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Switching From Tier 4 to Spouse Visa

One of the more common question we often get is whether you can switch from a Tier 4 Student Visa to a Spousal Visa. In this article, we're going to look at the options for those currently on a Tier 4 Student Visa who are looking to switch to another visa route and whether the Spouse Visa is a valid way of doing it. We will also look at the Spouse Visa in a little more detail and deconstruct your options if you're currently on a Tier 4 Student Visa and are looking to switch to a Spouse Visa.

Can I switch from a Tier 4 Student Visa to a Spouse Visa?

Yes, it is possible to switch from a Tier 4 Student Visa to a Spouse Visa after getting married or entering a Civil Partnership in the UK. Clearly, you need to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility criteria for your relationship with your spouse and as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for a Spouse Visa, switching should be reasonably straightforward.

There are stringent checks in place to ensure that your relationship is a genuine one, this is to avoid the possibility of people trying to defraud the system, which unfortunately has been a common occurrence in the past and hence why it's been so heavily cracked down on. As long as you have been in a relationship for the eligible amount of time and of course are married or in a Civil Partnership, then you will be eligible to apply for a Spouse Visa.

What is the eligibility criteria for a Spouse Visa?

A Spouse Visa is available for all eligible relationships in the UK (marriages and Civil Partnerships). You will need to ensure that your relationship is genuine and that this is provable as you will be expected to prove this. You will require documentary evidence for a significant period of time to prove that you have been together and this should be reasonably easy if you've been based in the UK with your spouse or indeed you have got married while in the UK after coming on a Tier 4 Student Visa.

As well as needing to prove the relationship is genuine, there will also be a need to ensure that you have accommodation in place. Clearly if you already in the UK that should be reasonably straightforward. You will also need to ensure that you have a good enough level of English language skill, if you're on a Tier 4 Student Visa that shouldn't be an issue as you're studying in the UK already.

What are the benefits of a Spouse Visa over a Tier 4 Student Visa?

There are several benefits to having Spouse Visa over a Tier 4 Student Visa, the main one being that you'll be able to stay in the UK restriction free. Though you must remain married to continue to enjoy the benefits. You will also be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years and this option is not available to those on a Tier 4 Student Visa. As well as these, you will also be able to work freely in the UK, this is not available on many other visa routes and is clearly a major benefit of this visa route.

Because the Spouse Visa is one of the UK's most generous visa routes, it is also one of the most applied for. For this reason, applications for it are checked heavily to ensure that the relationship is genuine and that you are indeed entitled to remain in the UK. Any failure to prove your eligibility is likely to end in a refused application.

How do I apply to switch to a Spouse Visa from a Tier 4 Student Visa?

You will need to make an application much like any other person who wishes to apply for a Spouse Visa, this can be done online but you are also able to make an application in person. Clearly, as long as you're on a Tier 4 Student Visa that is not about to run out, you have time to decide and it is probably best to make the application online. You can also make a postal application, or if you need a quick decision, you can make an application in person but there is an extended fee for doing so and there is no more guarantee that you will be accepted this way.

Alongside the fee for making your application, you will also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. This fee is levied by the UK government for those moving here as a way of offsetting the cost to Britain's National Health Service (NHS) of foreigners moving to the UK. Paying this fee means that you get free at the point of use healthcare anywhere in the UK and you would not need private medical insurance to gain treatment.

Can I work in the UK on a Spouse Visa?

Yes absolutely, it's one of the best benefits of this visa. You are able to work freely in the UK and this is one of the reasons it is also one of the most applied for. There are no working restrictions for those in the UK on a Spouse Visa and it means it is a far more attractive option than say a Tier 2 General Visa.

Where can I get more help?

If you're looking for help and advice with any immigration query in the UK, please get in contact with our immigration solicitors who will be happy to help you with your case. Our specialists have vast knowledge and experience in the field and can help with any and all immigration queries. So for more information on our range of services or to get started on a case, call today and we'll be happy to help you.

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