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Spouse & Partner

A partner or spouse visa allows you to live in the UK for up to 33 months with your British partner. It is the first step towards settlement (indefinite leave to remain),

In order to apply, you must be:

  • A non-EEA national
  • Aged 18 years or over; and
  • Married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, settled person or someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK; or
  • Have been living together and in a relationship for the past two years with a British citizen, settled person or someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

The qualifying criteria applicable in your case will depend on your partner’s situation. These criteria can be divided into the following categories:

Relationship Requirements

demonstrate that you and your partner are in a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship.

If you are married, you will need to provide a marriage certificate that is recognised in the UK.

If you are not married, you can still apply as long as you can prove that you have lived together in a relationship for at least two years.

English Language Requirements

You must prove that you can speak English by passing an English language test (speaking and listening).

For entry clearance application you must complete CEFR A1

If you are already living in the UK with a visa and are switching to this category you can provide your English Qualifications if you have any, or if you are originally from a English-speaking country you do not need to pass the English language requirement. Otherwise, you will have to pass the CEFR A1

You will be exempt from this requirement if:

  • You are a national of a majority English-speaking country
  • You are aged over 65
  • You have a disability which prevents you from meeting this requirement; or
  • You have a degree from an educational establishment that was taught or researched in English
Financial and Accommodation Requirement

You are required to prove that you and your partner have sufficient money to support yourselves without claiming public benefits. Your partner needs an income of at least £18,600 (before tax) if there are no dependent children.

This threshold increases to £22,400 where you are applying with a dependant child, and then further increments of £2,400 for each additional child.

If you do not have enough income, there are other specified sources of income that can be included.

You will also need to prove that your prospective accommodation will meet UK living standards. Your partner must show that he or she can provide adequate accommodation for themselves, you and for the family, including other family members who are not included in the application but who live in the same household.

Additional Requirements

You will need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you are coming to the UK and you are a resident of a country listed by UK Visas and Immigration as required to produce a valid test certificate.

Fiancé(e)/Prospective Civil Partner

Fiancé(e)/Prospective Civil Partner visas have rather different rules from the other categories.

The visa can only be applied for from outside the UK and is granted for only six months.

The visa holder is not allowed to work, and they are expected to marry/form a civil partnership within the six-month period, and then they can apply in-country to switch to a Spouse or Civil Partner visa as mentioned above.

Can I register for a UK Spouse Visa?

The eligibility criteria to apply for a Spouse or Civil Partner Visa includes that:

Both you and your spouse should be over the age of 18.

You need to have met each other in person and be legally married.

You must have the intention to live together.

You must have enough money to support your family without claiming public funds.

You must have suitable accommodation for your family.

Further, if you are the sponsoring party, you must earn more than £18,600 per year, or have enough savings to support your family. The minimum amount required increases if you have dependent children;

Both you and your spouse need satisfy the English language requirements. It means that you can understand both written and spoken English.

For applicants who have been living with their spouse in another European country, they may also be eligible through the ‘Surinder Singh’ route.

What are the levies for a UK Spouse Visa?

Charges at The Home Office for a Spouse Visa application are currently £1,523. This fee increases depending on the number of dependents you have at the point of application.

How do I start my application?

Application for the Spouse and Unmarried Partner Visa is a complicated process. It is good for you and even recommended to involve an immigration expert at the beginning of the application process.

Further, ensure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements for this Visa.

Will I be able to switch to a Spouse Visa?

It is possible to apply to switch to a Spouse or Unmarried Partner Visa if you apply from a different immigration category if you have recently joined your spouse in the UK.

If you hold a temporary visitor visa, which means that you are allowed in the UK for less than six months, you are not allowed to switch categories. However, this is different if you had applied for the visa as a fiancée or proposed civil partner, and you have a clean visa.

My relationship has ended, what now?

If your relationship ends, or you get a divorce, inform the Home Office early on. It could be the basis on which you are denied or accepted into another visa category without much problem.

The Home Office will offer you the Spouse Visa curtailment to ensure that you are not in breach of immigration rules and to help ease your life in the UK.

Also, for the dependent spouse, there are several options available the Home Office will outline that.

What will happen if my UK Spouse Visa is rejected?

If your Spouse Visa is rejected, act in haste to apply for another visa or appeal the decision to deny you the visa. Ensure that you do not extend your stay in the UK if your visa is expired. This is likely to cause you a new range of problems.

How do I begin my UK Spouse Visa or Unmarried Partner Visa application?

When you want to apply for Spouse or Unmarried Partner Visa, engage the services of an immigration expert. UK Visa application is a complex and expensive process that could only see you waste your money if you decide to go at it on your own.

What is the lowest income I require to sponsor my spouse/partner to join me in the UK?

For the last several years, from July 2012, UK’s Immigration Rules for non-EEA citizens require that applicants of a Spouse Visa should have their sponsor satisfying given financial requirements on their level of income. A person in the UK whose spouse is seeking a Spouse Visa should have a minimum annual gross income of £18,600.

If there are dependents on the application, for example, children, the sponsoring spouse should have a much higher minimum income. This ensures that the sponsor can take care of their needs without the use of public funds.

The Immigration rules are clear on where this income should be derived. One of the major conditions is that the spouse in the UK has permission to be there and to work there. Income earned from outside the UK, on its own, is not enough consideration in the application process. This means that if you want your spouse to join you in the UK, you must be working in and earning your income from the UK.

When you register for Indefinite Leave to Remain, it is integral that the minimum financial requirements are met failure to which, that the settled status will be repudiated.

In February 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the need for the minimum income financial requirements on immigration rules. In its ruling, it also required that the government make some changes in the Immigration rules to uphold and safeguard the welfare of children and also to consider other possible sources of income, including third-party support.

After this ruling, when Spouse Visa applications do not meet the set financial requirements as per the five outlined and accepted sources of income in the Immigration Rules, those reviewing the application need to consider other “exceptional circumstances” of the applicant that may be construed to be a breach of human rights if there is a refusal to grant the visa (ECHR Article 8).

Am I exempted from the financial requirements for the spouse/unmarried partner visa?

Particular circumstances may render an applicant exempt from the financial requirements needed to apply for the Spouse/Unmarried Visa. For example, you are a carer or are disabled.

Even so, you will still be required to show that you can capably maintain your life and that of your spouse and dependants while in the UK.

To find out more about the existing exceptions and for ease of application, kindly contact an Immigration expert.

Can my spouse’s wages be included in meeting the Financial Requirements?

This is a pertinent issue in the application of the Spouse Visa. Your spouse/ partner’s income will only be considered if they are already resident and working in the UK with the requisite permissions. If your spouse is not already in the UK, you cannot include their income.

However, if you are not able to meet the minimum financial requirements in the Visa application stage, get in touch with an immigration expert. They will help you consider other sources of income that you can cite to show that you can take care of yourself, partner, and dependants while in the UK. With the new changes, income from self-employment or financial support from a relative can be considered.

Even the fact that you can comfortably sustain yourself without being necessarily employed can be considered.

What is the English Language prerequisite for my Partner/Spouse Visa?

The English language requirement means that you can prove that you can speak and understand English.

If you are applying for a Visa from countries outside of the European Economic Area, you will be required to show your English proficiency.

This can be easily done by passing an English test provided by an approved tester. Further, if you have a degree qualification in English, you can use it as sufficient proof of your proficiency in the English language.

For additional information on the qualifications or approved test suppliers, contact one of our immigration experts.

What are my Settlement alternatives in the UK on a Spouse Visa?

A spouse Visa will be valid for 30 months.

Often when your partner or family and other prospects are in the UK, you will likely want to settle here. Once the 30 months are over, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or settlement status. This grants you the right to settle in the UK without any visa restrictions.

It can also be extended for another 30 months if settlement status is denied.

Also, certify that you meet all the necessities before you apply for settlement status.

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