British citizens and settled persons who have a spouse living outside the United Kingdom can take them to the UK through the Spouse Visa, which falls under the Family visa category.
The spouse visa is a UK family visa, and it is the type of visa you will need if you want to enter and remain in the UK to live with a family member for more than 6 months. Besides the Spouse Visa, other types of UK Family visas include:
What is the Spouse Visa UK?
UK spouse visa, also known as Marriage Visa in UK, is a type of visa established for people who wish to join their partner (spouse / fiance), who is a citizen or a resident of the United Kingdom with no immigration restrictions.
How to apply for a UK Spouse Visa?
You will need to apply online if you are applying from outside of the UK. You will also have to complete the form VAF4A.
Whereas, if you are in the UK you have two choices. You can apply online, or by post. You can also apply at a premium service center. In order to do so you will have to fill in the form and book an appointment, or make an online application and book an appointment.
UK Spouse Visa Eligibility Criteria
The UK resident, and the applicant that wants to join him / her in the UK, both must fulfill some criteria set by the Immigration Authorities in the UK. The main requirement is that both, the resident and the applicant must be over 18, since the British law does not recognize marriage under the age of 18. The other eligibility criteria are as follows:
- the person you want to join must be a British citizen
- your marriage or civil partnership must be recognized in the UK
- your relationship must be at least two years old when you apply (this is to prevent arranged marriages which the British law does not recognize)
- If you are a fiance you must show proof you will marry within 6 months
- If you are a proposed civil partnership you must show proof that within 6 months, you will be entering into a civil partnership
- The partner living in the UK must meet the financial requirement
- The applicant must meet the English language requirements
Relationship Legitimacy for UK Visa
In order for you to be eligible for a UK Spouse Visa, your relationship must be recognized by the UK authorities. This is the first part of your application towards obtaining a UK visa. You should be very careful when submitting proof for your marriage / relationship because if the embassy or consulate where you are applying at suspects that you are in a fake marriage / relationship for visa benefits, they will automatically refuse your visa application.
The applicant and the UK resident need to submit the marriage certificate issued by the government or other formal governments from other countries, as an evidence of a registered marriage.
Civil Partnership is called the relationship between same sex couple. Though not recognized as a marriage, the Civil partnership couples have the same rights as married couples.
Traditional marriages that are not registered are not legally recognized, therefore these relationships must be registered at Home Affairs.
Fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
If you’re applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, you will have to submit proof that your previous marriage(s) or civil partnership(s) have ended, if any. And also you will have to show proof that you plan to marry with your partner within 6 months of arrival in the UK.
Spouse Visa Financial Requirements
This is the most important part of your application, that many fail to fulfill, therefore have their visas rejected. The UK doesn’t want to bring people that are not capable of financially maintaining themselves, therefore they are requiring from them to be able to earn a minimum amount of money.
The UK visa policy has foreseen that for a person to bring a non-EU citizen to the UK, they have to prove they have enough financial funds to sponsor both. If you are bringing your spouse / civil partner / fiance to the UK you must prove that you both have a combined income of at least £18,600 a year. You might also use your saving to prove you have enough funds.
If you are planning to bring to the UK your children who aren’t British nationals or EEA nationals, alongside with your partner, you will have to:
- earn an extra £3,800 for your first child
- earn an extra £2,400 for each child you have after your first child
- Every legal source of income can be counted in order for you to meet the income requirement, as:
- your salary, if you earn it in the UK
- cash savings above £16,000
- pension money
- non-work income, i.e. property rentals or dividends
In order to prove your income you will have to submit proof, as:
- bank statements of the partner already residing in the UK
- 6 months of payslips
- A letter from an employer which includes the job title, the period he or she has worked there, the current salary and also payslips
Spouse Visa Language Requirements
One of the very important UK Spouse visa requirements is that of English language knowledge. When you submit your visa application, you shall also submit some document that proves your English knowledge.
You can prove your knowledge in English by:
- submitting a document or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English, which is recognized by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher
- taking an approved English language test and passing it with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening.
Here you can find a list of approved English language tests and providers.
Who needs the proof of English language proficiency?
Exempt from English knowledge requirement are the residents of the countries listed below:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
And also applicants that belong to one of the categories listed below:
- Applicants over 65
- Applicants coming to be cared for by a relative
- Applicants with a physical or medical condition that prevents them from meeting the requirement
What Are the Required Documents for a UK Spouse Visa?
The main UK visa required documents that you will have to submit when you go to meet with the consular officer are the below listed:
- Valid passport with at least an empty page in order to be able to affix visa
- previous passports
- 2 passport sized color photos
- Proof of English language requirement
- Proof of financial means
- Proof of relationship as photos of you two together, etc.
Aside of these documents you will also have to submit other supporting documents that will give the following information to the consular officer:
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- Details of any previous immigration applications, if any
- Details of any criminal convictions, if any
- Your national insurance number, if any
- Your parents’ date of birth and nationality if you’re applying from outside the UK
- Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
- You will have to provide a translation of any document that isn’t in English or Welsh
Visa fees depend on the way you apply. If you apply outside the UK to join your partner you will have to pay a fee of £1,464. Whereas if you apply in the UK online or by post the fee will cost to you £993, and £1,583 if you apply in the UK in person with the premium service.
You will have to pay an extra £1,464 for each dependant if you apply outside the UK, £993 if you apply in the UK online or by post and £1,583 if you apply in the UK in person with the premium service.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Spouse Visa?
Usually the process takes us to 12 weeks to be processed, or up to 8 weeks if you apply within the UK either online or by post. On the other hand, if you apply in person in UK then you will get an answer regarding your Spouse Visa application, within a day
However, application processing might take longer if:
- you do not meet the income requirement
- cannot prove your English knowledge
- need to attend an interview
- have a criminal record
- haven’t provided all of the required documents
In general, if you have applied to join your spouse, you will get a permission to stay in the UK for 2 years and 6 months, whereas if you have applied as a fiance or proposed civil partner, you will be permitted to stay for six months. After this period you will have to extend your stay.
UK Spouse Visa Extension
You will be permitted to apply for visa extension, 28 days before the expiration of your current UK visa. Among others, your will have to prove that you and your partner have been continuously living together during your time in the UK, in order to get a visa extension.