UK Spouse Visa: Application, Requirements and Process
The UK Spouse Visa allows foreign nationals to reunite with their partners residing in the UK as British citizens or settled persons and may be the first step towards attaining permanent resident status and, hopefully, full citizenship.
Spouse Visa UK
The UK Spouse Visa is a type of settlement visa that’s offered to individuals who wish to join their British or UK resident partner on UK soil. It grants permission to reside in the UK for a period of up to 30 months.
This visa should not be confused with the UK Marriage visitor visa, which is granted for the purpose of entering into marriage or civil union with a UK resident or citizen.
Who is Eligible for a Spouse Visa?
You are eligible for a UK Spouse Visa if:
- You’re 18 years old or older.
- You are married or joined in a civil union legally recognized in the UK.
- Your partner is a British citizen or has permanent residence in the UK.
- You can prove that you lived with your partner for the past 2 years.
- You are a fiancée/fiancé visa holder and plan on getting married within six months after arriving in the UK.
Apart from these eligibility requirements, you must also:
- Pass the “Genuine Relationship Test”.
- Demonstrate that you fulfil the financial requirements, such as a minimum yearly combined employment income, pension or investment/capital gains; or £16,000 in savings, among others.
- You demonstrate that you have knowledge of the English language, either by showing an English Language Test certificate or that you are from a majorly English-speaking country.
- Demonstrate that there is enough space for you to live in with your partner and dependents.
- Depending on your current country of residence, you may also have to show a negative Tuberculosis (TB) test.
Genuine Relationship Test
Genuine Relationship tests consist of pieces of evidence that must be shown to the immigration officer to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there is a relationship history between both partners. It’s a test designed to prevent instances of fraud or sham marriages utilized as pretexts to obtain specific immigration status.
Documents that could be shown to this effect include:
- A child’s birth certificate that shows both partners as parents.
- Photographs showing that you have spent considerable time with your partner.
- Shared bank accounts, mortgages, tenancy agreements, and bills.
- Travel documents that indicate that you have visited your spouse or partner before you got married.
- Other similar documents that may hint at your intention to live together with your partner in the UK.
Validity of the Spouse Visa
The UK Spouse or Partner Visa is valid, initially, for a period of 30 months, but you can extend it for another 30 months insofar as you’re still eligible.
Upon reaching five years in the country under a Spouse visa, you’re able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
What Are the Fees of a UK Spouse Visa Application?
If you are filing your spouse visa application from outside the UK, you will have to pay £1,538. From inside the UK, you would be paying £1,048. These costs are the same for each dependent that is added to the application. Applying from inside the UK is only possible when you’re already under leave to remain for more than 6 months.
Other costs associated with the application include those incurred for any qualified document translation services, English tests, healthcare surcharges, and fast-track visa services.
How Long Does the Spouse Visa Application Process Take?
Under normal circumstances, you would have to wait from 2 to 12 weeks before receiving an answer from the Home Office. The time it takes for the process to complete depends on whether you would have to provide any additional documents. The country you submit the petition from can also impact waiting times.
What Happens If My Partner Visa Application Gets Rejected?
In that case, the refusal letter will point out that you have the chance to appeal the decision, but only on the grounds that the decision breaches human rights under the protection of the European Convention on Human Rights (article 8). The appeal must be lodged within the next 14 days from the date you’re notified of the decision (28 days if you’re outside the UK).
You may also submit another petition if there were any mistakes in your initial submission, though that means you’d have to pay the fees again, which are much more expensive than the appeal fee.
How We Can Help
At London Immigration Lawyers, we are very aware of the emotional ordeals that may ensue from these types of visa processes, especially considering that they touch upon our ability to be reunited with our loved ones.
Our staff of experienced immigration lawyers can help you navigate through the rocky waters of UK immigration law so that they don’t become a stumbling block in your reunification plans. We are able to accompany you and assist you every step of the way.
Frequently Asked Questions
If my relationship ends, what should I do?
You must inform the Home Office as soon as you’re able. If you skimp on notifying of your rupture, you could be barred from other visa applications in the future.
The Home Office will then issue a curtailment whereby you are given enough time to choose another route (if you decide to stay) or leave the country.
What is the minimum income threshold to sponsor a spouse or partner seeking to join me in the UK?
The combined income must be at least £18,600 per year. If you’re also bringing dependents, you must prove an extra £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 for each subsequent child.
What options do I have if I can’t pay the Spouse Visa application fee?
You can try to fill in the online fee waiver request form, exposing the reasons why you can’t pay the fee. You may give one of the following reasons:
- You don’t have a place to live or enough money to afford one.
- You have a place to live but can’t afford basic expenses such as food or heating.
- You don’t have enough income and paying the fee would be detrimental to your children’s wellbeing.