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UK Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirements in 2022

Last updated: 28th September 2022

What is the UK spouse accommodation requirement?

Those applying for a Spouse visa to join their partner in the UK under the family migration route must prove to the Home Office that they have “adequate accommodation” here. “Adequate accommodation” means that the spouse has a suitable place to live that is safe, meets the required housing standards, and has sufficient space. Unfortunately, failure to meet the adequate accommodation requirements is one of several UK spouse visa refusal reasons.

Applicants must show that the place they will be living in will meet the following UK spouse visa accommodation requirements:

  • Owned or legally occupied by the family for their exclusive use
  • Not provided at cost to the British public (i.e., it must be without recourse to public funds)
  • Not currently and will not be overcrowded
  • Meets the UK public health regulations

Exclusive occupation

You will need to provide evidence that the accommodation you intend to live in in the UK with your partner and children is owned or rented just for you and your immediate family.

If the property in which you will be living is not owned or rented for the exclusive use of your family. For example, if you will be living with your parents (or those of your partner) or with others in a house in multiple occupations (HMO), you will need to prove that you have adequate space which is just for you, your partner, and your children. HMOs, such as hostels or hotels, are properties in which more than one household resides and have common areas such as a kitchen or bathroom.

It is important to note that you don’t necessarily need to have a separate house or self-contained flat, but the Home Office will want to be assured that there is sufficient space (see overcrowding below).

No recourse to public fund

The UK spouse visa accommodation guidelines1 state that the place where you intend to live in the UK must not be publicly funded. If your partner receives some form of benefit that they use to pay towards the accommodation, you may still be eligible for a Spouse visa. In addition, if you are applying from within the UK and you will be jointly entitled to benefits with your partner, you may still meet this requirement.

In most cases, applicants will fail this spouse visa accommodation requirement if their UK-based partner requires more public funds because they will be joining them in the UK.

Overcrowding

As part of the assessment of your application, the Home Office will want to be assured that the property in which you will live has sufficient space and will not be overcrowded. To check if your accommodation will be overcrowded, you will need to:

  1. Count the number of people who will be living in the accommodation - including anyone not included in the visa application. Note - children aged under 1 year are not counted, and children between the age of 1 and 10 are counted as a half.
  2. Count the number of rooms available for sleeping – this includes rooms of greater than 50 square feet where suitable sleeping arrangements can be made. Unsuitable rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens cannot be included.
  3. Check how many people can live in the accommodation – this is based on the number of rooms available for sleeping, as follows:

Number of rooms for sleeping

Maximum number of people allowed

1

2

2

3

3

5

4

7.5

5

10

+ 5 rooms for sleeping

10 people + 2 persons for each room

over 5 rooms

E.g., 6 rooms allow 12 people and

7 room allows 14 people.


Overcrowding is only allowed in very limited circumstances, including if it is due to a newborn child or where a child has just exceeded the age of 1 or 10, and alternative living arrangements are being made. It may also be allowed if it is temporary, or the local authority has given permission for the arrangement.

Public regulation

The accommodation must meet public health regulations. A property with the presence of mold, a low energy rating (E or below), or where there is no gas safety certificate may fail this requirement. In such cases, the Home Office will want to see evidence such as a Chartered Surveyor or local authority report with recent photographs showing the property meets public regulations.

Exemptions to the UK Spouse visa accommodation requirements

If you are unable to satisfy all of the spouse visa requirements, including adequate accommodation, it may be possible to apply on the basis of your right to private and family life in accordance with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. To do so, you will need to show that there would be “insurmountable obstacles to family life with a partner outside of the UK,” e.g., if they would not be able to enter the proposed country of return.

Proof of UK Spouse visa accommodation requirements

As part of your Spouse visa application, you will be asked to provide a number of items of evidence to prove you have adequate accommodation in the UK. Accepted forms of proof for your UK spouse visa accommodation may include:

Evidence of exclusive occupation

  • Property deeds
  • Lease agreement and rent book
  • UK spouse visa accommodation letter(s):
    • A letter outlining your mortgage arrangements from your bank or building society.
    • A letter from a family member or friend providing the accommodation explaining the arrangements agreed upon and confirming their consent for you to live on the property; this should be signed and dated by your family member or friend.
    • A letter from your landlord confirming that rent payments are up to date and that you are allowed to live on the property; this should also be dated and signed by your landlord.

Evidence of housing standards

  • a genuine and accurate description of the property from a housing authority, bank, or building society

Evidence of sufficient living space

  • details of the number of rooms available for sleeping
  • details of the people who will be living on the property, including their ages
  • an explanation if the property will be overcrowded based on the above calculation model

The above list of documents is not exhaustive. The Home Office will provide you with a full list of documents to provide to support your UK family visa application.


References

1 GOV.UK: Adequate maintenance and accommodation

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