- What is a Spouse Visa
- Who can apply
- What are the requirements
- What is the genuine relationship test
- How to renew or extend a Spouse Visa
- How long does the process take
- What are the financial requirements
- How much does a UK Spouse visa cost
- What are the Spouse Visa required documents
- What is the Spouse Visa language test
- What are the accommodation requirements
- Frequently asked questions
- How can I get help from the IAS
Spouse Visa UK
A Partner Visa UK, also known as a UK Marriage Visa, is a settlement visa that allows you to live in the UK for up to 30 months with your British partner. It can be extended for another 30 months if you meet certain eligibility conditions. Holding a Partner Visa is the first step towards Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and, eventually, British Citizenship.
To apply for a Marriage Visa, you must be married to, or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, UK settled person or UK refugee. The main eligibility criteria include providing proof that you are in a genuine relationship and that you meet specific financial conditions.
Get in touch with our immigration lawyers to receive professional advice on your Marriage Visa case and learn how you can live in this country with your partner if he or she is a UK citizen.
What is a UK Spouse Visa?
A UK Spouse Visa is for non-UK residents aged 18 or over who are engaged, married to, or in a civil partnership with someone aged over 18 living in the UK. It is a type of settlement visa known as the UK partner visa.
The qualifying criteria vary depending on your partner’s situation. You need a UK Partner Visa if you are coming to the UK to join your partner or spouse from outside the European Economic Area.
If you hold a Spouse Visa in UK, you have the right to work like all British citizens. However, you cannot claim most benefits, housing allowance or tax credits.
Who can apply for a Spouse Visa?
You can apply for this permit if:
- Aged 18 years or over
- Married or in a civil partnership that is recognised by the UK
- Married to a British citizen or UK settled person
- You have been living together in a relationship for the past 2 years and you can prove it
- You are engaged, or you hold a Fiance Visa UK and will get married within 6 months of being in the UK
British citizens can send the forms on their partner’s behalf as long as they are eligible. You must list their name and information as the applicant’s details.
What are the requirements for a Spouse Visa?
Before you submit your application, you need to:
- Have all the required documents
- Pass the ‘Genuine Relationship Test’
- Meet the minimum income threshold
- Demonstrate your knowledge of written and spoken English
- Have proof of suitable accommodation for you, your partner and any dependents
- Get your biometrics taken
- You may also need to pass a medical test to show you don’t have Tuberculosis (TB), depending on the applicant’s country of residence
What is the ‘Genuine Relationship Test’?
The Spouse Visa applicant needs to be able to prove they are in a genuine relationship, such as a civil partnership, with their partner. There are lots of different types of evidence you can send to the Home Office, such as:
- A joint mortgage or tenancy agreement
- Evidence of any children you have together, such as a birth certificate
- Photographs that show you have spent time together frequently
- A shared bank account or savings
- Text messages or social media chat logs
- Travel documents that prove you’ve visited each other at least once before you got married
Can I renew or extend a Spouse Visa?
How long does the Partner Visa process take?
It usually takes between 2 to 12 weeks for a Spouse Visa case to be processed.
The Partner Visa processing time can vary depending on the documents provided and the country where the paperwork is submitted from.
What are the Spouse Visa financial requirements?
The UK national of the relationship is known as the sponsor and he or she is required to meet specific criteria.
First, you will need to prove that you and your partner have enough money to support yourselves without claiming public funds.
The sponsor needs an income of at least £18,600 before tax if there are no dependent children.
If you have one dependent child, you will need an income of £22,400 before tax. For any other children, the sponsor will need an extra £2,400 for each subsequent child.
What if I don’t meet the financial requirements?
If you don’t have enough money from all the listed sources of income to meet the mandatory Marriage Visa financial conditions, or you are unsure about your income, seek the advice of our specialist immigration lawyers, as exceptional circumstances may apply.
What are the Spouse Visa required documents?
Making sure you have all the correct documents to support your application will help to ensure it is successful and prevent delays.
These are the documents you will need to send to the Home Office:
- Your original marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Proof that you and your partner have been living together for at least the past two years
- A valid passport
- A valid certificate to meet the English language requirement
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof that the relationship is genuine
- Proof that you meet the income threshold
- Proof that you are married to a British citizen or settled person (for example, UK citizens can submit a copy of their passport)
Please note that any documents that are not in English need to be accompanied by a translated version from a professional translator. All evidence must be in the exact format required by the Home Office.
What sources of income can be included towards the Spouse Visa financial criteria?
To meet the minimum income requirement, you can use:
- Savings over £16,000
- Earnings from employment or self-employment
- Maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay
- Other income such as that generated from rent or shares
If your partner is applying from outside the UK, they can use their savings to contribute towards the total income amount – but not their earnings. Nevertheless, if your partner is working in the UK, their earnings can count towards the total amount.
You can also use a combination of savings and earnings to help you meet the minimum income threshold. However, you will need to prove you have enough financial support for the entire length of the permit.
To see how much you will need in savings, first subtract any other eligible income from your minimum requirement. Then, multiply this figure by 2.5 and add 16,000.
Can I use income from benefits for my case?
There are cases where you won’t need to meet the mandatory eligibility criteria, such as if you are claiming any one of the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
- Police Injury Pension
You will, however, need to prove that you have enough money to support your dependents. This is called ‘adequate maintenance’, and the exact amount you need will depend on your individual circumstances.
Typically, you will need at least £120 per week after you have paid for housing. If you have a child or children, this amount will increase.
How much does a UK Spouse Visa cost?
The Home Office’s current fee is of £1,523 for applications submitted from abroad. If you are submitting your application from within the UK, the cost is reduced to £1,033. This charge will increase if you are applying with dependents and will increase for each dependent.
You can only apply from inside the UK if you are not trying to enter the country as a visitor or have been given leave to stay in the UK for more than 6 months. You cannot apply for a fiance(e) permit from inside the UK.
There are additional costs related to your application that you should consider when you send your forms. This includes:
- Qualified translation services for your documents that are not in English or Welsh
- An approved English test, that is a mandatory requirement for the majority of applicants
- Additional fees for the Home Office’s Priority Premium Service, if you wish to receive an answer from the UKVI within five working days
What is the Spouse Visa English Language Test?
Applicants who wish to live in the UK, need to be able to prove that they can speak English. Once you have passed an English Language Test, it will be valid for two years.
You must sit an English test in speaking and listening. Your qualification will be valid only if your English exam is taken through an approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) Provider.
Currently, SELT tests for immigration purposes are only available through the Trinity College London or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Consortium.
You do not need an English Language test if you:
- Are a national of a majority English speaking country
- Are aged under 18 or over 65
- Have a long-term physical or mental condition
- Hold a degree or any educational establishment that was taught or researched in English. Your qualification will only be valid if confirmed by UK NARIC.
What are the Spouse Visa accommodation requirements?
As part of your application, you will need to present proof of accommodation that meets UK living standards.
Your UK national partner, who acts as your sponsor, will need to show that he or she can provide adequate accommodation for themselves, the applicant and any dependents.
For proof of accommodation, the Home Office will ask you to provide:
- A description of the property
- Proof that there are enough rooms in the property to accommodate everyone
- Evidence that you can afford to pay for your family’s accommodation
How can I qualify for the Spouse Visa accommodation requirements?
To qualify, your property needs enough rooms to accommodate the couple and any dependents. Each person needs an individual room, however:
- Couples can share the same bedroom
- Living rooms can be included when counting bedrooms
- Children under 1 do not need their own room
- Children aged 1-9 years old count as half a person
- Children aged 10 years or over count as an adult
- Children aged 10 years or over of the opposite sex cannot share a room
This means that two children aged under 10 years can share one room, and babies under one year old can live in the same room as the couple.
What happens if my Spouse Visa application is accepted?
When your application is accepted, you will be given a permit that allows you to enter the UK within a 30-day period. Upon arrival in the UK, you will have a 10-day period in which to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
If you fail to enter the UK within this time-frame, you can apply for another 30-day entry permit. However, you will be charged an additional fee.
What happens if my Spouse Visa application is rejected?
If your case is rejected, you can appeal against the Home Office’s verdict. This is a long-winded and challenging process that is best assisted by an immigration adviser.
IAS can assist with all aspects of your case. If you need help with your Spouse Visa appeal, please get in touch, and our immigration specialists will be able to assist you.
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The requirements for UK Partner Visas are similar across each type. These include the Spouse Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa and Fiancée Visa.
The eligibility requirements include:
- An income threshold of at least £18,600
- Proof of English Language ability
- Evidence of adequate accommodation
- Passing the ‘genuine relationship test’ (for example, by being in a civil partnership)
These requirements will vary depending on your situation or if you are applying with dependent children.
Find out more information about the Spouse Visa requirements and how to send your evidence.
If you meet the strict requirements, you will be able to apply for a Marriage Visa UK. The application can be made in the UK or from your current country of residence.
You will need to show a substantial amount of evidence about your relationship to prove you are eligible to come to the UK on this permit.
If you’ve been living with your spouse in another European country outside of the UK, you may also be eligible through the ‘Surinder Singh’ route rather than a traditional permit.
To apply for a Spouse Visa, you can enquire with us online or over the phone.
The Home Office currently has a Spouse Visa fee of £1,523 if you submit your forms from abroad.
This charge will increase if you are applying with dependents and will increase for each dependent.
The minimum income required to sponsor your spouse or partner to come to the UK was set in July 2012 by the Home Office at £18,600. This income requirement increases to £22,400 for one dependent child and £2,400 for every further child.
However, following a UK High Court ruling, MM (Lebanon), it was decided that the minimum income requirement was ‘unjustified and disproportionate’ if applicants are married to refugee, a settled person or a British Citizen. This judgement came in July 2013 and since then, all decisions in relation to sponsors that do not meet the criteria have been placed on hold until further notice.
If you receive a letter saying your Spouse Visa was refused, you will usually have the right to appeal against it if you think it was unfair. Your letter of refusal will inform you if you are eligible to appeal. You will be able to submit new evidence if it proves that you were eligible at the time of your initial request.
If you are already in the UK, you will need to act quickly in order to appeal the decision or apply for another permit. Overstaying an expired immigration status can be very problematic and should be avoided.
Spouse Visa applications can be complex and using the services of an immigration expert is highly recommended. You will need to ensure that you meet all of the mandatory requirements before you apply.
You will need to complete the relevant forms and collate your evidence for submission. This will need to be extensive and prove that your relationship is genuine.
You must also not book your travel before you receive a decision from the Home Office.
IAS has an excellent track record with successful cases and our solicitors are highly experienced in this field. To apply for a Marriage Visa UK, get in touch with IAS online or on 0333 363 8577 today for professional, no-obligation advice.
Since August 10th 2017, decisions for these applications must take into consideration other methods of financing.
This might include self-sustainability, self-employment or continued financial support from a relative. These changes will offer some hope for those who have previously had their Marriage Visas rejected, or for those who have put off applying.
The standard processing time for UK permits can vary depending on the case or where you are applying from.
Typically, the standard processing time is around three months.
Find out more information about the Spouse Visa processing times.
Once you are living in the UK with your spouse or partner, you may wish to make your position more permanent. You can achieve this by gaining Indefinite Leave to Remain. ILR allows you to settle in the UK permanently without being tied to immigration controls.
You can most often apply for this after five years if you continue to meet the mandatory requirements. There is also a 10-year route to Indefinite Leave to Remain which has slightly more relaxed expectations relating to the income threshold.
Get in touch for information on getting Indefinite Leave to Remain from a Spouse Visa and become a UK settled person.
If you have already joined your spouse or partner in the UK you may apply to switch to a Marriage Visa from a different immigration category.
You will not be allowed to switch categories if you are here as a visitor or if permission to stay was given for a period of less than six months (with the exception of the fiancée or proposed civil partnership permit).
You also cannot apply for this status if you are in breach of the Immigration Rules (a period of overstaying of less than 28 days will not be taken into account).
There are some occasions where you may be exempt from the financial requirements for a UK Spouse or Partner Visa, for example, if you have a disability or you are a carer. There are, however, only a limited number of instances where exemptions apply.
We would advise you to consult a professional immigration lawyer for more information. Whilst you may be exempt from meeting the current income threshold, you will need to prove that you have enough money to support your spouse/partner and/or any dependants.
If you decide to end your relationship or divorce your partner, it is important to let the Home Office know as soon as possible as this can have an impact on future visa applications.
Since your leave depends on your relationship, the Home Office will issue what is known as a Spouse Visa curtailment. This will usually allow you enough time to make a new application under a new route to stay in the UK or leave the country, but you will need to act quickly.
Contact us to find out more information on your options following a Spouse Visa curtailment.
No, your spouse or partner’s income cannot be included as part of the financial requirement unless they are already residing in the UK (and with permission to work). In which case, the financial requirement can be based on household income.
If you feel you are struggling to meet the minimum financial income requirement, get in touch with our team to discuss how recent changes to the law could help your application.
If you are from a country outside of the European Economic Area (or Switzerland) that is not predominantly English speaking then you will need to pass an English Language test that has been conducted by an approved test provider.
If you have an English Language certificate which has been provided by one of these approved providers then it should satisfy the language requirement. This includes degrees earned in English.
If you are unsure of where to find an approved test provider, consult an immigration specialist who will be best positioned to point you in the right direction when applying for a Spouse Visa.
At IAS, we understand the importance of being close to loved ones and we make it our priority to maximise your chances of doing this.
Our team of specialist immigration advisers can guide you through each step of your application process for a Marriage Visa in the UK to allow you to live in the country with your partner.
Our services include:
- liaising with you in person, via phone or Skype at a time that suits you;
- assessing your eligibility;
- checking your documents to ensure that they are sufficient for your Partner Visa application;
- ensuring that you have enough proof that your relationship is genuine;
- preparing a Letter of Representation to accompany your application;
- liaising with the Home Office during until your case is resolved;
- completing each part of your application form to the highest standard.
Contact us now on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to speak with one of our immigration lawyers about your application for a Spouse Visa UK.