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Spouse Visa

Spouse Visa Explained

A spouse is defined as: ‘a husband or wife, considered in relation to their partner.’

To apply as a spouse, you must already be married and you and your partner both need to be 18 or over.

Your partner must also either:

You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply.

Please note: If you do not meet the income requirements through employment or savings, you will not normally qualify under the spouse visa route. Please see our visit visa page instead. UK Immigration Solicitors are a private law firm and do not offer or arrange jobs.

If you are unsure of your position or would like to ensure that your application is handled by a knowledgeable specialist, get in touch with one of our friendly team members now on 0203 384 4389 to find out exactly how we can assist you to get it right first time round, saving you time, money and the heartache of being refused.

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Further Information

What you'll need to prove

You must be able to prove one of the following:

you’re in a marriage that’s recognised in the UK

You also need to prove you:

  • have a good knowledge of English
  • can financially support yourself

If you do not meet these requirements you may still be able to apply for a visa or extend your permission to stay if:

  • you have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK
  • there would be very significant difficulties for you and your partner if you lived together as a couple outside the UK that could not be overcome
  • it would breach your human rights to stop you coming to the UK or make you leave

How long you can stay

You’ll get permission to stay for 2.5 years.

After this you’ll need to apply to extend your stay.

Applying with your children

You can add children to your application as dependants if they are under 18, or were under 18 when you first applied and do not live an independent life.

When you can settle permanently

The earliest you can apply to settle in the UK (called ‘indefinite leave to remain’) is after you’ve lived in the country for 5 years continuously with permission to stay (‘leave to remain’) as a spouse. You cannot count any permission to stay in the UK as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner.

The rules are different if you applied before 9 July 2012.

If you applied before 9 July 2012

You can only extend your family visa if all the following are true:

  • you were given permission to stay in the UK as a partner before 9 July 2012 you are not eligible to settle
  • you have not been granted or refused another visa You must also prove that:
  • you and your partner have enough money to adequately support and accommodate yourselves and any dependants without relying on public funds
  • you have good knowledge of English

Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply. You can prove it with an academic qualification, or by taking a test.

You do not need to prove it if you’re applying as a:

  • child
  • adult coming to be cared for by a relative

Academic qualifications

You can prove your knowledge of English if both:

  • you have a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English
  • your qualification is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher

You’ll need to send a certificate from UK NARIC confirming this when you apply.

Take an approved English language test

You can prove your knowledge of English by passing an approved English test with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening.

If you want to settle permanently in the UK within 5 years

If you took the CEFR A1 when you first applied for your visa, you’ll need to take a CEFR A2 test when you apply to stay after 2.5 years.

If you did not need to do the CEFR A1 when you first applied for your visa but you need to do it now, you’ll need to pass it when you apply to stay after 2.5 years.

When you will not need to prove your knowledge of English

You will not need to prove your knowledge of English or take a test if:

  • you’re over 65
  • you have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from meeting the requirement

You also will not need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda Australia
  • the Bahamas Barbados Belize Canada Dominica Grenada Guyana Jamaica New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

Proving your income

You and your partner must have a income of at least £18,600 a year if:

you’re applying as a partner

you want to settle in the UK (get ‘indefinite leave to remain’) within 5 years
You must prove you have extra money if you have children who are not:

  • British citizens
  • EEA nationals permanently settled

You’ll need to earn an extra:

  • £3,800 for your first child
  • £2,400 for each child you have after your first child This is the called the ‘minimum income requirement’.

How you prove you have the money depends on how you got the income.

What counts as income

You and your partner can use:

  • income from employment before tax and National Insurance (check your P60 or payslips) – you can only use your own income if you earn it in the UK
  • income you earn from self-employment or as a director of a limited company in the UK – check your Self Assessment tax return
  • cash savings above £16,000 money from a pension
  • non-work income, for example from property rentals or dividends

If you’re using income from self-employment or employment, you’ll need to prove you or your partner received that income for 6 months or more.

Example You’ve worked with the same employer earning £18,600 or more for 6 months or longer.

What proof you need to give

You’ll need to send proof of your income with your application. If you or your partner are employed, you could include:

  • bank statements showing you or your partner’s income 6 months of payslips
  • a letter from an employer, dated and on headed paper The employer’s letter should confirm:
  • you or your partner are employed there
  • the job title or position you or your partner hold how long you or your partner have worked there
  • the type of contract (for example, permanent, fixed term)
  • what you or your partner earn before tax and National Insurance how long you or your partner have been paid your current salary the payslips are genuine

You’ll be told exactly what documents you need to support your application by your dedicated caseworker..

  • you or your partner’s income is more complicated
  • you or your partner have taken maternity or paternity leave in the last 6 months you want to combine different income sources

The detailed guidance also explains the evidence you need to provide for each of the types of income you’re relying on.

If you cannot meet the minimum income requirement

You need to show you and your partner meet the minimum income requirement if you want to settle in 5 years as a partner.

If you do not meet the requirement, you may be able to settle in 10 years.

When you do not need to meet the income requirement

You may be able to settle in 5 years without meeting the minimum income requirement if either:

  • you’re applying as a parent
  • you get certain benefits, for example Disability Living Allowance or Carer’s Allowance.

You need to show you and your family have enough money to adequately support and accommodate yourselves without relying on public funds.

Information you must provide

You’ll need to have information and some evidence ready when you make your application. Include information for you and any dependants applying at the same time.

You’ll need to:

  • give all your names give your date of birth
  • send your current passport or other valid travel ID send your previous passports
  • send your biometric residence permit, if you have one
  • send 2 passport-sized colour photos
  • give details of any previous immigration applications you’ve made give details of any criminal convictions
  • give your national insurance number, if you have one
  • give your parents’ date of birth and nationality if you’re applying from outside the UK
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • provide a translation of any document that is not in English or Welsh

You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa if you’re applying outside the UK.

You’ll also need to give proof of:

  • your finances
  • how well you speak and understand English

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances – for example a sponsorship form from your family member in the UK.

Your partner’s details

If you have a partner, you’ll be asked about their:

  • name
  • date of birth nationality passport
  • right to be in the UK, for example they’re a British citizen You’ll also need to give details of:
  • any people your partner was previously married to, in a civil partnership with or had children with
  • evidence of marriages ending, for example a divorce certificate anyone your partner supports with money, for example their parents

Proof of relationship

If you’re applying as a spouse or partner, you’ll be asked about:

  • your relationship with your partner, for example how you met and how often you see each other how long you’ve lived together – you’ll need to send proof like council tax bills
  • things you pay for together whether you’re your partner’s carer

If you’re applying to join your partner in the UK, you’ll need to send other proof, for example WhatsApp messages, Skype history or photos of you together.

Your previous partners

You’ll need to include details of anyone you previously married or had children with. Include evidence of marriages ending, for example a divorce certificate.

Children

You’ll need to give details of your children (and your partner’s children if you have one). You’ll be asked about all children, even if they’re not applying.

You’ll need to give details of:

  • their name their nationality
  • their date of birth their passport details
  • who the child normally lives with
  • any other people with parental responsibility for your child, for example your step children’s other parents how you’re involved in their day to day life
  • arrangements you have to see the child – for example the courts have granted you access the child’s extended family
  • any countries your child has visited or lived in

Your life outside the UK

You’ll need to give details of:

  • countries outside the UK you’ve lived in and visited

When you cannot get a family visa

In some circumstances you cannot apply for, or switch to, a family visa.

Your family member has a work visa or student visa

You cannot apply for a family visa if your family member is in the UK temporarily on a work/study visa

You can apply to stay with them as a dependant instead.

You have a visitor visa or a visa for 6 months or less

You’ll usually need to leave the UK to apply for a family visa if either:

you have permission to be in the UK as a visitor your visa is for 6 months or less

However, you might be able to switch to a family visa in the UK if you have either:

a 6-month family visa as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner

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