What is a Spouse Visa?
A Spouse visa to the UK (Marriage visa) allows married partners (the applicant) to enter the Uk and join their Spouse (Sponsor) husband or wife to the UK. Their Sponsor must be a British citizen or a person present and settled in the UK (living in the UK), with indefinite leave to remain in the UK It is also possible for applicant’s to join their husband or wife who has limited leave to remain in the UK.
What are the Spouse visa requirements?
You will need to satisfy and meet the following requirements:
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Do I need to pay the UK NHS Chagre?
All applicant (s) need to pay the UK NHS Surcharge, which is a separate fee from the visa application fee. The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) covers the initial period of the length of the visa, which is 2.5 years to stay in the UK. You will initially be granted a 3 months visa to enter in the UK, which will be stamped into your passport in order to allow you to stay in the UK, within this time period. You will collect your Biometric Residence Card at your local UK Post Office to confirm your Spouse status in the UK. Therefore, the NHS fee covers in total 33 months.
A separate fee is applicable for each dependant applying and a separate application for needs to be completed for child (family member) that is applying.
How long does the application process take?
On average it can take between 6-8 weeks for an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) to consider your application and go through your documents to issue you a UK Spouse visa. In some case it can be longer and each case is considered on it’s individual merits.
There are also occasions, the process can take a lot quicker and there is also an option to pay for the fast track premium services at the respective British High Commission, Embassy or Consulate. You will be required to provide your biometric fingerprints after submission of your application and submit your passport and documents. A decision will then be reached on your application. You also have the option to upload your documents online after submitting your application.
What happens if I am not working or I am on benefits or I am unable to meet the Immigration rules, can I still apply?
If your UK Sponsor (person present and settled in the UK) – husband or wife is in receipt of the following specified benefits, you will not need to fulfil the financial requirement of £18, 600
- Disability Living Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independent Payment (PIP)
- Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit
- Police Injury Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under War Pension Scheme
How long is a Spouse Visa Valid For & Can I extend my Spouse visa UK?
You will be granted a initial visa will be valid for 2.5 years or 30 months. You would first be issued with a 3 months Spouse visa endorsed into your passport in order for you to enter during this period, followed by your BRP card confirming your Spouse status for 2.5 years. Prior to its expiry, you will be required to extend your visa application to the Home Office from inside the UK in order to complete the probationary period under the 5 year or 10 year route to qualify to apply for indefinite leave and eventually leading to British citizenship.
Your Spouse Visa extension will allow you to live and work in the UK for a further 30 months, a period of 2.5 years. Whilst your application is pending a decision from the Home Office provided you applied in time you will continue to enjoy the same rights as before.
If your application is successful by the Home Office, you will be granted a further visa for 2.5 years. This is under the 5 year route under the Immigration rules or under Article 8 under the 10 year route.
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Can I work on a Spouse visa?
Yes, you are entitled to Work, Study, Open up a Business in the UK once the visa has been granted in the UK. The length of the grant of the visa is valid for 2.5 years.
Do I need a further extension after my initial Spouse visa for 2.5 years?
You will be required to apply for a further visa extension to the Home Office before expiry of your visa. You will be granted a further 30 months leave to remain in the UK from the home office.. After 5 years, you will be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain to the home office under the 5 year Spouse route in the UK.
To find out more about whether you or your partner is eligible for this visa category, call My Legal Services.
Our Immigration Solicitors deal with Spouse visa applications on a regular basis and assist the applicant and the UK Sponsor with full assistance and preparation to ensure that the Immigration rules are met. One of our expert lawyers would be happy to assist with advice, application process and the procedure involved.
How do I apply for a Spouse Visa?
The Immigration Rules in particular the financial requirement of the rules are complex and require specified mandatory documents so you need to prove you meet every requirement to be eligible. A few examples of the type of documents you should submit are:
- Proof that your relationship is real: Phone conversations, emails, messages, Social media evidence
- Proof of your income: Job contracts, your P60, your bank statements, Payslips. Different rules apply for Self employment applicants and/or Company Directors. It is also possible to satisfy the financial requirement via Cash savings
- Proof that you meet the accommodation requirement. Property documents, letting contract, proof of booked temporary accommodation
- Proof that you meet the English language requirement unless exempt
- There are many different types of documents that you can use in support of the application. Proving that your relationship is genuine is subjective and it depends on the nature of your lives together and communication with each other.
Does this visa lead to settlement - Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK?
Once you have completed 5 years as a Spouse of your husband or wife, you will be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain under the 5 year Spouse route in the UK. Once you have been granted ILR you can then apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
If you are under the 10 year route, you will need to complete 10 years in this category to qualify for indefinite leave to remain ILR in the UK. However, even if you are on the 10 year route, you can switch from the 10 year route to the 5 year route to qualify for ILR.
What happens if my application is refused?
If your application is unsuccessful and has been refused by an Entry Clearance Officer, you will be given a right of appeal to challenge and lodge an appeal against the decision to refuse your application.
If this is the case, you can either lodge an appeal or submit a fresh application to address the ECO concerns. We have years of experience to help you with appealing against the decision to refused and will conduct a full assessment of the prospects of success or advice you submit a new application.
There are several categories that may apply and there are specified documents that will need to be provided in order to satisfy the Spouse visa requirements, depending on your circumstances.
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Our Top UK Spouse Visa FAQ’S
The applicant (husband or wife) will need to pass IELTS level A1 Listing and Speaking test to fulfil the English language requirement.
The current spouse visa online application fee is £1,523 for applications made outside the UK.
The applicant would be required to take a Tuberculosis test (TB), unless you from an exempt country
Your application will need to be submitted using the Home Office online application form system. There are different categories that apply when applying if you are applying from abroad or inside the UK. The online system allows you to pay the appropriate fee, including the Immigration Health Surcharge, known as the NHS charge and booking for appointment at a biometric scanning centre, where your supporting documents can be scanned.
On average it can take between 6-8 weeks for an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) to consider your application and go through your documents to issue you a UK Spouse visa. That said, in most cases, it can take 3-4 weeks.
You will need to meet the financial requirement of £18,600; plus £3,800 for a first child (who is not British, settled or an EEA national); plus £2,400 for each additional child without recourse to public funds.
The Immigration Health Surcharge costs £624,00 per year for each applicant.
There are several ways to meet the financial requirement including:
- Income from salaried or non-salaried employment of the partner (and/or the applicant if they are in the UK with permission to work). Maternity allowances are also counted including Bereavement benefits.
- Non-employment income, e.g. income from property rental or dividends from shares.
- Cash savings of the applicant’s partner and/or the applicant, above £16,000, held by the partner and/or the applicant for at least 6 months and under their control. The cash savings requirement is £62,500. State (UK or foreign), occupational or private pension of the applicant’s partner and/or the applicant. There are specified documents that will be required in support of your application.
- Income from self-employment, and income as a director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK, of the partner (and/or the applicant if they are in the UK with permission to work). Different documents will be required if you are applying and relying on Income from self-employment or income as a Director or employee of a specified limited company.
You will initially be granted a 3 month’s visa, which will be stamped into your passport in order to allow you to enter the UK, within this 3 month’s grace period. After your arrival to the UK, you will be required to collect your Biometric Residence Card at your local UK Post Office. Your BPR Card will confirm your Spouse visa status and will be issued for 2.5 years or 30 months and give you the right to work, study and live in the UK.
Here are a few examples of the type of documents you should submit;
- Proof that your relationship is real: Phone conversations, emails, messages, Skype sessions, Social Media evidence
- Proof of your income: Job contracts, your P60, your bank statements, Payslips. Different rules are apply for Self employment applicants and/or Company Directors. It is also possible to satisfy the financial requirement via Cash savings by having sufficient savings of £62,500.
- Proof that you meet the accommodation requirement: House lease, letting contract, proof of booked temporary accommodation
- Proof that you meet the English language requirement: IELST Listening and Speaking Test unless you are exempt
- There are many different types of documents you can use for a Spouse visa application. Proving that your relationship is genuine is subjective, and it depends on the nature of your lives together and communication with each other. As a result, there is no limit to the evidence you can submit to prove this.
You are permitted to be outside of the UK for up to 180 days in any given year for the purposes of your ILR application, but you cannot be outside the UK for more than 90 day in any 12 month period in the five years preceding your naturalisation application to become a British citizen.
You can either apply for indefinite leave to remain as a Spouse under the five or ten year route to settlement in the UK.
If you are married to a British citizen, subject to satisfying the residence requirement, you can apply to naturalise as a British citizen as soon as you are granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Once your application for British citizenship is approved you can apply for a British passport.