Marrying in the UK
If you have a partner who is a British citizen or a settled person in the UK, you need to apply under the family visa route for a Fiancé visa. This ensures you a civil partner can enter the country and stay for up to six months specifically to marry your partner.
The Fiancé visa cannot be extended and can only be used for the above purpose. In most cases, people who want to then remain in the UK with their partner would apply for a Spouse visa.
Applying for a Spouse visa
The Spouse visa also comes under the immigration restrictions as the partner or family visa route into the UK. You will need to apply for the visa once you have married your British citizen or settled partner and can prove you are in a ‘“genuine relationship”.
There are many other eligibility criteria and requirements you need to meet, including:
- Passing the “genuine relationship” test
- Meeting the financial requirement – you must have an income of £18,000 and be able to support yourself in the UK without accessing public funds
- Having suitable accommodation for you and your partner and any dependants
- Prove your knowledge of English to A1 level with a Secure English Language Test (SELT)
A successful Spouse visa application gives you 30 months of leave. The application fee for a Spouse visa is £1523 from outside the UK but if you have got married inside the UK and are applying from in-country, the application costs £1033. For each dependant added to your visa, the costs are the same as citizenship application alone. You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge for each year you are in the UK.
Applying for indefinite leave to remain
After you have got your Spouse visa, you can apply to settle after five years by applying for indefinite leave to remain. As the Spouse visa only grants 30 months of leave on the first application, you will need to apply to extend your visa before it expires. This will automatically grant you a further two and a half years of leave.
To be granted an extension, the Home Office will need to see proof that your income, living situation and “genuine relationship” still stands. Spouse visas are notoriously a hard visa category to apply for, as the Home Office are looking for evidence of “sham” marriages, or fake relationships solely to get an individual into the UK. Therefore, it is incredibly important that you can provide as much documentary evidence supporting documents as you can to support your application.
Indefinite leave to remain requirements
Applying for indefinite leave to remain means meeting the below requirements:
- Knowledge of English – if you passed at A1 level when you applied for your first Spouse visa, you will have needed to take the test again for extension to prove A2 level. However for indefinite leave to remain, you will need to prove at least a B1 level of English by taking another SELT.
- Pass the Life in the UK test
- Have been resident in the UK continuously without gaps any longer than 180 days in any 12 month period
- Show that you meet the minimum income requirement
- Your relationship with your spouse is continuing and you have been living together
You should not apply for indefinite leave to remain until 28 days before you complete your five years under your Spouse visa.
After you are awarded indefinite leave to remain, you can apply for British citizenship after 12 months.
EU Nationals and settled status
If you and/or your partner were living in the UK on or before 1st January 2021, and you are from an EU country, you may be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in the UK. Otherwise, you’ll be able to apply for a family permit so your EU, EEA or Swiss family member can join you if they are outside of the country.
This will entitle your family member to stay for up to six months and apply for the EU Settlement Scheme during that time. Depending on the outcome of your application, you will either get settled permanent resident or pre-settled status. Which status you are given depends on how long you have been living in the UK.
Settled status applies to those who have had five years continuous residency and you can stay for as long as you like, and get married if you haven’t already. Pre-settled status is for anyone who has anything less than five years continuous residency. You can also apply for settled status as soon as you have been in the UK for five years. You do not need to have held pre-settled status for any length of time to make the switch.
Manchester Immigration Lawyers Can Help
Our team has decades of combined experience making successful applications for clients for not only Spouse visas but indefinite leave to remain. We believe passionately in our clients having the best chance to come to the UK to build their lives together.
If you have any queries about joining your partner in the UK, applying for a Spouse visa or attaining settlement in the UK after marriage, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are available online and by phone on 0203 411 1966.