The United Kingdom offers a variety of visa options for those looking to live and work in the country. Among these options, the Skilled Worker Visa is popular among individuals with valuable skills and job offers in the UK. However, life circumstances can change, and sometimes, individuals on a Skilled Worker Visa may want to switch to a Spouse Visa if they are married to a British citizen or a settled person in the UK. In this post, we will discuss the process of switching from a Skilled Worker Visa to a Spouse Visa in the UK.
Understanding the Spouse Visa
A Spouse Visa, officially known as the Partner Visa allows individuals to join or continue living with their partner or spouse in the UK. This visa category is designed for those who are married to a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK. To be eligible for a Spouse Visa, you must meet specific requirements, which include demonstrating a genuine and subsisting relationship with your UK-based spouse and meeting financial and accommodation requirements.
Reasons to Switch from Skilled Worker to Spouse Visa
People switch from a Skilled Worker Visa to a Spouse Visa for various reasons. Some common scenarios include:
- Change in Relationship Status: If you initially came to the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa and later got married to a British citizen or someone with settled status, you may want to switch to a Spouse Visa to live together in the UK.
- Change in Employment: Sometimes, individuals on Skilled Worker Visas decide to switch to a Spouse Visa if they no longer wish to work or if their employment circumstances change.
- Different Immigration Status: You may simply prefer the rights and benefits associated with a Spouse Visa as this permits most types of work and/or study in the UK.
To switch from a Skilled Worker Visa to a Spouse Visa, you must meet the eligibility criteria set out by the UK Home Office. These criteria include:
- Your partner must be a British citizen, have settled in the UK or have pre-settled status
- Genuine Relationship: Your marriage is recognised in the UK or you have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years
- Financial Requirement: You demonstrate a minimum gross annual income of £18,600. If you have dependant children, an additional £3,800 per year is required for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child.
- Accommodation Requirement: Applicants must provide evidence that their UK accommodation meets specific requirements, including exclusive ownership or occupancy by the applicant and their family members, adequate living space, and compliance with applicable public health standards.
- English Language Requirement: If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country, you can demonstrate your English language proficiency with an academic qualification, or by taking an approved English language test at the required level.
The specific requirements that apply may depend on your circumstances.
When to switch to a Spouse Visa
When switching to the Spouse visa category, it is essential to ensure that your application is prepared and submitted prior to the expiration of your current immigration status. We recommend applying after your marriage and before your current leave expires to ensure a smooth process.
You can remain in the UK for a period of up to 30 months under this route. Following the initial period, you will need to submit an application to extend your stay as a Spouse.
When can I settle permanently?
You become eligible to apply for permanent settlement in the UK, referred to as indefinite leave to remain, once you have resided continuously in the country for a period of 5 years. It’s important to note that this duration does not encompass time spent in the UK on any other type of visa or in the capacity of a fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner.
How we can help
If you are in the UK as a Skilled Worker and wish to discuss switching to a Partner Visa with an experienced immigration adviser, contact our professional team on 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form. We are here to provide expert guidance and assistance in your immigration journey.
Frequently asked questions
Depending on availability, applicants may opt for priority visa services as the standard application processing time is up to 8 weeks.
You do not need to prove additional income for dependant children who are British citizens or are permanently settled in the UK.
When you switch to a Spouse Visa, you are generally allowed to work and study in the UK without restrictions. You can engage in most types of employment, including self-employment.