At QC Immigration, we have extensive experience in helping individuals successfully apply for a Spouse Visa. Our team of immigration lawyers will take you through the whole process and support you every step of the way, so you know you’ll be putting the strongest application possible forward. While based in London, we can work with you remotely, no matter where you are based in the world. Get in touch today if you require help with your visa application.
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A Spouse Visa or Partner Visa (also known as the Family of a Settled Person Visa), enables a national from outside the UK to enter or remain in the UK with their partner. An applicant must be married, cohabitating or in a civil partnership with a British national or someone who is settled in the UK.
This visa route offers a path towards settlement in the UK or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This allows an individual to remain in the UK permanently, and if desired, it also allows them to apply for British Citizenship.
In order to successfully apply for this visa, you must meet a number of requirements. This includes general and financial requirements, along with more specific requirements surrounding your relationship.
The documentation required can depend on an individual’s situation, so if you are looking to apply for a Spouse Visa, it’s best to do so with professional assistance.
What this visa offers
The Spouse Visa route will allow applicants that are in a relationship with a settled person, or a UK Citizen, to live in the UK with their partner.
You will be granted 2 years and 9 months of stay, and a further 2 years and 6 months if you are switching to or extending this visa, taking your total stay over 5 years, the minimum required for ILR.
As well as your period of stay, you will be allowed to work either part-time or full-time in the UK in order to support yourself.
You can also bring dependants with you, so if you have children under 18 who still live with you, this visa route will allow them to gain access to the UK alongside you.
Eligibility for the Spouse Visa
In order to qualify for this visa, you and your partner must both be over 18 and in a genuine relationship. You must be able to prove that you are either:
- In a civil partnership
- Are engaged (or hold a Fiancé(e) Visa) and are planning to get married within the next 6 months
- Or have been living together in a relationship for 2 years
Your partner must be able to prove that they either:
You and your partner must intend to continue your relationship after you apply and must intend to continue living in the UK. Furthermore, all previous relationships must have broken down permanently.
Spouse Visa requirements
As well as fulfilling the eligibility criteria, the following requirements must be met when applying for a Spouse Visa:
- Passing the ‘genuine relationship test’
- Meeting the minimum income and financial requirements
- Showcasing a good knowledge of English
- Having proof of suitable accommodation for you and your partner
The genuine relationship test
There are many ways you could prove that your relationship is genuine. Generally, one or more relevant documents may be used as evidence, such as:
- A certificate showing you are married or in a civil partnership
- Joint bank account statements
- Tenancy agreements
- Any utility or council tax bills showing you live at the same address
Any evidence needs to be less than 4 years old and confirm that you and your partner are living at the same address, sharing expenses and/or are married (or in a civil partnership). Documents coming from the UK government, your bank, utility provider, or a medical professional may all be valid sources of evidence.
Please note that any photographs, messages (texts or social media), receipts or greeting cards are not considered as strong evidence in the case of a visa application.
Minimum income requirements
Proof of a viable income is required in order to successfully apply for a Spouse Visa. You will need to prove that you and your partner have at least a combined income (before tax and National Insurance) of £18,600 per year.
If you have children, you will also need to prove that your finances can support them. This means an extra £3,800 for your first child, and £2,400 for each child after the first one.
In this case, ‘income’ does not only refer to wages but can also be:
- Cash savings above £16,000
- Pension money
- Property rentals income
It is essential that you not only have the income itself, but that you can also prove that you have this income with appropriate documentation. Valid forms of evidence may include:
- Payslips (6 months minimum)
- Bank statements
- Letters from an employer (dated, on headed paper). This letter should confirm details about your employment and income
Providing proof of your income can, in certain cases, be difficult, which is why you may require assistance from a team with experience in this area. We can help you make sure that your income does not come into question when your application is being reviewed. Work with us to make sure that you have all the right documentation required to prove your income.
English language requirements
You may be able to prove that you have good knowledge of the English language with an academic qualification that was taught or researched in English, or by taking an approved English language test.
Academic qualifications that have not been obtained in the UK will need to be certified by UK ENIC (Formerly UK NARIC), through a Statement of Comparability or a Visa and Nationality Statement. A Statement of Comparability is needed if the qualification has been obtained in one of the following countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
For any other country, you may need a Visa and Nationality Statement.
Alternatively, you may choose to take an approved test to prove your knowledge of English. On your first visa application, you must pass at least level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. You may choose to pass a higher CEFR level, especially if you are planning to settle permanently after 5 years.
In some cases, you may not have to prove your knowledge of English. This applies if you either:
- Are under 18 or over 65
- Have a physical or mental condition preventing you from meeting this requirement
- Are an adult coming to be cared for by a relative
- Have been in the UK on a Family Visa for 5 years
Nationals from the following countries are also exempt from the language requirement:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
As part of your application, you may be required to prove that you and your partner (as well as any dependant) will be occupying suitable accommodation in the UK. This accommodation needs to be adequate for the number of individuals, and be exclusively owned or occupied by the applicant and their family, without the need for public funds. The accommodation cannot be overcrowded according to UK legislation and must meet public health regulations.
Applicants may need to provide documentation that showcases that their accommodation meets these criteria. This could include a letter from a landlord or a copy of the title deeds, depending on whether the accommodation will be rented or is owned.
Our experienced immigration lawyers can help you put together and submit an application that has a good chance of acceptance. It will save you time, money, and will help make the process much less stressful. If this sounds like something that would benefit you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.
Having the right documentation is essential for a successful application. The evidence required may depend on an individual applicant’s situation, for example; additional documents are required for applications with dependants. A general list may include:
- Your current passport (or other valid travel ID) to confirm your full name and date of birth
- Copies of the photo page as well as any past visa or entry stamps in previous passports
- Your partner’s current passport
- Documented proof of your partner’s right to be in the UK
- A copy of your biometric residence permit, if you have one
- Details of past visa applications, if applicable
- Details of any criminal convictions, if applicable
Documents showing evidence of the requirements previously mentioned will also be required, as well as any evidence required by your specific circumstances. This may include a tuberculosis test, certified translations of documents that are not in English or Welsh, or parents’ information if you are applying from outside the UK.
Putting all documents together can be time-consuming but it is important to get it right if you want to increase your chances of your application being accepted. QC Immigration can help you build a strong case, or review your application before you submit it. Just get in touch if you’d like to speak to a member of the team.
The application cost for a Spouse Visa is currently £1,538 if you are applying from outside the UK, or £1,048 if you are in the UK. Note that this cost is the same per dependant if you are adding them to your application.
There can also be additional costs for any translation of official documents that are not in English or Welsh, or any language test that you have to take, as these are not included in the application cost. If you are getting your biometric information taken, this will incur an additional fee of £19.20. You may also have to pay the healthcare surcharge, depending on your circumstances.
If you wish to get a faster decision from the Home Office, you may be able to pay an additional £800 for the super priority service. You may want to consider whether that is something you wish to do.
The Spouse Visa will allow you to bring dependants along with you should your application be successfully granted. A dependant, typically your child, may come to the UK with you so long as:
- They are under the age of 18 at the time of application, or were under 18 when leave was initially granted
- They do not live an independent life, meaning they have not left home, do not have a family of their own, and are not financially self-sufficient
There are also additional costs if you are adding dependants to your visa application. There will be an additional visa charge of £1,538 for each dependant if applied from outside the UK (£1,048 for each dependant if applied from inside the UK). It is important to consider this and financially plan ahead of your application.
Switching to a Spouse Visa
If you choose to switch to a Spouse Visa, your application fee will cost less if you apply from within the UK, however your period of stay will be 3 months less than it would have been if you applied from abroad. With an extension, you will still have the 5 years of continuous stay required to settle in the UK.
If you are residing in the UK, and are unsure what steps need to be taken to apply for a Spouse Visa with a high likelihood of success, you can book a consultation with our London-based law team. This can be done either remotely or in-person.
You are allowed to work both part-time and full-time under a Spouse Visa. You can seek UK employment without restriction, and if you are switching to a Spouse Visa from another visa option you will not have to give up your employment.
If you are employed while on a Spouse Visa you can use your work income (before tax and National Insurance) as your proof of income that is needed to meet financial requirements.
Your Spouse Visa may be refused if you do not meet eligibility criteria or have missed something in your application. It is important that you know the eligibility requirements and can prove that you can meet them through relevant documentation in your application.
Typically, a Spouse Visa may be refused because of:
- Failure to meet language requirements
- Failure to meet financial requirements
- Failure of the genuine relationship test
- Failure to provide supporting documentation
- An incomplete, poorly constructed, or inaccurate application
If your Spouse Visa has been refused, it is crucial that the appeal is submitted as quickly as possible, and that the case is as strong as possible. You may also need to be ready to attend a hearing at an immigration tribunal.
Our team has experience in helping clients obtain Partner and Spouse Visas and can support your case throughout the process, from gathering required documents to submitting your application.
You can work with us remotely or can meet our lawyers face-to-face in our London law firm if you are already in the UK. We work with clientele from all over the world so are equipped with the experience needed to handle applications coming from any nation. Our multilingual and highly skilled law team will make sure that your case is handled with individual care and your application covers all the bases needed to heighten your chances of success on your first attempt, which will avoid a lengthy and costly Visa Refusal Appeal.
We will make sure that your Spouse Visa is properly submitted with all of the right documentation, making a clear and concise argument for your eligibility. This will increase the likelihood of approval from the Home Office. If you’d like to discuss your case, you can contact us.
What is a ‘genuine relationship test’?
Applicants need to be able to prove that they are in a genuine relationship. Evidence that will be considered by the Home Office includes a child/children’s birth certificates, shared bank accounts, mortgages or tenancy agreements, any communication logs (messages), or any other document proving that you intend to live together in the UK.
How can I prove I have a good knowledge of the English language?
You will have to take a listening and speaking test through a SELT (Secure English Language Testing) provider. You do not need to take a test if you are under 18 or over 65, are a national from a majority English speaking country, have a long-term mental or physical condition, or hold a degree taught or researched in English (this will need to be confirmed by UK ENIC – formerly UK NARIC).
What is ‘suitable accommodation for me and my partner?
Having suitable accommodation is one of the requirements for the Spouse Visa. Your accommodation must be large enough for you, your partner, and any dependants that you intend to bring to the UK. Your family must be the sole occupiers of the property. This can also be a dedicated part of a property.
What if I am a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner?
If you are still engaged to your partner and intend on marrying within 6 months of being in the UK, you can apply for 6 months of stay through a Fiancé or Fiancée Visa. Once married, you may switch to a Spouse Visa so long as you meet all of the requirements.
What happens when my Spouse Visa application is accepted?
When your Spouse Visa is granted, you will be granted leave to remain for a duration of at least 2 years and 6 months. After this, you will need to apply for an extension or switch to another suitable visa to remain in the UK.
My Spouse Visa application has been rejected. What can I do?
How long does the Spouse Visa application process take?
Processing times can vary depending on individual cases or the country you are applying from. Typically, this can take approximately 8 weeks but a well-presented case enables the Home Office to make a decision much quicker.
Can I extend a Spouse Visa?
A Spouse Visa can be extended for another 2 years and 6 months, as long as your current visa hasn’t expired. After living in the UK for a total of 5 years, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Can I apply for the Spouse Visa without meeting the financial requirements?
There can be certain circumstances where meeting financial requirements does not apply. For example, combined income from you or your partner, or continued financial assistance from a relative may be taken into consideration. As this area can be complex which may require the Home Office to exercise discretion, seeking professional legal advice before you apply is highly encouraged.
What happens if my relationship ends?
If your relationship ends, this can have an impact on your current rights and any future visa applications. In some cases, your visa may be curtailed hence you have to make a new application urgently. In these cases, it is usually important to act quickly so please get in touch if you would like to discuss this with the team.