Applying For A Spousal Visa: What You Should Know


By Yvonne Stevens

Applying for a spousal visa in the UK can be a complex process. In this article, we will provide an overview of the key things you need to know when applying including some key terminology, the eligibility criteria, documentation that's required, and the application process.

What is a Sponsor

In order to apply for a spousal visa you will need to be “sponsored”. A sponsor is someone that is a British Citizen, Irish national, has indefinite leave to remain, EU Settled status or pre-settled status under Appendix EU.

Types of Relationship

You can apply for a spousal visa if you are:

  • Married

  • In a Civil partnership

  • Engaged

  • Unmarried (but in a relationship)

Suitability Requirements

The rules set out various ways the applicant will be refused for failing to meet the suitability requirement. For example if you have a criminal conviction you should seek advice about satisfying this from an expert.

What are the requirements?

Be over the age of 18

You need to be over the age of 18 at the date you make your application.

You are not in a prohibited degree of relationship

You should not be related to your spouse.

You have met in person

You need to have had a face to face meeting. If you have not met, and only
made contact by phone; this would not meet the requirements of the rules.

You will need to provide a marriage certificate as proof as part of your application.It is important to be aware that the UK will not recognise your marriage if you are involved in other marriages at the same time.

Your relationship is genuine and subsisting

The Home Office will look at each case individually so, it is important to
provide as much evidence as possible to show that your relationship is “genuine and subsisting”. Evidence can include:

  • photographs of your time together

  • shared financial responsibilities

  • travel itinerary for holidays together

  • evidence of cohabitation, (e.g., utility bills, council tax, tenancy agreement/mortgage statement.)

If you are applying as a fiancé, evidence of enquires to a registry office, church, bookings/emails for wedding reception/after party,

If unmarried evidence of living together for 2 years, e.g. evidence of cohabitation, mortgage statement, tenancy agreement, utility bills, anything with a name date and address on sent to you both or separately showing you lived together at the same

You have the intention to live together permanently

You will need to show a commitment from you both that you will live together
permanently in the UK if the visa is granted.

Any previous relationship has broken down permanently

You are not married to another person at the date you make the application. A divorce certificate or Decree absolute will satisfy this requirement.

You meet the financial requirement

You have to show that you earn £18,600 a year or £22,400 if you have a dependant child. For each additional child you need £2,400.

If in receipt of certain benefits, you do not need to meet the earning requirement. For more details see the official guidelines

There are other ways to meet the requirements such as self-employment, property rental income, pension, savings of £62,500. You can combine different incomes. This area is complex so you will need to discuss with an immigration expert.

You have adequate accommodation for your partner and dependants

You need to show you have adequate accommodation for you and your partner and will not rely on public funds. If you are a homeowner, then a mortgage statement would be required. If renting a tenancy agreement.

If living with family, the owner/tenant will need to provide a letter confirming permission to live there. You will need to show that you have your own room you will share together.

You also need to also show the property will not be overcrowded or contravene public health regulations.

You speak and understand English to the required level

If you are a national of a majority English-speaking country list, you automatically meet this requirement.

If you have a Degree/Masters, PHD that was taught in English in the UK you need a degree certificate. If taught outside the UK you need confirmation from UK ECCTIS your degree meets the requirements.

You can also meet this requirement by passing an approved English language test to at least CEFR Level A1.

You will be exempt from the language requirement in the following circumstances:

  • You are aged 65 or over

  • You have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from meeting this requirement

  • There are exceptional circumstances that prevent you from being able to meet the requirement prior to entry to the UK

You have a tuberculosis certificate if from certain listed countries.

For a list of required countries see here

Application Process

Applications are made using an online application form. The current fees are £1,538 plus Immigration Health Surcharge fee. You may pay the amount in USD or in the currency of the country you are immigrating from. If coming for more than 6
months you are required to pay this fee. Once submitted, you book your biometric
appointment and provide supporting evidence at a Visa Application Centre.

Application Decisions

It normally takes 12 weeks to hear back. However, due to prioritising Ukraine Visa Scheme Applications some applications are now taking 24 weeks.

If Your Application is Successful

  • A vignette stamp will be placed in the passport granting 33 months. You will be on the 5-year route leading to settlement and will get 30 months on your visa.

  • Depending on whether you are claiming certain benefits you may be able to directly enter on to the 10-year route but this is something you should consult about with a solicitor.

  • The extra 3 months allows you to travel to the UK. Once in the UK you have 10

days to collect your biometric card from the local post office given on the application form. You will be allowed to work in the UK.

If Your Application is Refused

  • You can appeal and you will have 28 days to do so. For an oral hearing it will cost £140.

  • Without hearing it is £80. You would need to speak to an immigration specialist aboutAppealing and other costs

Yvonne Stevens is a solicitor with over 20 years experience in Immigration, Nationality and European Law. Yvonne has strong links with the local community and an awareness of the issues facing these diverse groups. Yvonne is approachable, non judgmental and spends time to listen to what clients have to say.

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