Can you switch from a student visa to a spouse visa?
In order to make a successful spouse visa application you must met certain eligibility requirements and be able to supply documentary evidence.
The spouse visa is suitable for those who relationship status is one of the following:
- Married or in a civil partnership recognised in the UK
- Lived together in a relationship for at least 2 years at the time of application
- A fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership within six months of arriving in the UK
Criteria for being granted a spouse visa
For spouse visa applications to be successful, applicants must also be able to prove to the visa application centre the following criteria:
- You and your spouse or civil partner are at least 18 years of age
- Your spouse or civil partner must either be a British national, have settled in the UK with indefinite leave to remain or have settled status
- You and your spouse or civil partner must plan live together permanently in the UK and you have adequate accommodation arranged
- You have sufficient knowledge of the English language.
- You can financially support yourself and any dependants
English language requirements
Spouse visas require applicants to have a knowledge of English and have passed an approved English language test. However, if you are a degree certificate or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English as part of your time spent as a student visa holder in the UK then this will be accepted as proof of your knowledge of English.
You are not required to prove your English language skills if you are coming to the UK from a country that is a majority English speaking country. You are also exempt from the English language immigration rules if you over 65 or have a physical or mental condition.
Financial requirement for a Spouse visa application
UK immigration rules require those applying for a spouse visa from a student visa to be able to show they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their time in the UK. This part of the application process can be complex and applicants may want to seek advice from specialist immigration lawyers to ensure they met the eligibility criteria.
Spouse visa applicants must show they meet the minimum salary requirement by providing evidence their sponsor’s income.
Your spouse must proof they have a gross annual salary of £18,600 and be able to provide specified documents such as bank statement to met the suitability criteria. The required income increases if there is one or more dependent child included on the visa application –
- 1 child – £22,400 per annum
- 2 children – £24,800 per annum
- 3 children – £27,200 per annum
If your sponsor does not met the financial requirements then it is possible to use savings as part of the application. To be accepted for the spouse visa you must have a minimum of £16,000 in cash savings plus any shortfall between the income and the amount required, multiplied by 2.5 – again this must be proved via bank statements or other supporting documents.
Moving from student visa to spouse visa
To switch from a student UK visa you will need to make an online application for a spouse visa. You will need to make an appointment to provide your biometric information to the local immigration centre as well as provide relevant documents, application fee etc.
The current fee for moving from a student visa to a spouse visa, if applying from within the UK, is £1033. In addition, you will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and a fee to process your biometric information.
Timescale for switching to a spouse visa
Current processing times for moving from a student visa to a spouse visa is around three months, although you can opt for the super priority service that speeds up the application significantly but does attract a higher processing fee.
How long is a spouse visa valid?
Spouse visas are initially granted for 30 months but you can apply for a spouse visa extension for a further 30 months – you must apply to extend your visa before it expires.
Advantages of Spouse visa
Once granted a spouse visa you are eligible to work while living in the UK. This means you can take employment at a UK company, be self-employed, or earn an income via property or stock investments. However, you are not allowed to access public funds including benefits during your time in the UK.
The next step once you have a valid spouse visa is to move towards being granted indefinite leave to remain and becoming a British national or British citizen.
Under ILR you are allowed to live in the UK without being subject to UK visa restrictions meaning you can work and study without conditions. In addition, you are able to visit outside the UK and return to the UK freely.
To be granted ILR status you need to:
- Have lived in the UK with a valid UK visa for the last five years
- Not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in the 12 months before making your leave to remain visa application
- Pass the Life in the UK test requirement and have a valid pass certificate
- Demonstrate the ‘good character’ Home Office requirements
- Supply biometric residence permit information
- Meet the same minimum income requirement for your visa (£18,600 per couple)
- Not have breached any UK immigration rules or laws
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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