visa:

  • You are aged 18 years or above.
  • You are married or in a civil partnership recognized by the UK.
  • Your partner is a British citizen or UK settled person.
  • You have been living together in a relationship for the past 2 years and can provide evidence to support it.
  • You are engaged, or you hold a Fiancé Visa UK and plan to get married within 6 months of arriving in the UK.

British citizens can apply for leave to remain on behalf of their partner if they are eligible. In the application, the partner’s name and details must be listed as the applicant’s information.

What are the requirements for spouse visa?

Prior to submitting your application for a UK Spouse Visa, you must ensure that you have completed the following:

  • Gathered all necessary documents
  • Successfully passed the ‘Genuine Relationship Test’
  • Met the minimum income threshold and other financial requirements
  • Demonstrated your proficiency in the English language
  • Provided evidence of suitable accommodation for yourself, your partner, and any dependents
  • Undergone biometric registration for leave to remain
  • In some cases, passed a medical examination to confirm that you do not have tuberculosis, depending on your country of residence.

What are the Spouse Visa financial requirements?

To sponsor your wife, husband, partner for a UK Spouse Visa, you must meet certain financial criteria. You must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourselves without relying on public funds. The minimum income requirement for the UK spouse is £18,600 before tax, provided that there are no dependent children. If there is one dependent child, you will need an additional £3,800 before tax to meet the financial requirement. For each subsequent child, the sponsor must have an extra £2,400.

What if I don’t meet the financial requirement?

Should you find yourself lacking the necessary funds from the various sources of income to meet the required financial threshold for a Partner/Spouse Visa application, or if you have any uncertainties regarding your financial situation, it is highly recommended that you seek the guidance of our skilled immigration lawyers. They can provide professional assistance and inform you about any exceptional circumstances that may apply to your case.

What are the spouse visa required documents?

Ensuring that you possess all the correct documents is crucial to the success of your UK Spouse Visa application and can help avoid any delays. Below are the documents required to be submitted to the Home Office for leave to remain in the UK:

  • The original marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Evidence of cohabitation for at least the past two years
  • A valid passport to obtain leave to remain in the UK
  • A valid certificate demonstrating English language proficiency
  • Proof of suitable accommodation
  • Evidence of a genuine relationship
  • Proof that you satisfy the income threshold and financial requirement
  • Evidence that you are married to a British citizen or settled person (for instance, UK citizens may submit a copy of their passport)

It is important to note that any documents that are not in English must be translated by a professional translator. Additionally, all evidence must comply with the Home Office’s exact format. In case you are uncertain about your documents or your income, you may seek advice from our specialist immigration lawyers, as there may be exceptional circumstances.

What sources of income can be included towards the Spouse Visa financial criteria?

For your UK Spouse Visa application to meet the minimum income requirement, you can rely on different sources of income, including savings over £16,000, employment or self-employment earnings, maternity, paternity, adoption, or sick pay, pensions, or other income, such as rent or shares.

If your partner is applying from outside the UK, their savings can contribute towards the total income amount, but not their earnings. However, if your partner works in the UK, their earnings can count towards the total amount.

You can also combine savings and earnings to meet the minimum income threshold, but you must prove you have enough financial support for the entire length of the permit.

To calculate the required savings amount, subtract any other eligible income from the minimum requirement, multiply the result by 2.5, and then add £16,000.

 

What is the spouse visa English language test?

To be eligible for a UK Spouse Visa, applicants must demonstrate their ability to speak English. The English Language Test is mandatory and remains valid for two years. The language qualification is only recognized if it has been obtained through an approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) Provider and involves a speaking and listening test. Presently, SELT tests for immigration purposes are solely accessible through the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Consortium or Trinity College London. However, there are some exemptions where an English Language Test is not necessary, such as for nationals of majority English-speaking countries, individuals aged under 18 or over 65, or those with long-term physical or mental conditions. Additionally, individuals who hold a degree or completed their education in English must have their qualification certified by UK NARIC to be valid.

How much does a UK Spouse Visa application cost?

The current fee for a Spouse visa application submitted from abroad is £1,538, while the fee is £1,048 for applications submitted within the UK. However, if you are applying with dependents, the fee will increase for each dependent. It is only possible to apply from inside the UK if you have not entered the country as a visitor or have been given leave to stay for less than six months. Moreover, applications for a fiance(e) or proposed civil partner permit cannot be made from inside the UK.

Aside from the visa application fee, there are other costs that you should take into account when submitting your UK Spouse Visa application. These include expenses for professional translation services if your documents are not in English or Welsh, the cost of taking an approved English test, which is a compulsory requirement for most applicants, and extra fees if you opt for the Home Office’s Priority Premium Service and wish to receive a response from the UKVI within five working days. Additionally, an immigration health surcharge will also apply.

How to apply for a Spouse Visa

It is important to begin your UK Spouse visa application well in advance of your planned move to the country and refrain from booking your flight or travel until you receive visa approval from the Home Office.

The application process for a UK Spouse visa can begin online by filling out Appendix FM and other required forms from outside the UK. However, you may be required to visit a visa application centre to provide your biometrics. It is crucial to ensure that you complete all forms and provide sufficient evidence to increase your chances of obtaining a UK Spouse or Partner visa.

 

 

The process differs if you are applying from within the UK, as you must show proof that you are in the country on an eligible visa to switch to the UK spouse visa.

The Home Office may invite you for a Spouse visa interview if they have any doubts about your application. During the interview, you will be questioned to establish the genuineness of your relationship and intentions in the UK.

The Spouse visa application process can be lengthy and challenging to navigate alone. We can provide assistance.

 

Genuine Relationship Test?

To be eligible for a UK Spouse Visa, proof of a genuine relationship with a British citizen partner is required. The following evidence can be submitted to the Home Office:

  • Joint mortgage or tenancy agreements, both in the UK or outside the UK.
  • Evidence of any children born out of the relationship, such as a birth certificate.
  • Photographs that show regular time spent together.
  • Shared bank accounts or savings accounts.
  • Text messages or social media chat logs.
  • Travel documents that show proof of visits made to each other before the marriage.
  • Any additional documents that prove the intent to live together in the UK.

How long does the application take?

The processing time for a UK Spouse Visa application can vary greatly, typically taking between 2 to 12 weeks. However, this timeline can be impacted by several factors, including the completeness and accuracy of the documents provided and the country where the application is submitted from.

Certain countries may have longer processing times due to high volumes of applications, while others may have shorter processing times due to efficient processing systems in place. Additionally, if there are any issues or discrepancies with the application, the processing time may be longer as additional information or documents may be required.

It’s important to note that the Home Office provides estimated processing times as a guideline only and that actual processing times can be longer or shorter than the estimated timeframes. For this reason, it’s recommended to apply for a Spouse Visa well in advance of your planned travel dates to allow for any delays in processing.

What happens if my UK Spouse Visa application is accepted?

Once your UK Spouse Visa application is approved, you will be granted a period of leave to remain in the UK, and you must enter the country within 30 days. Upon arrival, you will have to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 10 days.

If you are unable to enter the UK within the initial 30-day period, you can apply for another entry permit of 30 days, but an additional fee will apply.

What happens if my Spouse Visa application is rejected?

In case your application for a Spouse Visa is refused by the Home Office, you have the right to appeal their decision. However, the appeals process can be complicated and time-consuming, and it is recommended that you seek the assistance of an immigration adviser.

Our team at IAS can provide support throughout the appeals process, from assessing your options to preparing and submitting your appeal. We have offices in London, Manchester, and Birmingham, as well as a branch locator tool to help you find the closest office to you.

 

Can i renew or extend my UK spouse visa?

If you wish to continue living in the UK, you can extend your UK Spouse Visa for an additional 2.5 years, provided that your current leave to remain has not yet expired.

Once you have resided in the UK for a total of 5 years on your Marriage visa, you may be eligible to apply for settled status (ILR). Please contact our lawyers if you require assistance with renewing your UK Spouse Visa.

Conclusion

Applying for a UK Spouse Visa is a complex process that requires a significant amount of time and effort. It is essential to carefully consider your eligibility and gather all the necessary documents to increase your chances of success. Failing to do so could result in a rejection, which can be both costly and time-consuming to rectify.

Working with an experienced immigration lawyer can help you navigate the process and ensure that your application is filled correctly with sufficient evidence to support your case. They can also assist with any appeals or renewals that may be necessary.

It is also important to remember that once you have been granted a Spouse Visa, there are certain conditions that you must adhere to, such as maintaining your relationship and living together with your partner in the UK.

Overall, while the Spouse Visa application process can be daunting, with the right support and guidance, it is possible to successfully obtain a UK Spouse Visa and begin your new life in the UK with your partner.

Frequently asked questions

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