Applying for a spouse visa when you are married or in a civil partnership
Who can apply
If you are from a country outside of the European Economic Area and you are in a genuine marriage or civil partnership, you might be able to get permission to stay on what is known as a spouse visa, or a UK partner visa. Whilst you may have heard of a UK Marriage Visa, this is in fact not an exact visa category and may refer to either a spouse visa, or a marriage visitor visa. There is also not a specific family permit, but there are a number of different visas that you can apply for to join your family in the UK.
Alternatively,If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status.
There are a number of criteria you will have to meet in order for your application to be granted, but don’t worry. With our expert immigration team behind you you’ll be in with the best chance of success when you apply for a partner visa.
Proof of your relationship
In order for your application to be a success, the Home Office will need to see substantial evidence that you have a genuine relationship. You will have to submit months, or even years’ worth of proof alongside your UK visa application.
Examples of evidence you could submit might be:
- Joint bank statements
- Joint tenancy agreements
- A marriage or civil partnership certificate
Although it might be difficult to get this evidence, especially if it’s been lost or thrown away, without it you’ll stand less of a chance of being granted entry clearance on a spouse visa.
The Home Office also have to see proof that that your marriage or civil partnership is legally recognised by UK law.
Our team know how tricky gathering everything you need can be, so can help you compile all the evidence you should have to give you the best chance of being granted your spouse visa.
General requirements spouse visa UK
If one of the following applies to your spouse or civil partner, you can apply to join them in the UK on the basis of your relationship:
- They are present and settled in the UK, or
- They have limited leave to remain in the UK – excluding student visa holders and other short-term visa category holders
You and/or your spouse or partner must also meet all of the below requirements:
- Both of you must be over 18 at the time of applying
- Both of you must intend to permanently live together when you get to the UK
- You can provide evidence that you have arranged appropriate accommodation for your arrival in the UK
- Your spouse or partner must be physically present in the UK at the time of your application, unless they are accompanying you to the UK. If this is the case, they need to hold either indefinite leave to remain, a permanent right of residence, British citizenship or the right of abode in the UK
- You personally need to meet the English language requirements, which means you will have to take an English Language Test and pass at a certain level
Our team of immigration solicitors in Manchester can help you meet all the necessary requirements, and will make sure to help you provide the evidence you need so that your chances of success are as high as they can be.
As well as meeting the above general requirements, in order to be granted entry clearance to the UK via a spouse visa there are certain financial requirements you have to meet, such as the minimum income required.
Currently, the minimum income required for UK settlement is £18,600 per year, which means you have to be able to prove that you are earning this or more at the time of your application.
If your spouse or civil partner wants to sponsor you, then you will have to prove that they can meet the above amount instead.
However, if a child is also being sponsored, the minimum earning threshold rises to £22,400, with an additional £2,400 for each further child.
You must meet the financial requirement at the time of the application process.
Documents you need to provide
To get the permission to stay in the UK on a UK spouse visa, you have to provide evidence to show you can meet the financial requirements. This could be:
- Income evidence from employment or self-employment, such as payslips or tax returns
- Non-employment income, such as from property rentals, investments, and stocks or shares
- Proof of a pension that you or your partner receives. This can be either a state pension – UK or foreign – or a private pension
- Any maternity allowance or bereavement benefits that you or your partner receive in the UK
If your spouse or civil partner receives disability-related benefit or carer’s allowance in the UK, then you may be exempt from meeting the financial requirements.
However, if you are exempt, then you will have to be able to prove to the Home Office that you will be able to maintain and accommodate yourselves with no problem and no need to access public funds whilst in the UK.
How long you can stay
If you apply from outside the UK and the Home Office decides to grant you entry clearance on the basis of your marriage or civil partnership with your partner who is settled in the UK, you will be able to stay in the UK for up to 33 months.
After you have lived in the UK for this initial period, you can apply for a 30 month extension. If you are granted a spouse visa extension after those 30 months, then after that period is over you will be eligible to apply to settle in the UK indefinitely. This is what is called ‘indefinite leave to remain’.
If you apply for your spouse visa from within the UK and you are successful, then you will be granted an initial period of 30 months, after which you can apply for a further 30 months extension.
This will take you up to the minimum five years which is required to be granted permanent residence, also known as UK settlement visa.
Other visa types
If you want to stay in the UK for only a short period, of 6 months or less, you can simply apply for a visitor visa.
If you want to stay in the UK only to get married to your fiancée or proposed civil partner you can apply for a marriage visitor visa.
If you want to get married in the UK before settling down, you can apply for a fiance visa.
The rules are the same for those who wish to get married and those who wish to enter into a civil partnership.
To be able to apply for the spouse visa, your partner must be a British citizen or a person settled in the UK.
At this moment in time, you won’t need to apply for any of these visa’s if you’re from the European Economic Area.
In extreme cases, some individuals are granted refugee status and can therefore seek humanitarian protection in the UK.
Apply for your UK spouse visa with AWH
Your spouse visa UK application
Here at AWH Solicitors we understand that the idea of applying for a spouse visa UK to join your civil partner or spouse can be quite daunting, which is why we want to make the spouse visa application process as simple as possible for you.
We can help you to understand the whole process before we begin your application, and guide you through each step until reaching the result you need. We understand what the Home Office is looking for, so we know how to structure your application for the best chance of a successful outcome.
Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help, or request a call back.
Please note: A 30-minute consultation with one of our immigration experts can be held in our offices or over the phone or Skype. Please be aware that we do not offer free advice and will charge a non-refundable fee of £95 per consultation.
- How much does a spouse visa cost?
If you are planning to apply for your spouse or partner to join you in the UK, it is important to be aware of the costs involved.
The Home Office fee for a spouse entry clearance visa is currently £1,523. In addition, you will need to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge in order for your spouse to use the NHS once they are in the UK. For a spouse visa with a period of 2.5 years, the IHS fee would be £1,000.
If you would like for your application to be processed faster, you can also pay the optional priority UK visa service, which is £573 for settlement applications.
The Home Office fee for a UK spouse extension visa is currently £1,033. The Immigration Health Surcharge of £1,000 applies for spouse leave to remain applications. You can also pay for the additional super priority service, which is £800. This means your visa would be processed within 24 hours or the next working day.
- Can I work in the UK on a spouse visa?
Yes, you can work in the UK on a spouse visa without restrictions from the date your UK visa has been granted.
- Can I study on a spouse visa in the UK?
Yes, you can study in the UK on a spouse visa without any restrictions from the date your visa has been granted.
- Can I bring my spouse to the UK?
If you wish to apply to bring your spouse to the UK, it is important to check whether you are able to meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules prior to making an application.
You will need to either be a British citizen or settled in the UK, and you will need to meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements that include relationship and financial requirements.
The rules on who can bring their spouse to the UK are complex and we recommend seeking specialist advice from our spouse visa immigration lawyers for comprehensive advice on whether you are eligible to bring your spouse to the UK.
- How to apply for a spouse visa in the UK?
You can make an application for your spouse to join you in the UK by submitting an application to the Home Office. It involves an online application form, and once this has been submitted, your partner will need to attend an appointment at their nearest visa centre. At the visa centre appointment, your partner will have their biometric information taken and will be contacted once a decision has been made. If the application is successful, they will receive a stamp in their passport with a grant of entry clearance valid for one month. Once they have arrived in the UK, they can collect their Biometric Residence Permit at their nominated post office which will be valid for a period of 2.5 years.
Our spouse visa immigration lawyers will advise you fully on how you are able to meet the requirements and will handle the application process fully on your behalf.
- What is a spouse visa UK?
UK spouse visas, also known as a UK marriage visa, are a type of visa that allow a partner of a person who is a British citizen or settled to join them in the UK.
A spouse visa is a settlement visa as it allows your partner to complete 5 years in the UK with leave to remain as your partner in order for them to apply for settlement, and ultimately, citizenship in the UK.
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