Spouse/Partner Visa

Who is this route for?

You can apply for a family visa if your spouse/partner is either a British or Irish Citizen; is settled in the UK (i.e. has indefinite leave to enter/remain, settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (‘EUSS’), or permanent residence under the EU Regulations); or they have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK. You can also apply for a family visa if your sponsor has pre-settled status under the EUSS and your relationship began on or after 1 January 2021. If your spouse/partner has either settled or pre-settled status under the EUSS and your relationship began on or before 31 December 2020, you should consider applying for a family permit instead of a family visa.

If you are currently in the UK as a visitor, you are generally not allowed to apply for permission to remain in the UK as a spouse/partner and will need to make an entry clearance application from abroad. In the event that you do submit an application whilst in the UK, and you happen to be either a visitor or have exceeded your permitted stay, your application will be evaluated based on Human Rights considerations as stipulated in specific sections outlined in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.

If your application is approved on Human Rights grounds, you will be placed on the 10-year route to settlement, with a requirement to renew your permission to reside in the UK every two and a half years. You can switch onto the 5-year route to settlement at any time if you meet all of the suitability and eligibility criteria. If you are already in the UK on another immigration route, you may be allowed to switch into the family route.

Holders of family settlement visas (with the exception of those will leave as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner) are permitted to work and study in the UK.

What are the general eligibility requirements?

  • You must be either the spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of a British Citizen; Irish Citizen; a person with indefinite leave to enter/remain in the UK; an EEA National with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme; or a person with refugee status or Humanitarian Protection in the UK.
  • You must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship as at the date of application, with a requirement to have met your spouse/partner in person.
  • You must be able to satisfy the financial requirement, unless exceptional circumstances apply:
    • Financial Requirement
      A very important factor for most settlement visas is ensuring that you meet the financial requirement. Only the following sources of income can be counted toward the financial requirement for the purposes of an application for entry clearance:

      1. income of the sponsor from specified employment or self-employment, which, in respect of a sponsor returning to the UK with the applicant, can include specified employment or self-employment overseas and in the UK (the sponsor must be able to evidence that they have a job offer in the UK, or if they are self-employed, evidence of prospective self-employment income in the UK);
      2. specified pension income of the applicant and/or sponsor;
      3. any specified maternity allowance or bereavement benefit received by the applicant or sponsor in the UK, or any specified payment relating to service in HM Forces received by the applicant or sponsor;
      4. other specified income of the applicant and sponsor (this refers to non-employment income such as rental income or income from dividends and shares); and
      5. specified savings of £16,000 of the applicant and/or sponsor in addition to savings of an amount equivalent to 2.5 times the amount which is the difference between the gross annual income from the sources listed above, and the total amount required.

      Where the applicant is applying for limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain from within the UK, then they can rely on their own employment/self-employment income to satisfy the financial requirement.

      The minimum income threshold for an applicant who is making their first application on or after 11 April 2024 is £29,000 per annum.

      There is no separate element for children where the initial application is submitted on or after 11 April 2024.

      A person who has permission as a partner on the five-year route to settlement, or as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, at the date of application, must meet the transitional financial requirement if they made an application for entry clearance or permission to stay as a fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, or partner under Appendix FM before 11 April 2024, which was successful:

      If you have dependent children who also require a visa to live in the UK, then the annual income you must receive is greater. Below is a table of the financial requirement needed to be met:

      Family member How much you need to earn before tax
      Spouse/partner only £18,600
      Spouse/partner & 1 child £22,400
      Spouse/partner & 2 children £24,800
      Spouse/partner & 3 children £27,200
      Spouse/partner & 4 children or more £29,000
    • If the sponsor is in receipt of any of the following benefits or allowances in the UK, the applicant may be able to meet the financial requirement at that application stage by providing evidence of “adequate maintenance” rather than meeting an income threshold:
      • 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
      • Police Injury Pension
      • Child Disability Payment
      • Adult Disability Payment
  • You must be able to satisfy the English language requirement by passing an approved English language test or; providing specified evidence of having a degree or other academic qualification taught or researched in English or; being a national of a majority English speaking country as set out in the Immigration Rules or; qualifying for an exemption.
  • You must be able to satisfy the accommodation requirement, by providing suitable evidence that there is somewhere for you to live in the UK.
  • You may also need to take a tuberculosis test, depending on where you have lived in the 6 months immediately prior to the date of application.

How long can I stay in the UK?

If applying for entry clearance from outside of the UK, the initial visa is granted for a period of 33 months. The exception to this is if you apply for entry clearance as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, in which case entry clearance will be granted for 6 months. If applying for limited leave to remain from within the UK (other than as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner), then permission will be granted for a period of 30 months. You cannot apply for limited leave to remain as a fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner unless you have already applied for and been granted entry clearance as a fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner. After 60 months’ continuous residence on the 5-year route, or 120 months on the 10-year route, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (otherwise known as settlement). Your period of continuous residence in the UK does not include time spent in the UK with permission as a fiancé(e)/proposed civil partner.

There is a prohibition on employment whilst you are in the UK as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, and you may be billed for medical treatment so should have travel or medical insurance in place before arriving in the UK.

Can dependants join me on this route?

Children under 18 years of age are allowed to enter the country as your dependents, however, you should submit an application for them when you apply for your visa. Your sponsoring partner will be required to show an income for a certain amount and this level may vary depending on the number of dependent children requiring sponsorship. Children who are British Citizens and/or Irish Citizens do not need a visa to enter the UK and will not be counted when calculating the minimum income threshold. The same applies to children who have settled in the UK, meaning there is no time limit on how long they can reside in the UK.

Matters relating to children can be complex, particularly where the child’s other parent is not your spouse/partner. If you are unsure whether or not your child will qualify for permission to enter or remain in the UK with you, it is recommended that you obtain legal advice before submitting an application.

What happens if the relationship ends?

If your relationship comes to an end whilst you have limited permission to remain in or enter the UK, you will need to notify the Home Office, who will decide whether or not to curtail your visa. They will consider whether or not there are compassionate reasons as to why you should be allowed remain in the UK. If your partner passes away whilst you have limited leave to enter or remain in the UK or you are the victim of domestic violence, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to enter or remain.

How much does it cost?

  • Application fee if you apply from outside of the UK – £1,846.00 per person
  • Application fee if you apply from within the UK – £1,048.00 per person
  • Immigration Health Surcharge – £1,035.00 per annum for applicants 18 years of age and over, and £776.00 per annum for applicants under the age of 18:
    • For entry clearance applications:
      • £3,105.00 per adult
      • £2,328.00 per child
    • For in-country applications:
      • £2,587.50 per adult
      • £1,940.00 per child

How long does it take?

You can only apply for initial entry clearance from your country of residency, and standard processing time is 24-weeks as at today’s date for a Family Settlement Visa. You may be able to pay an additional fee for the priority service, and will be given more details on this and/when you submit the application.

If you are applying from within the UK, standard processing time is 8-weeks where all of the requirements are met, or where not all of the requirements are met, standard processing time is currently set at 12 months.

When should I apply?

The earliest date that you can submit the application, is 6-months before you intend to travel to the UK. Entry clearance will take effect from a date chosen by UK Visas & Immigration, who will take into account your preferred date of entry as specified on the application form. If you are applying from within the UK, you can apply at any time.

If you require assistance with applying for a family settlement visa, please contact us for a quote.

For more information on our legal services, please get in contact so that we can provide you with a quote for the same.

Learn More
Family Visa Services

Spouse/Partner Visa

This route is for the spouse, partner, or fiancé(e) of a British Citizen or legally settled person.

Adult Dependent Relative Visa

This route is for adult dependants wishing to join family in the UK.

Parent Visa

This route is for the parent of a British Citizen or settled child already living in the UK.

Dependent Child Visa

This route is for children seeking to accompany or join a family member to the UK.

Get in Touch

With years of experience working in UK immigration and Litigation law, our advisors can help you understand the process and take the right steps toward obtaining your goals. Get in touch today.