A guide to civil partner, unmarried partner and spouse visas.
What is a UK spouse visa?
A spouse visa is for the partner of a British citizen or someone who has Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK , who wishes to live with their spouse in the UK. There are similar visas for civil partners and unmarried partners.
During the spouse visa application process, those who are married or in a civil partnership must provide their marriage or civil partnership certificate and those who are unmarried partners will instead be required to evidence that they have been living together in a relationship as partners for the last two years.
What are the main requirements for a spouse visa?
There are a number of requirements for spouse, civil partner and unmarried partner visas.
In order to enter or remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or settled person, applicants must also be able to demonstrate the following;
- they and their partner are 18 or older;
- they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship;
- they meet the financial requirement; and
- they meet the required level of English language .
The most complex requirement to meet is often the financial requirement.
What are the spouse visa financial requirements?
The financial requirement can be met in a number of different ways. Applicants must demonstrate that their partner has an annual income of at least £18,600, or that the applicant and their partner have savings of at least £62,500. Where neither requirement is met, it is also possible to combine income with savings in some scenarios.
The applicant’s own income can only be taken into account if the applicant is living and working in the UK lawfully.
The financial requirement increases if any dependant children are to be included with the application.
How do I apply for a spouse visa?
Our immigration experts have significant experience in successfully obtaining spouse visas for our clients, including where there may be complex factors. We will guide you through the process from start to finish.
What are the UK spouse visa lengths and conditions?
Applicants submitting an application from outside of the UK will be granted permission to enter the UK for 33 months. Those switching into this category from within the UK will be granted leave of 30 months. Please see below about an extension after this.
During their stay in the UK, spouse visa holders can work and change jobs without notifying the Home Office. They can also study, perform voluntary work and leave and re-enter the UK as needed.
Can a spouse visa be extended or renewed?
Before the end of the initial visa, a spouse visa holder can apply to extend their stay in the UK for a further 30 months.
For this application to be successful, the applicant will need to demonstrate that:
- they and their partner remain in a genuine and subsisting relationship; and
- they continue to meet the financial requirement.
Is it possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Once the individual has held their spouse visa for at least five years, they will be able to submit an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain, also known as settlement.
The applicant must demonstrate that:
- they have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK and during this time have not breached any UK immigration laws;
- they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test;
- they continue to be in a relationship with their British or settled partner; and
- since being granted leave in this category, they have lived in the UK with their partner.
Does a spouse visa lead to British citizenship?
Yes, once the individual holds Indefinite Leave to Remain, they can apply to naturalise as a British citizen. There are a number of requirements to be met which you can find here.
UK spouse visa applications: How our immigration solicitors can help
The Home Office will carefully scrutinise an application for a spouse visa. If the caseworker does not consider that, for example, the relationship is genuine or the financial requirement, or any of the other requirements are met, the application will fall for refusal. It is therefore important that the application is prepared thoroughly and carefully.
The immigration team at Carter Thomas Solicitors are highly experienced in preparing visa applications for spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners and will provide expert guidance and assistance to you throughout the process.