The partner and spouse visa is part of the family immigration scheme and enables an eligible foreign national to join and live with their partner in the UK if they are a British citizen or settled person.
Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss your UK spouse visa.
The spouse visa (also referred to as the partner and spouse visa) enables an eligible foreign national to join and live with their partner in the UK if they are a British citizen or settled person (e.g. a person with Indefinite Leave to Remain or EU Settled Status). You won't automatically get the right to live in the UK through the marriage to a British citizen. You must apply for a Spouse Visa to live in the UK with your partner. Eligible applicants include those who are married, in a civil partnership, or unmarried.
Applicants must meet a set of eligibility criteria as outlined in detail below. If granted, a partner and spouse visa is initially granted for up to 2 years and 9 months. It is then possible to extend your stay and later acquire ILR, allowing you to remain permanently in the UK without being subject to immigration rules. After gaining ILR, you might be eligible to apply for British citizenship by marriage.
As a foreign national, you can apply for a UK partner and spouse visa as long as your partner based in the UK:
You must intend to live together in the UK after you move here (if you’re not here already), and you will also need to provide evidence of your genuine and subsisting relationship.
To make a successful application for a partner and spouse visa, you will need to meet a set of strict eligibility requirements, including providing evidence of:
You will need to show you are in an eligible relationship as follows:
Crucially, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will want to be assured that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship. As such, they are always alert to the potential for “sham” marriages or relationships, whereby applicants falsely state they are in an eligible relationship when they are not.
If you are unsure if you meet the requirements for a genuine relationship, speak to one of our immigration solicitors, who will be able to confirm this for you.
The spouse visa application requires the applicant and their UK based partner must have a minimum gross annual income of £18,600. If the applicant has children, an additional £3,800 per year is needed for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child. This means the minimum income for an applicant with two dependant children will be £24,800, and for three children, £27,200.
Only the sources of income listed below will be considered:
Exemptions from meeting the financial requirement are available where a sponsor is receiving income from any of the following sources:
This means that sponsors will not need to show they earn £18,600 (or more). It is important to note, however, that in the event of a partner qualifying 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 (while having no recourse to public funds). For further assistance, please speak to one of our immigration solicitors who will be able to advise you.
If none of the exemptions above apply, applicants may be able to ask that exceptional circumstances be considered by the Home Office. This may be possible, for example, if they can show that, in line with human rights law, their child or children would be at harm if the application is refused. If you are able to rely on exceptional circumstances, you will still need to prove you have sufficient funds, but the source of these will be widened to include other credible sources, such as a guarantee of financial support from another person.
As a partner and spouse visa applicant, you will need to show that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language; this can be achieved in 3 ways:
You will meet the English language requirements if you pass a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) English test from an approved testing centre. This must be at least level A1 in speaking and writing. If you wish to extend your stay in the UK at a later date, you will need to be able to pass at least a CEFR level A2 to show continuing improvement in line with the time that you have been in the country.
You will also meet the English language requirements if you have a degree or other academic qualification which was taught in English.
Applicants must show they have suitable accommodation in the UK and that it:
You will need to provide several documents with your visa application, these may include:
To ensure you receive a positive decision on your partner and spouse visa application, it is essential that you provide all of the evidence and documentation required by UKVI. Failure to provide all items in the correct format (and properly translated where necessary) may lead to refusal or delay of your visa.
Given the complexity of the partner and spouse visa documentation requirements, we recommend seeking legal advice from a family immigration Solicitor before submitting your application. Our team will ensure that all evidence necessary for your application is provided to UKVI and any errors or omissions are corrected. Call us on 020 3744 2797 for advice on your partner/spouse visa.
The application process for a UK partner and spouse visa is completed online (on the Home Office website). The application steps are as follows:
The UK spouse visa application fee in 2022 is £1,048 if your application is made inside the UK and £1,538 if your application is made outside the UK. Other costs include Immigration Healthcare Surcharge £624 for each year and biometric fee £19.20. The super priority service charge is £800 if you want to get a decision by the end of the next working day.
After the initial period of 2 years and 9 months, it is possible to further extend a partner and spouse visa for a further 2 years and 6 months. You must be in the same eligible relationship with your UK based partner, and you must apply before your current visa expires.
Once you have resided in the UK for 5 years on your partner and spouse visa, you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This will mean you can remain permanently in the UK and will no longer be subject to immigration control. To gain ILR, you will need to:
For more information, please find our article: how to apply for ILR as a spouse visa holder
There are several grounds on which an application for a spouse/partner visa may be refused, including if:
For more information on spouse visa refusal, please see our article: spouse visa refusal common reasons and appeal process
If your partner or spouse visa application has been refused, speak to one of our immigration Solicitors, who will be able to advise on the best steps to take to ensure a successful outcome of your case.
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