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Spouse Visa

A Partner Visa UK, also known as a UK Spouse Visa, is a settlement visa that allows you to live together with your British partner in the UK. If your partner has children aged under 18, your partner can usually also apply for them to get child visas. They don’t need to be your biological children – for example, they can be your step-children.

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To apply for a UK Spouse Visa and enter the UK, 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.

It can be extended for another 30 months if you meet certain eligibility conditions. Holding a Partner Visa is the first step toward Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and, eventually, British Citizenship.

Note that this visa is different from the UK Marriage visitor visa that only allows you to come to the UK to get married or enter into a civil partnership, regardless of if your partner is a British citizen or not.

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 has a proposed civil partner who is 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 to apply for 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, such as public funds, housing allowance or tax credits.

Who can apply for a Spouse Visa?

You can apply for a UK Spouse Visa if you are:

  • 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 leave to remain forms on their partner’s behalf as long as they are eligible. You must list their name and information as the applicant’s details.

General Requirements for a Spouse Visa

Before you submit your application for a UK Spouse Visa, you need to:

  • Have all the required documents
  • Pass the ‘Genuine Relationship Test’
  • Meet the minimum income threshold and the financial requirement
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the English language
  • Have proof of suitable accommodation for you, your partner and any dependents
  • Get your biometrics taken to get leave to remain
  • To remain in the UK, 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 UK Spouse Visa applicant needs to be able to prove they are in a genuine relationship, such as a civil partnership, with their British citizen partner. There are lots of different types of evidence you can send to the Home Office, such as:

  • A joint mortgage or tenancy agreement, either in the UK or outside the UK
  • 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
  • Any documents which prove that you intend to live together in the UK

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 wife/husband/partner meet the financial requirement and have enough money to support yourselves without claiming public funds.

The UK spouse 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 to meet the financial requirement. For any other children, the sponsor will need an extra £2,400 for each subsequent child.

What if I don’t meet the financial requirement?

If you don’t have enough money from all the listed sources of income to meet the mandatory Partner/Spouse Visa financial requirement, or you are unsure about your income, seek the advice of our specialist immigration advisers.

Spouse Visa Required Documents

Making sure you have all the correct documents to support your UK Spouse Visa application will help to ensure it is successful and prevent delays.

These are the documents you will need to send to the Home Office to get the right to remain in the UK:

  • 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 to get leave to remain in the UK
  • 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 and the financial requirement
  • 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.

Permitted Sources of Income for Spouse Visa

To meet the minimum income requirement for your UK Spouse Visa application, you can use:

  • Savings over £16,000
  • Earnings from employment or self-employment
  • Maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay
  • Pensions
  • 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.

Adequate Maintenance

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.

English Language Requirements

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 to get the right to remain in the UK with your UK spouse. 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.

If you intend to relocate to the UK to begin a new life with your UK-based partner, you could be eligible for the UK Fiance Visa.

Spouse Visa Processing Times

The standard spouse visa UK processing time in 2022 is currently 4 to 6 months (on average) if you are making the application from outside the UK and 6-8 weeks (on average) if you are making the application from inside the UK.

You can also get a faster decision by paying for a priority visa service.

UK Spouse Visa Application: How our immigration advisers can help

Our immigration advisers regularly assist foreign national unmarried partners to relocate to, and settle in, the UK with their British citizens or settled partners.  We have assisted hundreds of foreign national married couples to prepare and submit successful UK spouse visa applications.

Whether you require expert advice on the requirements of the Immigration Rules, an independent assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a visa or professional assistance with preparing an immigration application, our immigration advisers can help.

The financial requirement rules are particularly complex and include mandatory requirements in terms of the documentary evidence that must be provided to UK Visas and Immigration in order to demonstrate access to the relevant funds. Our immigration advisers specialise in assisting applicants with complicated financial circumstances to secure successful outcomes in their Unmarried Partner visa applications.

We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our client’s needs. We are a highly driven team of immigration advisers, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to family members as part of a professional and friendly service.

Contact us today

Nexus Visas assists international clients in obtaining UK visas, residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Contact us to arrange an initial private consultation.

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Nexus Visas is the trading name of Nexus Immigration Limited company registered in England and Wales with company number: 12633225. 

This firm is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.

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