What is a spouse visa?
A partner, or 'spouse', visa is a settlement visa that allows you to live in the UK for up to 33 months with your British partner. It is the first steps towards settlement (indefinite leave to remain) and eventually, British Citizenship.
In order to apply, you must be:
The qualifying criteria applicable in your case will depend on your partner's situation. These criteria can be divided into the following categories:
The decision-maker must be satisfied 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). You will be exempt from this requirement if:
Financial and Accomodation Requirements
You are required to prove that you and your partner have enough 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. If there are dependent children applying with you, the income threshold is higher.
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.
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.
How can our experienced team help you?
To assist you in navigating the complex Immigration Rules and ensuring that your application is given the best prospects, we can represent you throughout your case for a fixed fee of £1,200 plus VAT for non-complex cases.
We believe a fixed fee makes it easier for you to budget for your application and therefore we will not vary from this price unless we feel that your application will require significantly more work than a standard application. In this event, we will discuss this with you in advance of beginning work on your matter.
Our service includes: providing you with a tailored list of documents which we believe are necessary for you to provide in your particular circumstances; drafting a letter of legal representations which explains to the decision-maker how you meet the appropriate requirements; preparing and submitting your application on your behalf; and liaising with the Home Office as and when is necessary until a decision is reached on your case.
As an alternative to full representation, we also offer consultancy and document-checking services, in order to provide you with initial guidance or to check through your application for errors and omissons before we submit it. This is charged at our hourly rate.
Once we receive the appropriate documents from you, we will submit your application promptly and generally within 10 days of receipt of these. We will take note of your preferences when it comes to application submission and try to work with you to achieve your desired outcome.
We are unable to guarantee how long the Home Office will take to decide on your application, although unnecessary delays that exceed 6 months may be unlawful in your matter. You can read current Home Office processing times guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-outside-the-uk
Frequently asked questions
How do I submit my supporting documents?
This must either be done at a visa processing centre in the country from which you are submitting the application or can be done by your sponsor in the UK. You must also submit your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) at the visa processing centre before the Home Office will consider your application.
How long will it take for me to receive a decision on my case?
Generally, you will receive a decision within 8 to 12 weeks, barring exceptional circumstances. There is a priority service that can be purchased at the submission stage, for an additional fee. If your application is successful, you will be given 30 days to enter the UK then you must collect your Biometric Residence Permit from a location close to your accommodation.
What if I do not meet one of the requirements?
There may be an option for you to apply in 'exceptional circumstances', including on the basis of your human rights. We would need to carry out a full assessment of your case to see if this would be a viable option for you.
Can I extend my partner visa after my leave expires?
You can renew and extend your visa for another 30 months, as long as you apply before the end of your current leave and meet all of the requirements set out in the Immigration Rules for further leave to remain.
After you have lived in the UK for a total of 5 years, you can apply for settled status (indefinite leave to remain), followed by British citizenship.
What can I do if my application is rejected?
If your case is rejected, you may be given the right to appeal against the Home Office's decision in the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal. This can be challenging, and it is best that you seek legal advice at this stage.