The requirements for a spouse visa may look simple, but showing that you meet them is not! Most decisions, even those made at a premium appointment in the UK, are based on the papers you submit, without you ever being interviewed – which means that your paperwork needs to be perfect. We specialise in Spouse Visa applications and will guarantee this is so.
At Immigration Street Legal of all the visas we are asked to prepare spouse visas are the most regular. Spouse visas have therefore become our speciality and we can give you full assurance of success. Most of our applications are granted within 2 months and many within 6 weeks. If the Priority Service is chosen then this can be 2-3 weeks, and for the Premium Service (within the UK) you can get a same day decision.
There is a great deal of preparation work required to submit a spouse visa application, and we are contacted regularly by those who have underestimated the strict requirements of the rules and hence have had their applications rejected. We therefore would not recommend attempting to prepare such an application by yourself especially considering the high application fees and lengthy delays that could result. If you have already been refused a spouse visa then contact us as soon as possible as we may be able to retrieve the situation, or at worst immediately submit a new application.
You can apply for a spouse visa if you are married to someone who is a British citizen, has permanent residence in the UK, or has refugee or humanitarian leave. If you are already in the UK and have a visa that allows you to remain for longer than six months you can apply to the Home Office from within the UK – otherwise, this application can only be made from your home country or a country where you are a long-term resident.
A UK spouse visa is issued for an initial period of two and a half years, and you need to apply for an extension at the end of this time. You have to prove that you meet all the requirements for the visa again when you apply for the extension.
The spouse visa is for couples who are both over 18, where one partner is British or settled in the UK, or has refugee or humanitarian leave in the UK, and the other partner is from outside the EEA. You also need to demonstrate that you have met in person and are legally married (in a form of marriage that is accepted in the UK) and that you are in a subsisting relationship.
As a couple you must have a minimum income of £18,600 per year. In most cases it is the UK based spouse who has to show that they have this sum of money available. If your partner is in the UK but is not settled or British, you may be still able to join, or accompany, them as either a PBS Dependent or on an EEA FAMILY PERMIT.
If you are not able to satisfy certain of the requirements for a spouse or civil partner visa, you may still be able to apply to join or remain with your partner on human rights grounds if you can demonstrate that there would be very significant difficulties in your relationship continuing outside the UK. For more information on this route please see PARTNER IS A BRITISH CITIZEN, PERSON WITH ILR OR REFUGEE
Before your initial grant of leave expires, you will need to apply to UK Visas and Immigration to extend your stay. The requirements for further leave to remain in the UK as a spouse or civil partner are broadly the same as those that apply to initial applications in the spouse and civil partner visa category.
UK spouse or civil partner visa After spending 5 years (60 months) in the UK as the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen or settled person, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain as a spouse or civil partner you will need to demonstrate, in addition to the above requirements, that:
- Since you have been in this category you have lived together with your partner in the UK or there is good reason, consistent with a continuing intention to live together permanently in the UK, for any period when you have not done so.
- You meet the higher English Language requirement that applies to settlement applications
- You have passed the Life in the UK test.
If you make an application for indefinite leave to remain as a spouse or civil partner but do not satisfy the above requirements, UK Visas and Immigration will go on to consider if you meet the requirements for a further extension of stay as a spouse or civil partner.
The financial requirement rules are extremely strict and can only be demonstrated in one of the ways set out in the Immigration Rules. If the UK spouse gets certain benefits to do with disability or caring for someone you do not have to show an income of £18,600, but you will still have to show that you can support yourselves as a couple.
There must be suitable accommodation available , which you own or occupy ‘exclusively’ as a couple, though in this context exclusively means only that there is a bedroom for your exclusive use.
You will need to satisfy the Home Office that the property is secure – that is, that you are not likely to become homeless – and that it is not statutorily overcrowded.
Even if you meet all the other requirements of the Immigration Rules, you can be refused because of your character and conduct.
Criminal convictions, previous poor immigration history, deception or withholding material facts (whether accidentally or on purpose), using the NHS when not entitled to – these are all issues that are taken into consideration before a spouse visa is issued.