Further Leave to Remain in the UK
If you are currently in the United Kingdom (‘UK’) with leave to remain as a spouse, civil partner, or an unmarried partner and you wish to extend your stay in the UK, you would be required to submit a Further Leave to Remain (‘FLR’) application.
Length of visa
If granted, your leave to remain in the UK as a spouse, civil partner, or an unmarried partner of a British Citizen will be extended by a further 30 months. You are permitted to continue living and working in the UK whilst your application for FLR is being processed.
After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, you would be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’), otherwise known as settlement. You may eventually be eligible to apply for British Citizenship and obtain a British passport.
In order to apply for a visa extension, you would be required to satisfy the following key requirements:
- You and your spouse must still be in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
- You must have adequate accommodation available to you in the UK.
- You and your spouse must be able to satisfy the financial requirement by earning a minimum joint income of £18,600 gross per annum or have sufficient cash savings.
- You must satisfy the English language requirement.
Must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship
Apart from providing your marriage certificate to establish that you and your spouse are legally married, you would also be required to provide supporting documents to establish that your relationship is genuine and subsisting. Supporting documents could include confirmation of cohabitation in the UK, e.g. utility bills, Council Tax bills etc.
Adequate accommodation in the UK
You and your spouse must have adequate accommodation available to you in the UK without the need to rely on public funds. This may include choosing to reside at either a privately-owned property or a privately rented property.
Accommodation would be regarded as inadequate if:
It is, or will be, overcrowded; or it contravenes public health regulations.
Should you and your spouse wish to reside at a family or friend’s address, you will be required to provide confirmation from the family member or a friend that there will be sufficient accommodation for you and your spouse to reside at their property.
Meeting the financial requirement
Contrary to the initial spouse entry clearance visa where the onus was strictly on the British Citizen spouse to establish his/her gross income of £18,600 from either employment or non-employment income, for the purposes of the FLR application, you are permitted to establish a joint income of £18,600 or rely on cash savings held by either you, your partner, or both jointly.
There are 7 ways of meeting the financial requirement:
- Income from salaried or non-salaried employment
- Non-employment income, e.g. rental income or dividends from shares
- Cash savings above £16,000
- Income from a state or private pension
- Income from self-employment, e.g. as a sole trader or a director of a limited company
- Adequate maintenance, i.e. if your sponsor is in receipt of a permitted benefit in the UK. This is explained further below.
- Income support from a third party (this can only be relied on in exceptional circumstances where it would be unjustifiably harsh to refuse your visa application and is usually only ever a consideration where you have children in the UK)
Financial requirement exemption
You might be exempt from meeting the minimum income threshold if your spouse is in receipt of any the following benefits:
- Carer’s Allowance.
- Disability Living Allowance.
- Severe Disablement Allowance.
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
- Attendance Allowance.
- Personal Independence Payment.
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
- Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme.
The applicant will be required to provide sufficient documents to show that he/she will be able to maintain themselves without recourse to public funds.
Meeting the English language requirement
Unless you are exempt from meeting the English language requirement, you will be required to pass a relevant English language test with at least a CEFR level A2 in speaking and listening or have a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher.
Exemptions to the English language requirement:
You could however be exempt from meeting the English Language requirement if you are:
- aged 65 years or over
- have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from meeting the requirement
- You are from a majority English speaking country
Can I include my dependent children in the FLR application?
Dependent children who were under the age of 18 at the time of the initial entry clearance application can be included as dependents in the FLR application. However, the annual gross income requirement for a single dependent will be an additional £3,800, e.g. £22,400 in total for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each other dependent child.
What if the application is refused?
If your FLR visa application is refused and you feel the decision by the Home Office is unfair and incorrect in law, you may be entitled to a right of appeal.
You will have 14 days to submit an in-country appeal.
Should the need arise, we will be able to advise you of the appeal process and represent you in your appeal.
As part of our retainer service, we offer the following:
- Provide a comprehensive document checklist;
- Assess all supporting documentation;
- Complete any application as necessary on the applicant’s behalf;
- Book the applicant’s biometrics appointment; and
- Prepare a complete bundle to be sent to UKVI.
If you require further information in relation to extending your visa in the UK on the basis of your spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation on 0161 826 6922.