You have a partner who wants to bring him/her to the UK for the long term. You need a UK spouse visa to do so. It allows a legal stay in the UK along with work or studying right. But, the couple both have to be eligible to apply for it.
The below text will explain who is eligible for a UK spouse visa, requirements, the application process, validity, extension, fees, FAQs, and more.
What is a UK spouse visa?
If you have a non-EEA spouse or a partner who wants to join you in the UK, you need a spouse visa. It allows you to live in the UK for the long term. Your partner gets permission to work or study in the country. The officials will recognize you as a citizen. Yet, there is a limit over time you can stay in the UK. But, there is nothing to worry about. You can extend a UK spouse visa.
longer than six months
also known as a UK Marriage Visa
Who is eligible for a UK Spouse visa?
The UK spouse visa has rules for both partners. They both have to fulfill the eligibility principles.
The couple may not be younger than 18. It is because British law does not recognize marriages under 18.
The person you wish to join in the UK must be a British citizen.
British officials must have recognized your marriage in the UK.
Length of relationship
The couple must have had a relationship for at least two years. Some people fake marriages to get a visa. It is to stop such things.
If the couple is engaged, they must provide proof that they will marry in six months.
The partner that lives in the UK must have enough funds to cover the expenses. It includes the expenses for both couples.
The partner that wishes to move to the EU must meet the language proficiency requirement.
What are the requirements for a UK Spouse visa?
Your passport cannot be older than ten years. Holding at least one blank page is mandatory.
Two photos of yourself are required. They must be:
- Taken in the latest three months to the date of your application.
- With a clear white background.
Proof of language requirement
A language test is necessary that shows your fluency in listening and speaking skills. You could prove your proficiency through an academic degree or a test. If your degree was in the UK, you need to provide your certificate.
Proof to have enough funds
The partner living in the UK must have enough money to cover expenses for both of them.
Proof of relationship
Provide a document or evidence stating you have lived together. A rented accommodation, paying bills, photos, etc.
Clean record certificate
Get a certificate from the Police in your home country that you have no criminal record. The certificate can’t be older than six months. If you have lived in a foreign country for longer than six months, provide a certificate from there too.
Proof of accommodation
Make it clear where you will stay in the UK. If you have purchased or rented a place, provide the certificate of it. You could also submit the proof for ownership.
When you visit the visa center or the British embassy, you have to submit your biometrics. It is your digital photo and fingerprints. If you have had another UK visa, you don’t need to submit your biometrics. The visa center will inform you.
You need to pay for the healthcare surcharge to receive medical services in the UK. By doing so, you will receive the National Health Service (NHS) like British citizens.
You can pay for the healthcare surcharge from the UK visa and immigration website. You need the below items to pay for the Health surcharge:
- Email address.
- Credit or payment card.
After paying, the website gives you a National Insurance Number. Save and remember it for your application and to use it in the UK.
Pay the fee for visa processing and keep the receipt.
Note: The officials might require more documents. Also, have all the documents translated into English.
What are the Financial requirements for a UK spouse visa?
The financial requirements for the UK spouse visa depend on your conditions. Bear in mind that you and your partner together must have an annual income of at least £18,600.
If you have children, you need more funds for them. The required amount is as follows:
- For your first child, you need to have an income for at least £3,800.
- For each child you have or will have after the first one, you need an income for at least £2,400.
Note: British law permits you to use your savings instead of income.
How to prove your financial capability?
You could prove to have enough funds to cover your family through:
- Payslips from your work.
- Pension statement.
- A formal letter from your employer that verifies your income.
- Income gained not from paid work. It includes:
- Profit from stock.
- Profit from rentals.
- Earnings from self-employment or your company.
The documents you provide must be genuine and not older than six months.
How to apply for a UK Spouse visa?
The application process for a UK spouse visa is as follows:
1. Do you need a visa?
You wish to bring your partner to the UK. Fine. But for how long? The UK spouse visa is to bring your partner for a long time. If your partner wishes to stay in the UK only for six months, he/she might not need a visa.
To make sure of this, use the tool on the UK visa and immigration website. You put your nationality and the length of your stay. Then the tool will tell you whether you need a visa or not.
Before applying for a UK spouse visa, make sure you need it.
2. Are you eligible?
The UK spouse visa has eligibility principles. You have to fulfill them. If not, the authorities will reject your application. The point is you improve your conditions.
For example, consider the financial requirement. You can find a job with a better salary or ask for a promotion to meet with it.
4. Where are you?
Are you inside or outside the UK? What difference does it make? The application for a UK spouse visa is online. You must start the application with the UK visa and immigration website. But, the links you should use are different whether you are inside or outside of the UK.
3. Application form
As explained, the application for a UK spouse visa is online. You have to complete the form online too. But before you begin the procedure, you need an email address. You need it to register with the site. Also, you will use it to enter the site again. You might be unable to complete all the procedures once.
The British officials will use this email address to contact you. So save the email and its password somewhere you have access to.
While completing the online form, you have to choose a location to submit biometrics and requirements. Be careful while picking one. See if you can move to that location to submit the requirements.
There is some information that you must have while completing the form. They are essential to complete the online form. They include the names, date of birth, and any other information on your documents. So, have them nearby while applying.
If you have a child, but he/she does not accompany you, have the information for him/her.
There are a few requirements for the UK spouse visa. They are the supporting documents to prove you are honest with your application. See the section above to get familiar with them.
Bear in mind collecting the requirements could take time. So, begin this phase a bit early. You could do it before all the procedures. Once, an Indian applicant spoke about missing his deadline. He could not gather all the pieces and missed the interview with the visa center.
5. Visa appointment
schedule a meeting with the British embassy or visa center. The UK visa and immigration center will tell you where to submit them. You choose a center by your location. But remember the exact date and time of the visa meeting.
6. Visa interview
Get to your appointment with the British officials on time. You should bring all the requirements. Try to get there at least half an hour early.
Submit requirements to the officials. Then, pay the fee for processing your visa. Bear in mind that you should bring some money to pay for the visa processing.
After completing the procedures with the visa center, wait until they process your visa. The processing time with them depends on various elements. But ask the officials about the standard processing time.
When the center issues the visa, they contact you to pick it up.
8. UK Border Control
When you want to enter the UK, the British officials will check your documents at the Border Control. They check your passport with the visa stick on it. There is nothing to worry about.
Are there language requirements over a UK Spouse visa?
Yes. The UK spouse visa has a language fluency requirement. The requirement is for speaking and listening. There are two major ways to prove your language proficiency:
An accepted language test
You can take a verified test at an authorized center. The score must be at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening. When you want to extend your visa, you have to take a test. The least required point is CEFR A2.
There are two possibilities with your academic qualification.
You got your degree in the UK
When you got your degree or certificate in the UK, it is true if the degree was English. In this case, you just need to provide a copy of your certificate.
You got your degree outside of the UK
Providing that you received your degree outside of the UK, you need a certification from UK NARIC. It will prove:
- The course was in English.
- The certificate is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher.
Who doesn’t need a language requirement for a UK spouse visa?
The people from the below list of countries don’t need a language requirement for the UK spouse visa:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Is IELTS Required for a UK spouse visa?
What is required for a UK spouse visa is a language proficiency certificate. You can prove your proficiency in different ways. IELTS is one of the certificates you can provide. If you have a degree that was in English, it will suffice. There are also other language tests that British officials recognize. So you have different options to prove your language proficiency.
Can you extend a UK spouse visa?
Yes, you may extend the UK spouse visa. The first validity of the spouse visa is for two and a half years. When it is about to expire, you can extend it for another 30 months. You can extend the spouse visa only if you are living with your partner and fulfill the requirements.
When you extend your visa and stay all that time in the UK, you will have lived there for five years. Now you become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). When you receive the ILR, you have no time limit to stay in the UK.
How much does a UK Spouse visa Cost?
The fee or cost for a UK spouse visa depends on your conditions. It is different if you will apply from inside/outside of the UK.
- Apply outside of the UK = £1,523
- Apply from inside the UK = £1,033
Bear in mind that the visa center or the British embassy might charge you for other services. The way you have to pay the fee depends on the center. Ask them in advance about it.
UK Spouse visa Processing time
The required processing time for a UK spouse visa depends on various items. One of them is whether you apply from inside or outside of the UK. The standard processing time is about three months if you apply from outside of the UK. However, the processing time is about two months if you apply from inside the UK.
Some factors might influence your processing time. A few of them are in your control; some are not. They are as follows:
- The embassy requires you to participate in a meeting.
- You haven’t submitted a full list of requirements.
- The British embassy requires more documents.
- You have a criminal record in your history that the officials need to work on or process it more.
- The embassy is busy, and it is the peak working season.
- You are unable to prove your language proficiency.
You are in a hurry?
Providing that you are in a hurry and want a faster decision, you can use the super-priority service. But you have to pay for the service to get a quick decision. If you use the service, you get a decision in less than a week. However, the officials have suspended the service due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You should wait to see what will happen in the future.
How long can you stay in the UK under a Spouse visa?
The UK spouse visa is valid for 2.5 years. In other words, it is valid for 33 months. During this time, you have to live with your partner in the UK. Your marriage must continue. So you will remain eligible for staying in the UK.
Can you extend a UK Spouse visa?
Yes. The British officials permit you to extend the UK spouse visa. However, you have to be eligible to extend your visa. You and your partner have to live together and remain married. Also, there is a financial requirement. You have to comply with it. When you extend your visa, you have the authorization to stay for another 30 months in the UK. After this time, you become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). The ILR allows you to stay in the UK without any time limit.
Can I work in the UK under a spouse visa?
Yes. The UK spouse visa permits you to work in the UK to pay for your expenses. The job you get must pay for your minimum expenses in the UK. Bear this point in mind.
What if your relationship with your partner ends?
If your relationship with your spouse has ended, you should notify the UK officials. In fact, you have to notify the UKBA. Contact them and provide all the relevant information. The officials will decide whether you can stay in the UK or have to leave the country.
Let’s sum up…
You have a non-EU spouse and want to bring him/her to the UK. You can do it through the UK spouse visa. It allows you to marry or stay with your partner. However, you have to be eligible for it. See the section above to see if you are eligible or not.
If you should know about other types of UK visas, visit the left-sidebar.
The applicants would die to know your personal experience or knowledge with visas. Write them down in the comment section providing that you hold any.