If you are engaged to a British citizen or settled person and plan to live with them in the UK, you may have initially applied for a fiance visa. While this visa may allow you to enter and stay in the UK for a limited period, it does not provide a pathway to permanent residency. You must switch to a spouse visa to continue living with your partner in the UK.
Switching from a fiance visa to the spouse route is a crucial step to continuing living with your family in the UK. Holders of a fiance visa are not allowed to work in the UK during their stay, and the time spent on this visa does not count towards fulfilling the 5-year residency requirement for an indefinite leave to remain application.
Switching to a spouse visa will allow you to live in the UK for 2.5 years. Most applicants aim to extend their initial visa to meet the residency requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain and, potentially, British citizenship.
However, switching to a spouse visa requires careful consideration of the eligibility criteria and proper application procedures to avoid the risk of refusal and the need to return to your home country.
Eligibility Criteria for Switching from Fiance Visa to Spouse Visa
To switch from a fiance visa to a spouse visa in the UK, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must have a valid fiance visa
- You must be in the UK
- You and your partner must be 18 years or older
- You and your partner must have met in person and be in a genuine relationship
- You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK
- You must meet the financial requirements, which means your partner must earn a minimum of £18,600 per year or have enough savings to support you both
- You must meet the English language requirements, which means you must pass an approved English language test or have a degree taught in English
- You must have adequate accommodation for yourself and your partner
- You must intend to live in the UK together permanently.
To discuss switching from a fiance visa to a spouse visa in the UK, contact our professional team on +442087575751 or use our contact form.
Required Documents for a Successful Switch to a Spouse Visa
To switch from a fiance visa to a spouse visa in the UK, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Your valid passport
- Your valid fiance visa
- Evidence of your relationship, such as photographs, emails, and letters
- Evidence that you and your partner have met in person, such as travel tickets, hotel bookings, or photographs
- Proof that you and your partner intend to live together permanently in the UK, such as a rental agreement or mortgage
- Evidence of your partner’s income, such as payslips, bank statements, or a letter from their employer
- Evidence of your English language proficiency, such as a certificate from an approved English language test provider.
Timeline and Process for Switching from Fiancé Visa to Spouse Visa in the UK
Switching from a fiancé visa to a spouse visa in the UK requires careful preparation and attention to detail. Preparing a spouse visa application can take time, particularly when gathering evidence to demonstrate the authenticity of your relationship or to show that your sponsor meets the financial requirements for a spouse visa. To avoid any delays or issues with your application, it is essential to plan and give yourself ample time to collect the necessary documents and information required for a successful application.
The following steps are involved in the process:
- Submit your application online: The first step in switching to a spouse visa is to submit your application online through the UK government’s website. You will need to pay the application and IHS fees at this stage.
- Book an appointment: After submitting your application, you must book an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre. You must provide your biometric information during the appointment, including your fingerprints and a photograph.
- Wait for a decision: After submitting your application and attending your appointment, you will need to wait for a decision on your application. The processing time for a spouse visa can vary, but the UK government aims to process 90% of applications within 8 weeks. Depending on availability, you may opt for priority services to reduce the waiting time.
- Receive your visa: If your application is successful, you will receive your spouse visa, allowing you to remain in the UK and work or study as required.
If you are currently on a fiance visa and are planning to switch to a spouse visa, you can do so from within or outside the UK. However, it is important to note that you must apply for the spouse visa before your fiance visa expires if you are planning to apply in the UK. If you fail to do so, you will be classified as an overstayer, which can negatively impact your immigration record and your chances of being granted future visa applications.
How can we help?
If you are considering switching from a fiance visa to a spouse visa in the UK, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the eligibility requirements and the application process. The process can be daunting sometimes, and you may need professional guidance and support to navigate it successfully.
At Whytecroft Ford, our professional team is committed to helping you every step of the way. We provide tailored advice and assistance to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria and have all the necessary documents to switch to a spouse visa without any complications. Our services include:
- Comprehensive consultation to assess your eligibility and discuss the process and requirements
- Assistance in preparing and compiling all the necessary documentation for your application
- Reviewing your application to ensure accuracy and compliance with the UKVI guidelines
- Submitting your application and liaising with the UKVI on your behalf
- Regular updates and communication throughout the process
- Advice on work and study opportunities and rights and responsibilities with a spouse visa
We understand that switching from a fiance visa to a spouse visa can be overwhelming, and our team is here to help you make a smooth transition. To discuss your application with an experienced professional, call our team on +442087575751 or use our contact form.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can work and study in the UK on a spouse visa.
No, you must be in the UK to switch from a fiance visa to a spouse visa.
The fiance visa permits individuals to enter the UK for up to 6 months, specifically to get married or enter into a civil partnership with someone who resides in the UK. It is important to note that the fiance visa differs from the spouse visa, although the two are often conflated. On the other hand, the spouse visa enables married couples or individuals in civil partnerships to travel to the UK (or be reunited in the UK), subject to certain requirements, including sponsorship by a British citizen or an individual with settled status in the UK.