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Spouse visa allows the spouse of anyone who is present and settled in the UK to join their present and settled in the UK to bring their spouse to join them in the UK. A British citizen or settled person (a person with Indefinite Leave to remain or permanent residence) is eligible to bring their spouse to join them in the UK.

Marriage visa

Difference between a marriage visa and a spouse visa

The UK marriage visa is a term commonly used to refer to the spouse visa however, there lies a minor difference between the two. A spouse visa allows the spouses of British citizens and/or persons free from immigration control to join their partners in the UK. A marriage visa refers broadly to several visa categories which allow partners of persons with lawful residence to bring their overseas partners to join them in the UK. This may include dependants of persons who would normally need a visa to come into the country as opposed to a spouse visa which is issued solely to spouses of British citizens or settled persons.

Importantly, what is commonly called a marriage visa does not in itself exist as an immigration route however, a spouse visa is an immigration category. A marriage visa may include both a spouse visa and PBS Dependant visa as a spouse or someone with a valid leave to remain in the country (Tier 1, 2, or 4).

The kind of marriage visa you will need will normally depend on your circumstance.

British citizen->Spouse visa

Person with ILR or permanent residence -> Spouse Visa

EEA National married to a non-EEA -> EEA Family permit (submitted outside the UK)

Person with refugee status or humanitarian protection -> Family reunion

Tier 4 student visa - Dependant of a Tier 4 visa holder

Tier 2 general visa - Dependant of a Tier 2 General visa holder

Conditions of a spouse visa

A spouse visa is normally issued for 2.5 years and allows the holder to work in the UK without restrictions. At the end of the first granted 2.5 year period, the holder is able to apply for an extension and would be eligible for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years on this visa route.

Please note that for indefinite leave to remain applications you will need to provide evidence of cohabitation throughout the 5 year period.

In order to be able to make this application both parties must be able to provide the following: -

  • That they have physically met each other;
  • Are legally married;
  • That there is an intention to live permanently together in the UK as couple; and
  • That the sponsor meets the financial requirements as described in the immigration rules.

Other Requirements

The requirements for the Spouse visa can be found in the Appendix FM of the immigration rules.

Importantly, four main requirements would need to me met.

  • Prove of genuine and subsisting relationship between the partners;
  • Meeting the financial requirements as stated in Appendix FM (currently a minimum of £18,600 gross per year;
  • Meet the English language requirement; and
  • Meet accommodation requirement.

Spouse Visa Fees

The Spouse Visa allows the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen or "settled" person the right to live and work in the UK. As visas go, the Spouse Visa is one of the more generous and therefore is very popular. The benefits of the Spouse Visa are the 2.5 years stay it allows in the UK (can be extended), the ability to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years of stay in the UK and the ability to work without restriction in the UK. If your spouse or civil partner qualifies, then this article should give you a good idea as to how to gain a Spouse Visa in the UK.

What Is The Eligibility Criteria For A Spouse Visa?

The eligibility criteria for a Spouse Visa is as follows:

  • Spouse or civil partner must be a British citizen or "settled" person (has Indefinite Leave to Remain or a protected status such as a refugee)
  • You must be in a provable (documentation will be required) relationship having lived together for at least 2 years
  • Have good English language skills (may need to be proven depending on your country of origin)
  • Have the ability to financially support yourself and your dependants (will require proof of finances)

If you can meet these criteria then you should have a very strong application. It is possible to still apply even when not all of these conditions have been met. If you need to discuss your options, get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

How Much Is The Application Fee For A Spouse Visa?

The fee for making a Spouse Visa application is £1,523. The application will need to be completed online (apart from in some cases where eligibility criteria is an issue - we will advise you which to use). You will also need to pay additional fees such as the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which is £200 per year per applicant. If you have used legal help such as ours, you will need to pay that separately and we will advise you of the costs involved in using our service once we've established your needs.

You will need to pay the complete total upfront for your application to be processed and the prices quoted only cover standard fees. If you are looking to have your application processed faster, you will need to use a premium service and this attracts further costs. For more information on the application process for the Spouse Visa or indeed any other immigration query, get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

Financial requirements

In order to be able to bring in your spouse to the UK, you need to be able to show that you can look after them whilst in the UK. You need to earn above a threshold to prove that they will not be a burden on the state whilst in the country. This is what is referred to as meeting the financial requirements.

It is important to note however that you will be exempt from the financial requirement if you are in the UK as a refugee or under humanitarian protection. However, you will still need to show that you earn a minimum gross salary/wage; the amount will depend on who you are applying for.

If you are applying for your spouse alone you will need to show that you earn a minimum gross annual of income of £18,600.

If you are applying for your spouse and one child the financial requirement is £22,400 gross per year.

For every additional child in addition to point 2 above you need to add £2,400 for each child to the £22,400 gross per year.

Combining income

If you are not able to meet the financial requirement using one source of income, you can combine the following source of income.

  • Self-employment/employment income
  • Pension
  • Maternity, sickness, adoption or paternity pay
  • Income from rent or shares
  • Minimum cash savings of £16,000 for at least six months.

What Documents Are Required To Make A Spouse Visa Application?

Due to the nature of the visa, there is often a concern as to which documents are required to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). In this article, we are going to look at the application process for a Spouse Visa in the UK and what documents you are likely to need to support your application.

So, What Documents Are Required To Apply For A Spouse Visa?

As you may expect, for a visa that comes with rather generous terms, you will be expected to provide quite a lot of documentary evidence. The majority of this documentary evidence will be linked to the relationship and will be used as a way of testing how genuine the relationship is. The UK historically had problems with so-called "sham marriages" that meant the rules were tightened significantly for visas that involved relationships and marriages. As a result of this, you will be expected to produce a significant amount of paperwork.

As well as paperwork pertaining to your relationship, you will also need to provide identifying information (such as passports) and also documentation relating to any criminal past, financial situation and depending on your specific situation, documents relating to your health. The paperwork involved means couples often rely on the services of immigration specialists such as ourselves to make the process easier. We can help to guide you through the process, collate all of your documents and even assist with the application process. So, if you would like some help with your Spouse Visa application, get in touch and we can help.

How Do I Apply For A Spouse Visa?

You can apply for a Spouse Visa online from outside of the country. If you are already in the UK, you can also apply online as long as you meet all of the eligibility criteria. If you do not meet all of the eligibility criteria, you may be required to fill in a form for a postal application instead. In this case, the eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • Ability to speak a sufficient level of English
  • Meet the minimum income requirement
  • Have permission to be in the UK

If you are concerned or are not sure whether you meet this eligibility criteria, please get in touch and one of our expert immigration specialists will help to deal with your case. We can help you with the postal application and can help you to gather all of the information that you need in order to make a successful application.

Is A Civil Partnership Treated The Same As A Marriage For A Spouse Visa?

Yes, as far as the Spouse Visa is concerned, there is no difference between a Civil Partnership and a marriage. The main concern is that a relationship is genuine. You will be expected to provide significant amounts of evidence that your relationship is genuine therefore it is not important as to whether you are in a Civil Partnership or a marriage.

Recent changes in the UK also now allow for heterosexual couples to enter into a Civil Partnership as well. So if you find a Civil Partnership to be more suitable to your relationship, do not be put off entering one on the grounds of your Spouse Visa application - it still satisfies the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

What Is The Cost Of Applying For A Spouse Visa?

The cost of applying for a Spouse Visa is £1,523. This is for the online application only and does not cover additional fees such as the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which covers your use of Britain's National Health Service (NHS) during your stay in the country. If you use our services, there will also be additional charges, these will depend largely upon your situation and we will ensure that you are aware of exactly what you need to pay during your dealings with us.

Once you have made your application, you will then need to wait approximately 8 weeks for a decision. This wait time can be reduced by using additional premium services to speed up the process, but these incur more cost. Get in touch today and we can give you an exact picture of the costs that are likely to be involved in your personal situation.

I'm Worried That I May Not Have The Right Documents To Make An Application, Can You Help?

Absolutely! We have a long history of helping applicants to successfully move to the UK in order to live and work. Our process will help to make your application as easy as possible and we can do as much or as little of the work as you wish. Many people are happy to leave the complete process in our hands and just provide what we ask for, others will want more control. Our adaptable process ensures that you are kept up to date and informed throughout the process. If there are any application queries then we can also take care of them allowing you to sit back and wait for your application to be processed, safe in the knowledge that it has been completed professionally and without mistake. This can make the process easy and even enjoyable for our applicants.

Where Can I Get More Help?

If you need more help with a Spouse Visa query or indeed any immigration query then please get in touch. Our highly skilled expert immigration specialists can help to ensure that your application process goes as smoothly as possible. So for more advice or help, get in touch today and we'll be happy to help.

Entry clearance for a Spouse Visa

The immigration rules allows the spouse of a person present and settled to apply for entry clearance as a spouse in the UK. The definitions of a person present and settled in the UK also include persons who have been granted settlement at the same time as the applicant.

The following are the requirements for entry clearance as a spouse

  • The applicant must be outside the UK
  • The application for entry clearance as a spouse must be a valid one
  • Must not fall for refusal under any of the grounds in Section S-EC: Suitability-entry clearance; and
  • The applicant must meet all of the requirements of Section E-ECP: Eligibility for entry clearance as a partner

Entry clearance applications will be refused if

  1. There is a directive from the Secretary of State that the exclusion of an applicant from the UK is conducive to public good.
  2. The applicant is subject to a deportation order as at the date of application
  3. The exclusion of the applicant from the UK has been deemed conducive to public good as a result of the applicant conduct, character or association.
  4. Without a reasonable excuse, the applicant failed to show up for a compulsory interview or provide a specified information or undergo a medical examination or report when required to do so. It is immaterial whether the false or misrepresentation is intentional or known to the applicant or not.
  5. It is undesirable to grant entry clearance for medical reasons
  6. The mandatory NHS surcharge and other compulsory charges has not been paid has failed
  7. Failure to provide a requested maintenance and accommodation undertaking.

Eligibility for entry clearance as a spouse

The following requirements are required to be met in order to be eligible for entry clearance to the UK

  • The applicant's spouse must be either a British national, present and settled in the UK or with a refugee leave or with humanitarian protection.
  • The applicant must be 18 years old or over at the date of application.
  • Both partner must not be within the prohibited degree of relationship
  • The applicant and his/her spouse must have met in person
  • The relationship must be both genuine and subsisting.
  • The marriage between both parties must be valid and legal
  • Except the marriage is a polygamous one, every previous marriage must have been completely dissolved.
  • There is an intention to permanently live together in the United Kingdom.

Financial requirement

To meet the financial requirement for spouse visa applications, the sponsor will have to earn a gross income of at least £18,600 per annum. In a situation where the applicant is looking to apply with a child, an extra £3,000 will be required. To find about how much you will need to show in order to meet the financial requirements (especially with respect to your children, please contact our lawyers for free advice on 020 3744 2797

Please note that maintenance funds will be taken into consideration in line with the source of the funds in question. Only sources listed below will be considered.

  • Income of the partner from specified employment or self-employment, which, in respect of a partner returning to the UK with the applicant, can include specified employment or self-employment overseas and in the UK.
  • Pension of the applicant and/or partner
  • Maternity allowances or bereavement benefit received by the partner in the UK
  • Other specified income and/or savings specified by the applicant and/or partner

Please note, exemptions from meeting the financial requirement will be applicable if the sponsor is receiving any income from any of the following source:-

  1. Disability living allowance
  2. Severe disablement allowance
  3. Industrial injury disablement benefit
  4. Attendance allowance; or
  5. Carer's allowance; or

It is important to note however that in the event that the partner qualifies for exemption in line with the above, the applicant will still need to show that they have enough funds to maintain themselves in the UK as well as having adequate accommodation; having no recourse to public funds.

English Language Requirement

The applicant would need to show that they have an adequate knowledge of English language. The following are the ways in which an applicant can meet the English language requirement :-

  • A citizen of a majority English speaking country; or
  • A educational degree from a higher educational institution in the United Kingdom
  • Passed a UKVI recognised English language test
  • Exemptions will apply if the applicant is applicant is over 65 years old
  • Where the applicant suffers from a disability that prevents them from meeting the English language requirement.
  • If there are exceptional circumstances which prevent the applicant from being able to meet the requirement prior to entry to the UK

Switching into Spouse Visa

Migrants currently in the United Kingdom with a valid leave to remain or enter for a period more than six months and are married to a British national, a person present and settled in the UK or with a refugee status or humanitarian protection can apply to switch into a spouse visa from inside the country.

Switching visas in the UK is when someone who currently has leave to remain there decided to switch to being in a different visa programme. One of the options is switching to a spouse visa where the proposed applicant is in married to a citizen of the EEA. The benefit of switching into a spouse visa is that your case for remaining as a spouse may be stronger than your claim to extend your current visa. The spouse visa is one of the UK's longer lasting visas and is also extendable to cover the possibility of gaining indefinite leave to remain after 5 years.

The process is reasonably straightforward, like many other visa programmes it is all down to eligibility. The main areas of eligibility for switching to a spouse visa are;

Evidence of a relationship

Documentary evidence to support the finance requirements (please note that after August 2017 the Home office must take specific conditions in mind when it comes to the minimum income threshold).

Adequate accommodation

Good English language skills

These are pretty common among the visa programmes in the UK and are designed to ensure that applicants are who they say they are. The UK is currently trying to reduce net migration and so is ensuring that as much as possible every applicant is genuine. This means that getting a visa in the UK is no easy task and this is where we come in. Turning your case over to an immigration specialist law firm means that you get the very best support possible. We don't just fill out your document for you, we also ensure that you have all the correct supplementary evident that officials will need to prove you are genuine. We can also ensure that you are presented as the best candidate possible for the visa application process. We take care of all of the details so you can be safe in the knowledge that you have a strong team supporting you every step of the way.

Using a specialist immigration law firm might sound expensive, but you may be surprised by our prices and delighted by our service. As a firm of experienced professionals in the field, we bring together a huge collective knowledge base of immigration law. Empowering this team to work for you may ensure that you have the greatest chance of success and future prosperity. Having a law firm draw up your application ensures that everything will be completed exactly the way it needs to be done and that it will stand up as a strong testament to how genuine an applicant you are.

The visa application process can be stressful and complicated so why don't you let our team help get you the result that could mean the world. Excellence is what we specialise in so why not put us to the test? If you would like to know how we can help or for more information then please contact us.

Spouse Visa Renewal / Extension

If you have been last granted leave as a spouse of a British citizen or a person present and settled in the UK or a refugee, you should be able to apply for a renewal or extension as the case me be; of your spouse visa provided you are still married to your visa sponsor and continue to meet other immigration requirements.

Please note that if your spousal application was granted prior to 09 June 2012, you extension application will be considered in line with Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.

It is also important to note that spouse visa applications which are considered under Appendix FM as mentioned above would be subject to meeting the financial requirements which involves showing an annual income of at least £18,600 before tax.

Indefinite Leave to remain (ILR) as a Spouse

If you have been granted a spouse visa under the Appendix FM, you will need to apply for ILR using the SET (M) application form; provided you have continually resided in the UK for 5 years under the spouse visa immigration category. You will need to meet the financial requirement of £18,600 gross per annum. Exemptions are applicable to individuals who are normally exempt from meeting such requirements under Appendix FM

A person who was granted spouse visa under the rules in place before 9 July 2012 can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) using SET (M) application upon completion of 2 years residence in the UK on spouse visa. The applicant can submit SET (M) application 28 days before completion of 2 years residence in the UK as a spouse.

UK Spouse visa lawyers London

We have a team of professional immigration lawyers who specialise in assisting clients with spouse visa applications. Our spouse visa lawyers specifically boast of over 20 years' experience in spouse visa applications. Call us today for a free assessment on 020 3744 2797 or drop us an email on

Immigration related enquiries

This enquiry has been dealt with in a private email by our spsecialist immigration advisers.
This enquiry has been dealt with in a private email by one of our EEA immigration experts
This enquiry has been dealt with privately by one of our immigration solicitors
  • If you made the application inside the country and submit it through the same day premium service, your application will be decide upon in 24 hours.
  • If you made the application in the UK and it was submitted by post, you will receive a decision as contained in the Guidance for Processing Visa Applications.
  • If the application is made outside the country and submitted to the British Embassy, your application will be decided upon as contained in the Guide to the visa processing times of the UKVI
You are needed to meet the English Language requirement. You will be qualified if you are a citizen of a country that speaks English as its official language; If you have successfully obtained a certificate that was tutored in English language equivalent to a British Bachelor's Degree; and if you are successful in a suitable English Language examination endorsed by the UKVI. However you will not need to meet this requirement if you are:
  • 65 years and above when the application was made
  • Physically or mentally challenged and as such could not meet the requirement
  • Constrained by an exceptionally sympathetic circumstance.
If you want to make the application outside the United Kingdom, you are required to make the application online through this website . if you are a country where the application cannot be made through the internet, you are permitted to make the application through the VAF4A application form as well as with the additional applicable appendix.
If you are making your application inside the United Kingdom you are required to make the application through the FLR (M) application form. You can submit the application through the same day visa premium service.
You will need to show the following:
  • The relationship you are in is long-term
  • You live together with your spouse
  • You and your spouse have the intension of living with each other in the country.
  • You along with your spouse bear the same responsibility for your children
  • You along with your spouse share financial commitment such as agreement of tenancy or mortgage, bank saving, and both of your names appear on utility bills.
  • You and your partner have both visited each other's member of family in each other's country of nationality
Yearly you are expected to earn a salary of £18,600. You will be required to earn £22,400 if you intend to support and sponsor a child as well as your spouse.

If you have another child you will be required to earn an additional £2,400. To show that you are financially qualified you will be expected to provide supporting documents in relation to it.

However, if your sponsor is a recipient of funds related to disability or sums of money as a caregiver, you will not be required to meet this requirement. You will be required to show that your sponsor can house you and meet your maintenance needs without seeking for help from public fund.
A switch into the UK Spouse Visa is permitted as long as you are not in the United Kingdom as a:
  • Visitor
  • Leave holder for less than 6 months unless granted entry as a proposed civil partner or fianc�(e)
  • Temporary holder of an admission
  • Person who is in the country unlawfully or an over stayer.
If your application was done outside the United Kingdom, you will be normally issued entry clearance for 33 months. You are further permitted to make an application for extension under this category for which you will be given an additional 30 months if the application is successful. You will be permitted to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if you have stayed for 5 years under this category.

On the other hand, if you application was made in the United Kingdom to switch into the UK spouse category, you will be granted a further leave to remain for 30 months. You are permitted to make an application for an extension under this category for which you will be granted stay for an additional 30 months. You will be permitted to apply for an Indefinite Leave of Remain (ILR) if you have stayed in the country for 5 years under the UK spouse visa category.
Whenever the application fee is paid is your application date. Depending on if the payment was made online or at a visa application center, the date will be contained on your receipt of payment.
You are permitted to apply for ILR 28 days before you complete 2 years of stay in the UK as a UK Spouse visa holder if your UK spouse visa was firstly granted to you in conformity with the Immigration Rules existing prior to the 9th of July, 2012.

You are permitted to make an application for ILR 28 days before you complete 5 years in the United Kingdom as a UK Spouse visa holder if your visa was firstly issued in conformity to the Rules of Immigration in existence from the 9th of July, 2012.

In a situation where your first spouse visa was granted to you in conformity of the Immigration Rules that existed from the 9th of July, 2012 and it was granted to you relying on paragraph EX1 of the Appendix FM of the rules that oversea the United Kingdom Immigration, you may apply for ILR 28 days before the completion of 10 years residence in the country as a UK spouse visa holder.

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