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Immigration UK

UK Spouse Visa

If your partner or spouse is in the United Kingdom, you can join them by applying for a UK spouse visa. The spouse visa is one of the many UK family visas issued to allow families to live together.

However, to apply for a spouse visa, you and your spouse in the UK must meet specific requirements. Fortunately, the spouse visa is a less complicated UK family visa.

If you follow the process accordingly and provide all evidence and documentation, you can easily get your visa. In this WorldTravelPride post, you’ll find all you need to know about the UK spouse visa.

What Is the UK Spouse Visa?

The spouse visa falls under the category of UK family visas. It allows beneficiaries to come to the UK and live with their spouses for more than six months. Hence, you should only apply for this visa if you plan to stay in the UK for a long time. If you’re staying for less than six months, you should apply for a standard visitor visa instead.

A spouse visa is more or less a dependent visa. In other words, your visa will be highly influenced by your spouse’s visa type or status in the UK. It’s possible to apply for settlement via a spouse visa. It counts as the duration of stay, which is necessary to apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain. Ultimately, you can apply for British citizenship.

The UK spouse visa is relatively expensive. You’ll learn more about the application fee and financial requirements later.

Notably, you can apply for a spouse visa if you’re already on a different visa in the UK. You can switch your visa anytime if you meet the requirements, so long as your previous visa is valid.

UK Spouse Visa Eligibility

To apply for a UK spouse visa, you must have a partner in the UK who is a British or Irish citizen or has permanent residence status. You are also eligible if your partner is an EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein citizen living in the UK before January 2021.

You and your spouse must be legally married, in a marriage recognizable by the UK government. If you’re not yet married, you must have been living together and in a relationship (dating) for at least two years before you apply.

You’re also eligible if you’re not married but plan to marry within six months of arriving in the UK. Furthermore, you can only apply if you’re not in any other marriage or civil relationship. In other words, you must prove that every previous relationship has ended.

There are other eligibility criteria if your marriage has kids and other dependents. Aside from your relationship with your spouse, you also need to pass the knowledge of the English language test and have enough funds to sponsor your stay – unless your spouse declares to support your visit.

To clarify, you are not eligible for a UK spouse visa if your spouse in the UK is on a work, student, or other temporary stay visa. They must have permanent residence status, either with indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

UK Spouse Visa Requirements

When applying for a UK spouse visa, here are the required information and documents you must provide:

  • Your full names and date of birth. You can submit your birth certificate.
  • A valid international passport or any other valid travel document you possess.
  • Your partner’s full name, date of birth, and nationality.
  • A copy of your partner’s passport or further proof of British citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Evidence that you and your spouse are legally married. You can present your marriage certificate.
  • Proof of funds to support your stay. You can present your bank statement or that of your spouse if they’re sponsoring your stay.
  • Proof of termination of previous marriages and civil relationships, if anything. You can present a divorce certificate if you’ve been in an earlier marriage.
  • Proof that you have no criminal or court convictions. You can present a police statement.
  • Proof that you’re in good health to enter and live in the UK. You can present a doctor’s report.
  • Proof that you meet the English language requirement. You can present your result from a recognized English language test like IELTS.
  • Details about your children, if any.
  • Details about other countries you’ve lived in besides the UK and your home country.

Note that the above list of required information and documents isn’t exhaustive. The UK immigration may still request additional information depending on your circumstance.

Your documents must be in English. You must include a certified English translation if it’s in any other language.

UK Spouse Visa Application Process

You apply for a UK spouse visa once you have all the required documents and evidence. The application is one, and as mentioned earlier, you can apply whether you’re in or outside the UK.

The visa requires that you submit your biometrics, so in the first stages of application, you’ll get a prompt to select a country where you’ll provide your biometrics. Choosing the right location is essential because it could be difficult to change it later.

The application involves six steps. First, you must complete and submit the online application form, including uploading your supporting documents and evidence. Second, you pay the visa fee – the UK exempts some countries from paying this fee, so please check to confirm.

Third, you pay the health surcharge; fourth, you submit your biometrics, including your fingerprints and passport.

Fifth, you take and submit your tuberculosis test result – you’ll only do this if you reside in a country under the UK list. Sixth, and finally, you physically provide all your supporting documents and passport.

If your application is successful, you’ll get the visa stamp on your passport, and you can proceed to travel to the UK.

For the online application, you’ll only need to provide an email address and password. Afterward, you can access the application form.

Spouse Visa Processing Time

A UK spouse visa takes around 24 weeks to process if you’re applying from outside the country. That’s almost six months of waiting. On the other hand, if you apply within the UK – switching from one visa to another – it takes just around eight weeks.

However, there’s a way to get a faster verdict. You can apply for super-priority service and get a verdict by the end of the next day. If you apply on the weekend, you can get a verdict within two working days.

Your application may take longer to process if there are problems with your documentation or your circumstance is complex.

For example, it’ll take longer if the visa embassy asks you to come for an interview. Also, it’ll take longer if you don’t meet the knowledge of English requirement or the minimum income requirement.

Other circumstances are if you have a criminal or other conviction. Ordinarily, the embassy will void your application, but in some situations, they may decide to review the circumstance before making a decision.

UK Spouse Visa Fee

As mentioned before, the UK spouse visa application is relatively expensive. The visa fee differs for adults and children.

As an adult over 18 years, you’ll pay £1,560 if you’re staying for two years and six months; £1,872 if you’re staying for two years and nine months; £3,120 if you’re staying for five years.

For children under 18 years, the fee is £1,175 if they’re staying for two years and six months; £1,410 if they’re staying for two years and nine months; £2,350 if they’re staying for five years.

As mentioned before, you can pay £800 for super-priority service and get a faster verdict. Other fees you must pay include the health surcharge fees.

Adults will pay £624 per year while children will pay £470. To illustrate, if your visa duration is five years, you’ll pay £624 each year, which means £3,120 in total. After you submit your online application, the UK immigration will send you an email requesting that you pay the health surcharge.

You must pay the health surcharge within seven days if you’re outside the UK and within ten days if you’re in the UK. Otherwise, your application may become invalid.

UK Spouse Visa Duration

The UK spouse visa lasts for two years and nine months. When it expires, you can apply for an extension, which you should get easily.

After the end of the second extension, you will have stayed in the UK for five years and eight months, which means you can apply for settlement. The UK Home Office requires at least five years on a spouse visa to apply for settlement.

Settlement in the UK, also known as indefinite leave to remain or permanent residency, grants you permission to live in the UK forever. You can work, study, and travel as you want.

Hence, getting a spouse visa could begin your journey towards becoming a British permanent resident. There’s a high possibility that you won’t need to leave the UK for life from the first day you enter the country on a spouse visa – unless you want to.

UK Spouse Visa Extension

You can apply for a spouse visa extension if you’re still together with your spouse at the end of the initial two years and nine months period.

You can apply at any time before your current visa expires, but it’s ideal to apply within a month of it expiring. This is because the new visa will only add 28 days of your current visa to your new duration.

For example, if you have 100 days remaining on your current visa and you get an extension, only 28 days will be added to the new extension visa.

You’ll have lost 72 days of stay in the UK, which can be critical when applying for settlement. Recall that you need at least five years to qualify for settlement so everyday counts.

Spouse Visa Dependents

Your dependents – children or other qualifying relatives – can join you and your spouse in the UK. For children, they must be under 21 years.

The cost for dependent visa application is £1,538 and £1,048 for each person if you’re applying from outside and inside the UK, respectively. It’s the same as the standard spouse visa cost.

Dependents’ visa takes about the same time as applying for the standard spouse visa. The duration is also the same, and dependents can apply for extension too.

Your dependents can work and study in the UK as they get a biometric residence permit. However, they cannot access benefits or public funds – just like you – but they can apply for settlement after five years.

Is the Spouse Visa the same as the Fiancé Visa?

Many people get this wrong, so it’s important to clarify. The UK spouse visa is different from the fiancé visa. 

The spouse visa is for a couple that is already married or in a civil partnership. In other words, they’ve gone past the “fiancé” stage, and they have the proof and documentation to back this up.

On the other hand, a fiancé visa is for a couple that is not yet married, but plans to marry. You can apply for a fiancé visa if you plan to marry someone in the UK. The visa mandates that you marry or enter a civil partnership within six months of arriving in the UK.

The UK spouse visa and fiancé visa are similar but different. You can read more about the fiancé visa here.

Bottom Line

The UK spouse visa is the best way to join your spouse in the UK and stay in the country for a long time – more than two years at least. You can apply if your spouse is a UK citizen or permanent resident.

Categories
Immigration UK

UK Fiancé Visa: Everything You Need To Know

Is your fiancé or fiancée in the UK? Do you plan to get married to them, and do you plan to live with them in the UK? If your answer to these questions is yes, you should aim for a UK fiancé visa.

It’s much easier to apply for a spouse visa because you can easily present your marriage certificate as proof. As a fiancé, you’ll have to prove your relationship in many other ways.

Read on to find out all you need to know about the UK fiancé visa.

About The UK Fiancé Visa

The UK fiancé visa is a type of family visa that allows you to join your fiancé or fiancée in the UK. Your fiancé or fiancée in the UK must be a permanent resident (with indefinite leave to remain status) or a British citizen.

The UK Visas and Immigration grants the visa on the basis that you’re coming to the UK to marry or enter into a civil partnership with your partner. 

As a result, the visa lasts for six months, within which you’re expected to get married or enter a civil partnership.

When your visa expires, you can then apply for a spouse visa to continue your stay in the country. You may have to leave the country if you’re yet to get married or enter a civil partnership when the visa expires.

As a temporary visa, the six months you spend won’t count as residency if you apply for permanent residency. However, the spouse visa, which you can quickly get after the fiancé visa, counts as residency.

Therefore, obtaining a UK fiancé visa can lead to permanent residency and, ultimately, British citizenship.

UK Fiancé Visa Eligibility

The primary eligibility requirement is that your fiancé or fiancée in the UK must be a British citizen or permanent resident.

However, there are other eligibility requirements as listed below:

  • You and your fiancé must be up to 18 years old.
  • You must have plans to marry or enter a civil partnership within six months of admission into the UK.
  • You must not have any previous marriage or civil partnership that is still valid.
  • You must have the funds to support your stay in the UK.
  • You must have suitable accommodation to live in, in the UK with your fiancé.
  • You must demonstrate English proficiency if you’re not from a non-native English country or any exempt country.

The above are the basic requirements of the UK Visas and Immigration to qualify for a fiancé visa. The department may request additional requirements depending on your circumstance.

UK Fiancé Visa Income Requirement

Before you can join your fiancé in the UK, you must meet a relatively strict income requirement. It’s part of proving that you have sufficient funds to support your stay in the country.

As a couple, the UK Visas and Immigration demands that you and your fiancé must make a minimum income of £18,600 per year. If you have children joining you as dependents, the minimum income increases.

Your income must include an extra £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 each for your other children.

The income requirement is essential because you won’t have access to public funds during your six-month stay. You can prove you have the funds and make the required income via different means. 

Your income could come from your employed salary, self-employed business, or savings. It can also come from stocks & shares, property financial gains, statutory sick pay, maternity, paternity, or adoption pay.

UK Fiancé Visa Required Documents

You’ll need to provide supporting documents to prove you meet the eligibility requirements. Usually, you’ll scan and upload these documents as part of your online application. Then, you also carry them along the embassy invites you for an interview.

Here are some of the documents you need to provide:

  • Proof of your name and date of birth. You can provide your birth certificate or affidavit of birth.
  • Proof that you’re not in any previous marriage or civil partnership. You can present a divorce certificate if you’ve been married before.
  • Proof that you’re in a relationship with your fiancé in the UK.
  • Proof that you plan to marry or enter into a civil partnership with your partner in the UK.
  • Proof that you have no pending criminal or court convictions. You can present a police or court report.
  • Documents showing your parents’ names and nationalities. You only need to provide this if you’re applying outside the UK.
  • Details of other countries you’ve lived in or visited, aside from the UK and your home country.
  • Proof that you have sufficient funds to support your stay. Bank and account statements should be enough.
  • A valid international passport or other travel documents.
  • Passport photographs.

The UK Visas and Immigration may request some additional documents during your application. Therefore, it’s important to note that the list above isn’t all-inclusive.

UK Fiancé English Language Requirement

The United Kingdom is a native English-speaking country. Hence you must have basic English knowledge to survive in the country.

If you’re from another native English-speaking country, like the US or Australia, you should already have basic English knowledge. As a result, you don’t have to prove your proficiency.

On the other hand, you must prove proficiency if you’re from a non-native English-speaking country. You must demonstrate basic English reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

To do this, you must take and pass an approved English language test.

Your pass certificate will need to be included in your portfolio of evidence to submit to the Home Office. The recommends four secure English language tests (SELT):

  • PSI Services (UK) Ltd if you’re outside the UK or Trinity College London if you’re in the UK.
  • IELTS SELT Consortium.
  • LanguageCert.
  • Pearson.

You may get a waiver for the English language requirement even if you’re from a non-native English-speaking country. 

It’s possible if you hold a degree or higher qualification taught in English at a NARIC-recognised educational institution or you are over 65, or you have a physical condition that prevents you from taking the exam.

UK Fiancé Relationship Requirement

To qualify for the UK fiancé visa, you must prove that your relationship with your spouse is genuine. It’s important because many people arrange fake marriages to become permanent residents in the UK.

Nevertheless, you can prove that your relationship with your fiancé is genuine by providing a few details. These include:

  • Documents that show you have been living together.
  • Bank statements if you have joint accounts.
  • Confirmation from family members and friends that you’ve been in a relationship.
  • Texts, emails, etc., to show how long you’ve been in the relationship.

Note that you don’t have to provide all of this. You only need to provide some, depending on which the embassy requests.

UK Fiancé Visa Cost

The fiancé visa UK cost is the same as the UK spouse visa. You’ll pay £1,538 if you’re applying from outside the UK and £1,048 if you’re applying from within the UK.

It’ll take the UK Visas and Immigration up to 24 weeks to process your fiancé visa if you’re outside the UK. If you’re in the UK, it’ll take up to 8 weeks. In some cases, it might take longer.

However, the UK Visas and Immigration can process your visa faster at extra charges.

If you pay an extra £800, they’ll finish processing your visa at the end of the next working day. If you applied during the weekend, you’ll get a verdict after two working days.

However, to get a verdict that fast, you must have submitted your biometric information.

Your visa processing will only take longer than necessary if you don’t meet specific requirements, like the income and English language requirement, or if you have a pending court or criminal case.

UK Fiancé Visa Application

Once you have all the necessary paperwork and supporting evidence, you can begin your UK fiancé visa application. You must apply online whether you’re inside or outside of the UK.

You must submit your biometrics to obtain the visa, so at the start of the application process, you will be given the option to choose where you will do so. Since it might be challenging to change later, picking the ideal location is crucial. 

There are six steps in the application. You must complete and submit the online application form, supporting files, and proof. You must also pay the visa fee; note that the UK exempts some nations from this requirement.

The health surcharge is paid in the third step, and your biometrics—including your passport and fingerprints—are submitted in the fourth. 

Fifth, if you live in one of the nations on the UK list, you must take and submit your tuberculosis test results. The last step is to present your passport and all supporting documents physically. 

If your application is approved, the visa will be stamped in your passport, allowing you to travel to the UK.

After Your Application

You can stay in the UK for up to six months if your fiancé visa application is successful. Endeavor to follow the requirements placed on your immigration permission and be married or enter a civil partnership within the six-month time frame of your fiance visa.

You must report to border control when you arrive if you are coming from outside the UK. When traveling to the UK, it’s crucial to have copies of critical papers and application information. These will be needed to gain entry as your visa alone doesn’t give you the right to enter the UK.

If you are granted a fiancé visa, you will be expected to move to the UK and establish yourself there. This necessitates that when your visa expires, you change to a different kind of long-term visa – the spouse visa.

You won’t typically be able to apply for a fiance visa extension. However, the UK Visas and Immigration may decide to give you an extension if extraordinary circumstances prevent you from being married within the first 6-month window. 

You must still meet the same conditions to qualify for the extension, and your circumstances cannot have materially changed.

Switching To Spouse Visa

There is a clear path from the fiancé visa to the much-desired Spouse Visa, which is one of the visa’s key draws. Although the usual Spouse Visa application process must be followed, you need not leave the UK so long as you apply before your fiancé visa expires.

A spouse visa will allow you to remain in the UK for 30 months, and you can request an additional extension of your stay after that if your circumstances have not altered. You can stay in the UK for another 30 months if your application for an extension is successful.

You can work and go to school in the UK if you have a spouse visa, and every day you spend in the country counts toward the residency requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship. 

As a result, you will be eligible to apply for permanent residency after five years of residency in the UK on a spouse visa.

Bottom Line

The UK Fiance Visa is the route to relocate to the UK to join a fiancé or fiancée. Primarily, they must be citizens of or have settled status in the United Kingdom. 

Fiance visas are valid for six months and are issued on the assumption that the couple will get married in that time.