The Spouse Visa is one of the more popular visas under the Family Visa umbrella. It allows those who are married to a British citizen or someone with “settled status" to live and work in the UK. As one of the UK’s more generous visa routes, the Spouse Visa is one of the toughest to apply for and requires significant evidence to prove that the marriage or Civil Partnership is genuine. As long as your relationship is genuine, the Spouse Visa offers excellent benefits and is by far the best option for those who are married or in a Civil Partnership with either a British citizen or a “settled” person and are looking to move to, or remain in the UK. In this article, we’re going to drill a little deeper into the Spouse Visa. We’ll be looking at eligibility criteria, cost of applying and the benefits of the visa to give you all the information that you need to make a successful Spouse Visa application in the UK.
A Spouse Visa allows those who are married to either a British citizen or “settled” person to live and work in the UK. It allows the spouse to live and work in the UK for an initial period of 2.5 years (or 2 years if you switch to it from a Fiance Visa). It is a fantastic option for those with an appropriate spouse and is one of the UK’s most generous visa routes. With this generosity comes a tough application process. Historically, the Spouse Visa has been a highly abused route. So-called “sham marriages” became big news in the UK and the Home Office reacted by tightening the rules. For those in a genuine relationship, the Spouse Visa is still relatively straightforward to acquire, you will though need to ensure that you have all of the documentary evidence required to satisfy the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). If you are concerned about the application process for a Spouse Visa, get in touch with our immigration solicitors who will be able to guide you through the process.
The eligibility criteria for a Spouse Visa is as follows:
As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you can submit an application online from either inside or outside of the UK. If you cannot meet all of the criteria, you may need to download a form from Gov.uk and send it for processing. This will take longer than an online submission and it may take months for processing to be completed.
The fees involved in a Spouse Visa application will depend upon where you are applying from and your specific situation and if you need assistance. The standard fee for application is £1,523 for the online application. You will need to make the application online and you will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is used to cover your usage of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). The NHS is a free at the point of use system and is paid for by general taxation. This means that as long as you have paid your Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), you can access GP services and attend hospitals without charge. You can also access NHS optical and dental care, but these are only subsidised and not free. Once submitted, your application will be processed within the time frame laid out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and this can be sped up if you are willing to pay for quicker processing. You will receive a decision in due course.
Yes you can. A Spouse Visa gives you free reign to work in the UK. For this reason, it is one of the most sought after routes for applicants looking to move to the UK. Unlike other visa routes, you will not need Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS), or earn a specified minimum wage (though your sponsoring spouse will need to earn a minimum wage to support you). You will still pay taxes and National Insurance as does every other worker in the UK.
Yes you can gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK on a Spouse Visa. You will need to live in the UK for at least 5 years before you can apply. You will also need to ensure that you do not have any large periods outside of the country as this will affect your application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). There are few reasons for turning down an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application for those who have been in the UK on a Spouse Visa for 5 years and as long as you have kept within your visa limitations, the application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) should be straightforward. If you are concerned about your eligibility criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or have any questions about the process, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
See also 'Indefinite Leave to Remain reqiurements for a spouse visa after 5 years' here.
If you need help with an immigration query or an application for a Spouse Visa then please get in touch. We have extensive experience working with would-be migrants coming to the UK and can offer all of the advice and support that you could need to make the transition. So get in touch today and we can get started on your case.
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My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
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