The UK Spouse Visa permits successful applicants to come and live with their loved one in the UK for a period of 30 months. Once this permission expires, the applicant can then choose to renew their Spouse Visa by seeking an extension for a further 30 months.
There is no guarantee that your Spouse Visa extension will be successful, even though your initial application was. Applicants must ensure that they still meet the Spouse Visa requirements.
You need to provide evidence again that you meet the financial requirements and that you remain in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
The good news is that the Spouse Visa extension is the last visa application that you will need to make. After accruing five years of continuous residency in the UK, you are eligible to switch onto the permanent status, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). You can achieve this by living in the UK under two consecutive Spouse Visas.
When you seek a Spouse Visa extension or renewal, you will need to prove that your relationship is still genuine and subsisting. You cannot provide the same information in your initial Spouse Visa as your application will need to be up to date.
You will need to submit evidence that you and your partner have been cohabitating in the UK throughout the duration of your Married Partner Visa (30 months). You can submit evidence such as council tax payments, utility bills and general correspondence to your joint address.
In order to be successful with your Spouse Visa renewal, you will also need to provide evidence that the pair of you plan on living together indefinitely.
Another key component of the Spouse Visa renewal application is proving that you are of ‘good character’. This is a term widely recognised in UK immigration law to mean that you are a law abiding and upstanding citizen in the UK. You must not have broken any laws or breached the terms and conditions of your initial 30-month Spouse Visa.
The good character requirement is nothing to worry about if you have lived lawfully in the UK, but you will need to pass the test again when you come to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship.
All applicants seeking entry into the UK via the Spouse Visa route will need to provide evidence of their English language ability which must be at an A2 level.
But there are complications for those seeking a Spouse Visa extension. Some applicants may have been exempt for their initial Partner Visa application, but will need to sit the test when applying for a renewal. If your certificate has since expired, you may also need to retake the test.
The Spouse Visa application has some of the toughest criteria across the UK immigration rules, and the Spouse Visa renewal is no different.
Applicants sometimes fail to prove that they meet the requirements as they apply under the assumption that they have already been granted a visa and so expect a positive outcome in their extension request. But UKVI continues to assess each application it receives impartially, and on a case-by-case basis.
Other applicants may no longer meet the minimum income requirement of £18,600. Fortunately, there are other ways to meet the financial requirements – but it can be complicated to calculate and compile the information correctly.
Finally, if you have been living separately from your spouse, you may have breached the terms of your Spouse Visa. Similarly, if your relationship has broken down, you may need to leave the country if you cannot switch onto another UK Visa such as the Skilled Worker Visa.
If you need assistance renewing the Spouse Visa, speak to our immigration lawyers today on 0207 993 6762.