The UK Spouse Visa is a specific route in immigration law which allows overseas nationals to come and live with their loved ones in the UK. However, it can be a complex process as route is fraught with high refusal rates, hefty paperwork and complicated requirements.
Otherwise known as a ‘Marriage Visa’ or ‘Partner Visa’, the Spouse Visa UK permits overseas nationals to come and live in the UK with their British spouse for up to 30 months.
It is vital that the partner (‘sponsor’) of the applicant is either a British citizen or someone who has Settled Status in the UK. The couple must also be aged 18 or over.
Spouse Visa holders are permitted to gain employment in Britain, but they are prohibited from public funds such as carer’s allowance, social housing and Universal Credit.
Moreover, the rules, requirements and eligibility criteria of this route remain notoriously difficult to satisfy. The criteria can vary from applicant to applicant too, depending on your personal circumstances. It is also important to note that the Spouse Visa rules apply to all foreign nationals, including EEA citizens.
The Spouse Visa requirements have some complex criteria to overcome. In fact, it is arguably the hardest visa to apply for in the entirety of British immigration law.
Generally speaking, the Spouse Visa rules dictate that:
The applicant and his/her partner must also meet the following requirements:
It is important to note that the UK Spouse Visa is only applicable to couples who are legitimately married or who are in a civil partnership. Couples who are engaged or in a long-term relationship that is akin to marriage can instead apply for a Fiance Visa or Unmarried Partner Visa.
Furthermore, you must pass the ‘genuine relationship test’. This is a largely subjective test in which a UK immigration officer will closely assess your application and, ultimately, the sincerity of your relationship.
The Government considers this aspect of the application a priority in order to crack down on ‘sham marriages’ and ‘marriages of convenience’, meaning you must convince UKVI that your relationship is legitimate and not fraudulently arranged for visa purposes or immigration advantages.
Since this aspect of the Married Partner Visa is subjective, there is not a singular checklist of documents to submit. However, you might want to consider submitting the following documents in your application:
The visa sponsor (the British or settled spouse) must provide evidence of their earnings to prove that they meet the minimum income threshold of the UK Spouse Visa.
To satisfy this requirement, the UK-based spouse must earn at least £18,600 per annum. If there is one dependent (child) involved, this income requirement rises to £22,400. For any further dependents, the sponsor will need to earn an additional £2,400 per each child thereafter.
If for whatever reason the financial requirement cannot be met, UKVI will consider other means such as savings or any welfare support. Generally speaking, you should have at least £16,000 in savings between the two of you but you can also combine your savings and earnings if needed.
Spouse Visa applicants emigrating to the UK must be able to prove that they can speak and understand English at a certain level by sitting a test. The test can only be taken by an approved ‘Secure English Language Testing’ (SELT) provider.
The English test certificate will be valid for two years. You may need to re-take the test if you intend on renewing your UK Spouse Visa.
However, you can bypass this requirement if you come from an English-speaking country – or if you hold a degree/higher qualification that was taught in English that is approved by UK NARIC.
Those under the age of 18 and over 65, or anyone with a long-term physical or mental condition, are also exempt.
Another key aspect of the UK Spouse Visa is proving your accommodation is fit for purpose. It must meet UK living standards and must be big enough to accommodate the two of you. You will need additional bedrooms for children if you have any.
You will need to provide a written description of the property to prove that there is enough space for your family. You also need to prove that you can afford to pay the mortgage or tenancy agreement.
Children age 10 or over of the opposite sex are not permitted to share a room. However, children under the age of 10 can share a room and babies under one years old can share a bedroom with their parents.
Our immigration lawyers at 1 Absolute Advisor specialise in all aspects of UK family immigration law. We know how stressful it can be being separated from your loved ones, and we endeavour to reunite you as fast as possible.
If you need legal advice to help you with the Spouse Visa application, speak to our immigration lawyers today. As your ‘one Absolute Advisor’, our Spouse Visa lawyers will ensure you meet the requirements and will even help you to complete the application. Get in touch with us today for a free initial consultation on 0207 993 6762.