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Switching from Tier 2 / Skilled Worker Visa to Spouse Visa

Can I switch from a Tier 2 to a Spouse visa?

As a UK Tier 2 visa or Skilled Worker visa holder, you may be able to switch to a Spouse visa within the UK if you are married, in a civil partnership, or in a long-term relationship with a British or Irish national, or a person who has settled in the UK.

By switching from a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa to a UK spouse visa, you will be able to live, work, study, bring your dependant children, and travel freely to and from the UK. Those who switch to a spouse visa are normally granted permission to stay for an initial period of 30 months. This can be further extended for another 30 months, at which point it is possible to acquire indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

It is important to note that the 12-month “cooling-off period” for the Tier 2 General Visa, which prevented applicants from getting to the end of their stay and then simply applying for a new visa while still in the UK, no longer applies. As such, there is nothing to stop you from applying for a UK Spouse visa before your Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa expires, assuming you meet the eligibility requirements.

Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa to Spouse visa requirements

In order to switch from a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker UK visa to a Spouse visa from within the UK, you must meet the general Spouse visa eligibility requirements; these include the:

  • Genuine relationship requirement
  • Financial requirement: an annual income of £18,600 or more
  • English language requirement: CEFR level A1 or higher

Relationship requirements

You must be married, in a civil partnership, or have lived for 2 years in a genuine relationship with:

  • A British or Irish citizen
  • A person who has settled in the UK (e.g. indefinite leave to remain or EUSS settled status)
  • A person from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein with EUSS pre-settled status who started living in the UK by the end of 2020
  • A Turkish Businessperson visa holder or Turkish Worker visa holder
  • A person with UK refugee status or humanitarian protection

Financial requirements

You and your UK-based partner must have an annual income of £18,600 or more. In addition, if you have dependant children, you will need to show evidence of an additional £3,800 per year for your first child and £2,400 per year for any subsequent children. This can be made up of income from employment, self-employment, a pension, non-work income such as money from property rental or share dividends, or savings.

Any savings over £16,000 can be used to reduce the annual income amount you are required to meet. To calculate the impact of your savings on meeting the financial requirement, simply divide the amount of savings over £16,000 by 2 ½. For example, if you have £21,000 in savings, this will reduce your annual income amount by £5,000 / 2.5 = £2,000 (i.e. the minimum income requirement is lowered to £16,600 per year).

English language requirements

UK Spouse visa applicants must meet the English language requirements, either by passing an English language test at CEFR level A1 or higher or by having a degree or higher taught in English.

You may not need to meet this requirement if you are over 65 years, you have a physical or mental impairment, or if you are a national of an exempt country. You may be exempt from the English language requirement if you are a national of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.

How to switch from Tier 2 visa to a Spouse visa

To switch from a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa to a UK Spouse visa, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Complete and submit the online Spouse visa application form1 (for applicants in the UK).
  2. Pay the application fee (£1,048) and immigration healthcare surcharge (£1,560 for 2 years and 6 months).
  3. Book and attend a biometric appointment at a UKVCAS service point to have your photo taken and fingerprints scanned.
  4. Upload any documents required by the Home Office to support your application, including:
    • Evidence of your relationship (e.g. marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, tenancy agreement, utility bills, or council tax bills showing you have been living together for 2 years).
    • Evidence you meet the financial requirements (e.g. payslips, bank statements, or p60).
    • Evidence you meet the English language requirements (e.g. a pass certificate for an English language test or a statement of comparability showing your degree was taught in English and is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher).

Applications to switch from a Tier 2 visa to a spouse visa normally take up to 8 weeks to process using the standard service. You can choose to pay an extra £800 to use the super priority service for a decision by the end of the next working day.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards is a leading immigration solicitor based in Central London. We can handle all aspects of switching to a Spouse visa from a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa, including

  • Checking your eligibility to switch to a Spouse visa from a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa
  • Handle your application to switch to a Spouse visa from a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa on your behalf.
  • Handle the refusal of an application to switch to a Spouse visa from a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa.
  • Advise on settling permanently in the UK with your partner and children and how to get British citizenship.


References

1 GOV.UK: Online visa application form

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