Spouse/Civil Partner visa
- The Spouse or Civil Partner Visa is for partners of British citizens or persons with settled status in the UK.
- This visa normally leads to settlement after 5 years spent in the UK.
- If you do not meet all the requirements but there are exceptional circumstances (usually relating to Family and Private Life Article 8 ECHR when there is a child involved) your spouse visa may still be granted. However, you will need to wait 10 years instead of 5 before you can apply for settlement.
Common mistakes in Spouse visa applications
One of the most challenging aspects of Spouse, Civil Partner, Unmarried Partner and Finace visa applicattions is to undertand the financial requirement and provide the correct supportig documents to prove the requirement is met. The Home Office has to be provided with specific documents that are listed in their immigraion rules and guidances. To be successul, applicants MUST provide those specified documents. Applicants preparing applications on their own fail to appreciae this key point and this leads to failures of their applicatios. In a nutshell, it is not enough to have the required income but you also must evidence it in the exact way the Home Ofice expects.
In normal circumstances Spouse, Unmarried partner or Fiance visas applications are submitted from outside the UK. They can be submitted from within the UK only when applicant has other, long term visa – for example a Skilled Worker visa. You should not apply for any of those visas from within the UK if you are there on a Visitor visa.
The calculator we provide helps you to get an idea if you have sufficiet income and/or cash savings for the family visa applications. Once you know he amount you require, you would need to then refer to the Home Office immigration rules and guidance to provide the required specified supporting documents for your application. Assessment of financial requirement and understanding of what documents to provide, tend to be difficult for those who apply on their own. It is definitely one of he matters where assistace from a proessional immigration lawyer or adviser is recommended.
Spouse, Unmarried Partner or Fiance visa financial requirements calculator
Key points to note and bear in mind for your guidance when preparing the application:
- It is crucial to ensure that your application is submitted with ALL required information and supporting documents, as otherwise in best case scenario you will be put on the 10 year route to ILR but normally your application will be refused by the Home Office. If you are put on the 10 year route you can subsequently make a further spouse visa application to switch to the 5 year route but this way you would incur more costs for the application fee and NHS Health Surcharge.
- If your application is refused you will need to consider whether to appeal the Home Office decision or to reapply by submitting a fresh application. This will depend on the reasons for the refusal given by the Home Office. If the reason is a missing evidence you may reapply but if the reasons are relating to your suitability/good character/immigration history you may need to appeal the decision.
Our firm is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner and we are a Member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association.
Requirements for a Spouse or Civil Partner visa
- Your partner is:
- British, or
- holds Indefinite Leave to Remain, or
- has refugee status, or
- is an EU national with Settled or Pre-Settled Status, or
- is a non-EU national with Settled Status;
- have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
- You are both over the age of 18;
- You have met in person and are legally married or in a civil partnership (if you entered into a civil partnership abroad you must note that the UK law does not recognise all civil partnership and you must look in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which provides a list of civil partnerships which will be recognised in the UK (look the Home Office guidance Partners, divorce and dissolution – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Civil Partnership Act 2004 (legislation.gov.uk) );
- Your relationship is genuine and you intend to live together permanently in the UK. You will need to provide documentary evidence, such as:
- evidence of cohabitation under same address in the form of utility bills and other official correspondence,
- evidence of joint business ventures,
- evidence of joint property ownership or tenancy agreements,
- flight and hotel bookings and photographs,
- letters from family and friends etc
- NOTE: the specific evidence will depend on your individual circumstances and also whether you are applying for an entry clearance spouse application or for a leave to remain spouse visa extension or Settlement/ILR; You may note the Home Office guidance which explains ‘Genuine and subsisting relationship’ Partners, divorce and dissolution – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Any previous relationships have broken down permanently (e.g. if you or your spouse were previously married you would need to provide divorce certificate(s));
- You will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds (please see financial requirement £18,600 further below; if you intend to rely on cash savings the minimum required is £62,500 for initial application and extension and for Settlement/ILR the minimum is £34,600). As usual with the Home Office, it is not enough to earn the specified amounts or have the required savings, but you must provide the specified evidence listed by the Home Office to prove that you meet the requirement. This is detailed in the Home Office guidance Immigration Rules Appendix FM-SE: family members specified evidence – Immigration Rules – Guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- There is an adequate accommodation for you and any dependents (e.g. for a couple a room in a shared house can be sufficient);
- You speak and understand English to the required level (A1 for initial application, A2 for extension and B1 for Indefinite Leave to Remain).
- For entry clearance (i.e. applications submitted from outside the UK) you may need to obtain a Tuberculosis test from a Home Office approved clinic. You need to look at the Home Office list of countries to check if your country is on the list. Tuberculosis tests for visa applicants – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- You meet the ‘suitability’ requirements relating to good character. There are mandatory and discretionary grounds on which an application can be refused. Examples of relevant reasons for refusal: criminal record/charges, unpaid debt to NHS (public health service).
Key financial requirements
To meet the financial requirement, you need to provide evidence of £18,600 gross yearly income. If your application is submitted from inside the UK you may use your own income when you work legally in the UK on another visa. You can also combine your income with your sponsor’s income. If you apply from outside the UK, you must rely on your sponsor’s income.
If your child(children) are not British or Settled in the UK and are applying for a visa or extending their visa, there is a need for an additional gross yearly income of £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each next child.
Applicants must provide specified evidence to prove that the financial requirement is met. The financial requirement for Spouse and Civil Partner visas is usually the most complex part of the application.
Visa application fees
For entry clearance application from outside the UK:
- Application fee £1,523
- If expedited processing is available from a particular country and applicant wants to use it, there is an extra Home Office fee of approximately £600
- There may be some smaller fees to be paid for additional services (e.g. some countries have a mandatory fee for use of the visa application centre and there may be other fees such as return courier)
- NHS Health Surcharge £624 per each year of visa, so for entry clearance it is £1,872
For leave to remain application submitted from inside the UK:
- Application fee £1,052.20
- Additional fees for expedited processing: £800 for 1 working day processing or £500 for 5 working days processing (the processing time is counted from the date biometrics are submitted at the biometric centre not from the date application is submitted online)
- NHS Health Surcharge £624 per each year of visa, so for leave to remain extension £1,560
- There may also be an additional fee for booking a biometric appointment (usually between approximately £70-£200)
For Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)/Settlement application:
- Application fee £2,408.20
- Additional fees for expedited processing if available at the time of application and you wish to use them: £800 for 1 working day processing or £500 for 5 working days processing (the processing time is counted from the date biometrics are submitted at the biometric centre not from the date application is submitted online)
- There may also be an additional fee for booking a biometric appointment (usually between approximately £70-£200)
Entry Clearance applications:
Applicants are required to complete an online application form and once the application is submitted online (at which point the fees are paid), you can then book a biometric appointment at a visa application centre in the respective country from where you make the application. Before attending the appointment, applicants can upload their supporting documents online OR they can bring all the documents to be uploaded at the visa centre. If the second option is chosen, there is normally a fee that needs to be paid for this service.
Leave to remain and Indefinite Leave to Remain applications:
Applicants are required to complete an online application form and once the application is submitted online (at which point the fees are paid), you can then book a biometric appointment at a visa application centre nearest to where you reside. Before attending the appointment, applicants can upload their supporting documents online OR they can bring all the documents to be uploaded at the visa centre. If the second option is chosen, there is a fee that needs to be paid for this service.
Processing time for the visa
Entry clearance applications:
Standard processing time is about 12 weeks. If expedited processing is available at the time you are applying and you wish to use it, the processing time is approximately 6 weeks.
Leave to remain applications:
Standard processing time is 8 weeks. If expedited processing is available at the time you are applying and you wish to use it, there are two options for extra fees: 1 working day processing time for £800 extra fee and 5 working days processing time for extra £500. The time is counted from the date you attend your biometrics not from the date your application is submitted online.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications.
Standard processing time is up to about 6 months. If expedited processing is available at the time you are applying and you wish to use it, there are two options for extra fees: 1 working day processing time for £800 extra fee and 5 working days processing time for extra £500. The time is counted from the date you attend your biometrics not from the date your application is submitted online.
The initial visa is granted for 2 years and 9 months. It can subsequently be extended for a further 2.5 years, and once you spend 5 years in the UK you may apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). If for any reason you do not meet the specific requirements for the ILR (e.g. Life in the UK test or English language test at Level B1) you may continue extending the visa.
The visa allows you to work or study in the UK. There is normally a ‘no public funds’ condition attached to the visa which means that you must not claim benefits from the UK government.
Relationship breakdown consequences
The Spouse or Civil Partner’s visa is based on your relationship with the spouse. If your relationship breaks down your visa may be cancelled by the Home Office. For example, when a spouse visa holder travels abroad, on return to the UK an immigration officer may ask questions to find out if the relationship with spouse is still subsisting. If the relationship broke down your visa may be cancelled.
In certain circumstances, for example if you left your spouse sponsor because of domestic violence or if your spouse passed away, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) even if you do not have 5 years continuous residence in the UK on spouse visa.
Examples of recent cases for spouse visas
- Applicant relied on combined employment and self-employment income for initial spouse visa application
- Applicant relied on cash savings for Indefinite Leave to Remain application
- Applicant relied on combined employment income for leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on liquidated investment for Indefinite Leave to Remain application
- Applicant relied on income from self-employment (joint partnership with spouse) for leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on pension income for leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on insurance income for leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on cash savings held on multiple bank accounts for indefinite leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on employment income when sponsor was employed for less than 6 months for entry clearance application
- Applicant relied on income from a limited company of which her spouse was a director for Indefinite Leave to Remain application
- free initial discussion to assess your individual circumstances for the spouse/Civil Partner visa application
- your case will be handled by an experienced immigration Solicitor
- clear and simple communication without legal jargon
- meticulous attention to detail and responsiveness
- 100% success rate
- competitive fixed fees
- we can assist with the entire application process or we can offer our application checking service according to your needs
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There are many potential pitfalls in spouse visa applications and it is prudent to seek assistance from best immigration lawyers. We are experienced in Spouse visa applications and we know how to make your application successful. For an initial free discussion of your individual circumstances, please contact us.