The UK Spouse Visa is a popular visa option for non-EEA family members to join their British or settled partners in the UK. Family unification is important but there are many strict rules and requirements which need to be met in order for an application to be successful. Our Immigration Solicitors in London regularly prepare successful Spouse Visa applications, especially where there are complexities. It is important to submit a successful application to the Home Office the first time; otherwise previous visa refusals can make it more difficult for any future visas to be granted.
Our immigration solicitors are regularly instructed to assist in the preparation and submission of the Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse Visa application for Applicants either in the UK or abroad. Our specialist immigration team are ready to meet with you in person or via Skype to consider with you whether you meet the eligibility requirements. As soon as you instruct us we liaise with you in preparing your Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa application with the requisite supporting documentation.
We’re based in the legal heart of London in Middle Temple (a Barristers’ Inn of Court). We provide the strongest possible UK Immigration Law advice and a comprehensive UK Visa and Immigration advice service. To contact our immigration team about your UK Visa Application, call ☎ 02071830570.
What is a UK Spouse Visa?
A UK Spouse Visa (also known as a UK marriage visa) allows overseas non-EEA (European Economic Area) spouses to join their British or settled partners in the UK to live work and/or study.
How long does a UK Spouse visa last?
A Spouse Visa for the UK is valid for 30 months and can be renewed for a further 30 months. Following this period of 2 years and 6 months, applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) in the UK.
Can I extend a UK Spouse Visa?
Yes. Within 28 days of the expiry of that visa, Applicants can then submit an application to extend their leave in the UK for a further 30 months. Depending on the settlement route the Applicant is on (usually 5 years for straightforward cases or 10 years for discretionary applications). Applicants can then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) in the UK. Applications to then naturalise as a British citizen and get a British passport can be made once an Applicant has had Indefinite Leave to Remain for 12 months.
How long does it take to get a UK Spouse Visa?
The standard processing time for a Spouse Visa application made outside the UK is 12 weeks. For applications made within the UK, this is 8 weeks.
There are also priority visa services available for additional costs which will place the UK Spouse Visa application ahead of the queue and receive a faster decision. Only straightforward applications should use the priority visa service as for more complex cases it may take caseworkers longer to consider the evidence outside the priority service time frame and the fee is non-refundable.
How much does a UK Spouse visa cost in 2020?
If you submit your UK Spouse visa from outside the UK the Home Office fee is £1,523 plus the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). However, if you submit the application from within the UK the Home Office fee is £1,033 plus the Biometrics fee (£19.20) and the IHS.
How do I apply for a UK Spouse Visa?
All UK Spouse Visa applications are now submitted and paid for online. Applicants then have the option of uploading clear scanned copies of their documents directly to the Home Office commercial partners’ website or for an additional fee to take their documents with them to their biometric appointment at a visa application support center for them to be scanned in.
What are the application requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?
- You and your partner must be 18 or over;
- Your partner must be a British citizen or has settled in the UK (e.g. indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence); and
- You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK;
What are the Eligibility Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?
The UK Immigration Rules set out strict criteria that must be met by those applying for a Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa:
- You must be in a genuine and subsisting marriage with a British citizen, a person present and settled in the UK or someone who is in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection;
- You must intend to reside with your spouse/partner permanently;
- You must have suitable accommodation for yourself, your spouse and any dependants;
- You must meet the financial requirements (i.e. have enough money to support yourself, your spouse and any dependants without recourse to public funds); and
- You must satisfy the English language requirements by sitting an English language test with a Home Office approved test provider.
What documents do you need to apply for a Spouse Visa for the UK?
Applications for a UK Spouse Visa are made in accordance with the Immigration Rules Appendix FM: Family Members and Appendix FM-SE: Family Members Specified Evidence. There are several requirements that must be satisfied and ample documentary evidence must, therefore, be provided for the following categories:
- Genuine and subsisting marriage;
- Financial requirement;
- Accommodation requirement; and
- English language requirement.
What is the financial requirement for a UK Spouse Visa?
An applicant must show that their Sponsor has an income of at least £18,600. For in-country applications, an applicant can rely on their own income or combine their income with their Sponsors to meet the £18,600 threshold.
There are a number of different ways you can meet the financial requirement such as salaried employment or self-employment; however, there are other ways such as rental income, cash savings, and pensions.
The different ways to demonstrate compliance with the financial requirement can be found here.
What is the English test for a UK Spouse visa?
Applicants are required to pass an English language test with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with at least a CEFR level A1 or above in speaking and listening and must submit the pass certificate.
You can also meet the English language requirement if you are from a majority English speaking country or you have studied a degree taught in English.
Can you work in the UK on a Spouse Visa?
Yes. Migrants who have been endorsed under the UK Spouse visa route are able to work without any restrictions. Migrants can work for an employer or work as a self-employed person.
How early can I apply for Spouse visa extension?
Applicants can apply for their spouse visa extension 28 days before the expiry of their current spouse visa.
However, Applicants are advised to commence the application process 3 months before the expiry as this will give them sufficient time to collate the mandatory documents under Appendix FM SE.
Can you switch into a UK Spouse visa?
Applicants who are already in the UK can apply to transfer their existing leave to the UK spouse visa route i.e. switching from Tier 2 or Tier 4 visas to the spouse visa. Applicants must have a visa that is valid for more than 6 months to exercise the switch provision in the Immigration Rules.
Does COVID-19 affect my UK Spouse Visa application?
Potentially. The main concern for British Sponsors who are applying for UK Spouse visas for their partners is the loss of income during the pandemic. On 9 June 2020, the Home Office published further guidance for British Sponsors clarifying that there will be a concession in place for those who have impacted financially. For those affected, the Home Office will consider employment income for the period immediately before the loss of income due to Coronavirus, provided the requirement was met for at least 6 months up to March 2020.
Home Office Policy Guidance on meeting UK Spouse Visa eligibility requirements
The new Home Office Policy Guidance essentially introduces a new Unjustifiably Harsh Consequences Test by considering any interests of children and alternative sources of income in meeting the Minimum Income Requirement. The new Unjustifiably Harsh Consequences Test applies in Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa applications, where applicants do not meet the Minimum Income Requirement under Appendix FM Immigration Rules. However, if the Home Office accepts that the refusal could lead to Unjustifiably Harsh Consequences; applicants will be permitted to rely on other alternative sources of income, financial support or other funds to make up the deficit in meeting the Minimum Income Requirement.
The full Home Office Policy Guidance can be accessed here in two parts: Appendix FM Section 1.0a Family Life as a Partner or Parent – 5 year route LEXVISA Solicitors and Barristers & Family Life as a Partner or Parent and Private Life – 10 year routes guidance August 2015 LEXVISA Solicitors and Barristers
What is the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)?
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced by the Home Office on 6 April 2015 and applies to temporary, non-EEA migrants who are coming to the UK for more than 6 months. Payment for IHS is collected by the Home Office and goes directly to the National Health Service (NHS).
Our team of Spouse Application Lawyers can consider whether you will need to pay the IHS. If you wish to consider your options, please contact our team today and arrange a meeting with a qualified immigration solicitor who can advise you of your options.
Our UK Spouse Visa Successful Applications
Why is it important to instruct expert UK Spouse Visa Lawyers?
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject spouse visa applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Immigration & Visa application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on the law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a spouse visa application. Our Solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.
The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Our UK Visa Applications Service
Expert UK Spouse Visa Lawyers
Our expert immigration team are regularly instructed to assist in the preparation of Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa applications and in some cases are instructed to attend same day visa appointments at one of the Premium Centre’s in the UK. Our team offer some of the following services:
If you wish to have your documents checked by an expert immigration solicitor, please contact us so we can explore your options.
We are an Immigration law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our specialist immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02071830570.
IMMIGRATION DEADLINES – WARNING
UKVI (part of the UK Home Office) set very strict deadlines which must be complied with otherwise your UK immigration rights will become severely limited. You should submit an application as soon as possible e.g. 28 days before the expiry of a UK Visa and should seek specific legal advice about your Visa or right to remain or appeal at the earliest opportunity so that you understand the time you have left. Delay in making an application or taking advice can be fatal. If you have a refusal letter from the Home Office carefully note the short deadlines stated therein (it may be 14 days). Such deadlines run from the date of the letter so you may have less than 10 days to take action. Late appeals can lead to you being forced to make an out of country UK Visa application and can affect the prospects of success.