If you would like to join your partner in the UK and they currently hold settled status, you can apply for something known as a Spouse Visa, Partner Visa, Fiance Visa or Unmarried Partner Visa. A Settlement Visa of this type allows you to live in the UK for up to 30 months, after which you may apply for a further extension of 30 months if you continue to meet the requirements. This can then lead to an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which gives you permission to settle in the UK permanently(Settled Status).
A Non- European national can apply to enter or remain in the United Kingdom as a spouse/partner of a British Citizen or a person who has settled status, refugee leave or humanitarian protection under a Spouse Visa, Unmarried Visa or Partner Visa.
If you are outside the UK and would like to join your partner in the UK and they currently hold settled status, you can apply for something known as a Spouse Visa, Partner Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa or Fiance Visa. If granted, this Visa will allow [you to reside in the UK for up to 30 months, after which, if you meet the requirements, you can apply for an extension of 30 months. This can lead to an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
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This visa applies to a non-European national spouse, civil partner, umarried or same-sex partner of a British Citizen or a person who has settled status. The qualifying criteria under the Immigration Rules are Suitability, Relationship, Financial and English Language Requirement. Once granted, this Visa will allow you to reside in the UK for 30 months, with the option to extend.
You may wish to apply for Settlement (ILR) in the UK after a 5 year period of residence in the UK. An alternative option is via the 10 year route which only needs to satisfy the Suitability and Relationship Requirements, however, you will need to show insurmountable obstacles to family life with your spouse or partner overseas.
After a 5-year period, you can apply for settlement (ILR) in the UK. Alternatively, you may be eligible to apply under the less stringent 10-year route which overlooks the financial and English language requirement, although you will need to show insurmountable obstacles to family life with your spouse or partner continuing overseas.
If you do not meet the Spouse Visa requirements for either route you may be given permission to remain here on the basis of your private life, subject to evidence that you have resided continuously in the UK for a required period of time. Both the private life and 10-year settlement route can only be made via applications from within the UK.
In order to be eligible for a Spouse or Civil Partner Visa, you must satisfy the following requirements:
If you’ve been living with your spouse in another European country, you may also be eligible through the ‘Surinder Singh’ route.
To apply for a spouse visa contact us to get your application started today.
The Home Office currently charges £1,523 for a Spouse Visa application. This fee will increase for each dependent applying with you.
Visa applications for Spouse and Unmarried Partner Visa can be complicated which is why it is recommended that you use the services of an immigration expert. You will need to make sure that you meet all of the requirements for this type of visa.
You may apply to switch to a Spouse or Unmarried Partner Visa, from a different immigration category, if you have joined your spouse or partner in the UK. If you are in the UK as a temporary visitor with permission to stay for less than six months you cannot switch categories; unless this visa was granted as a proposed civil partner or fiancée, or if you are in breach of the Immigration Rules. However, a period of overstaying of less than 28 days will not be taken into account.
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If your relationship ends or you divorce your partner you need to inform the Home Office as soon as possible as this can affect any future visa applications you make. They will issue you a Spouse Visa curtailment, however, there are options available for the dependent spouse after a divorce.
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Spouse and unmarried partner Visa applications can be complex and using the services of an immigration expert is highly recommended. You will need to ensure that you meet all of the requirements for this type of visa.
Since July 2012 the UK’s Immigration Rules have required non-EEA nationals to satisfy a financial, ‘minimum income’ requirement in order to secure a visa to join a British/settled spouse or partner in the UK. Available maintenance funds equivalent to a minimum gross annual income of £18,600 are required. A higher amount is required when visas are sought for nonEEA national children.
The requirement can only be met through the sources of income and funding specified in the Immigration Rules. These are subject to conditions. For example, the visa applicant’s employment income can only be considered if they are already in the UK with permission to work. The sponsoring partner’s overseas employment is not acceptable on its own to satisfy the requirement.
The financial requirement must be met each time the migrant applies for temporary leave to remain as a family member, and when they become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (usually after five years).
In February 2017 the Supreme Court found that the minimum income requirement is acceptable in principle. However it did require the Government to make some changes to the Immigration Rules and associated policy guidance. This was in order to take proper account of the Secretary of State’s duty to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and also to take proper account of other possible sources of income and third-party financial support.
Since then, if an application cannot meet the financial requirement through the five sources specified in the Immigration Rules, decision-makers are instructed to consider whether there are “exceptional circumstances” which could or would render a refusal decision a breach of human rights (ECHR Article 8).
There are particular occasions where you may be exempt from the financial requirements for a UK Spouse or Partner Visa, for example, if you have a disability or you are a carer. However, we recommend you speak to an immigration expert as there are only a few instances where exemption applies and you would still need to prove that you can adequately maintain your spouse, partner and any dependents.
If your spouse/partner is already residing in the UK and has the necessary permission to work in the UK, the Financial Requirement can be based on household income. In all other circumstances your spouse/partner’s income cannot be included.
We would recommend you contact an immigration expert for an update on any changes to law if you are not able to meet the minimum financial requirement as decisions for Spouse Visa applications must now take into consideration other methods of financing such as self-employment, consistent financial support from a relative or and self-sustainability.
If you are from outside the European Economic Area (or Switzerland) that is not predominantly English speaking country then you will be required to prove that you are able to speak and understand English. This can be done by passing an English Language test, led by an approved test provider, or alternatively if you have an English Language certificate from one of these providers this should satisfy this requirement. A degree qualification in English would also be sufficient in proving your English Language ability.
For further information on the qualifications or approved test providers contact one of our immigration experts.
If you are living in the UK with your spouse you may want to settle permanently by applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) which allows you to settle in the UK without any visa restrictions usually after five years of lawful residency, so long as the eligibility requirements have been met.
Our highly professional, dedicated and knowledgeable specialists will do all the hard work to make the immigration process easy and understandable so you will be confident about successful outcome.