UK Spouse Visa Application Preparation Checklist
One of the most rewarding aspects of our job as Immigration Solicitors is assisting non-UK family members to settle and start a new life with their loved ones in the UK. To make a successful application for a spouse/partner visa in the UK, it is especially important to provide evidence to the Home Office of a genuine relationship. Only recently, the media covered the case of the wife of a British wrestling champion who was refused a visa to come to the UK. Khava Eldarbekova, the wife of Muhammad Mokaev, a professional fighter, had her visa application declined in February 2021. Mokaev came to the UK as a refugee as a child in 2012 after fleeing political persecution in his home country of Dagestan, Russia. He married Ms. Eldarbekova in an Islamic marriage in October 2020. The Home Office refused the application on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to show she had ties to her home country of Russia or Bahrain, where she currently lives, and that she would leave the UK. As things stand, the couple has been told Ms. Eldarbekova has no right of appeal. In this article, we provide a checklist to ensure that you are prepared for your UK Spouse Visa application.
1) Are You Eligible For A Partner Or Spouse Visa?
To apply for a spouse or partner visa in the UK, all of the following must apply:
- You and your partner must be 18 or over
- Your partner must:
- be a British or Irish citizen, or;
- have permanent residency rights having settled from another country, or;
- be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status - they must have started living in the UK before 1st January 2021
- have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
- have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
- You must both intend to live together in the UK
- You must be in a recognised marriage or have been living together for two years or more – you may also be intending to get married in the next six months
2) Have You Taken An English Language Test
If you are between 18 and 65 and not from an exempt country, and if you do not have a degree that was taught in English, you will most likely need to pass an English language exam before you apply for a visa. The immigration rules state, “You can prove your knowledge of English by passing an approved English language test with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening”.
3) Do You Meet The Minimum Income Requirement For A Spouse/Partner Visa?
To make a successful application for a spouse or partner visa in the UK, you will need to provide evidence of an income of at least £18,600 per year. If you have children, you will need to show an additional income of £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each child you have after your first child. Other sources of income (other than employment) can be used, including from a rental property, pension, and dividends. In addition, savings over £16,000 can be used to satisfy this requirement. For full details on this requirement, see the proof of income section on the Home Office website.
If you are unsure if you meet the financial requirement, it is advisable to check with an immigration Solicitor before proceeding.
4) Do You Have Sufficient Evidence Of A Genuine And Subsisting Relationship?
Perhaps the most critical aspect of applying for a spouse/partner visa is that you show you have strong evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship with your UK-based partner. You will need to provide documents, photos, copies of messages, correspondence, and any other proof of:
- your relationship with your partner
- how you met your partner
- how often you see each other
- how long you’ve lived together (e.g. rental agreement)
- your shared finances (e.g. your mortgage documents, shared bills)
5) Have You Gathered The Other Evidence/Documents You Will Be Asked To Provide?
As part of the application process, you will be asked for details and documents relating to your children, previous partners to whom you have been married and/or had children with your UK partner’s details, any countries outside the UK you’ve lived in, and visited, and family and friends in the countries where you were born or have a nationality. In the case of Ms. Eldarbekova, she did not provide the Home Office with sufficient information regarding where she was born and held nationality, hence she was refused.
6) Do You Have Sufficient Funds To Pay The Visa Application Fee And Other Charges?
When you apply, you will need to pay the application fee and other charges. The application fee for a spouse visa is £1,523 if applying outside the UK and £1,033 if applying in the UK (note this is payable for the main applicant and each child). It may be possible to have your application fee waived if you are eligible.
You may also pay the healthcare immigration surcharge of £624 for yourself and £470 per child – this cost is per year (the visa is typically granted for an initial period of two years and nine months).
And finally, you will need to pay £19.20 to have your biometrics processed (i.e. your fingerprints and photo taken) for your biometric residence permit (BRP).
Applying For Your Spouse/Partner Visa
Once you are able to answer yes to each of the six questions above, you will be ready to apply for your spouse/partner visa. You can expect to receive a decision within 12 weeks, however, you may be able to apply for a faster decision (by the following working day) depending on where you currently live.
The process of applying for a spouse or partner visa in the UK requires patience and attention to detail. If you require any assistance with your application, either to review your form and paperwork or to have the process handled for you, speak to an Immigration Solicitor. By taking the time to understand the requirements of the spouse visa and submit a complete application, you will significantly increase your chances of receiving a positive decision.