UK Spouse Visa
A spouse visa is required for anyone who wishes to become resident in the UK by virtue of their marriage to a British Citizen or person legally resident in the UK. Permission to reside in the UK will be granted if certain criteria are met.
If you are in the UK on a visa which is valid for more than 6 months, then you can apply for a spousal visa from within the UK. This is also the case for those in the UK on a Fiancé(e)/proposed Civil Partner visa who have married their spouse and who intend to reside permanently in the UK following their marriage.
A UK settlement visa or further leave to remain gives the spouse the right to reside and work in the UK for up to two and a half years. This is the first step to being granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. Call us now on +44 (0)208 757 5751.
What are the requirements under this category?
Age - both the applicant and the sponsor must be at least 18 years of age.
Present and Settled - The sponsoring spouse must be resident in the UK, with no restrictions on their stay. This means, in practice, that they must either be a British Citizen or be permanently resident in the UK (i.e. have indefinite leave to remain).
The Marriage must be Valid - The parties must be legally married. The marriage must be valid according to the law of the country where it took place and must be recognised under UK law. These countries are listed at Schedule 20 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
If a marriage certificate is in a foreign language it must be translated into English.
The parties must have reached the age of 18 - Both parties must be 18, or be about to turn 18. If one or both parties are about to turn 18 then the UKBA is not bound to grant a visa, but they may do so on a discretionary basis.
The marriage must be genuine and subsisting - The parties must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the UKBA entry clearance officer that the marriage is genuine and the relationship is ongoing. In short, the Entry Clearance Officer must be satisfied that the marriage has been entered into genuinely and that it is not an attempt to subvert UK immigration law.
There are no specified evidence requirements in the partner rules for proving that the relationship requirements are met. So it is a matter of collecting the best available evidence that the relationship is legally valid, genuine and subsisting. Interviews and home visits by the UKVI are not unusual, and nor indeed are immigration officials turning up as unwanted guests at marriages in the UK and whisking one party into detention. Investigating potentially sham marriages is a priority for the UKVI. Other evidence of the ‘genuine relationship test’ would be:
A joint tenancy agreement or mortgage
Joint bank and savings accounts
Evidence of any children you have together, e.g child’s birth certificate
Photographs of you together
Communication between the two of you
Travel documents of visiting each other
Finance and Accommodation - The sponsor must be capable of financially supporting their new foreign spouse and dependants without relying on public funds. The sponsor must also provide suitable accommodation for their spouse and dependants, and this must not be overcrowded. You will have to provide a description of the property, proof that there are enough rooms available to accommodate everyone and evidence that you can afford to pay for your family’s accommodation.
The sponsor must earn a minimum of £18,600 p/a, and have done so for the 6 months (12 months if self-employed) leading up to the date of the application. If children are involved, the threshold amounts are as follows:
£22,400 if there is one child/dependant
£24,800 if there are two dependants
£27,200 if there are three dependants
And £2,400 more for each additional child.
These earnings may be from employment or self-employment, maternity, paternity or sick pay, pensions or other income generated from rent or shares.
If your partner is applying from outside the UK, they cannot use their earnings towards the total amount, they can only use their savings.
You can also use a combination of savings and earnings to help you meet the income criteria. To see how much you will need in savings, first subtract any other eligible income from your minimum requirement. Then, multiply this figure by 2.5 and add 16,000.
Requirements to speak English - Most visa applicants are required to speak English. To demonstrate this, they must pass a mandatory English Language Test in advance of their application. Only nationals of English-speaking countries and those who have been educated to degree level in English are exempt.
Other requirements - If the application originates from a third country, then the applicant must provide proof of legal residence in that country. Otherwise, they may be asked to return to their country of origin to submit an application through the British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission located there.
It will be compulsory to have your biometrics taken.
Depending on the applicant’s country of residence, you may need to pass medical test to show that you don’t have Tuberculosis (TB).
What documents are required in support of the Spouse Visa application?
The following documents in support of your Spouse Visa application must be submitted along with your application:
A valid passport
A copy of your partner’s valid British passport
Your original marriage or civil partnership certificate
Proof of cohabitation for at least two years
Proof of accommodation, e.g. mortgage statement, utility bills
Supporting evidence that the relationship is genuine
Evidence that you meet the minimum income threshold, e.g. Bank or savings statements
In order to prevent any delays or refusals, you must ensure that your documentation is correct as per the requirement of the Home Office.
You will be required to have your documents translated into english.
Can I apply for a Spouse Visa?
If you meet the strict requirements, you will be able to apply for a UK Spouse Visa. The application can be made in the UK or from your current country of residence.
You will need to show a substantial amount of evidence about your relationship to prove you are eligible to come to the UK on a Spouse Visa.
If you’ve been living with your spouse in another European country outside of the UK, you may also be eligible through the ‘Surinder Singh’ route rather than a traditional UK Spouse Visa.
To apply for a Spouse Visa, you can enquire with us online or over the phone to start your application today.
What are the Spouse Visa UK fees?
The Home Office currently has a Spouse Visa fee of £1,523 for an out of country application. Each dependant added to your application will be an additional £1,523.
And £1,033 for an in country application.Similarly, each dependant added to your application will be an additional £1,033.
What if I cannot meet the minimum financial requirements of the spouse visa category?
Since 10th August 2017 and following a UK High Court ruling, MM (Lebanon), it was decided that the minimum income requirement was ‘unjustified and disproportionate’ if the sponsor was either a refugee or a British Citizen. Contact one of our immigration experts to see if you do not meet the minimum income requirement today.
What happens if my UK Spouse Visa is refused?
If you receive a letter saying your Spouse Visa was refused, you will usually have the right to appeal the decision if you think it was unfair. Your letter of refusal will inform you if you are eligible to appeal. You will be able to submit new evidence if it proves that you were eligible at the time of your initial application.
If you are already in the UK, you will need to act quickly in order to appeal the decision or apply for another visa. Overstaying on an expired visa can be very problematic and should be avoided.
How long will the Spouse Visa application take?
Normally the standard Spouse Visa processing time is around three months. The standard processing time for UK visas can vary depending on the case or where you are applying from.
If you wish to receive an answer from the UKVI within five working days, you can apply for the Home Office’s Priority Premium Service at an additional cost.
How can I settle in the UK on a Spouse Visa?
After living with your spouse in the UK for five years, you can most often apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence. Your application will be dependent on you continuing to meet the requirements of your Marriage Visa.
If you do not meet the minimum income requirements, there is also a 10-year route to ILR with slightly relaxed income requirements.
What if I have a disability or have a carer?
There are some occasions where you may be exempt from the financial requirements for a UK Spouse or Partner Visa, for example, if you have a disability or you are a carer. There are, however, only a limited number of instances where exemptions apply. Whilst you may be exempt from meeting the current income threshold, you will need to prove that you have enough money to support your spouse/partner and/or any dependants. Typically, you will need at least £120 per week after you have paid for housing. If you have any number of dependants, this amount will increase. The exact amount will depend on your individual circumstances.
Please contact a member of our experienced team for further advice tailored to your situation.
Can I use income from benefits in support of my application?
There are cases where you will not be required to meet the mandatory eligibility criteria, such as if you are claiming any one of the following benefits:
Disability Living Allowance
Severe Disablement Allowance
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
Personal Independence Payment
Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
Police Injury Pension
What are the Spouse Visa accommodation requirements?
The following is the acceptable criteria for accommodation requirements:
Living rooms can be included when counting bedrooms
Couples can share the same bedroom
Children under 1 do not need their own room
Children aged 1-9 years old count as half a person
Children aged 10 years or over count as an adult
Children aged 10 years or over of the opposite sex cannot share a room
Can I switch to a Spouse Visa?
You will not be allowed to switch categories if you are here as a visitor or if permission to stay was given for a period of less than six months with the exception of the fiancée or proposed civil partner visa.
Can my partner’s income be included in the financial requirement?
No, your spouse or partner’s income cannot be included as part of the financial requirement unless they are already residing in the UK (and with permission to work). In which case, the financial requirement can be based on household income.
What is the English Language requirement for my Marriage Visa?
If you are from a country outside of the European Economic Area (or Switzerland) that is not predominantly English speaking then you will need to pass an English Language test that has been conducted by an approved test provider.
If you have an English Language certificate which has been provided by one of these approved providers then it should satisfy the language requirement. This includes degrees earned in English.
If you are unsure of where to find an approved test provider, consult an immigration specialist who will be best positioned to point you in the right direction when applying for a Spouse Visa UK.
Where can I apply for a Spouse Visa?
Those from non-EEA or EU countries should apply for a settlement visa to the British Consulate, Embassy or High Commission in their place of permanent residence. If successful, applicants will be granted a multiple entry visa (or entry clearance) valid for two and a half years. There is an option to apply for further leave to remain before the end of this period.
What happens if my relationship ends?
If you and your partner decide to end your relationship or get a divorce, you must notify the Home Office immediately as this may impact any future applications.
Since your leave depends on your relationship, the Home Office will issue what is known as a Spouse Visa curtailment. This will usually allow you enough time to make a new application under a new route to stay in the UK or leave the country, but you will need to act quickly. Please contact a member of our expert team if you are in this situation and require further advice.
What happens if my Spouse Visa application is accepted?
When your application is accepted, you will be given a permit that allows you to enter the UK within a 30-day period. Upon arrival in the UK, you will have a 10-day period in which to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
If you fail to enter the UK within this time-frame, you can apply for another 30-day entry permit. However, you will be charged an additional fee.
What happens if my Spouse Visa application is rejected?
If your case is rejected, you can appeal against the Home Office’s verdict. This is a long-winded and challenging process that is best assisted by a qualified immigration adviser.
What services does WF offer?
At WF, we understand the value and importance of family and being close to them. We make it our priority to maximise your chances of doing this.
Our services include:
liaising with you in person, via phone or a video call at a time that suits you;
assessing your eligibility;
checking your documents to ensure that they are sufficient for your Marriage Visa application;
preparing a Letter of Representation to accompany your application;
liaising with the Home Office during your application process;
completing each part of your application form to the highest standard.
Why Whytecroft Ford?
Free initial visa assessment
No hidden charges
Fixed Fees for your entire application, no matter how much time your adviser needs to spend on your case, giving you peace of mind
We don’t charge extra for secure postage, credit card fees or phone support
We combine our expert knowledge and experience to provide you with a reliable and professional service.
We are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner to provide expert advice on UK immigration
Ask a free question via email or contact us on +44 (0)208 757 5751 for free initial advice today, or simply fill out our online form and we will get back to you at your designated time.