Updated March 2023
The UK spouse or unmarried partner visa is ideal for those who want to live in the UK permanently with their partner. This visa will allow you to live, work, study, and settle in the UK and ultimately apply for British citizenship.
Who Can Apply for the Spouse Visa?
You qualify to apply for the spouse visa if your spouse or civil partner holds British or Irish citizenship or is a UK-settled person (they have Indefinite Leave to Remain). You can also apply for this visa as an unmarried partner if you have lived in a genuine relationship with your British partner for at least 2 years. There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for this visa.
What Are the Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?
In order to apply for the UK spouse visa, you’ll need to demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and subsisting. In other words, your relationship is ongoing and authentic and not a sham. As part of this requirement, you’ll need to show that you are in a legally recognised marriage or civil partnership or have been in a relationship and living together for over 2 years.
In order to meet the genuine relationship requirement, you’ll need to show more than just your marriage certificate for instance. You’ll need to evidence that you have joint commitments such as a joint bank account or bills and that you spend time together perhaps through message communications, video call logs, photographs, or travel records. In addition, you must also show that you have accommodation in the UK such as a rented home or perhaps your partner has their own home.
For the financial requirement, you must demonstrate that your UK-based partner earns a gross yearly income of at least £18,600, and a further £3,800 annually for your first child and £2,400 for every subsequent child. There are a number of ways that you can show the minimum income requirement such as through pensions, self-employment, dividends, or savings. It is best to seek legal advice to see how you can meet this requirement, especially if you cannot meet it through employment.
Your partner might be exempt from the £18,600 minimum income if their income is from any disability allowance, armed forces compensation, or war pension. The exemption also includes police injury schemes and attendance or carers’ allowances. However, you must still prove your partner is able to support you and that you have sufficient funds to remain in the UK without seeking public funds.
If you are between 18 – 65, you must prove sufficient knowledge of the English language. You meet this requirement if you have a degree or other academic qualification taught in English. Alternatively, you’ll need to pass at least Level A1 of a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) English test at an accredited testing centre. You will not need to prove knowledge of the English language if you are a national of a majority-speaking English country.
What Supporting Documents Do I Need for a UK Spouse Visa?
The documents that you provide in support of your spouse visa application will be subjective to your individual situation. However, generally, you will need to provide the following documents with your application:
- Completed application form with the application fee
- A valid passport
- Any previous passports
- Two passport-sized colour photographs that match UK requirements
- Biometric information – a digital photo and fingerprints
- Proof of a genuine and subsisting relationship
- Evidence to meet the financial requirement
- Evidence to satisfy the English language requirement
- Evidence of sufficient accommodation in the UK
- Details of previous visa applications, if any
- Your national insurance number, where applicable
- Details of any criminal records
- Tuberculosis test results for listed countries
How Long Can You Stay in the UK on a Spouse Visa?
Once your application is successful, the initial visa validity will be 2 years and 9 months. You can then apply to extend this, and if granted, the extension will be for a further 2 years and 6 months. Once you have been in the UK for 5 years on the spouse visa, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) which allows you to settle in the UK providing you meet the eligibility criteria for ILR. This will include meeting the continuous residence requirement and doing a Life in the UK test, among a few. If you are granted ILR you may be able to apply for British citizenship as long as you meet the citizenship requirements.
How Can The Nathanson Partnership Help You?
At The Nathanson Partnership, we can help you apply for your spouse visa. We understand that gathering all the information that you need to make a strong visa application and comprehending the Home Office requirements can be stressful and confusing. Our friendly experts handle cases like yours every day, so we can advise you on exactly what you need to meet the visa requirements.
Please contact us for a free initial assessment with our qualified and experienced UK immigration advisors.
Contact Our Expert Spouse Visa Immigration Professionals
The Nathanson Partnership is made up of regulated immigration professionals providing immigration advice that is accurate and reliable. We are fully accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) which means that we must adhere to high-quality immigration service standards.
We are proud to represent a range of clients that value our clear, transparent, and practical advice. We understand that the UK immigration system can be confusing which is why we use our expertise to help our clients understand what they need to do to secure their visas.
If you need assistance with your partner visa application, our team of specialists are here to help you.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How Long Does It Take To Get a Spouse Visa for the UK?
Your UK spouse visa application will take time because you must gather all the necessary documents, submit your application and wait for a decision. Applications submitted from outside the UK can take up to 6 months to be processed, while those made in the UK usually take around 2 months.
If you are applying within the UK or extending your visa, you could apply for the super-priority service to receive a decision the day after you provide your biometric information or 2 working days if you have a weekend appointment. If you are applying from outside of the UK, you may be able to choose a priority service depending on the visa application centre you are applying from. This may take around 15 working days for applications to be processed.
How Much Money Do I Need for a Spouse Visa UK?
To apply for a UK spouse visa, you must show a minimum gross annual income of £18,600 or have at least £62,500 in cash savings. There are also other ways to meet the financial requirement depending on your personal situation. The savings must be in your or your partner’s control for more than 6 months before your visa application date.
The application fee, if you are applying from outside the UK, is £1,538 and £1,048 in the UK, however, this changes most years. There is a healthcare surcharge which is £1,872 if you’re applying outside the UK and £1,560 if you’re applying within the UK to extend your visa. Other costs include £150 for the English language test, around £60 per page for the translation of documents to English, £19.20 biometric fee, and £65 – £110 for a TB test if required.
What Is the Difference Between a Spouse Visa and a Partner Visa UK?
The spouse visa and the partner visa are the same visa, but you can use the terms interchangeably depending on the situation. You may use the term “spouse visa” for a husband, wife or civil partner if your relationship is legally recognised. It can be a marriage or a civil partnership officiated in another country, provided it is legal.
On the other hand, you may use the term “partner visa” for partners who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for 2 or more years.
Can I Work on a UK Spouse Visa?
Yes, as a spouse visa holder in the UK, you have a right to work.
How Long Do You Have to Be in a Relationship for a Partner Visa?
You must have been in a genuine relationship for over 2 years before applying for a UK partner visa. You must prove that you have lived with your partner in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for 2 years. If you are married or in a civil partnership, there is no minimum period that you need to be together in order to be eligible for the visa, however, you must show that your relationship is genuine. Therefore, if you had not been together or known each other long before you got married, the Home Office may suspect that the marriage is a sham and not genuine.