A spouse visa UK is a type of family visa in the UK and the application is made by the wife or husband of a person settled in the UK.

A settled person is someone living in the UK who is either a British citizen, holds indefinite leave to remain, or holds leave as a refugee or under humanitarian protection. The settled person is called the ‘sponsor’ for the Spouse visa UK application purpose.

Similar to the Spouse Visa, a civil partner visa application is made by the same-sex civil partner of a person settled in the UK. Spouse visa applications and civil partner visa applications are treated in exactly the same way by the immigration authorities.

Non EEA nationals living in the UK as a family member of EEA national should apply for the EEA Residence Card.

We at Edmans & Co regularly assist applicants to make successful applications for a UK Spouse Visas. Contact us now if you need professional help regarding your application.

You can learn more about Spouse Visa UK requirements, required documents, and guidelines in this detailed article.

Applying for UK Spouse Visa

Spouse/civil partner visa applications may be made from outside the UK or, in some circumstances, from inside the UK, so the applicant may be applying either to come to the UK as a spouse or to remain in the UK as a spouse.

Please note that you cannot apply for a spouse visa inside the UK on a visitor visa or with on a visa for six or less months.

Spouse Visa UK Requirements

There are four main requirements for the UK Spouse visa or Civil Partner visa applications:

  • A financial requirement, which can be met through either from earnings of £18,600 per annum, savings or a combination of the two.
  • A requirement that the relationship is genuine and subsisting.
  • Accommodation requirement. The applicant must also show that there will be sufficient accommodation for them and their partner and any dependants.
  • English language requirement of A1 CEFR for the initial application and A2 CEFR at the extension stage.

Let’s look at some of the major requirements of the UK Spouse Visa in details;

Financial Requirements for Spouse Visa

Your spouse has to earn more than £18,600 per annum. If Spouse visa application includes children, the sponsor needs to earn an extra £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 for each subsequent child. It can be achieved alone or in combination with specified savings of £16,000. Sponsor or applicant should provide evidence of receiving that income for 6 months or more.

In some cases, consideration will be given if a spouse does not earn £18,600, by showing other sources of income.

  • credible guarantee of sustainable financial support from a third party, e.g. family members
  • Prospective employment or self-employment of the applicant or their partner, e.g. if applicant has a new job starting in the UK within couple of months upon arrival to the UK
  • any other credible and reliable source of income or funds available to the couple

Genuine and Subsisting Relationship

You will need to show that you are legally married according to the law of the country where the marriage or civil partnership ceremony took place.

Please note that some marriages, e.g. religious marriages such as Nikah as are not recognised under the British law. The couple must have met at the time of the application as marriages in absentia, by telephone, by proxy etc are not valid.

The general rule is that there should be no evidence putting parties’ intention in doubt. Although there are no set requirements for any documents proving a relationship, the most common are photographs, evidence of shared financial responsibilities: tenancy agreement etc.

Accommodation Requirement for UK Spouse Visas

There should be an adequate accommodation occupied for the exclusive use of the family. Adequate accommodation is considered as one which is ‘not overcrowded’ and ‘does not contravene public health regulations’.

If the accommodation is not owned by the couple (or one of them), the rules require that there be adequate accommodation which is for their exclusive use. This need not be as elaborate as a self-contained flat. It is acceptable for a couple to live in an existing household, for example, that of a parent, uncle, aunt, sibling or friend, as long as they have at least a bedroom for their exclusive use.

A house is considered to be overcrowded if 2 persons aged 10 years or more of opposite sexes, who are not living together as husband and wife, must sleep in the same room. The Act also details the maximum number of people allowed for a given number of rooms or a given room floor area. Rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms are excluded.

English Language Requirement

A  spouse visa applicant has to prove their knowledge of English language. This requirement can be satisfied in several ways.

Applicants must pass a mandatory A1 Common European Framework of Reference for Languages test. In order to extend existing spouse visa after living in the UK for 30 months, applicants must pass A2 language test.

An applicant will automatically satisfy language requirements if,

  • Holds a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English
  • Applicant’s qualification is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Citizens of some countries are exempt from English Language test as well. If you are a national of countries including 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, and the USA, you don’t need to prove your knowledge of English.

Duration of Spouse Visa UK

A spouse visa is granted for a period of 30 months if you applying within the UK and 32 months if the application was granted from outside the UK.

Upon your UK Spouse visa expiration, you will be able to extend your visa for another 30 months to take five years needed for potential indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Spouse Visa Extensions – Further Leave to Remain

You can further extend your leave to remain in the UK under the Tier 2 (General) visa. You must apply for the extension before your current leave to remain expires.

You will need to fulfil the following criteria to extend your Spouse visa,

  • A financial requirement, which can be met through either from earnings of £18,600 per annum, savings or a combination of the two.
  • A requirement that the relationship is genuine and subsisting.
  • Accommodation requirement – the applicant must also show that there will be sufficient accommodation for their partner and any dependants.
  • English language requirement A2 CEFR

ILR – Settlement after Spouse Visa

Spouse visa leads to Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain – ILR ) after 5 years. It has to be noted if visa was granted in specified circumstances, where partner did not meet financial requirements of earning £18,600 and took advantage of additional sources of income, the route for settlement will be increased to 10 years.

When applying for settlement, the applicant must meet a number of requirements:

  • Must spend at least 5 years continuously in the UK as a spouse
  • Must still be married
  • Living in the UK
  • Spouse still meeting sponsor requirements, i.e. £18,600
  • Applications for Leave to Remain and Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made by post, premium post or using same day service.

What happens in case of divorce?

It is an applicant’s duty to inform the Home Office that the relationship has ended. There is a possibility to be granted a Leave to Remain, subject to several requirements.

Spouse Visa UK Fees

There is a fee of £993 if you make a standard application by post. You can pay additional for same day service by applying in person at a Premium Service Centre.

If you are applying along with dependants, you will need to pay additional £993 per dependant for a standard application service.

Single Applicant - No Dependants£1,033
Main Applicant & One Dependant£2,066
Main Applicant & Two Dependants£3,099
Main Applicant & Three Dependants£4,132

The fees are correct at the time of updating this article. UKVI changes the fees every year and as such please check the Gov.uk website and appropriate application form for correct fees at the time of your application.

Spouse Visa UK Processing Time

Processing time may vary depending on the country where the application is made. It usually takes around 12 weeks for UKVI to make a decision on the application on settlement visas.

You might be able to apply in person at a premium service centre and get a decision the same day if you’re already in the UK and want to extend your existing spouse visa.

Please check the UKVI website for availability and additional fees for the same day service for your visa application.

Our Spouse Visa UK Services:

We have years of experience dealing with UK Spouse visas and we can help you advise, prepare and manage your entire application process for a successful outcome.

Our Spouse Visa Services Review
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If you need any legal assistance with your UK Spouse Visa application, please contact our London-based immigration lawyers. You can also call us on 020 7439 3000.

You can directly book a consultation with one of our UK immigration experts so that we can assess your case and advise you on the merits of your application.