Spouse Extension Visa Application in 2021
If you have reached, or are coming to the end of your initial 2.5-year period on your initial UK Spouse Visa then it should be time to extend it. Spouse visa extensions in the UK allows you to continue your stay until you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years and then naturalise to become a British Citizen. In this article, we are going to look at the extension process for the Spouse Visa in the UK.
We will take a look at the eligibility criteria, application process and help you to ensure that you have the best chance of making a successful application for a UK Spouse Visa Renewal.
When Do I Need To Apply For A Spouse Visa Extension?
You will need to apply for a UK Spouse Visa extension before your current Spouse visa expires. It will be wise to ensure that you leave yourself plenty of time for a spouse visa extension application to be processed, as it can take 2 to 3 months for processing. You should factor in this processing time when considering making your spouse visa extension application. You should bear in mind that due to the documents required and the proof needed, you will need to keep significant documentation for several months, perhaps even years to satisfy the requirements of this category of UK visa extension.
So, while an application can be made in the few months before expiration, documentation collection should be prepared well in advance.
You can apply for a UK spouse visa extension by completing an online Spouse visa extension form known as form FLR (M), You will be required to submit evidence showing you meet the spouse visa extension requirements, this includes; proof of qualifying genuine relationship, proof of financial requirement and proof English language test requirement.
It is worth speaking with our experienced and versatile immigration lawyers around 12 months before you are due to apply for an extension in order to make sure that your current documentation will be valid. We can help to ensure that you're on the right track to make your Spouse Visa extension application progress as easily as possible. The Home Office wishes to see extensive documentary evidence of your relationship, so it is best to deal with this well before it is time to make your application.
What Are The Spouse Visa UK Extension Requirements For 2021?
If you have lived in the UK on a spouse visa for a certain period of time and your visa is about to expire, you can apply to have your spouse visa extended for another 2.5 years. You are eligible to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain ILR after the duration of your spouse visa renewal. You can also be qualified to apply for a British citizenship as an ILR holder, as long as you meet up with the conditions attached.
Application for a spouse visa extension is quite similar to a spouse visa, you will need to meet the spouse visa extension rules. These include;
- You will have to provide evidence that you are still in a genuine relationship with your spouse/ partner, whether it’s a civil partnership or marriage for at least 2 years and wish to continue living with your partner throughout your extension period and beyond.
- Meet the financial maintenance requirement. You should be able to show that you and your spouse or partner have a combined income of at least £18.600.
- To be eligible for an extension, your spouse/ partner must be a British citizen or an Indefinite Leave to Remain holder. You can also apply to extend your spousal visa if your partner has a refugee or humanitarian protection status in the UK.
- The home office will need to ensure you have not breached any law or immigration condition.
- Ability to prove a certain level of English. Applicants will need to meet the English language requirement which is a standard of A2 level in English speaking and listening, under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. You will also need to take a test in speaking and listening.
- You will also need to meet the character suitability conditions. The good character requirement is a general test that helps to show if there are grounds for your application to be refused. i.e., Immigration breaches or criminal convictions while living in the UK.
What documents are needed to extend a spouse visa in the UK after 2.5years?
For your spouse visa extension application, you will be expected to submit specific documents to support your application. These spouse visa extension documents need to be submitted in their original forms.
Depending on your circumstances, some of the information which you will need to provide includes:
- Proof of your identity such as your valid passport, (Previous and current passports)
- Proof of your spouse’s UK status i.e., proof of indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship
- Proof of your marriage certificate and evidence of living together for the period of UK residency i.e., utility bills, with both addresses.
- Provide evidence of meeting the financial requirement such as payslips to show your savings, income or bank statements.
- Proof of your knowledge in English Language if applicable, i.e., a degree certificate or a certified English language test certificate.
Do I Need To Prove That I'm Still In A Relationship With My Spouse For An Extension?
Yes, you will be required to prove that you are still in a relationship with your spouse. The documentary evidence for that will be significant, and for that reason it is best to get in touch with us at least a year before you are considering making your application. We can help you with a document check up to ensure that you're on the right track and you already have all the documentation that you need. We will also ensure that you have a list of documents that will be required when it comes to the time to make your extension application.
The documentary evidence is required to ensure that you have maintained your relationship in the 2.5 years that you have lived in the UK. This removes the possibility that you have moved into the country just to gain a Spouse Visa.
You will need to provide significant amounts of documentary evidence to show that you are in a relationship and cohabiting. Some of this will take the form of official paperwork such as utility bills and council tax bills etc. You will also be required to show proof of your consistent communication with each other over an extended period of time. This may be as simple as passing messages and showing that there's been constant contact between you and your spouse over the previous 2.5 years. For most couples this should not be an issue and the process for providing the information is quite straightforward.
Our immigration lawyers can ensure that you have collected enough relevant documentation to document not only your cohabitation, but also the communication between yourselves that shows that you have been in a relationship. This we will do through a very simple checkup that ensures that you have everything you need to show Home Office officials your genuine relationship with your spouse. This stage of spouse visa extension applications is essential, so consider talking to an immigration expert first before making your application.
Spouse Visa Extension Processing Time
The processing time for a spouse visa renewal takes about 3 months. You can also opt for a much faster decision, which is the super priority service. With this service, your spouse visa renewal application can be processed within 24 hours with an additional cost of £610.
How Much Does It Cost To Apply For A Spouse Visa Extension?
The current fee is £1,523 for a Spouse Visa extension. This fee does not cover your Immigration Health Surcharge (£400 per year), and does not cover fees from legal advice that has been provided to you. The application fee as well as the Immigration Health Surcharge will need to be paid at the time of application. This can be paid online at the end of your online application.
Once you have paid the required amount for your application, you will need to wait for the processing of the spouse visa extension application.
What Happens If Spouse Visa Extension/Renewal Is Refused?
Your spouse visa renewal can be refused for a number of reasons; for example, if you fail to meet the English language test requirement, fail to meet the minimum income threshold or have a non-genuine relationship. If your application is unsuccessful, you will receive a spouse visa extension refusal letter, this means you will be required to leave the UK within a couple of weeks. You can however ask for the decision on your visa application to be reviewed, this is known as a reconsideration request. This request can be made only if you believe the immigration rules or policies weren’t followed correctly when the decision was made.
How We Can Help With Your Spouse Visa Extension
If you need help with a Spouse UK Visa extension application then please get in touch. Our experienced immigration solicitors can ensure that your application is as robust as possible and shows the genuineness of your relationship to any Home Office official who may be assigned to look at your application. Get in touch today and let us get you prepared to make the application process as easy as possible.