UK Spouse Visa Application Requirements
The UK Spouse Visa permits holders to come to the UK to live with their partner for up to two and a half years. The UK Spouse Visa application process can however be complex and the Home Office has introduced more rigorous requirements in recent years which visa applicants will need to be aware of when making their application.
Spouse visa eligibility requirements
To be eligible for a UK Spouse Visa, as a non-EEA national:
- Both you and your spouse must be 18 or over, and
- Your spouse must be a British citizen, settled in the UK through Indefinite Leave to Remain, settled status or permanent residence, or have refugee status/humanitarian protection
There are a number of relationship requirements you must also fulfil. You must intend to live with your spouse permanently in the UK and you must either be in a civil partnership or marriage that is legally recognised in the UK.
When making a UK Spouse Visa application you will need to provide evidence of your relationship status.
If you are married or in a civil partnership you should provide your certificate of marriage or partnership. If this is not in English it should be translated.
To be granted a UK Spouse Visa the Home Office must be confident your relationship with your UK partner is ‘genuine’ and ‘subsisting’. You may need to provide:
- Proof of communications – text messages, social media chats or call logs between you and your partner.
- Proof of joint residency – evidence such as joint mortgage statements, joint tenancy agreements, and joint bank account statements.
- Pictures of you and partner together at difference times in your relationship – it may be helpful to date these.
- Travel documents that show dates you have visited each other
- Divorce certificate if either party has been married or in a civil partnership in the past
When you enter the UK on a spouse visa you will be eligible to work but do not have the right to claim public funds such as tax credits or housing assistance. In most cases, for your visa to be approved, you must meet the financial requirement to prove you can support yourself without recourse to public funds
If you and your partner have no dependent children, you must have a joint income of at least £18,600 and if you have children this increased by £3,800 for one child and a further £2,400 for every child after that.
This income requirement can be met by pay from employment, self-employment, cash savings (if more than £16,000), pensions or maternity pay. You will need to prove this income through bank statements, payslips and letters from employers.
There are some other key requirements you will need to fulfil:
- English language ability – unless you are over 65, are from an exempt country, or have a disability, you must meet an English language requirement. This involves taking a language test in an approved centre.
- Tuberculosis (TB) screening – If you are applying from certain countries you must include a certificate that shows you have been screened at an approved centre for tuberculosis (TB).
- Living arrangements – You must show that the property you intend to live in is owned or occupied exclusively by your family.
When making a UK Spouse Visa Application it is important to include as much supporting evidence as possible. This can strengthen your case is presented in the right way. You can consider:
- A statement from a third party – If there are third parties– family members, friends, employers – or either in the UK your home country who can make a statement on your behalf to support your application, this may help your submission
- A statement from you and your partner – A written supporting letter from you and your partner can help to highlight the merits of your application.
What happens after you’ve submitted your application?
When you’ve made your UK Spouse Visa Application you will be asked to attend an appointment at a UK visa centre to provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). You’ll be told how to make this appointment when you submit your application.
If your application is successful you will then need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge that grants your access to NHS services.
If your application is successful, you will be issued a permit allowing you to come to the UK during a 30-day period. From your date of arrival in the UK, you will have ten days in which to collect your biometric residence permit (BRP). Failure to do so could result in a fine or your visa being cancelled.
If you do not arrive in the UK within the 30 day period, you will need to pay to apply for a new 30-day entry permit.
Your visa will be valid for up to 2 and half years, at which point you should apply to extend your visa to maintain lawful status in the UK. After 5 years of UK lawful residence, you may become eligible to apply to settle in the UK.