UK Spouse Visa Services
UK spouse visa refusal rates are increasing. Eliminate the risk of refusal and secure your UK spouse visa first time with our expert advice and representation.
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UK Spouse Visa Overview
If you’re married to a British citizen or permanent resident, a spouse visa makes it possible to join them and build a life together in the UK. However, like all immigration matters, applying for a UK spouse visa can be complicated. There are requirements you have to meet, and proving your eligibility can be both difficult and time-consuming. To make matters even more challenging, applications are often refused due to minor administrative errors and more serious issues.
At Sterling Immigration, our experienced immigration lawyers can help you navigate the process of applying for your UK spouse visa. This includes collecting documentation, submitting the completed application, and dealing with UK immigration authorities on your behalf. We understand the importance of reuniting families and take pride in helping couples build their lives together in the UK.
How Can Sterling Immigration Help With Your UK Spouse Visa?
We have years of experience preparing and submitting UK visa applications and can provide assistance tailored to your needs. Here are some of the benefits of hiring Sterling Immigration to handle your UK spouse visa.
- Trusted Guidance and Advice: Sterling Immigration has in-depth knowledge and understanding of the UK immigration system. We can offer personalized advice based on your specific circumstances, ensuring you understand the requirements and eligibility criteria.
- Case Assessment: We will conduct a detailed assessment of your situation to identify any potential challenges or issues that might arise during the application process. By identifying these early on, we can help you address them effectively and proactively.
- Application Preparation: We can assist you in gathering and organizing all the necessary documents and evidence for your UK spouse visa application. We understand the importance of thorough and accurate documentation to strengthen your case and will work to minimize the risk of delays or refusals.
- Application Submission: Sterling Immigration will assist you in completing all the required forms accurately and ensure that your application is submitted on time.
- Communication and Representation: Throughout the process, Sterling Immigration will act as your liaison with the UK authorities. We will handle all communication with the Home Office on your behalf and keep you informed about the progress of your application.
- Appeals and Reviews: If your visa application is denied, Sterling Immigration can guide you through the appeals and review process. They will help you understand your options and work towards resolving any issues that may have led to the refusal.
By enlisting our services, you can have peace of mind knowing that experienced professionals are taking care of your application. We will keep you updated and informed at every step, making the process less stressful for you.
Applying for your initial UK Spouse Visa
You must meet four fundamental requirements to apply for a UK spouse visa. Understanding and satisfying these criteria are crucial for a successful application.
You will have to demonstrate that you and your sponsor will have adequate accommodation once you arrive in the UK. This requirement aims to ensure that you will have a suitable and stable place to live as a couple without the need for housing assistance from public funds.
This means that the sponsor must have either-
- Their own home; or
- A rented accommodation owned or leased by a private landlord; or
- Be accommodated by family or friends.
The property must also be considered suitable for your family size and in an acceptable location.
The evidence required to support your application will vary depending on whether you will live in the United Kingdom with family or friends, rent your own accommodation, or own a private residence.
English Language Proficiency
Depending on your country of origin, there are different ways to meet this requirement. For example, you may be exempt if you are a national of an English-speaking country or have completed a degree taught in English.
The UK Appendix FM Maintenance requirements address the financial conditions that applicants must meet when applying for a UK spouse visa. These requirements are put in place to ensure that the applicant and their spouse can sustain themselves financially without relying on the UK’s public funds.
To fulfil the maintenance requirements, the sponsoring partner must have an annual income of at least £18,600 or savings amounting to at least £62,500. It is important to note that the income requirement will be higher if the couple has children or anticipates having children in the future.
In cases where the sponsor fails to meet these thresholds, a financial guarantor may step in. This party must provide a written statement confirming their agreement to support the applicant financially.
- Sponsors must furnish evidence of their employment status, which may include a formal letter from their employer verifying their job position and salary.
- For those who are self-employed, providing evidence of income, such as tax returns or accounts, is essential.
- All submitted documents adhere to the exact format specified by the UK immigration authorities, and the combination of documents must precisely align with the guidelines outlined in the immigration rules.
You and your sponsor must demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and subsisting. This can be done by providing documents that showcase your history together, such as photographs, joint financial commitments, communication records, and testimonials from family and friends. The evidence provided should be recent and cover the relationship’s entire duration.
Accommodation Standards for UK Visa Approval
Ensuring that you have suitable accommodation in the UK is crucial for a successful Spouse Visa application.
Adequate Housing Evidence
To demonstrate suitable accommodation for the applicant and any dependents, various types of evidence are required. These may include:
- Property deeds,
- Mortgage documents,
- Tenancy agreements,
- Letters from landlords or family/friends,
- Utility bills,
- Housing report prepared by a Chartered Surveyor.
Overcoming Accommodation Obstacles
Failure to provide sufficient evidence of accommodation in the UK is a common reason for refusal of UK Spouse Visa applications. Potential issues with housing arrangements in the UK Spouse Visa application process can be addressed through various strategies. These may include obtaining additional documentation, seeking legal advice, and exploring alternative housing options.
UK Spouse Visa Processing Time
The Home Office’s standard processing time for spouse visa applications submitted from outside the United Kingdom is 60 business days.
Decisions on applications to switch status from a fiancé visa to a spouse visa or extend status as a spouse from within the United Kingdom are usually finalised within eight weeks.
Should you want to have your application for a UK spouse visa expedited, you can pay for the Priority or Super Priority Visa Service. You can expect your application to be finalised and a decision rendered within thirty business days.
How Long is a UK Spouse Visa Valid For?
If your application for a UK Spouse Visa from overseas is approved, your initial spouse visa will be valid for 33 months. If you apply to change your status from a fiance visa to a spouse visa, you will be granted permission to remain in the UK for 30 months.
Before your initial spouse visa expires, you must apply to UKVI to extend your stay. If your application for an extension of stay is approved, you will be granted further leave to remain in the UK for 30 months.
After living in the UK for five years as a spouse, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Extending a UK Spouse Visa
To eventually obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent residence), you must lawfully reside in the UK for at least five years, which means that your initial UK spouse visa will have to be extended for another two-and-a-half-year period. To apply for this extension, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must remain married to your British sponsor and your marriage must remain genuine and subsisting.
- You must have lived with your spouse in the UK for at least two years before the date of your application.
- You must pass the Life in the UK Test and meet the English language requirements.
- You must be able to support yourself and any dependents without relying on public funds.
- You must not have a criminal record or pose a threat to national security.
- You must meet the suitability requirements for the UK spouse visa extension, including complying with UK immigration laws.
When applying for the extension, you will need to provide supporting documents, including your valid passport, evidence of your relationship, proof of your partner’s immigration status in the UK, and the visa application fee. Additionally, evidence of your relationship with your partner, such as photographs, shared bills or bank statements, and joint tenancy or mortgage agreements, is crucial.
During the application process, the UKVI may request an interview to verify your relationship with your spouse. Being well-prepared, honest, and having all the necessary evidence on hand is essential for a successful interview.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
To qualify for permanent residence, known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK on a spouse visa, you must meet the following key eligibility criteria:
- Residency Period: You must have lived in the UK on a valid spouse visa for at least five years. This is the minimum continuous period of residence required to be eligible for ILR.
- Lawful Residence: Throughout your five-year residency period, you must have maintained lawful status and complied with all immigration rules and regulations.
- Genuine and Subsisting Relationship: You must provide evidence that your marriage to your British partner is genuine and subsisting. The UKVI will assess the authenticity of your relationship, looking for evidence such as joint financial commitments, shared living arrangements, and communication records.
- Financial Requirements: You must demonstrate that you and your British partner meet the financial requirements for ILR. This typically involves proving that you have enough income or savings to support yourselves and any dependents without relying on public funds.
- Language and Knowledge Test: As part of your ILR application, you must pass the Life in the UK test and meet English language proficiency requirements. This involves demonstrating your understanding of British life, history, and society as well as your ability to communicate in English.
- Good Character: You should have a clean criminal record, free of any criminal activities or immigration violations.
- Continuous Residence: It’s important to ensure that you have not spent long periods of time outside the UK during your five-year residency period. There are strict rules about absences, and prolonged time spent abroad may impact your eligibility for ILR.
As the ILR application process is a significant step towards settling permanently in the UK, it is recommended to seek guidance from an immigration lawyer to ensure that you meet all the criteria.
Do You Have Questions About UK Spouse Visas?
The legal and evidential criteria for entering the UK as a spouse or partner have become increasingly stringent. With UK spouse visa appeal waiting times now exceeding a year, it is crucial to have a well-prepared application from the start to secure a successful outcome.
At Sterling Immigration, we are dedicated to facilitating a swift and seamless transition into the next exciting chapter of your family life, with minimal disruption and expense. Our experienced team will guide you through the extensive requirements of the Immigration Rules and Policy Guidance, particularly concerning the financial criteria. We understand the significance of meeting these standards and will work diligently to increase your chances of approval. For more information, please schedule a consultation today.
UK Legal Advice
UK Immigration Frequently Asked Questions
Our team of UK immigration lawyers will handle your case promptly and diligently until you achieve the desired outcome. Your dedicated UK immigration attorney will provide you with an estimated processing period for your case and keep you informed through each stage of the UK visa process. To expedite the processing of your application, we will ensure that your forms are meticulously completed and that you provide sufficient supporting documentation.
However, please note that the UKVI processing time depends on several factors including the volume of cases the UKVI is receiving and whether there are any priority programs where UKVI gives precedence to applicants from war torn countries or countries affected by natural disasters.
We can offer a fast-track service if your application is time sensitive. Please schedule a consultation to learn more about this package and all the services provided by our immigration lawyers.
Hiring one of our qualified UK immigration attorneys can offer several benefits when applying for a visa. Here are some of the advantages:
- Expertise and Knowledge: Our UK immigration attorneys specialize in all aspects of UK immigration law and are well-versed in the complexities of the UK visa application process. They stay updated with the latest changes in immigration laws and regulations, ensuring that your application is accurate and compliant.
- Personalized Advice: Our immigration attorneys can assess your specific circumstances, understand your immigration goals, and provide tailored advice based on your situation. They can determine the most suitable visa category for you, explain the requirements, and help you gather the necessary supporting documents.
- Application Preparation: Immigration lawyers can assist you in completing and organizing your visa application. They have experience in preparing the necessary paperwork, filling out forms correctly, and ensuring that all required documentation is included. This can help reduce the chances of errors or omissions that could lead to delays or a rejected application.
- Increased Approval Chances: With their expertise, our qualified UK immigration lawyers can identify any potential weaknesses or issues in your application and address them proactively. They can highlight your qualifications, skills, and experiences effectively to demonstrate your eligibility for the visa. This can increase your chances of a successful application.
- Legal Representation: If your visa application is complex or encounters challenges, having one of our skilled immigration lawyers on your side can be invaluable. They can communicate with the UK Home Office or immigration authorities on your behalf, prepare detailed and persuasive legal submissions and provide guidance throughout the process.
Time and Stress Management: Navigating the UK visa application process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the requirements. By hiring one of our immigration lawyers, you can offload the paperwork, legal aspects, and administrative tasks to them, allowing you to focus on other important matters.
Our experienced UK immigration attorneys provide specialist legal advice and representation on all aspects of UK immigration law, to individuals and businesses. Our services can be classified as:
- Initial Immigration Consultations
- Immigration Application Preparation and Submission (Full Representation)
- Immigration Application Checking Service
- Sponsor License Applications and Corporate Immigration Services
Regardless of the service you require, you can be assured that you will have direct access to a specialist UK immigration lawyer who has an in-depth understanding of UK immigration law and procedure. Our flexible services are delivered professionally and are tailored to your individual situation. Please schedule a consultation to learn more about our cost-effective UK immigration solutions and the services provided by our immigration lawyers.
The current fee for a spouse visa application is £1,846 when applying from abroad. However, if you submit your application from within the UK, the cost is reduced to £1,048. It’s important to note that this fee will increase if you are applying with dependents, with additional charges for each dependent included in the application.
In addition to the visa application fee, there may be other expenses associated with your UK Spouse Visa application:
- Qualified Translation Services: If any of your supporting documents are not in English or Welsh, you’ll need to pay for qualified translation services.
- Approved English Test: For many applicants, taking an approved English test is mandatory. You’ll need to pay for this test to demonstrate your language proficiency.
- Priority Premium Service: If you wish to receive a response from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) within five working days, you can opt for the Home Office’s Priority Premium Service, but it will incur additional fees.
- Immigration Health Surcharge: Along with the visa application fee, you will also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. This surcharge provides access to the National Health Service (NHS) during your stay in the UK.
A UK immigration lawyer will let you know what to expect in terms of cost.
When your UK spouse visa application is denied, it can be a distressing and frustrating experience. However, you can usually appeal the refusal and possibly reapply, so you shouldn’t give up hope. Here’s what you can do if your UK spouse visa application is refused:
- Review the Reasons for Refusal: The letter will outline the specific reasons for the refusal. Understanding these reasons is crucial, as it will help you identify any weaknesses in your initial application.
- Seek Professional Advice: Consider seeking advice and guidance from an experienced immigration lawyer. They can review your refusal letter and provide you with valuable insights on how to address the issues and strengthen your reapplication.
- Appeal or Administrative Review: In some cases, you may have the option to appeal the decision or request an administrative review. Remember that there are strict deadlines for submitting appeals or administrative reviews, so act promptly if you wish to pursue this option.
- Reapply: If you are unable to appeal or request a review, or if your appeal or review is unsuccessful, you may be able to reapply for a UK spouse visa. Address the issues raised in the refusal letter and provide additional evidence or documentation to strengthen your case.
Remember, each case is unique, and the steps to take after a refusal will depend on the specific circumstances of your application. Seeking professional advice and guidance can improve your chances of success in the future.
Suppose you are planning to marry a British citizen or permanent resident and you are currently engaged. In that case, you will need to apply for either a UK Fiancé Visa or a UK Marriage Visitor Visa.
If your application is successful, the visa granted will be valid for a period of six months. Even if you are from a country that typically doesn’t require a visa for short visits to the UK, you will still need to obtain this specific visa if your purpose is to get married in the country.
Some general requirements for a UK Spouse Visa include:
Relationship Requirements: You and your partner must be legally married, and your marriage must be recognized as a legal marriage by UKVI. You must intend to live together permanently in the UK.
Financial Requirements: The sponsoring partner (British citizen or settled person) must meet the minimum income requirement. This includes income from employment or self-employment, pensions, savings, and non-work income. If you have dependent children, additional financial requirements may apply.
Accommodation Requirements: You must have suitable accommodation for you, your partner, and any dependents without relying on public funds. The property must meet the Home Office’s accommodation standards.
English Language Proficiency: In most cases, you and your partner must prove your knowledge of the English language by passing an approved English language test or by demonstrating that you are a citizen of a majority English-speaking country.
Application Form and Documents: You’ll need to complete the online visa application form and submit it with supporting documents, such as marriage or civil partnership certificates, proof of relationship, financial documents, and evidence of accommodation.
Tuberculosis Test: Depending on your country of residence, you may need to undergo a tuberculosis (TB) test.
Health Insurance: You may need to show evidence of health insurance coverage.
It’s important to note that immigration rules can change, and there may be additional requirements or changes to existing ones. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a qualified immigration advisor to ensure that you have the most up-to-date and accurate information before applying for a UK Spouse Visa.
UK Spouse Visa holders enjoy full rights to work in the UK and are not subject to any restrictions. There are no limitations on the type of employment which can be undertaken or the industries in which you can work. If you hold a UK Spouse Visa, you have the complete right to work in the UK without any restrictions. You can work in any industry or take up any type of employment you want. There are no limitations imposed on the type of work you can undertake.
If you’re planning to tie the knot in the UK, you will be pleased to know that there are two UK immigration routes available to you: the Marriage Visit Visa and the Fiancé Visa.
The Marriage Visit visa is perfect for those who want to visit the UK to marry or give notice of marriage in the UK. You cannot extend this visa or switch into another UK immigration category.
The Fiancé Visa is ideal if you want to get married to a British or Irish Citizen in the UK or a holder of Indefinite Leave to Remain. This visa allows you to enter the UK and get married within 6 months of your arrival. After your marriage you can apply for a Spouse Visa and remain in the UK for a further 30 months.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) allows the holder to stay in the UK on a permanent basis without being subject to immigration control. After completing a period of 5 years (or 60 months) in the UK on the Spouse Visa, you can proceed with applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain. To do this, other eligibility criteria must be met. Obtaining ILR offers several advantages, such as the ability to live and work in the UK without restrictions, and it serves as a stepping stone to British Citizenship.
If you are applying for a UK Spouse Visa, you need to prove that you have suitable accommodation for yourself, your partner, and any dependents. To fulfil this requirement, our team of UK immigration lawyers can arrange for a certified surveyor to visit your property and create a detailed accommodation report that can be submitted along with your application. This report will help you comply with the Immigration Rules and increase your chances of a successful UK Spouse Visa application.