The UK Spouse Visa
The UK Spouse visa – also known as a marriage visa – is a settlement visa for partners of British citizens (including those in a civil partnership) or persons with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. It allows an individual to join their married partner to settle permanently if they meet the necessary requirements. If the applicant and the sponsor are not married but are in a genuine relationship as partners, they are able to apply for an Unmarried Partner visa, providing they can show they’ve been living together in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application.
Requirements for a UK Spouse visa application
In order to qualify for a UK Spouse visa you will need to meet the following UK Visas and Immigration criteria:
- Your partner is British or holds Indefinite Leave to Remain
- You are both over the age of 18
- You have met in person and are legally married
- Your relationship is genuine and you intend to live together permanently
- Any previous relationships must have broken down permanently
- You will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds
- There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents
- You must satisfy a basic English language requirement in speaking and listening to at least level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
Financial requirement for a UK Spouse visa
To show that you can be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds, you will need to demonstrate that your spouse (or both of you jointly, if you are in the UK with valid leave to remain) has a gross annual income of at least:
- £18,600; plus
- £3,800 for a first child (who is not British, settled or an EEA national); plus
- £2,400 for each additional child (who is not British, settled or an EEA national)
You can meet the UK Spouse visa financial requirement through salaried and non-salaried income; self-employed income; salary and/or dividends from a company of which you are a director; property rental income; dividends and income from investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds; pension income; insurance payments; maintenance payments and cash savings above £16,000 that have been held for at least six months, unless you can demonstrate that they have come from the sale of property or investments within the last 6 months.
In some circumstances it is possible to rely on a combination of the above sources of income to satisfy the requirements.
Different rules will apply if your spouse is in receipt of certain benefits.
Suitability criteria for entry clearance as a spouse
The requirements you need to meet, as set out in the Immigration Rules are:
- You must not be the subject of a deportation order
- You must meet the requirement that your entry to the UK will not be a bar because you have been convicted of an offence for which you have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment or because your conduct, character or associations make it undesirable to grant you entry clearance
- You must not have submitted false information, representations or documents in relation to the application or have failed to disclose material facts in relation to the application
- Within the period of 12 months prior to the date on which the application is submitted, you must not have been convicted of or admitted an offence for which you have received a non-custodial sentence or other out of court disposal that is recorded on your criminal record
- You must not have failed to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office or have failed to pay charges in accordance with the relevant NHS regulations in a previous entry to the UK
UK visa validity
If your application for a UK Spouse visa is successful, your visa will be valid for 33 months initially. If you apply for leave to remain in the UK as a spouse, then you will be granted leave which will be valid for 30 months.
Before the initial grant of your visa expires, you will need to apply to UK Visas and Immigration to extend your stay. If your application for further leave to remain as a spouse is successful, then you will be granted further leave to remain for a period of 30 months.
After spending five years in the UK as the spouse of a British citizen or settled person, you will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
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