Different UK visa routes available for your Thai partner
It is possible to bring your partner from Thailand to live with you in the UK and there are a few different routes that could allow you to do so. Which one is most suitable depends on your current relationship status and whether you are married or intend to get wed in the near future.
What is an Unmarried Partner visa?
An unmarried partner visa may be a suitable route for those couples who are in a long-term relationship and want to live in the UK together but are not yet ready for the commitment of marriage.
Once your Thai girlfriend or boyfriend has been granted an unmarried partner visa they have the right to both work and study whilst staying in UK with you – although they may not qualify for certain benefits or public funds until they have been granted ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) or full British citizenship.
The Home Office will require that you can submit relationship evidence with your visa application as well as other supporting documents.
Other evidence required to grant the unmarried partner visa include:
- Proof that any previous relationships you were involved in have come to an end
- You and your partner live together on a permanent basis
- Your partner meets the required English language requirement for the visa
- Financial documentation, such as a bank statement, to show that you can both meet the financial requirement of the immigration rules. This can take the form of documents pertaining to your income and any savings you have.
- Required documents that prove you have suitable accommodation available to both you and your Thai partner
- You partner be tested for tuberculosis if they are coming to the UK from Thailand for more than 6 months
The financial requirements of the unmarried partner UK visa
The UK government require any couples hoping to live together in the UK under the unmarried partner visa to be able to meet certain financial requirements. This means you, as the British sponsor, must meet the income threshold of £18,600 per year. This rises to £22,400 for those also sponsoring a child, and increases by a further £2,400 for any additional dependent family members.
Timescale for a unmarried partner visa
If your partner from Thailand is applying for the UK visa from outside of the UK then it could take around three months for the application to be granted. The processing time for those applying with the UK is around two months.
There are options to speed up this processing time if applying from overseas with many visa application centres offering a Settlement Priority Visa Service. Under this service, the settlement visa decision should be made within one month.
How long will my Thai partner be allowed to stay in the UK?
If granted an unmarried partner visa then your loved one will be able to stay in the UK with you for up to 33 months. Once this time limit is reached, your Thai partner can apply for an extension for a further 30 months. Once that period is reached, the next step is applying for permanent residence, ILR status and becoming a British citizen.
Applying for a UK Fiancé visa for your partner from Thailand
If you and your Thai national partner are planning to get married within the next six months then it may be suitable to apply for a UK fiancé visa so you can live together in the UK.
This UK visa does not allow your partner from Thailand to work or study during their time in the UK but as long as you get legally married with six months then your new Thai spouse can apply for a UK marriage/spouse visa.
Eligibility for a UK Fiancé visa application
To be a British sponsor you must be British citizen or settled in the UK on Indefinite Leave to Remain status. In addition, you must also be living in the UK at the time of application or entering the UK with your fiancé and planning to live together in the UK. There are also financial requirements that must be met including having a annual income of at least £18.600.
Your Thai applicant fiancé will need to meet the following criteria to be considered for a UK fiancé visa:
- You and your partner from Thailand must have met each other in person at least once before the date of the visa application
- You must be planning to get married within the next six months
- They must be able to support themselves and any dependant children financially without accessing public funds or claiming benefits. They will be required to submit bank statements to prove this.
- Have adequate accommodation available in the UK
- They must pass an accredited English language test
Cost and processing time of a UK fiancé visa
The Home Office will take around three months to process visa applications for Thai national applicants. If your partner is applying within the UK then the application will cost £1,048, while from outside the UK it has a visa application fee of £1,538.
Applying for a UK spouse visa for your Thailand partner
If you already have a Thai wife or husband then you can apply for them to come to the UK via the UK spouse visa route.
This visa allows your Thai spouse to work and study in the UK – although they are not permitted to claim benefits while in the UK on a spouse visa.
The spouse visa route is a first step towards permanent residence and initially allows you and your Thai partner to live together for 30 months in the UK. After these 30 months, the UK law allows for for the settlement visa to be extended for a further 30 months. Once five years has been met, the applicant can start the process to becoming a British citizen.
Qualifying for a UK spouse visa
You must be a British citizen or a UK settled person in order to sponsor a visa application. In addition, there are several requirements that must be met to allow your partner from Thailand to be granted a UK spouse visa including:
- They must be at least 18 years old and married in a civil partnership that is recognised by UK authorities.
- You must have both been living together in a relationship for the past 2 years and you have evidence to support this
- Able to pass the Genuine Relationship Test
- Meet the minimum income threshold and the financial requirement with evidence such as bank statements
- Demonstrate their knowledge of the English language to British embassy requirements by passing a English language test
- Have proof of suitable accommodation for themselves and any other dependents
- Pass a medical test to proof they don’t have Tuberculosis with a valid TB test certificate
Cost of applying for a Spouse visa
The basic cost of applying for a spouse visa is £1,538 if you are applying outside the UK and £1,048 if you are applying while in the country.
There are also additional charges for the UK settlement visa application to be completed including the cost of the English language test and the cost of having supporting documents provided by the applicant to be translated into English.
Converting spouse visa to ILR
It is possible to switch a UK spouse visa to ILR and allow your Thai spouse to gain citizenship so they can work, study and not be subjected to immigration rules.
Criteria to convert the spouse visa includes:
- Lived in the UK for at last five years with their sponsor
- Passed the Life in the UK test
- Not broken any immigration laws while in the country
- Can prove they are of good character
- Not spent longer than 180 days overseas in the 12 months prior to their application
How can London Immigration Lawyers help?
Our team of experienced London immigration lawyers understand the immense importance of securing Indefinite Leave to Remain. It is a pivotal step in the journey towards British citizenship, and we can guide you every step of the process. Luckily, our immigration lawyers are here to help.
Our immigration lawyers offer a fast-track application service that will make sure your Skilled Work Dependent Visa application is completed and submitted quickly. Our lawyers can work around the clock to ensure that your deadline is met. They can fill in the application form on your behalf and help you to gather all of the documents that you will require.
For more information about the Visa application process, or how we can help you to apply, get in touch today on 020 4502 8582.
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