A UK spouse visa is a legal document which allows non-UK individuals to immigrate to the UK because they are married to somebody who is settled in the UK. This partner must be a British citizen, or resident in the UK, with no immigration restrictions on how long they can stop in the UK.
To get a spouse visa, you must submit an application to the Home Office.
Your spouse will be able to stay up to 2 years and 9 months in the UK, and they can apply to extend their stay in the UK.
In this blog post, we will outline exactly what are the benefits of a spouse visa and hopefully answer any questions you may have.
Who is eligible for a spouse visa?
If you and your partner are applying for a spouse visa, there are certain requirements you will have to meet.
You and your partner must be 18 or over. You should both also intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply for a spouse visa.
Also, your partner must be either:
- A British or Irish citizen
- Have settled in the UK
- Be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status – they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021
- Have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish worker visa
- Have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.
How do you apply for a spouse visa?
To apply for a spouse visa, you must fill in an online application form on the GOV.UK website.
You will usually hear back with a decision within 24 weeks.
You will need the following supporting documents:
- Proof that you and your partner are in a civil partnership or marriage that is recognised in the UK
- Proof that you and your partner have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply
- Proof that you are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving
You also need to prove that:
- Your non-UK resident partner has a good knowledge of English
- You can financially support yourself and your dependants
If you have any criminal convictions, you must disclose this in your application.
If you have previously been married and are divorced, you must prove that this relationship has ended.
If applicable, you may have to submit your tuberculosis test results.
If you are applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, you must prove that:
- any previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended
- you plan to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of arriving in the UK
You will not be able to work during your engagement.
What are the financial requirements to apply for a spouse visa?
Both you & your partner must be able to demonstrate that you can financially support yourselves in the UK, without relying on public funds (benefits).
You must prove that your spouse has an annual income of at least £18,600, plus extra money if you have children who are not permanently settled in the UK.
You will have to prove that you have £3,800 for your first child, and £2,400 a year for each child you have after your first child.
To submit this financial evidence, you must provide proof of your income with your application- this could be bank statements showing your or your partner’s income, 6 months of payslips, or a letter from an employer, dated and on headed paper.
Read more guidance here on financial requirements for a spouse visa.
What other requirements are there to apply for a spouse visa?
You and your partner must meet these requirements in order to apply for a spouse visa:
- You must be in a genuine relationship and you must have lived together for at least 2 years. You can prove this by submitting your marriage certificate, or a joint bank account statement that shows you live at the same address.
- You and your partner must not be related (e.g. a half-brother or sister).
- You and your partner must have met in person- an online relationship would not suffice.
- If you and your spouse are married, you must have been at least 18 years old (in England and Wales) or 16 years old in Scotland and Northern Ireland on the date you were married.
- Any previous relationships that you and your partner were in, must have permanently ended. If you or your partner has been previously married, you will have to provide proof that this marriage has ended (e.g. by submitting divorce papers).
How much does a spouse visa cost?
If you are applying from outside of the UK, it costs £1,538 to apply for a spouse visa.
If you are applying from within the UK, it costs £1,048 to apply for a spouse visa.
You may also need to pay a healthcare surcharge as part of your application.
Your application form will tell you what your fees are.
You may be able to pay to get a faster decision on your spouse visa application.
What are the benefits of a spouse visa?
If you bring your partner to the UK on a spouse visa:
- Your partner will be able to reside in the UK for up to 2 years and 9 months in the UK.
- Your partner can apply to extend their spouse visa and stay for another 2.5 years.
- If they work, your partner may be entitled to statutory sick pay, maternity allowance, and statutory maternity sick pay.
- Your partner will have access to the NHS because they will have paid the healthcare surcharge as part of your spouse visa application.
- Your partner will be able to travel overseas from the UK, but they will have to live continuously with you.
What can I NOT do on a spouse visa?
- You cannot claim public funds (benefits) such as housing benefits, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance and Carer’s Allowance.
- You cannot break immigration laws.
- If you come to the UK on a spouse visa and you give birth to a child on UK soil, this does not mean that your child is automatically a British citizen- check out our blog post to find out more about what qualifies you for British citizenship.
Can I extend my spouse visa?
Yes, you can apply to extend a spouse visa for another 2.5 years, so you can potentially stay in the UK for longer than 2 years and 9 months.
You can extend at any time before your current permission to stay in the UK expires.
Do not wait until your current spouse visa expires, to apply for an extension- if you overstay on a UK visa, you will usually have 30 days to leave the UK voluntarily, at your own expense.
If you fail to leave the UK within this time period, you may be unable to re-enter the UK in the future.
Can a spouse visa be refused?
Yes, your application for a spouse visa may be rejected, if there is a valid reason.
Your rejection letter should tell you the reasons why your application was refused. If this happens, you may be able to request a judicial review.
You may be denied a spouse visa if:
- Your application is incorrect, falsified, or fraudulent
- Your supporting evidence is insufficient, misleading or fraudulent, or in the incorrect order or format
- You don’t meet the minimum financial requirements
- The Home Office does not believe your marriage or relationship is genuine and subsisting
- You don’t meet the English language requirements
- Your partner owes £500 or more to the NHS
- You or your partner have failed to disclose criminal convictions
- The UK resident partner is no longer allowed to stay in the UK
Can I bring my children with me to the UK on a spouse visa?
Yes, you may be able to apply to bring your children with you to the UK when you apply for a spouse visa.
This is called bringing children with you as your ‘dependants’. If the dependant is over 18, they must not be living an independent life (e.g. if they have left home, got married, or had children.)
For each child you apply for, there is a fee.
You and your partner must prove that you have the financial means to care for the children if you are applying for them to come to the UK on your spouse visa.
If a child is not the biological child of the applicant, (e.g. they are the step-child), then the applicant must prove that they have a responsibility towards that child’s upbringing.
Click here to read more guidance on bringing children as dependants to the UK on a spouse visa.
Can I get Child Benefit if I am on a spouse visa?
You can only claim Child Benefit if you have:
- British citizenship and can prove you are ‘habitually resident’
- pre-settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme and another right to reside
- indefinite leave to remain or settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme
You cannot claim Child Benefit if you are subject to immigration control unless you are:
- a sponsored immigrant – someone else has agreed to be financially responsible for you
- from Albania, Morocco, San Marino, Tunisia or Turkey and working in the UK
- from a country that has an agreement with the UK for Child Benefit
Can my partner work in the UK on a spouse visa?
If your fiancé(e) or partner gets the 6-month visa, they won’t be allowed to work.
If they get a visa which lets them stay longer than 6 months, then they will be allowed to work.
There you have it, you should hopefully feel better informed on the benefits of a spouse visa.
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