Spouse Sponsorship Visa Application Requirements
If you are looking to move to the UK to join a partner or a spouse, then you will need to gain a Spouse Visa. In this article, we will look at the Spouse Visa in a little more detail and look at the specific requirements for the visa to ensure that you have the best chance possible of success in applying. We will also look at what to do if things don't go quite to plan and offer some practical advice for those looking at the visa.
Can my partner or spouse sponsor my Spouse Visa application to the UK?
Yes, your partner or spouse can sponsor your Spouse Visa application as long as they fall into one of the following categories:
- There are a British citizen
- They have settled in the UK and have "Indefinite Leave to Remain" or proof of permanent residence
- They have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
As long as your partner fits one of these categories you will be able to apply for a Spouse Visa. You will be required to intend to live together in the UK after you move here (if you're not here already) and you will also be required to prove the existence of your relationship.
How do we prove that our relationship is genuine?
There are a few ways in which you can prove that your relationship is genuine, one of the following should be sufficient:
- You are in a civil partnership or marriage that is applicable in UK
- You've lived together for at least two years
- You are a fiance or proposed civil partner and will enter into a marriage or civil partnership within 6 months of arriving in the UK
There will be some people who can't quite match this criteria exactly, in the following section we will look at what to do if you do not fit these exact requirements as you may still be eligible to apply.
See also 'Genuine and subsisting relationship test requirement for UK spouse visa - Full explained' here.
What if we don't precisely match this criteria?
For the vast majority of couples, the usual requirements will not cause any issues, but there are other options if you don't exactly meet these requirements. In the following situations, you may be able to still apply for a spouse visa:
- You have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years
- You would not be able to continue your relationship if you remained outside of the UK
- It would breach your human rights
If you are unsure whether you fit any of this criteria then please get in touch and our immigration lawyers will be happy to help and to talk to you through the application process.
How long can I stay in the UK for on a Spouse Visa?
You will initially be given a period of two and a half years if you apply a via the Spouse Visa route. If you apply via the fiance route then you'll be given six months in order to get married or enter your civil partnership at which point you would then be able to apply for a Spouse Visa and receive the two and a half years that you get with a Spouse Visa.
If you are successful in your application, you can then extend at the end of the initial two and a half years for a further two and a half years. At this point you will be able to apply for "Indefinite Leave to Remain" (ILR) in the UK as you would have built up five years of continuous stay in the UK (will depend on any absences that you have had in that period).
Can I work on a Spouse Visa?
Yes, absolutely you can work on a Spouse Visa. The Spouse Visa is one of the very few visas which has few limitations to it and for this reason it is extremely popular. The lack of limitation is also the reason why you will need to have significant proof of your relationship is genuine. Over the years the rules of the Spouse Visa have been tightened due to its beneficial terms.
How do I apply for a Spouse Visa?
The method of application would depend on where you are currently based. If you are based outside of the UK, you must apply online. But if you are based inside the UK you have the option of either applying in person, by filling out a form or you can also choose to apply online. You would need to pay the appropriate fee at the time of application and you will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which covers your use of the National Health Service during your stay in the UK.
What happens if I'm turned down for a visa?
If you are turned down for a Spouse Visa in the UK, you may well have the ability to appeal the decision, if that's the case then you may want to speak to us at this stage so that we can talk you through the process of an appeal and help you put a case together. Please bear in mind that the appeal process can be extremely long.
There are alternatives to appealing - you could, in many circumstances, switch to using an alternative visa route such as the Tier 2 General visa, but in that case you would need to work for a specific Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder who can sponsor your stay in the UK for a defined period of time. To discuss your options, please get in touch and talk to one of our advisors.
Where can I go for more help?
If you need more help with a Spouse Visa application or indeed any other immigration query, please get in touch and our immigration solicitors will be happy to help you with your case. We have years of experience in helping people just like you to live and work in the UK and can certainly help you. So get in touch today and let us begin to work on your case.
- looking for work
As long as you qualify under any of the above scenarios, you will be entitled to make an application for Permanent Residence in the UK.
What is the eligibility criteria for the EEA Permanent Residence permit?
As stated above, you will need to either be an EEA citizen or a "qualified person" these two terms usually mean the same thing. The only exception is when you are a family member of an EEA citizen but are not originally from the EEA yourself. This is often as the result of marriages. This list below covers the extended family members that are allowed to apply for Permanent Residence:
- Brother or sister
- Aunt or uncle
- Niece or nephew
- Relative by marriage
- Unmarried partner from a long-term relationship
As long as you fall under any of these criteria, you should be able to apply for Permanent Residence in the UK. If you need to check eligibility, please get in touch and our immigration lawyers will be happy to talk to you about your individual case.
What is likely to replace the EEA Permanent Residence permit?
At this stage it is pretty hard to imagine what the future strategy will be of the British government. So far the Government have struggled to put together a coherent plan on the future of freedom of movement to and from the EEA and there is still plenty to discuss for the negotiators who are currently dealing with Britain's exit from the European Union.
What is clear is that there will be a transitional period after the date of Britain's official exit from the European Union in March 2019. This transitional period is required to deal with the huge changes that are required for the UK to change the many rules and regulations that it has that are currently harmonised alongside the EU. In many cases, the UK will simply copy and paste laws into its own constitution. But immigration is a huge topic and will undoubtedly look very different after the UK completely exits from the bloc. The British government has though repeatedly assured that current EEA citizens in the UK will be unaffected by any changes.
How much does it cost?
The application fee is £65 per applicant and is payable at the time that the application is made. You can make an application by either using a form that can be downloaded from the gov.uk website or you can make an application in person at a premium service centre. If you need help with your application then please get in touch and we can help you.
Where can I get more help?
If you need more help with a Permanent Residence application, or indeed any other visa or immigration query then please get in touch. Our experienced immigration lawyers can help with your case and can offer advice and support to assist with your situation. So, for more information, or to get started using our services, please get in touch and we'll be happy to help.
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