- What is a Spouse Visa Extension?
- What Are the Spouse Visa Extension Requirements?
- What Documents Are Required for the Spouse Visa Extension?
- Meeting the Genuine Relationship Requirement
- Meeting the Financial Requirements
- The Good Character Criteria
- Meeting the English Language Requirement
- The Spouse Visa Extension Application and Cost
- Switching from a Spouse Visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
- How Can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Spouse Visa Extension?
If you wish to extend your UK Spouse visa (or Civil Partnership or Unmarried Partner visa) at the end of your 30-month visa grant, you must apply for a UK Spouse visa extension before your visa expires.
To do this, you should submit the Spouse visa extension form FLR (M) to UK Visas and Immigration (UVKI). After holding a valid passport and the Spouse Visa for five years, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).
Similarly to the UK Spouse visa, a renewal awards the applicant with residency rights in and permanent residence in the UK for another 30 months. Foreign nationals normally only need to seek a Spouse visa extension once as they can then apply for indefinite leave to remain after having been in the UK for 5 years.
Having lived in the UK with ILR for one year, applicants then have the option to apply for British citizenship, which grants them full UK rights as British-born residents.
However, it is important to note that although this type of renewal of spouse visas is a continuation of the status that has currently been granted, it is by no means an automatic or entitled right.
This means applicants must ensure that they still meet the stringent UK Spouse visa requirements. Failure to do so may see the application refused and the foreign national will need to leave the country when the Spouse visa expires.
What Are the Spouse Visa Extension Requirements?
To apply for an extension your current visa, you will need to ensure that you continue to meet the Spouse visa requirements. The application can be made from within the UK. If successful, you will be granted an extension on your Spouse visa for another 30 months.
However, while progressing onto a renewal is largely dependent on your individual circumstances, there is a general checklist of eligibility requirements that you must meet. This includes but is not limited to the following:
- Continuing to pass the genuine relationship test
- Re-taking the English language test (if you first passed at level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale for your first visa application)
- Demonstrating you are of good character
- Continuing to meet the minimum income requirement
- Continuing to satisfy the adequate accommodation requirements
In addition, your spouse or civil partner must still be a British citizen or be someone who has settled status. Your partner may also have some form of humanitarian protection such as refugee status.
What Documents Are Required?
In order to meet the aforementioned requirements, both the foreign partner and the sponsor must provide substantial evidence in the application form (FLR M).
This means as a couple, you will need to submit your personal identification, and additional documents such as your passports.
The sponsor who is the partner of the applicant may also need to provide an updated sponsorship declaration form.
Generally speaking, you will need to provide the following UK Spouse visa extension documents when applying:
- Proof of the sponsor’s status in the UK (e.g. proof of citizenship or settled status, etc)
- Proof that you continue to meet the minimum financial requirements, such as through bank statements or employment payslips
- Proof that you meet the minimum English language requirements
- Proof that your relationship is genuine and subsisting
- Proof of shared accommodation with the sponsor
It’s essential that you get your UK Spouse visa extension application right the first time in order to prevent yourself and your partner from getting into any difficulties further down the line. Call one of our experienced immigration lawyers on 0121 667 6530 for immediate help and assistance, or contact us online.
Meeting the Genuine Relationship Requirement
Although you may have lived in the UK with your partner for 30 months already, this alone is not enough evidence to satisfy the ‘genuine relationship’ test. As you may remember from the decision letter on your initial application, the Home Office assesses this particular immigration category with great scrutiny. The same level of assessment still applies when you come to seek an extension.
As a result, you cannot submit the same application as you did two and a half years ago as you will need to provide fresh and updated information in your Spouse visa extension application.
To satisfy the Home Office that you are in a long-lasting and legitimate relationship, you could provide:
- Proof of cohabitation such as joint utility bills, council tax bills and other correspondence to the same address
- Proof that you intend to live together as a family unit for the foreseeable future
- Your valid marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
- Birth certificates of any children you may have together
- Photographs, event tickets, holiday photographs, text or email correspondent and/or any other evidence you may have that shows you are in a subsisting relationship
Passing the genuine relationship test is arguably the most difficult hurdle of the UK Spouse Visa rules to pass. Contact our Birmingham immigration lawyers today to see how we can help you build your portfolio of proof on 0121 667 6530.
Meeting the Financial Requirements
As per your first UK Spouse visa application, both you and your partner must demonstrate that you satisfy the minimum income threshold. This threshold is a combined income of at least £18,600.
If you have a job in the UK, you can use your payslips as well as any bank statements your partner may have to demonstrate that you meet the financial criteria.
However, there are other methods and ways to meet the financial requirement if you don’t earn enough money. For instance, if you are in receipt of disability living allowance or other welfare benefits. In addition, you may use cash savings if you have over £16,000 that has been in your bank account for at least 6 months.
It is important to note that if you have any children, the financial requirements rise. Per every dependent in your household, you are expected to earn £3,800 for the first child, and £2,400 for each additional child. Your cash savings will also rise accordingly if you have children under the age of 18.
The Accommodation Criteria
To successfully apply and renew your UK Spouse Visa, you must show that you and your partner have been living together under the same roof in the UK and that you intend on doing so.
To achieve this, you can provide proof of your tenancy agreement, joint bank account, joint mortgage or utility bill payments with bank statements.
The Good Character criteria
Similarly to the ‘genuine relationship test’, renewal and UK Spouse visa extension applications will still need to meet the good character requirement.
This means that the Home Office will take into account your entire immigration history, both inside and outside the UK. The immigration officer will certify that you have legally abided by State rules, which includes checking if you have ever overstayed a visa.
The Home Office may also investigate if you have a criminal record, or have gained a criminal record during your time in the UK.
Any serious criminal convictions, previous offences or misdemeanours on your record may negatively affect your chances of having an extension granted.
It is best to seek your UK Spouse visa extension before your current permission expires. If you are found residing in the UK without legal status or visa, this may be used against you and could jeopardise your chances of a Spouse Visa renewal.
Meeting the English Language Requirement
If you took an English language test in order to secure your initial UK Spouse Visa, you may need to retake another certified English language test.
This only applies if you took an English test for your first visa application and passed at A1 level. If this is the case, then you’ll need to pass another test at A2 level or higher in speaking and listening in order to be eligible for a Spouse visa extension.
You will not need to take an English language test for a Spouse visa extension if any of the following apply to you:
- You passed an English language test for your initial visa application and passed at level A2, B1, B2, C1 or C2, and your test certificate is still valid
- You were exempt from proving your English language skills for your initial visa application because you:
- Had a valid educational qualification that was taught in English
- Are from one of the majority English-speaking countries exempt from this requirement
However, note that if you were given any other kind of exemption for your initial visa application, you will be expected to pass an English language test at level A1 or higher in order to be eligible for a Spouse visa extension.
The Spouse Visa Extension Application and Cost
To apply for a Spouse Visa extension, you must seek the form FLR M and submit this to the Home Office online. You must ensure that FLR M is filled to the highest standard because the immigration officer may decide that you have provided insufficient evidence. In this event, you may be requested for a face-to-face interview.
The fee for the extension period as of April 2023 sits at £1,048. However, this doesn’t include additional fees such as document translation, the English language test, lawyer fees, or the immigration health surcharge.
The processing time for a Spouse visa extension can take up to least eight weeks until you hear a verdict on your application. If you and your partner need a decision in a quicker turnaround, you can apply for a super priority service, but this costs an additional £610 on top of the other fees.
Birmingham Immigration Lawyers can help if you need to submit your Spouse visa extension application as a matter of urgency. Contact us on 0121 667 6530 or contact us online if you need immediate help and assistance with your UK visa application.
Switching from a Spouse Visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
Once you have lived legally in the UK for a period of five years, you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). This form of settlement lifts many restrictions that migrants experience in the UK, allowing you to work, live, change jobs and leave and return to the UK without barriers.
There are a number of requirements you need to meet in order to be eligible for ILR as a marriage visa holder. These include the following:
- You must still be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your spouse or partner
- You must have lived with your spouse or partner since your last visa extension application and intend to live with them after you obtain ILR
- You must still continue to meet the minimum income requirements
- You must still meet the minimum adequate accommodation requirements
- You must prove that you meet the minimum English language requirements
- You must pass the Life in the UK Test
- You must not have spent prolonged periods of time outside the UK – or if you have, then you must be able to provide sufficient evidence to support the reasons for your absence
Once ILR status has been held for 12 months, you may then apply for British citizenship, if you wish.
How Can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers Help?
Our Birmingham immigration lawyers deal with family immigration law every day. We know how important it is for families to stay together, and remain together as one unit.
By entrusting your case with us, you can rest assured that your application is in the best hands. Our legal professionals are OISC trained and certified, maximising your chances of success in your visa and application process.
Not only can your personally assigned immigration lawyer meet you face-to-face, via Skype or over the phone, but we offer a plethora of custom-made packages to suit your personal circumstances. This includes but is not limited to:
- A comprehensive Advice Session
- A full Application Service
- A thorough Document Check
- Appeal and detention orders
Our lawyers go above and beyond to secure your stay in the UK, and will even write a letter of recommendation to accompany your application which highlights the merits of your case and character to the Home Office.
Contact us today on 0121 667 6530 to see how our immigration lawyers in Birmingham can advise you with your Spouse visa extension.
Last modified on November 23rd, 2023 at 10:53 am
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It is not an automatic right that applicants will have their UK Spouse visa extension granted. Applicants must ensure that they are able to meet the requirements in the same way that they did in their initial Spouse visa application.
However, there are a few exceptional circumstances where you may be granted a Spouse visa extension even if you don’t meet the requirements. These include the following:
- You and your partner would face significant difficulties that you would not be able to overcome if you lived outside the UK.
- You have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for at least 7 years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK.
- It would be a violation of your human rights to make you leave the UK.
If you’re uncertain if you meet the requirements for a visa extension, don’t delay in seeking help. Call one of our immigration advisers today on 0121 667 6530 or contact us online.
If you have been rejected from extending your Spouse Visa in the UK, you will be granted a Rejection Letter from the Home Office which details why you have been unsuccessful.
In most circumstances, people face refusals due to the amount of evidence they submit to accompany their application. Some submit too much evidence whereas others submit too little.
If you believe that you have been unfairly refused and the mistakes in your application weren’t your fault, you may be able to appeal the Home Office’s decision. However, this can be a lengthy, complicated and expensive approach. You only have 14 days from the date you received your letter to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. Your immigration lawyer might advise you to make a fresh application instead.
Even if you filled your Spouse Visa application with a third party, we can take over your case and help you with your Appeal. See more on our Appeal Service assistance.
The requirements for the Unmarried Partner as well as the Civil Partnership visa are broadly the same.
You will be able to extend these visas if you also meet the same requirements as listed above for Spouse visa extension applications, such as meeting the relationship, financial and English language requirements.