What are the Spouse Visa requirements?
A UK Spouse Visa, also often referred to as a Marriage Visa, is a type of entry clearance used by married partners of British citizens and settled people.
In order to qualify for this form of visa, you need to meet certain eligibility requirements. Making sure that you meet these before you make a UK Spouse Visa application is essential if you want to ensure that your application is granted by the Home Office. The requirements for a Spouse Visa UK fall under four key categories: financial, relationship, accommodation, and English language. In order to be eligible for a Spousal Visa, you must fulfill each of these criteria.
Call us on 0161 826 9783 to find out more about what you need for this visa category, as well as learn more about how one of our Manchester immigration lawyers can help you prove that you meet them.
Requirements of a Spouse Visa UK
There are several requirements you must meet in order to be eligible for a Spouse Visa to UK.
Firstly, to be eligible for a Spousal Visa, you must be married to a British citizen or person who holds settled status in the UK. This can include someone who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
As well as this requirement, there are several others that you must meet in order to qualify for this category.
- Satisfying the ‘genuine relationship’ requirement
- Meeting the financial criteria
- Meeting the accommodation requirements
- Speaking and understanding English to the required standard
In order to be granted a Spouse Visa and be united with your partner in the UK, you must meet all of these requirements. If you do not meet them and you submit an application to the UKVI, you will have your Spouse Visa refused. If this happens, you will not receive a refund and you will need to submit a fresh application if you want to be considered.
If you want to find out more about what you need to apply for this type of visa, call our team of Manchester immigration lawyers on 0161 826 9783.
Spouse Visa application documents
To show that you meet all of the criteria for a UK Marriage Visa, you must submit several documents along with your application forms.
These documents should be extensive and clearly displayed so that the reviewing caseworker can properly process them.
- Proof that your relationship with your partner is genuine and subsisting: photographs of the two of you together, chat logs, phone conversations, money transfers, tickets from events you attended together, shared bank statements, joint mortgages, social media relationship statuses
- Proof that you have met eachother at least once since being married to one another: videos, photographs, travel tickets
- Evidence that the applicant can speak and understand English to the required level: passport English-speaking country, English-taught degree, a certificate from passing an English language test from a registered provider
- Evidence you meet the financial criteria: bank statements, salary slips, job contracts
- Evidence you meet the accommodation requirements: mortgage documents, tenancy agreement, temporary accommodation bookings
- Your respective birth and marriage certificates
Genuine relationship test
To be eligible for any type of UK Partner Visa, you must show that your relationship with your partner is “genuine and subsisting”. This requirement is often referred to as the ‘Genuine Relationship Test”.
To show that your marriage is genuine, you need to show that it is not a marriage of convenience or a ‘sham marriage’. This is when you marry someone purely for the sake of getting a UK Visa. The Home Office is trained to spot fraudulent marriages, so it highly advised you do not attempt this route if your relationship is not a real one.
You can use various documents to show that your relationship with your partner is real (see the Documents section above).
You must show that your relationship with your partner is real and you intend to stay married to them. You must also show that you have physically met them at least once and that you communicate with each other.
Spouse Visa financial criteria
You must meet the Spouse Visa financial requirements in order to be granted this form of Family Visa.
These require you and your partner to have a joint income of at least £18,600 (gross) per annum. Per each dependent child you have; this increases by £3,800 for your first child and by £2,400 for each further child you have after this.
This can be made of either your, your partner’s, or a combination of the two of you. It can be sourced from any of the following:
- Stocks and shares
- Property lettings
- Savings (this must be to the value of £16,000 maximum, and the rest must come from any of the above sources)
English language guidelines for Spouse Visas
You must be able to demonstrate that you can understand and speak English to the required standard in order to get a Partner Visa for the UK.
You can show this by demonstrating any of the following:
- That you have previously passed an English language test with a registered provider (such as IELTS) and that you did this to the required level (A1 or higher)
- That you have a degree that was taught in English, from a recognised educational institution
- That you are national of a country of which English is the first language (for example, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc)
Accommodation requirements for Marriage Visas
You are required to prove that you and your partner intend to live together once in the UK and that you have made efforts to set this up. This accommodation can include:
- A rented property
- An owned/mortgaged property
- Temporary accommodation (like a hotel or temporary letting)
This accommodation must be of an ‘adequate’ standard according to the UK Living Conditions criteria. For a couple, this can be one room with a shared bed. For each dependent child you have with you who is over the age of one there must be another bedroom and bed. Children between the ages one and nine can share a bedroom, but any children who are older than nine must have their own bedroom. You must show that you intend to live together not just when you arrive but for the duration of your stay while on a Spouse Visa in UK.
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A Spouse Visa application takes 12 weeks to process on average. If your case is particularly complex it can take longer.
If you are worried about your application taking longer than usual to process, or you have a strict timeframe you and your partner need to work within, you can opt to use a type of fast-track service offered by the Home Office. This allows your application to be processed at the UKVI’s Premium Service Centre. If you opt for this service, your application will be processed within two weeks, providing there are no major complications.
If you are engaged to be married to a British citizen who person who holds settled status in the UK you cannot qualify for a Spousal Visa. However, you may be eligible for a Fiance Visa.
This is another type of Family Visa that grants you leave in the UK on the premise that you will use this time to marry your partner. Once you and your partner have been married, you can then switch to a Spouse Visa in-country.
You can work once you hold leave to remain as a spouse in the UK. You do not have any restrictions on where you can work or what you can do. You can work in full or part-time employment, be self-employed or volunteer. You can also invest in property and stocks and bonds if you wish.
You are not able to study when living in the UK with a Fiance Visa, as this type of leave to remain does not allow it. However, once you have switched onto a Spousal Visa, if you choose to do this, you can then start working in the UK.
If you are concerned that you do not meet one or more of the requirements for a UK Partner Visa, it is advised that you do not apply for a Spouse Visa. This is because if you have your visa refused because you are ineligible, you will not be eligible for a refund or appeal.
Immigration Lawyers Manchester can help you if you are unsure about whether you meet the Marriage Visa requirements. We can advise you on the documents you could potentially use to show you meet the criteria, as well as the steps you could take if you are not currently eligible for this category.