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This visa provides an opportunity for non-British partners to live and work in the UK. You can apply for this family visa if you are the husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner (living together in a relationship for at least 2 years) , fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner (will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving)of a specified partner (see below) Some of the requirements are terribly restrictive, for example, applicants must meet a significant minimum income/finance threshold, which has been subject to fierce legal battles and criticism from family groups.
Our team provides expert legal advice and representation to those who are applying for a UK family visa as a partner or spouse, and we have a strong track record of successful applications.
Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa or Partner Visa
To successfully obtain a family visa as a partner or spouse, you must meet the following requirements:
You and your partner both need to be 18 or over.
Your partner must either:
be a British
have settled in the UK – for example, they have ILR, settled status or proof of permanent residence
be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status – they must have started living in the UK before 1 January2021
have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
You are in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK or you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply or you are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving
If you are a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, you must be seeking entry to the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place in the United Kingdom.
The relationship between you and your sponsor must be genuine and subsisting
You intend to live permanently with your sponsor in the UK and have adequate accommodation without recourse to public funds
Your sponsor meets the financial requirement. This would normally mean having an income of at least £18,600 per year (this increases if you have children) and/or having sufficient savings
You meet the English language requirement
The initial entry clearance visa is granted for 33 months (30 months if the application is made from inside the UK; if you apply as afiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, you will be give a 6-month visa to enable you to enter the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place here), after which you may apply for a Spouse Visa Extension of 30 months. After five years, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Apply for a UK Spouse Visa or Partner Visa
You can apply online. You would also need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre to enrol biometric data (photograph and fingerprints) as part of the process.
Not only will you need to fill in the application form correctly, you will also need to upload copies of the required supporting documents, which can be extensive.
If the caseworker examining your application has doubts about the genuineness of your relationship, you may be asked to attend a Spouse Visa Interview. You will be asked questions about your relationship and each other to see if your marriage is authentic, and not a sham.
Supporting documents needed for a Spouse Visa or Partner Visa
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) officials will want to see the following documents (It is not an exhaustive list) included with your application:
Your current passport or other travel documents
Your marriage or civil partnership certificate
Divorce certificate for any previous marriages, if applicable
Details of any criminal convictions, if applicable
Your National Insurance number (if you have one)
Details of your accommodation in the UK
Evidence of employment income, if applicable
Your sponsor’s British passport or Indefinite Leave to remain document
Details of any children who are also coming to the UK
Advantages of having a spouse visa under this category
Being separated from your partner or spouse can be heart-breaking for you and your children. If you have fallen in love and married someone from the UK, obtaining a family visa can allow you to come to the UK and spend a life with your partner or spouse.
Our team can provide legal advice and representation you require so you and your spouse/partner can live, work and build a future together in Britain.
An application under this category can get refused if not prepared carefully. The British government has a goal to lower net migration. To achieve these targets, it is likely that immigration officials will refuse family visas on even the most tenuous grounds, so there is no room for error.
To add to the misery, when a family visa refused, it is not always an option to make an appeal or an administrative review. Therefore, your only option when faced with a refusal may be to submit a new application entirely or to apply for a judicial review.[SH1] .
We understand the emotional rollercoaster couples can go through when they are forced to battle with government officials. Our lawyers provide a sensitive and compassionate service to our clients and have the expertise and experience needed to swiftly challenge a negative decision by Home Office and provide you with a positive result.
Why Choose Us to Help You Apply for a UK Spouse/Partner Visa
As highly experienced immigration experts, our lawyers will work with you to check that your application is filled in correctly and that all of the correct documentation is provided. This will prevent immigration officials from being able to refuse your submission due to a mistake.
By working with us, you can be confident that your best interests will be protected, and the visa application process will go through smoothly. We work hard and aim for the best possible results.
Extending a Spouse Visa
Yes, provided you meet the requirements you should be able to extend your visa for 30 months (2.5 years) at a time. You will need to extend your visa at least once to complete your 60 month (5 year) qualifying period for settlement as a partner or spouse. You might also need to extend if you don’t fully meet the requirements for settlement after 5 years, for example, if you cannot yet speak English to the required level for settlement or if you fail the Life in the UK test.
English language requirements for partners
Applicants need to show they meet the English language requirements, in Speaking and Listening. For your initial application you will need to pass an approved English language test at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening, which is beginner’s level. For your extension after 2.5 years, you must prove that you pass an approved English language test at least a CEFR level A2 l, which could be considered as elementary level and is slightly more difficult than A1. For settlement, you must demonstrate that you can speak English at B1 level, which is intermediate level.
How long can you stay?
If you apply as afiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, you will be give a 6-month visa to enable you to enter the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place here;otherwise, you will be granted for 33 months (Entry Clearance) or 30 Months if the application is made inside the UK. You can extend your visa and you would normally be able to apply for settlement no more than 28 days before completing 60 months on your spouse visa. If you apply successfully to settle in the UK, you would be free from immigration restrictions – that means that there would be no time limit on your permission to live in the UK.
You need to complete an online application to attend a physical (biometric) appointment whether applying from inside or outside the UK.
An application made from outside the UK could take around 3 months to be processed. Priority services are available in some countries, for expedited processing. On approval, your passport would be endorsed with a “vignette” to allow you to travel to the UK. You would need to collect your biometric residence permit on arrival to the UK from a pre-selected Post Office.
From inside the UK the normal service standard is 8 weeks. Although the decision would normally be issued within 8 weeks of your biometric appointment your biometric residence permit will usually take a further 7 working days to be issued from the date of the decision.
Spouse visa financial requirements?
In order to make a successful application as a partner or spouse, the couple must provide specified evidence to show that they have sufficient income or means to support themselves in the UK. This requirement applies if the partner is joining the UK sponsor from overseas, if the couple are already living together in the UK or if the couple are returning to the UK, from overseas. Evidence required depends on the couple’s individual circumstances, but generally speaking the financial requirement for a partner visa is £18,600. So, for example, if the sponsor has been in permanent paid employment for more than 6 months, earning a fixed salary of over £18,600 per annum, the couple could use evidence of the sponsor’s income to meet the financial requirement.
Evidence of savings can also be used or combined with employment income evidence to meet the financial requirement. Extensive additional evidence would be required for self-employed individuals who are relying on their self-employed income to meet the financial requirement.
If the couple have children who would be sponsored as dependents of the main applicant partner, the financial threshold is increased for each child included in the application. Specifically, in addition to the £18,600 threshold for the partner, an additional £3,800 is required for the first child and a further £2,400 for each additional child.
The cost of a spouse/partner visa made inside the UK is £1033. The applicant will also need to pay £19.20 biometric enrolment fee as part of the application.
From outside the UK the spouse visa (classified as a “settlement visa” for the purpose of entry clearance) the visa cost is £1523. The settlement priority service, if available in the country of application would be an additional £573.
The applicant must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is £624 per year (£312 for every 6 month period). The spouse visa is granted for a 30 months (2.5 years) inside the UK, therefore the total surcharge would be £1560 for leave to remain. From outside the UK, the visa is granted for 33 months, therefore the total surcharge would be £1,872.
Spouse/Partner Visa accommodation requirements?
You normally need to show that you have adequate accommodation for yourself and your partner (and anyone else who is part of your family unit). This means that the space you occupy must not be overcrowded and is affordable to you. You can own or rent the property. You may even be staying somewhere rent-free, for example with family members.
In every case, you will still need to submit evidence that there is sufficient space for you and your partner in the home.
If you do not have a home in the UK and plan to secure a property later on down the line (for example if you are relocating back to the UK from overseas) you will still need to show that you have a realistic prospect of moving into adequate accommodation by the time you travel to the UK.
What happens if my UK Spouse/Partner Visa application is accepted?
If your application is approved, you will be granted 33 months (entry clearance) or 30 months (leave to remain) biometric residence permit(if you apply as afiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, you will be give a 6-month visa to enable you to enter the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place here)
Where applying from overseas, your passport would initially be issued with a 30 day “vignette” which will allow you to travel to the United Kingdom. You will need to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of arrival to the UK from a Post Office you would have selected during the application process.
During the period of your visa, you will be able to live and work in the United Kingdom. You will not be able to access public funds whilst on a spouse visa but you will have access to the NHS, as you will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your visa application. Although you are permitted to travel overseas, you will need to reside with your partner in the UK continuously to qualify for an extension of leave/ILR after 60 months. You should keep evidence of living together from the date your visa is granted, for example bills, bank statements and other official letters and correspondence addressed to you and your partner at your shared home.
Rejections and refusals
If your application is rejected as invalid or refused you will be issued with a letter confirming the decision. If the application is refused, the letter would also confirm if you have the right of appeal. Depending on the grounds for refusal you may consider re-applying or challenging the decision if you believe the decision is wrong or unfair.
Time limits may apply for challenging a decision so you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. If you are already in the UK, your current status may also be affected by the negative decision, so you it is advisable to seek legal advice to check how your status and future applications may be affected.
Can I switch to a Spouse/Partner Visa?
It is possible to switch into the spouse visa category, provided you do not have leave as a visitor or leave granted for 6 months or less (with an exception of fiancée visas, which are granted for 6 months, but allow you to switch into the spouse route).
Can I settle in the UK on a Spouse/Partner Visa?
The spouse visa category is a route to settlement. Provided you meet all the requirements, you would normally be eligible to apply to settle in the United Kingdom no earlier than 28 days prior to completing 5 years as a spouse visa holder.
spouse visa extension checklist
Biometric residence permit (current)
Evidence of cohabitation with your spouse
Evidence of meeting the financial requirement
Evidence of meeting the English language requirement (CEFR B1)
Evidence of adequate accommodation in the UK
If you are from an EU Country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you and your family might be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. You might also be able to apply if you are the family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland.
The deadline for most people to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021.
If you or your family are from an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you can still apply if you or a family member was living in the UK by 31 December 2020. You must also either:
meet one of the criteria for a later deadline to apply
have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by 30 June 2021
You can also apply if you already have pre-settled status, and you’re applying for settled status.
You may be able to stay in the UK without applying - for example, if you’re an Irish citizen, or you already have indefinite leave to enter or remain.
If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status.
Criteria for later deadlines and ‘reasonable grounds’ for not applying by the deadline
In some cases, you can still apply after 30 June 2021.
For example, if you’re joining a family member who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, your deadline will be based on when you arrive in the UK, as long as:
you were their family member by 31 December 2020 (this does not apply to children born or adopted after this date)
the family relationship still exists when you apply
You can also apply if you can show ‘reasonable grounds’ (such as medical reasons or being the victim of domestic abuse) for why you did not apply by 30 June 2021.
If you already have pre-settled status
If you applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and were given pre-settled status, you need to apply for settled status before your pre-settled status expires.
Settled status will let you stay in the UK for as long as you like. You can usually apply for citizenship once you’ve had settled status for 12 months.
Check what you will need to do to apply.
Waiting for a decision
After you have applied, you will get a certificate of application. The certificate will explain what you can use it for while you are waiting for a decision - for example, whether you can use it to prove your right to work in the UK.
It’s free to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Switch from pre-settled status to settled status
If you have pre-settled status, you can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date you got your status. You must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme again before your pre-settled status expires to stay in the UK.