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Adequate Accommodation Types for a Spouse Visa

If you are applying for a UK spouse visa to join your partner in the UK, it is essential that before you do, you check whether you meet all of the eligibility requirements. Not only will you need to prove that you are in a recognised civil partnership or marriage, or that you have been living together in a relationship for at least two years, you also need to meet the English language requirement, be able to financially support yourself and your dependants, and prove that you have adequate accommodation in the UK. It is this latter requirement that we will concentrate on in this article. Specifically, we will focus on what is meant by ‘adequate accommodation’, the types of accommodation which meet the criteria, and whether it is necessary that only the couple are living in the accommodation.

What is meant by Adequate Accommodation?

The adequate accommodation requirement is intended to ensure that you, your partner, your children, and any other family members who will be living with you, have safe and secure housing arrangements in place in the UK.

To qualify as adequate, the following must apply:

  • the accommodation must be owned or occupied exclusively by the family
  • the accommodation can be shared with others. ‘Occupy exclusively’ is defined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules and means that at least part of the accommodation must be for the exclusive use of the family
  • the family must have the exclusive use of the number of bedrooms required for the number, age, and gender of members of the family unit (see more on this below).
  • accommodation outside those areas which are for the exclusive use of the family unit can be shared with others. For example, the required number of bedrooms for the applicant/sponsor and their dependants may be in a home shared with and owned by the parents of the sponsor (and the parents have their own exclusive bedroom which they occupy).
  • as per the Housing Act 1985, the accommodation cannot be overcrowded
  • the accommodation cannot contravene public health regulations

In relation to the rule on overcrowding, under the Housing Act 1985, if either the room standard and/or the space standard is breached, the accommodation will be regarded as overcrowded.

To meet the room standard, you will need to show that the number of people who will be sleeping in the accommodation and the number of rooms available for sleeping ensures that two people aged ten or over of the opposite sex who are not living together as a couple must sleep in the same room.

To meet the space standard, you will need to show that the number of people sleeping in the accommodation does not exceed the allowed number, taking into account the number and floor area of the rooms available for sleeping.

How Will the Home Office Calculate if the Accommodation is Overcrowded?

According to Appendix FM for the adequate maintenance and accommodation rules, you first need to total up the number of people who will be living in the accommodation; this includes those who are not included in the spouse visa, however, children under one-year-old are not counted and children aged between one and ten are counted as a half.

Secondly, you need to work out the number of rooms which will be used for sleeping. Bathrooms and kitchens cannot be used as sleeping accommodation and rooms of less than 50 square feet are not counted.

Finally, you will need to compare the number of people who will be occupying the accommodation with the number of rooms available for sleeping accommodation. The Home Office guidance provides the following table to enable you to understand how they apply this policy:

Number of rooms in the accommodation available for sleeping

Number of people permitted to sleep in the accommodation without it being overcrowded

1

2

2

3

3

5

4

7.5

5

10

More than 5 rooms

10 plus an additional 2 persons for each room in excess of 5 rooms

E.g. if there are 6 rooms = 12 people, or

7 rooms = 14 people.

What If We are Going to Get Married in the UK?

If you are yet to get married and will be entering the UK on a fiancé visa, then it is not necessary to have accommodation ready for arrival, but you must demonstrate to the Home Office that it will be available once you are married. Appendix FM of the immigration rules states that the Home Office “must be satisfied that adequate permanent accommodation will be available after the marriage or the civil partnership has taken place and that adequate temporary accommodation will be available in the meantime, for example, provided by family or friends. Evidence relating to the temporary address and the proposed long-term address after marriage or civil partnership should be provided with the entry clearance application as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner. An entry clearance application may be refused if the temporary or proposed long term address is not considered to be adequate accommodation. An application made after the marriage or civil partnership has taken place should not rely on prospective accommodation”.

It is, therefore, possible for a person to arrive in the UK on a fiancé visa and have temporary living arrangements until they are married or in a civil partnership.

Final Words

The immigration rules which apply to spouse and fiancé visas can be complex and confusing for anyone not familiar with the family visa route. It is always advisable that before you submit your application for consideration by the Home Office, you should seek the expertise of immigration Solicitors who can make sure you meet all requirements, including the adequate accommodation criteria. In addition, they will check that you have all of the necessary documentation to prove you meet the eligibility rules. This will also provide you with the confidence that your application has the best possible chance of leading to a positive decision, meaning that you and your dependants can be reunited with your partner in the UK as soon as possible.

Related article

How to meet the UK spouse visa maintenance and accommodation requirements

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