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What is a UK Spouse / Partner Visa?
This visa allows a non-British partner residing outside the United Kingdom to immigrate and settle with their partner (Husband or Wife) in the UK. It is also known as the Partner or Marriage visa.
To apply, one must be legally married to, or be in a civil partnership with a British citizen, someone with indefinite leave to remain (ILR) / settled status or a UK refugee. It also gives the joining partner the right to work in the UK.
General Requirements of Spouse Visa or Partner Visa UK
Generally, the following requirements must be met in order to apply:
- Both partners must be at least 18 years of age and have been married at the time of applying.
- They must have met each other in person and should be in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
- The partner in the UK must either:
- be a British Citizen
- hold settled status / ILR in the UK
- be a UK refugee or have humanitarian protection in the UK
- be from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status
- hold a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
- The couple must intend to permanently live together in the UK.
- The immigrating partner must have passed the English language requirements and life skills test.
- The immigrating partner must have adequate accommodation without recourse to public funds.
- The sponsoring partner (Husband or Wife) in the UK must have an income of at least £18,600 per year before tax (this increases if you have children) and/or should have sufficient savings.
Spouse Visa – 5 Year Route
If you strictly meet all the requirements of the Spouse Visa, you will be eligible for a five-year route towards settlement. You will be granted an initial leave of 33 months. After which, you can apply for a 2.5-year extension of your existing spouse visa. Upon completing the 5 years, an application for Indefinite leave to remain (settlement) can be made.
Spouse Visa – 10 Year Route
The 10-year route is for those who cannot meet all the Spouse visa requirements for the 5-year route at the time of applying. These usually may be the language and financial requirements. Once the leave to remain under spouse visa (10 year route) has been granted, an application to switch to the 5 year route can be made anytime during the validity of the 10 year route if all requirements of Immigration rules for spouse visa under the 5 year route have been met.
Extending Your Spouse Visa Leave
After you have completed the initial leave of 33 months of your spouse visa, you will be eligible for a 2.5-year extension as per the Home Office guidelines.
It is advisable to apply 28 days before the expiry of your leave. A decision on the extension is usually received within 8 weeks of applying.
All the other requirements – accommodation, financial adequacy, genuine relationship, documents, etc. shall remain the same as in the case of the initial Spouse visa application. However, an advanced level (CEFR-A-2) English language proficiency will be required at this stage.
The Form FLR (M) is used to apply for extension under the 5 year route while the FLR (FP) will be used to apply under the 10 year route to settlement.
Settlement / ILR as a Spouse of a British Citizen or Settled Person
Upon the completion of the leave to remain under the 5 years or 10 years route, you will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain / settlement in the UK.
The main requirements you would need to satisfy towards acquiring Indefinite leave to remain are similar to the ones you met while applying for the initial entry clearance as a spouse and the extension with slight changes:
- Proof or Genuine and subsisting relationship
- Proof of annual gross income of £18,600
- Proof of Adequate Accommodation
- Demonstration of KoLL – Knowledge of (English) Language and Life in the UK
- Absences Requirement – Proof that you were not outside the UK for more than 180 days in any given year for the ILR application
What are the Spouse Visa requirements?
In order to achieve a favourable result on your spouse visa application, the following requirements must be taken care of while applying:
What is the genuine relationship requirement?
In support of the Spouse Visa application, British Home Office generally requires that the sponsor and the partner have met each other at least once during their marriage. It is to prove that both have spent sufficient time together and that their relationship is genuinely authentic.
What are the financial requirements?
The sponsor and the partner can satisfy the financial needs from any of the following sources:
- Employment salary
- Self Employment
- Income from letting (if applicable)
- In order to rely on cash savings, in part or in full, the minimum amount of savings you must hold is £16,000
Please note that per dependent, the spouse visa income threshold (£18,600) will exceed in the following manner.
- £18,600; plus
- £3,800 for a first child (non- British, settled, or an EEA national); plus
- £2,400 for each additional child (Non- British, settled, or an EEA national)
Hence the financial threshold will increase to £22,400 if you have a child.
So, is there any room for flexibility that could rule out meeting the financial requirements?
Yes, there is! The sponsor might be exempt under certain circumstances, such as disability etc.
What are the Spouse Visa required documents?
Here is a checklist of the documents that must be provided in support of your Partner Visa application:
- Evidence of ‘Genuine Relationship’ document
- Evidence of original/certified copy of Marriage Certificate
- Proof of English language proficiency
- Evidence of Financial income
- Proof of living arrangements/accommodation
- TB test for entry clearance (if applicable)
- Any other documents that can demonstrate that you and your partner are in a genuine relationship must also be provided.
Get detailed consultation from our expert Legal Professionals to assist you in preparing your Spouse visa application to ensure that you don’t miss out on any evidence that could help your application’s success.
What is the Spouse Visa language requirement?
An English language test is required by all applicants applying under the Spouse visa 5-year route, unless exempt.
For entry clearance/leave to enter as a spouse or civil partner, the required Level is CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Language) level A1.
The English language requirement only applies to those applying as the main applicant under the rules listed above. It does not apply to dependents of such applicants.
For spouse visa extension (Further leave to remain), the applicants must fulfil CEFR level A2.
The applicants can fulfil the English language requirement in the following ways:
- Passing the required language test above CEFR level (As per Home Office policy revised in 2017).
- Be a national of majority English speaking country
- Have an academic qualification, e.g., Bachelor’s/Masters/Ph.D. degree, awarded either with the UK or outside the UK- duly approved by UK ENIC (previously called UK NARIC) confirming that the degree meets the English language requirement as per CEFR level
Exemption from the Language requirements:
- If the applicants are aged 65 or above at the date of application
- Have disability (mental/physical)
- Exceptional circumstances, i.e. have refugee status or humanitarian protection.
- Failing to meet the English language requirement shall result in refusal of the spousal application under the Immigration rule: 5 year- route to settlement.
Be sure to contact the accredited Secure English Language Testing (SELT) provider centre. The test can be taken at any approved centre. The applicants can make several attempts to pass the test, and there is no time frame ascribed by the UK Immigration rule as long as they provide evidence of successful test result at the time of application.
What are the accommodation requirements?
The applicant and partner must fulfil the accommodation requirement to ensure that the property is spacious enough for the couple to reside together. It is generally recommended to provide key evidence in your UK Spouse Visa Application, i.e., a housing report, tenancy agreement, mortgage statement or letter from the Homeowner providing accommodation can be provided in support of the application. The accommodation requirements must satisfy the UK Standards of Living.
Providing proof of accommodation—that you have an adequate living space where you and your spouse can reside permanently within the UK.
How much does a UK Spouse visa cost?
The standard fee for the Spouse entry clearance visa in 2022 is £1538 with an Immigration Health surcharge of £1872. If you want to avail a priority premium service, the fee for this service is £573.00 on top of the standard application fee.
For in-country Spouse visa extension or switch the application fee is currently £1033, the Immigration health surcharge is around £1560 and priority services are from £500-£800.
For settlement as a Spouse of a British citizen, the standard application fee is £2389.00. There is no Immigration Health Surcharge for settlement applications and applicants can also avail priority services for settlement applications.
Moreover, per UKVI criteria, you are required to pay Immigration Healthcare Surcharges which are approximately £1,000 (inside the UK), and £1,200 (outside the UK). Likewise, you are required to pay for the medical reports especially the Tuberculosis test: £65-110, which are the same for both ‘in-country’ and ‘outside’ the UK spouse visa applicants.
Upon the UK Spouse visa expiry, your spouse can’t reside in the UK unless an in-time further application request for an extension or settlement (after extension) is made. Moreover, you must inform the Home Office if in case you are splitting from your partner. It is also important that the applicant abides by the UK immigration rules while living in the UK to prevent any refusal on future Visa applications.
What happens if your visa is rejected?
There could be multiple reasons that could lead to the refusal of your UK Spouse Visa application, i.e., misinformation, incomplete evidence, error etc. However, the most common grounds for Spouse Visa rejections are generally due to inadequate information. Nevertheless, you can still appeal Spouse Visa Refusal provided you have concrete grounds to support your application. Failing to do so, you might have to reapply with a fresh application.
You can appeal yourself or can request a legal representative to prepare the grounds and represent the case on your behalf at the Court. The judge can then decide whether to allow your appeal or dismiss it based on the evidence and grounds.
Please bear in mind that your appeal is unlikely to succeed if the mistake is solely made by you. For instance, lack of mandatory documents etc. may result in dismissal. Ideally, your immigration lawyer would recommend you to fresh start your Spouse visa application to assure that you have substantial evidence and documents for a successful application.
Was your Spouse Visa Refused? We can help!
Our immigration appeal specialist can help you in preparing detailed grounds of appeal with sound evidence. We will discuss the case with you and assign you a qualified Immigration Lawyer who could address and thoroughly review your case and any missing evidence affecting your Spouse visa application. Once we examine your situation, we will work with you and guide you regarding additional supporting evidence.
If you want to discuss your refusal in detail, we can book an advice session for you. Our legal team will assess your eligibility and evidence provided during the session and guide you for the best possible option, i.e. either for appealing your decision or reapplying with further evidence. Over the past years, we have ensured that our clients (5000+ Clients) don’t face any potential risk of refusal by keeping a good track record of successful Spouse Visa applications from the start of the application until the Home office makes the final decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I allowed to work with a UK Spouse Visa?
Yes! You can work full time and without any restrictions in the UK under spouse visa. Moreover, you can take any type of employment with no limitations regarding the employment sectors.
Can I stay outside the UK while on a Spouse Visa?
You can only stay outside the UK for 6 months in any 12-month period to be eligible for the settlement. The cumulative total of absences in any 12-month period must not exceed 180 days if you are on a spouse visa.