- Overview of UK Spouse Visas
- UK Spouse Visa Requirements
- Understanding the Genuine Relationship Requirement
- Financial Requirements for UK Spouse Visas
- English Language Requirement for UK Spouse Visas
- UK Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirement
- Required UK Spouse Visa Document Checklist
- How to Apply for a UK Spouse Visa
- The Cost of a UK Spouse Visa Application
- Claiming Benefits on a UK Spouse Visa
- Extending a Spouse Visa
- Switching to a Spouse Visa from Within the UK
- Indefinite Leave to Remain as a Spouse
- Recognition of Overseas Marriages by the Home Office
- Dealing with a Refused Spouse Visa Application
- What to Do If You Don’t Meet the Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa
- How Can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers Help
- Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of UK Spouse Visas
The UK Spouse visa, also known as a Partner or marriage visa, allows eligible foreign nationals to come and stay with British citizens, permanent residents, or people with pre-settled status in the UK.
There must be no immigration restrictions on the length of stay for these permanent residents in the UK.
Your Spouse must apply for a Spouse visa UK to live with you in the UK, as marriage alone will not grant your Spouse the right to come and stay with you in the UK.
After a period of 5 years in the UK, the UK Spouse visa can lead to a settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.
In order to be eligible for a fiance visa UK, you must meet certain requirements. They include meeting financial requirements and passing a genuine relationship test. The validity period of Spouse visa UK is 33 months, however, it can be extended and used to qualify for permanent settled status.
The Home Office needs to be convinced that your Spouse has met all requirements in order to be granted the UK Spouse visa. Therefore, your Spouse must make a comprehensive application following the correct process in evidencing their eligibility.
UK Spouse Visa Requirements
You must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the UK Spouse visa:
- You are a British or Irish citizen, have humanitarian protection, hold ILR, and have limited leave to remain under Appendix ECAA or limited leave to remain under Appendix EU.
- You and your Spouse are above 18 years old.
- You and your Spouse wish to live together in the UK permanently.
- You have met in person with your Spouse.
- A genuine and subsisting relationship exists between you and your partner.
- Any previous relationship you and your partner had with other people has broken down permanently.
- You and your Spouse are not within a prohibited degree of relationship.
- You and your Spouse are legally married in a marriage recognised in the UK.
- You have enough funds to take care of yourselves which amounts to a minimum annual income of £18,600.
- You and your partner speak and understand English to the required level.
- You have accommodation for you and your Spouse.
Understanding the Genuine Relationship Requirement
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) designed the genuine relationship criteria to find out whether the relationship you have with your non-EU Spouse is real and long-lasting. It is one of the review processes for your UK partner visa application.
The UKVI will judge you with the traits of the terminology they use which is “genuine and subsisting.” In order to prove that you have a genuine and subsisting relationship with your Spouse, you need to:
- Plan to get married or be in civil partnership in the UK within 6 months you entered the UK.
- Be in a marriage or civil partnership that is legally accepted in the UK.
- Live together for at least 2 years in a relationship.
For instance, a ticket could support your application if you have attended so many events together or evidence of frequent Skype calls with your partner.
You need to provide some types of documents depending on the kind of relationship with your Spouse and what works best for you. The documents you may use include:
- Social media or text messages.
- Proof of a joint bank account.
- Proof of money exchanged or gifts you bought for one another.
- Proof of children you and your Spouse had together by a marriage certificate, birth certificate or school records.
- A joint mortgage or tenancy agreement in or outside the UK.
Financial Requirements for UK Spouse Visas
You need to prove that you and your Spouse have enough funds to take care of yourselves and any dependent children without depending on public funds.
Each dependent child to be included in the Spouse visa application will be treated as a separate applicant with regard to the fees set by the Home Office.
Therefore, you have to meet the following UK Spouse visa financial requirements when applying for the UK Spouse visa:
- You and your foreign Spouse must earn a combined minimum income threshold of at least £18,600.
- You’ll need an additional £3,800 for a first child and for each additional child £2,400 in annual income if your application includes non-British or non-EEA children.
The following could be the sources of the money:
- From ownership of a business, employment, or self-employment.
- From your income and/or that of your Spouse.
- Through non-employment, like investments, stocks, property rentals, and shares.
- Through savings that amount to more than £16,000 combined with other means of earnings and have been held by your Spouse or yourself within 6 months or more.
However, you will not be required to meet the UK Spouse visa financial requirement in the form of the minimum income threshold if your partner receives a specific allowance or benefit in the UK.
English Language Requirement for UK Spouse Visas
Your Spouse needs to meet the English language requirement as part of the UK marriage visa application by proving that he or she can speak, read, write, and understand English.
Your Spouse will meet the English language requirements if they pass the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) English test issued by a trusted testing centre.
You should score at least level A1 in writing and speaking. You must be able to get at least a CEFR level A2 to demonstrate ongoing improvement according to the time you have been in the UK if you later decide to extend your stay in the UK.
You may be exempted from taking the English language test if:
- You are more than 65 years or below 18 years old.
- You are from a majority English speaking country such as Canada, U.S. or Australia.
- You possess a degree taught in English.
- You are disabled and you can’t take the test because of it.
UK Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirement
You need to prove that you already have accommodation for you and your foreign partner during the UK Spouse visa application. The accommodation could be a rented property, temporary accommodation, or mortgaged or owned property.
The accommodation must meet the UK’s living standards. To show that the accommodation meets the standards, submit:
- The official description of the property from a letting website or agent.
- Evidence that you and/or your partner have paid or can afford to pay for the accommodation.
- Proof that you have enough rooms to accommodate your Spouse and any dependent (children) you have.
In order to meet the UK living standards, there must be one bedroom for each couple and baby that’s under 1 year. There also has to be another bedroom for each child that is above 10 years old. However, children between 1 and 9 years old can share a bedroom that is separate from your bedroom and your partner’s.
It is advisable that you ensure you have the means to fund an accommodation or already have adequate accommodation set up in the UK before you send an application. You also need to provide proof that the accommodation adheres to the UK living standards to be granted the UK Spouse visa.
The “Permitted Number of Persons” (PNP), which is typically available on your tenancy agreement or can be obtained from your landlord, can be used to determine whether your present residence is appropriate for a UK Spouse visa application.
If you intend to bring dependent children to the UK, it should be noted that dependent children below 1 year are not included in the number of people who may accompany you to the UK. While dependent children between the ages of 1 and 10 are treated as half a person.
Required UK Spouse Visa Document Checklist
There are certain Spouse visa supporting documents you need to provide in order to apply for the Spouse visa. You need to:
- Get a valid passport.
- Get previous passports.
- Completed form and application fee.
- Provide two passport-sized colour photographs that conform to the UK requirements.
- Proof of genuine and subsisting relationships like shared photographs, correspondence, bills, messages, etc.
- Evidence you meet the English language requirements such as the CEFR exam certificate.
- Provide information about any prior immigration petitions, if required.
- Get bank statements wage slips or savings statements as proof you meet the financial requirements.
- Evidence of accommodation in the UK.
- Bring your fingerprints and a digital photograph (biometric information)
- Provide information on any criminal convictions you have.
- Get tuberculosis test results if applicable.
It is essential you provide all the Spouse visa supporting documents and evidence required by the UKVI in order to receive a favourable decision on your Spouse visa application. This is because your Spouse visa application may be delayed or even refused if you fail to provide all the documentation (properly translated, if necessary) in the right format.
How to Apply for a UK Spouse Visa
UK Spouse visa applicants need to apply for a UK Spouse visa online on the Home Office website. Here are the steps:
- Check if you’re eligible for the Spouse visa.
- Assemble the documents needed to prove your eligibility.
- Complete your online UK Spouse visa application form.
- Pay your application fee.
- Upload the documents required to support your application.
- Schedule a biometric appointment in order to provide your fingerprints and photographs.
- Attend a Spouse visa interview if you’re invited.
The Cost of a UK Spouse Visa Application
Currently, the UK Spouse visa application fee is currently £1,538 if you’re applying outside the UK. But you will have to pay £,1048 if you’re applying inside the UK.
You will also need to pay for an immigration health surcharge of £624 yearly and a fee of £19.20 for biometrics. Also, if you would like to get a decision in 5 working days, you may need to pay a priority service charge of £500.
Claiming Benefits on a UK Spouse Visa
Certain exceptional circumstances may allow you to apply to change the conditions of your visa in order to claim benefits while in the UK.
Some of these exceptional circumstances include, if:
- You cannot meet essential living needs but have adequate accommodation.
- You have no means of obtaining accommodation or having an adequate one.
- Due to your low income, there are critical factors that are related to your child’s welfare.
- Existence of other unusual conditions pertaining to your financial status.
If any of these situations apply to you, you will need to provide the Home Office with a comprehensive collection of information outlining your living arrangements and financial circumstances.
You need to provide the following documents but not limited to:
- A breakdown of your monthly income expenditures.
- The bank statements of everyone living in your household.
- A letter with details of employment and recent P45/P60
- The mortgage statements or tenancy agreements.
- Letters showing that the assistance is provided by charities, local authorities, family, friends, or organisations.
Note that you will probably be put on the 10-year route to indefinite leave to remain if you modify the terms of your visa while on the 5-year route.
Extending a Spouse Visa
After the initial period of 33 months, your foreign national partner may still apply for a UK Spouse visa extension for a further 2 years and 6 months. Your partner may still be in the same eligible relationship with you and must apply before their current visa expires.
The Spouse visa extension requirements include:
- You need to still be in a genuine relationship with your partner or Spouse.
- You need to meet the financial requirements.
- You must meet the English language requirements.
- You should be of good character.
- You must not have breached any immigration conditions or law.
Switching to a Spouse Visa from Within the UK
You may apply for leave to remain as a Spouse within the UK except with few exceptions or, you are a visitor in the UK, and have a valid leave granted for about 6 months or less.
Visitors who wish to remain in the UK permanently with their Spouse must submit an entry clearance application as a Spouse after they have left the UK.
You may not be allowed to apply for leave to remain as a partner from within the UK if you are in the country on leave with permission as a fiance or while awaiting the conclusion of divorce or family court proceedings.
Indefinite Leave to Remain as a Spouse
After living in the UK for 5 years on a spouse visa, your spouse is eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
This will free your Spouse from immigration restrictions and allow him or her to live permanently in the UK. They need to do the following to obtain indefinite leave to remain:
- Have stayed with your partner since the last time you renewed your visa.
- Have resided in the UK for 5 years on a family visa as a partner.
- Wish to continue your relationship even after you apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
- The relationship between you and your partner must be genuine and subsisting.
- Show that you have suitable accommodation.
- Fulfill the English and life in the UK requirements.
- Prove that you still meet the financial requirements.
Recognition of Overseas Marriages by the Home Office
The marriage that has taken place outside the UK will be recognised by the Home Office if:
- The marriage meets the requirements of the law of the country where it took place.
- The country where the marriage took place accepts the type of marriage.
- Previous marriages you and your Spouse had have broken down permanently.
- Nothing in either Spouse’s country of residence at the time of the marriage prohibits the marriage or civil partnership from being acknowledged by those laws.
Noted that there are additional requirements related to previous divorces, age, and prohibited degrees of relationship. Generally, the UK will recognise you as validly married if the country in which your marriage or civil partnership took place accepted the marriage.
Dealing with a Refused Spouse Visa Application
Because a Spouse visa application is seen as a human rights claim, you should have a right of appeal if your application for a UK Spouse visa is refused.
Your appeal will be heard at the Immigration and Asylum Chamber (First-tier Tribunal) in the UK. You and your Spouse will have to attend and give evidence before the Judge if you are in the UK.
You may attend the hearing alone if your Spouse is outside the UK, however, you can write a statement and show evidence for the Tribunal to consider. As appropriate to your case, an arrangement may be made for you to provide the evidence remotely.
It might take months for your immigration appeal proceedings to be determined and the outcome is usually uncertain. Therefore, we recommend you reach out to Birmingham Immigration Lawyers for expert guidance and representation before appealing against your Spouse visa refusal.
What to Do If You Don't Meet the Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa
You may still be eligible to enter or remain in the UK on human rights grounds despite not satisfying the requirements for a Spouse visa. You can do so if:
- Your child is a British citizen or Irish citizen.
- Your child has lived for at least 7 years in the UK and it would be unfounded for them to leave the UK.
- Your human rights would be breached if you’re prevented from coming into the UK or leaving the UK.
- On exceptions to Parent Visa Requirements and Appendix FM Partner.
- If you and your Spouse stayed together as a couple outside the UK, there would be extremely severe challenges that could not be overcome.
The UK Spouse visa documentation requirements are complex and need the uttermost carefulness. You need to know where to send supporting documents for a UK Spouse visa to enable your application to be accepted and avoid unnecessary delays.
Besides avoiding delays, you won’t need to make additional payments to restart your UK Spouse visa application process if your application is refused due to submitting incomplete documents or not meeting certain requirements.
This is why we recommend you reach out to one of our friendly advisers at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers for expert guidance for a successful Spouse visa application. We will help you arrange all the necessary documents required by the UKVI and help you avoid any omissions and errors.
For more information about UK Spouse visa applications or any other immigration-related questions, get in touch with us at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers today. Call us on 0121 667 6530 or contact us online.
Last modified on November 23rd, 2023 at 10:55 am
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
Getting a Spouse visa requires you to meet so many requirements that are specific to your case. Your application may be refused if you fail to provide all the necessary documents.
This is why we recommend seeking legal advice from Birmingham Immigration Lawyers to help you through the application process to obtain your UK Spouse visa hassle-free.
Yes, you need to. If you cannot provide evidence of your savings, your Spouse visa application will be rejected by the Home Office when you’re relying on savings to meet the financial requirement.
Yes, you are eligible to study or work in the UK once the UK Spouse visa has been granted.