If you are a non-EU national and you wish to join your spouse in the United Kingdom (‘UK’), you would be required to apply for a spousal visa.
Length of visa
A spouse visa is initially granted for 33 months, after which you would need to apply for Further Leave to Remain (‘FLR’) from within the UK for a further 30 months. You are permitted to continue living 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.
Spouse visa holders also have full rights to work and study in the UK.
Key spouse visa requirements
In order to apply for a spouse visa, you would be required to satisfy the following key requirements:
- Your spouse must be a British Citizen or have Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’) in the UK
- You and your spouse must be over 18 years of age.
- You must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
- You must have adequate accommodation available to you in the UK.
- Your spouse must be able to satisfy the financial requirement by earning a minimum of £18,600 gross per annum or have sufficient cash savings.
- You must satisfy the English language requirement.
- You may also need to take a TB test depending on which country you are applying from.
Must be a British Citizen or have ILR in the UK
Your spouse must be a British Citizen or have ILR in the UK. Your spouse will be required to provide confirmation of his/her status by either providing their British passport or their Biometric Residence Permit (‘BRP’).
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 living together or evidence of communication. Photographs are key documents, as they evidence that you and your partner have met in person.
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; orIt contravenes public health regulations.
Should you and your spouse wish to initially reside at a family or friends 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
Your spouse who is a British Citizen or has ILR in the UK will be required to show that he/she earns a gross annual income of £18,600 or you may rely on non-employment income and cash savings held by either you, your partner, or both jointly
There are 5 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
Financial requirement Exemptions
You can be exempt from meeting the financial requirements if your spouse is in receipt of any the following:
- 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 publics 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 A1 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 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 e.g. USA.
Can I bring my children to the UK?
Children under the age of 18 are allowed to join you in the UK. However, your spouse will be required to earn an additional £3,800, e.g. £22,400 in total for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each other child. Please refer to the table below.
|Family Member||How much you need to earn per year before tax|
|Your spouse only||£18,600|
|Your spouse and 1 child||£22,400|
|Each additional child||+£2,400|
What if the application is refused?
If your spousal visa application is refused and you feel the decision by the Entry Clearance Officer (‘ECO’) is unfair and incorrect in law, you would be entitled to a right of appeal.
If your application for a spouse visa was made out of the UK, you will have 28 days to submit the appeal.
However, if your application for a spouse visa was made within the UK, you will only have 14 days to submit the appeal.
Should the need arise, we will be able to advise you of the appeal process and represent you in preparing for the 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 a UK spouse visa, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation on 0161 826 6922.