Individuals who are not UK residents and live abroad can come to the country and reunite with their British or settled spouse or a civil partner, thanks to the UK Spouse visa. Such a visa allows for staying in the country for up to 30 months.
The Spouse/Partner/Marriage visa in the UK falls under the category of family-type visas. This visa can be extended for a period of another 30 months, provided certain eligibility criteria are met. A person with a UK Marriage visa becomes a candidate for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and can eventually qualify for British Citizenship.
One of the conditions for applying for the Spousal visa in the United Kingdom and becoming able to enter the country is being married to or having a civil relationship with a UK citizen, a UK-settled individual or a person who holds a UK refugee or humanitarian protection status. The UK Partner visa will be issued for an applicant if they prove that they have a genuine relationship and can meet certain financial requirements.
Immigration lawyers at Sterling Law have vast expertise in helping couples get together in the United Kingdom with effectively managed UK Partner/Spouse visas. Take advantage of our competence and experience to enter the country seamlessly and stay with your partner that already lives in Great Britain.
- What is a Spouse Visa?
- Who can apply for a Spouse Visa in the UK?
- The UK Spousal Visa requirements.
- UK Spouse Visa document checklist.
- Genuine relationship test for a UK Spousal Visa.
- Financial requirements for a UK Spousal Visa.
- English language requirements for a UK Spousal Visa.
- The UK Spouse Visa accommodation requirements.
- How to apply for a Spouse Visa?
- How long does the UK Spousal Visa application take?
- How long does a Spouse Visa last?
- Fees & Costs.
- What happens if a Spouse Visa application is accepted?
- What happens if a Spouse Visa application is rejected?
- Extending a Spouse Visa.
- How can we help?
What is a Spouse Visa?
The UK Partner/Spouse visa is a solution for married or living in a civil relationship couples who want to rejoin in Great Britain, while one partner is a British citizen, refugee, a settled person, or a person with a pre-settled status, and the second is a non-UK national.
With this visa, a non-resident can enter the UK in order to live with their spouse or a civil partner. Spouse/Partner visas in the UK are issued for a period of up to 30 months, with a possibility of extension. With such a visa, a person becomes eligible for permanent settled status.
To qualify for a Spousal visa in the UK, a candidate must meet specific conditions, including completing a special test to prove the genuineness of their relationship and meeting certain financial and accommodation criteria.
If you do not know whether you or your spouse/partner qualifies for this visa type in the UK, contact our thoroughly professional immigration solicitors at Sterling Law. We will be happy to guide you through the process of obtaining a Spouse/Partner visa in the UK to support your relationship and not let your family separate.
The UK Spousal visa is suitable for non-UK residents who are at least 18 years old and who are engaged, married, or have a civil partner that is also at least 18 years old and is currently staying in the United Kingdom.
The qualification requirements will depend on the situation of a partner that is in the UK. The UK Partner visa is mandatory for everyone who wants to come to the UK from outside the European Economic Area to re-unify with their civil partner or spouse.
One of the best sides of the UK Partner visas is that these immigration documents allow you to work in the United Kingdom, as all UK citizens do. Still, this type of visa renders you non-eligible for a number of benefits, such as housing allowance, tax incentives, and access to national funds.
Who can apply for a Spouse Visa in the UK?
Certain conditions apply to a candidate looking to obtain a Spouse visa in the UK, including:
- Both the candidate and their partner must be at least 18 years old when applying for a visa
- The couple must be married, engaged, or have a civil partnership that is acknowledged in the United Kingdom, and the form of their relationship is not prohibited by UK Law
- A spouse or a partner of a candidate must be a UK resident, a UK-settled person, a UK refugee, or a person with UK humanitarian protection status. Alternatively, a spouse/partner of a candidate can be a resident of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, holding a pre-settled status and living in the UK before January 1, 2021. Or, a spouse/partner of a candidate holds a Turkish Business Person visa or Turkish Worker visa
- It is obligatory for a couple to be in a relationship during the last two years, and they must provide evidence that their relationship is genuine
- A candidate has a UK Fiancé visa and your couple is going to get into marriage during the first 6 months of your stay in the UK
British citizens are allowed to apply the leave to remain forms on the behalf of their partner’s if they are eligible for it. In this case, the name and information of the applicant must be provided by the person who makes an application.
The UK Spousal Visa requirements
The UK resident who is in a marriage or civil relationship and who wants to bring their non-UK national partner to the country is called a sponsor. The sponsor must meet certain Spouse visa qualification requirements.
First of all, the sponsor is required to provide evidence that both the sponsor and their partner/spouse from outside the UK meet established financial criteria, and that both persons have a stable financial situation and adequate accommodation to support their living in the UK without seeking help from public funds.
It is obligatory for the candidate to meet the English language requirement.
In the UK, a sponsor must have a stable source of income that generates a minimum of £18,600 before tax (not taking into account the dependent children, if any).
For couples with one dependent child, the minimum sponsor income level will constitute £22,400 before tax to qualify for the UK Partner/Spouse visa. If the couple has more than one child, the sponsor will need an additional £2,400 for each extra child.
Sometimes, the sponsor cannot meet the established financial requirement for a Spouse/Partner visa in the UK. In such a case, you are recommended to consult a high-qualify immigration lawyer to help find out if exceptional circumstances may apply to your particular situation.
UK Spouse Visa document checklist
The list of documents that the UK visa and immigration authorities may ask to provide is not limited to the below-mentioned. You may be required to apply some additional documents, depending on the difficulty of your case. You normally need to provide the next documents when applying for a Spousal visa in the UK:
- Your government-issued identification document (passport) or documents you use to travel and cross the border
- Your marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Your sponsor must provide their British passport or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) certificate
- You must provide documents for all the children who are going to enter the UK with you
- If you have been previously married, you also need to provide a divorce certificate
- If you have ever committed crimes, the documents on your criminal convictions must be also provided
- Provide your national insurance number if you have one
- Provide documents on your accommodation in the UK
- Provide a bank statement showing that you have an income or savings to support your family and children in the UK
- If you are employed, you need to provide employment income evidence
Genuine relationship test for a UK Spousal Visa
A candidate for a Spouse/Partner visa in the UK is required to prove that they have a genuine relationship with their UK national partner. There are several ways how genuine relationships can be proved. The proof must be provided to the Home Office.
This is how you can prove your genuine relationship:
- Shared mortgage or tenancy agreement lease in the UK or outside the UK territory
- Evidence that your couple has common children, such as a birth certificate
- Family photos that display that you and your partner have spent time together
- A shared bank account or shared savings
- Screenshots of your correspondence in messengers or social networks
- Travel documents that show that you have visited each other at least once before you got married or started a civil relationship
- Any other documents or pieces of evidence that can confirm your intention to live together in the United Kingdom
Financial requirements for a UK Spousal Visa
A family looking to reunite in the UK using a Spouse/Partner visa must give proof of income or savings. For effective visa obtainment, you and your partner must have a joint annual income of at least £18 600, providing the following is true:
- You apply for a visa as a partner
- You want to settle in the UK (obtain indefinite leave to remain) during the next 5 years
Also, you need to prove that you possess additional funds to support your children who:
- Are not the residents of the UK or Ireland
- Do not have a pre-settled status
- Do not live in the UK permanently
You may not need to prove to have additional capital to support your children, if your children are residents of the EU, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, or Lichtenstein, and if the children do not have a pre-settled status and do not live in the UK on the regular basis.
You need to confirm that you have extra funds to support your children. For this, you need to earn additionally:
- £3800 per year for the first child
- £2400 per year for all the other children
This is called the minimum financial requirement for the UK Spouse visa.
You can use your savings instead of income to meet the financial requirement.
The way how you will prove your financial stability depends on how you receive your income.
What counts as income
To meet the financial requirement, you and your partner can use one of the next methods:
- Provide income from employment before tax and National Insurance. Note that you must use your own income that you have earned in the UK
- Self-employed persons and directors of limited companies in the UK can use such an income to meet the financial criteria for a Partner visa
- You can use your cash money, which must be at least £16,000
- Income generated through pension also counts
- If you have non-employment income, such as profits from rentals or dividends, you can use it too
If you or your partner is employed or self-employed, you need to prove that you have received such income for at least 6 months.
What counts as proof
You will need to provide proof of your income or savings. You can do so through:
- You or your partner’s bank statement showing the level of your financial possessions
- A letter from your employer showing that you are employed and receive a salary
- Payslips showing your income for the recent 6 months
Depending on your situation, you may be required to provide some additional financial details, for example, if your or your partner’s income is more complicated, if you or your partner has taken a parental leave within the recent 6 months, or if you want to combine different sources of income. For the best results, seek help from the experienced immigration lawyers at Sterling Law.
What if you do not meet the minimum income requirement?
You need to prove you and your partner meets the required income criterion if you want to settle in 5 years as a partner. Failure to meet the financial requirement will result in that you will be able to settle only in 10 years.
When you do not need to prove your income?
Sometimes, you are allowed to settle in 5 years even if you do not satisfy the required income level. These instances include:
- Applying as a parent
- Receiving Disability Living Allowance or Carer’s Allowance
English language requirements for a UK Spousal Visa
When applying for a Spouse/Partner visa in the UK, a candidate may need to prove their English language knowledge. Still, there are instances when such confirmation may not be required, including:
- You are applying as a child
- You are applying as an adult coming to the UK to take care of a relative/family member
- You stay in the UK on a basis of a Family visa for 5 years and are renewing it as a partner or parent
- You are over 65
- You suffer from a physical or mental condition that prevents you from fulfilling the English language requirement
You also do not need to prove your English language capability if you are a citizen of one of the following areas:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Overseas Territories
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
How to confirm your English language skill?
You can prove your English level with an academic qualification or by taking a test.
You can prove your English level if you hold a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in the English language.
If you have received your qualification from any UK university or college, you only need a diploma to show that you meet the English language criterion.
Holding a degree from a university or college outside the UK
You will need to provide a certificate from Ecctis (formerly called UK NARIC) to show that your qualification is equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s degree or higher and that it was taught in English.
There are 2 types of certificates:
- Statement of comparability
- Visa and citizenship application
You will need to provide a comparability statement if you have received your qualification from a university or college in one of the following countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- New Zealand
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
If you have received a degree from a university or college in any other country, you will need a visa and citizenship application.
Pass an established English language test
You can prove your English language level by taking an established English language test.
You must pass at least level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) for your first Spouse/Partner visa application. Taking a higher-level test is also possible.
If you have passed the B1 or higher level test, you will be able to use the test results again when applying for settled person status in 5 years. Your test must still be on the approved list of qualifications and your test certificate must not be revoked by the test provider.
Applying for a visa extension after 30 months
You will probably need to pass a higher CEFR test if you want to stay in the UK after 30 months. What you will need to do will depend on the CEFR level you passed to receive your first Spouse/Partner visa.
If you have passed:
- A1 level, then you will need to pass at least A2 level to prove your English speaking and listening skills
- A2, B1, B2, C1, or C2 levels, then you can use the test results again to apply for a visa extension, provided your test certificate was not revoked by the test provider
The UK Spouse Visa accommodation requirements
When applying for the UK Partner/Spouse visa, you will need to supply proof of accommodation that fits the established living standards in the United Kingdom.
Your UK national partner/spouse that is also your sponsor when it comes to receiving a UK Partner/Spouse visa, must prove that they are able to provide adequate and safe accommodation for themselves, the visa candidate, and all other dependent people who are going to enter the United Kingdom.
To give proof of accommodation, you will need to provide the next details to the Home Office:
- A description of a property where you and your spouse/partner are going to live provided by a housing authority, bank, or building society
- Proof that the property has enough sleeping rooms to accommodate all family members
- Details of the people who will live on the property
- Proof that you can afford to pay for your family’s accommodation
Unfortunately, failure to meet accommodation requirements is one of several reasons why a non-British national is denied a Partner visa. Applicants must show that the place where they will be living meets the following residence requirements for a UK Spousal visa:
- The property is owned or legally occupied by a family for their exclusive use
- It is not provided for a fee to the British public (i.e. it must be without recourse to public funds)
- It is currently not and will not be overcrowded
- The property meets the UK health and safety regulations
It is worth noting that you are not mandated to have your own apartment or a house to qualify for accommodation requirements. In the UK, you must be living with your parents or the parents of your partner, or you can live in a house with multiple occupations (HMO). You only need to show the Home Office that you have enough rooms for sleeping for all members of your family.
Exceptions to accommodation requirements for a UK Spouse Visa
If you cannot meet adequate housing requirements for a spouse visa, you may apply based on your right to privacy and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. To do this, you will need to show that there will be “insurmountable obstacles to family life with a partner outside the UK”, for example, if they are unable to enter the intended country of return.
How to apply for a Spouse Visa?
You need to apply for a Spousal visa in the UK in advance before you actually arrive in the United Kingdom. Do not make any travel/ticket reservations until you know for sure that your visa application has been approved by the Home Office.
To apply, you will need to provide the required information and documents mentioned above with your application. The way how you apply for a Spouse visa in the UK depends on your current place of residence.
The Spouse/Partner visa application is subject to a fee payment. However, if you cannot pay the fee, you can request an online fee waiver as well. Qualifying reasons for a fee waiver include:
- Not having a place to live or inability to afford one
- Having a place to live but not being able to afford essential living costs like food or heating
- Having an extremely low income so that paying the fee will harm your child’s wellbeing
When applying for a Partner/Spouse visa in the UK with Home Office, you need to ensure that all the documents and details are accurate, and that online forms are filled out correctly. By doing so, you will have better chances of obtaining a UK Spouse or Partner visa.
If you are applying from inside the UK, the application process will be different because you will need to show that you stay in the country on an eligible visa and are looking to switch to a UK Spouse/Partner visa.
If after reviewing your application, the Home Office has some doubts, they can invite you for an interview for clarification. During the interview, you will be asked questions to establish if your relationship is genuine, and whether you do intend to stay in the UK as a couple.
Obtaining a UK Spouse/Partner visa is not without its hurdles. It requires a person to prepare lots of documents and units of evidence for a successful result. Make the process easier by trusting the preparation of your application for a UK Spouse/Partner visa to highly competent Spouse visa solicitors at Sterling Law.
How long does the UK Spousal Visa application take?
For Spousal visas in the UK, the standard application process time ranges from 2 up to 24 weeks. However, the process may take longer depending on the documents and details provided. The country from where the application is submitted can also affect the duration of Spousal visa approval in the UK.
Yet, there are opportunities when your application for a Spousal visa in the UK can be processed very quickly.
If you are applying from inside the UK, you can pay an additional £800 for Super Priority Service to get a Spousal visa decision faster.
You cannot use Super Priority if you are applying as an adult who is coming to the UK to take care of a relative/family member.
If you are applying from outside the UK, the application process will usually take up to 24 weeks.
If you are applying from inside the UK, the application will usually be processed within 8 weeks from the date of application if you are using the Standard Service.
If you are using a Super Priority service, the visa application is normally processed:
- Until the end of the next working day after the submission of biometric data, if the appointment is scheduled for a weekday
- Within 2 business days after providing biometric information if your appointment falls on a weekend
Both Standard and Super Priority times to process your Spouse visa application can be affected by the following:
- You do not meet minimum income requirements
- You cannot prove your knowledge of English
- You need to come for an interview
- You did not provide all the evidence required by the Home Office
- You have a criminal record or other personal circumstances that need to be considered
Additionally, you may be required to submit your biometrics (facial image and fingerprints) as a part of the Spousal visa approval process. For this, you may need to visit a visa application centre. The Home Office may request other documents and details from you when making a spousal decision.
How long does a Spouse Visa last?
If you are applying for a Spousal visa from outside the UK, the visa will be issued for 2.9 years or 33 months. If you are applying for a Spousal visa from inside the UK, the visa will be issued for 2.5 years or 33 months.
Fees & Costs
The cost of a Spousal visa in the UK will depend on the way how you apply
If you are applying from outside the UK to join your partner or spouse, the visa cost will be £1538. The cost will increase to £1538 for each dependent child included in your application.
If you are applying from inside the UK, the Spousal visa cost will be £1048. The cost will increase to £1048 for each dependent child included in your application.
You may also be required to pay an additional medical fee as part of your application. For each adult (18 years and over), the medical fee will be:
- £1560 if you stay for 30 months
- £1872 if you stay for 33 months
For each child (under 18 years), the medical fee will be:
- £1175 if you stay for 30 months
- £1410 if you stay for 33 months
What happens if a Spouse Visa application is accepted?
If your application has been approved, you will get a leave to remain certificate, using which you can come to the United Kingdom during the next 30 days. Once you have entered the UK, you will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) during the next 10 days.
What happens if a Spouse Visa application is rejected?
It is not uncommon that Spousal visa applications to be rejected in the UK. Probably, this is due to the fact that the British government has made a concerted effort to reduce the number of immigrants by setting a net migration target of fewer than 100,000 people per year.
If your Spousal visa application is rejected, you can reapply for it, submitting the additional or missing details about your family. Your application can be refused because of the following reasons:
- You fail to meet the required financial minimum
- You fail to prove that your relationship is genuine
- You provided incorrect documents
- You did not fill out the submission forms correctly
- You do not meet the English language criterion
To ensure your UK Spousal visa application is accepted from the first attempt, you should cooperate with immigration lawyers at Sterling Law. With decades of experience, we have amassed a deep understanding of all possible reasons why Spousal visas might be refused in the UK, so we can instruct you on how to avoid the frustration of visa rejection.
If the re-application is not successful and your Spousal visa claim is rejected, you can appeal against the Home Office’s decision. Court battles against migration authorities are lengthy and tiring processes. For successful results, you can hire a Spousal visa solicitor in the UK to assist you with all the aspects of the appeal process. If you need help with applying or re-applying for a Spousal visa in the UK, or if your application has been rejected and you want to appeal against the Home Office’s verdict in court, experts at Sterling Law are there to help you. With our professional migration lawyers, you will surely achieve your goal and bring your spouse to the UK.
Extending a Spouse Visa
It is possible to extend a Spouse visa in the UK for another 30 months, provided your current leave to remain has not expired.
After living in the UK for a total of 60 months (5 years) with your Spousal visa, you qualify to apply for a settled status (Indefinite Leave to Remain). If you need to renew your Spousal/Marriage visa in the UK, immigration lawyers at Sterling Law are ready to assist you.
How can we help?
Obtaining Spousal visas in the UK is a complex, strenuous process with no guaranteed results if you tackle the project without quality assistance. Immigration lawyers at Sterling Law can take the sting out of the process and help you with the hardest aspects of Spousal visa application or renewal.
We can help you to qualify for all the mandatory requirements involved in obtaining a Spouse/Partner visa in the UK, including financial, accommodation, and English skills criteria. With professional assistance, you will easily collect and submit all the necessary documents and units of evidence to prove the genuineness of your relationship and get your Spousal visa approved.
Nothing is more important than family happiness where parents and children, husbands and wives are never separated by bureaucratic hurdles. If you need to rejoin with your loved ones in the United Kingdom, contact immigration solicitors at Sterling Law to increase your chances of obtaining a Spousal visa in the UK.
Well-educated and highly competent, our team of immigration experts will carefully lead you through all the steps of your Spousal visa application. We will help you with:
- Evaluating your eligibility for a Spousal visa in the UK
- Consulting on the documents you need to provide and reviewing your documentation for correctness and completeness
- Gathering enough units of evidence that your relationship is genuine
- Dealing with the Home Office until your application is approved
- Completing each part of the Spousal visa application process to exclude the risk of rejection
If you need great results without delays, trust experienced immigration lawyers at Sterling Law to apply for a UK Spouse/Partner visa.