If you are a non-UK national currently residing in the United Kingdom on a spouse visa, it’s essential to be aware of the necessary steps to maintain your legal status and continue living with your partner. The UK spouse visa grants you permission to live in the country with your British or settled spouse for a specific duration. However, like all visas, it has an expiration date. In this post, we will explore the process of extending your UK spouse visa, including when and how to apply, the eligibility criteria, and frequently asked questions.
Understanding the UK Spouse Visa and Its Validity Period
The UK spouse visa falls under the family category of visas and is designed for individuals married to a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK. Initially granted for a period of 33 months, it allows the visa holder to live and work in the UK. Upon completing the initial period, an extension can be sought, providing an additional 30 months, after which the visa holder may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), and eventually, British citizenship.
When to Apply for the Extension?
It is crucial to begin the process of extending your spouse visa well in advance of its expiration date. It is advisable to apply within 28 days of your current visa’s expiry. Preparing early ensures that you have sufficient time to gather all the required documents and reduces the risk of any disruptions in your legal status by submitting an in-time application. If your current visa expires before you apply for an extension, you may be considered an overstayer, which can have serious consequences for future applications.
Eligibility Criteria for Extension
To be eligible for a Spouse Visa Extension or Further Leave to Remain as a Partner, you must meet certain requirements as stipulated in the Immigration Rules. The eligibility criteria included the following:
- Relationship: You must still be married to your UK partner or in a civil partnership or marriage that is recognized by UK law.
- Financial Requirement: You and your partner must demonstrate that you meet the minimum income threshold or have adequate savings to support yourselves without relying on public funds. The financial requirements can vary based on your circumstances, such as whether you have dependent children.
- Accommodation: You should have suitable accommodation available for you and your partner without relying on public funds.
- English Language: You must meet the English language proficiency requirement, either by being from an English-speaking country or by passing a recognized English language test.
- Intentions: You should intend to continue living with your UK partner.
- Immigration Status: You must currently be in the UK with a valid spouse visa.
Please note that the Immigration Rules may be subject to change, so it is essential to check the most up-to-date requirements on the official UK government website or consult with a qualified immigration adviser.
Application Process for Spouse Visa Extension
The application process for extending a UK spouse visa involves the following steps:
- Gather the Required Documents: Prepare all the necessary documents, including passports, financial evidence, accommodation details, English language test results, and any other supporting documentation required to meet the eligibility criteria.
- Online Application & Document Submission: Complete the online application form on the official UK government website. Submit your documentation either online or in person at your appointment.
- Biometric Appointment: Schedule an appointment to provide biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) at a designated visa application support center.
- Decision and Notification: After processing, you will receive a decision on your application. If approved, you will be issued a new biometric residence permit (BRP) with extended validity.
How we can help
To discuss your Spouse Visa Extension application with an experienced Immigration adviser, feel free to get in touch with our team at 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Usually, application form FLR (M) should be used for Spouse Visa Extension applications under the 5-Year route.
According to the Immigration Rules, if you have applied for an extension before your current visa expires, you can continue to stay in the UK until a decision is made on your application. However, leaving the UK while your application is under consideration may be deemed as withdrawing the application.
Yes, you can continue to work in the UK if you have applied for an extension before your current visa expires, as long as you meet the other conditions of your visa.
If you are unable to meet the minimum income threshold, you may explore other options, such as relying on savings or rental income.
If you meet all the requirements and have continuously lived in the UK on a spouse visa for a specified period (usually five years), you may be eligible to apply for ILR.
Yes, it is possible to switch to a spouse visa from various visa categories, provided you meet the relevant eligibility criteria.