Spouse Visa eligibility requirements
There are several Spouse Visa requirements that you need to meet in order to get a Spouse or Partner Visa for the UK. These are relationship, financial, English language, and accommodation based.
This type of visa allows you to live in the UK with your British/settled partner for 33 months. It can be extended and the time you hold it can be used to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. To be eligible, you must prove that your relationship with your spouse is genuine. The Home Office and UKVI are wary of sham and fraud marriages, as well as marriages of convenience.
For more information about the requirements for Spousal Visas, call our team of specialist immigration solicitors and lawyers on 0333 305 3612.
What are the requirements for a Spouse Visa in the UK?
To be eligible for a Spouse Visa UK, you must be married to a person who holds British citizenship or settled status. There are several requirements which you must meet in order to prove that you qualify for this category of Family Visa.
The requirements for a UK Partner Visa are as follows:
- Genuine relationship requirement
- Financial requirements
- Accommodation requirement
- English language requirements
You must meet all these conditions in order to get a Spousal Visa and join your partner in the UK. If you do not meet them, it is advised that you do not make an application, or that you seek the help of an immigration lawyer for clarification. Home Office fees are non-refundable, and the Spouse Visa application fee currently sits at £1,033- £1,523.
What are the Partner Visa application documents?
- Proof that your relationship is real: photographs of you together, chat logs, call logs, gifts, shared bank accounts, money transfers, social media relationship status updates
- Proof you have met each other: travel tickets, photographs, videos, tickets from events attended together
- Proof that you can speak and understand English to the required standard: results of IELTS test, an English-taught degree, passport from an English-speaking country
- Proof that you and your partner meet the minimum income requirement: bank statements, job contracts (which include salary), wage slips
- Proof that you meet the accommodation requirement: shared tenancy agreement, shared mortgage, booking confirmation from temporary accommodation (e.g at an Airbnb)
- Proof that you are either married or have lived with each other in a genuine relationship for two years or more: marriage certificate, proof of shared tenancy (see above) for the set period
You should be careful when selecting the documents, you provide; the Home Office will penalise applications that it judges to include too little or too much supporting evidence.
Spousal Visa relationship requirements
To be eligible for this kind of visa, you need to meet certain requirements which show your relationship with your UK sponsor is “genuine and subsisting”. This is called the ‘Genuine Relationship Test’.
To prove that your relationship is genuine, you must show that you have either:
- Been married to and physically met your partner at least once (for a Spouse Visa application)
- Lived with your partner in a committed relationship for at least two years (for an Unmarried Partner Visa application)
In both types of Partner Visa application, you must prove that you communicate with your partner, that you have spent a significant time with each other (whether that’s virtually or in person, which varies depending on the type of application you are making).
To do this you can provide:
- Proof of your marriage (a marriage certificate)
- Proof that you have lived together in a loving, committed relationship for at least two years (proof of a shared tenancy, or shared mortgage)
- Proof of shared finances (shared bank account, proof of substantial monetary transactions)
- Proof that you have bought tickets, gifts, or meals bought for each other)
- Proof of your correspondence with one another (either online, via the phone, on social media etc)
If the Home Office suspects that the evidence you provide is either insufficient, or they judge it to be manipulative, your application will be failed on account of suspected fraud.
Spouse Visa financial requirements
The financial requirements for a UK Spousal Visa state that you can only be eligible if you and your British/settled sponsoring partner earn a combined gross annual income of £18,600.
This can be sourced from any of the following:
- Employment salary
- Self-employment earnings
- Money from stocks and shares
- Income from lettings if you are a landlord
- Savings (up to the value of £16,000)
Other costs to consider
On top of the application fee (£1,523 for out of country applications and £1,033 for in-country applications), there are several other hidden costs involved with a Spouse/Partner Visa application.
- The Immigration Health Surcharge (a fee to use NHS services during your stay) of £1,200 (out of country applications) or £1,000 (in-country applications)
- Housing report cost of £80 – £120
- English language test cost of £573 (out of country applications) or £500-800 (in-country applications)
- Document translations of £300 or more Spouse Visa English language requirements
Although having these extra funds is not part of the official Spouse Visa financial criteria, it is a requirement if you are considering making an application for this visa category.
Spouse Visa English language requirement
You must be able to prove that you can speak and understand English to a proficient standard in order to be eligible for this immigration category.
You can do this by showing any of the following:
- That you have passed an English language test, such as an IELTS exam, to the required level (with IELTS, this is A1 or higher)
- That you hold a degree from a recognised institution that was taught in English
- That you are from a country where English is the first spoken language, like the USA, Australia, or Canada
Accommodation requirements for a Partner Visa
You must show that you and your UK-based partner/spouse have adequate accommodation for you and any family members who are applying with you. This can be:
- A rented property
- A mortgaged/owned property
- Temporary accommodation, such as a holiday home or hotel
You should note that there are guidelines on what constitutes ‘adequate’ according to Home Office guidelines. For a couple, this is one room with a shared bed. For each child over the age of one, there must a further bedroom. Children between the ages of one and nine and share with one another, but older children must have their own room.
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A Spouse or Partner Visa lasts for 33 months. After this, you can apply to extend it for a further 33 months. If you wish, you can then move onto full settlement in the UK, which is often referred to as Indefinite Leave to Remain (or, ILR).
The average Spouse Visa processing time is 12 weeks. However, depending on the complexity of your case, it can take longer.
If you are concerned about this, or you have a strict timeframe to work within, you can apply to have your application processed at a Premium Service Centre. If you do this, your visa is usually processed in two weeks or less
If you are engaged to a British national or person who holds settled status in the UK, you may be able to qualify for a Fiancé Visa.
This visa lasts six months and allows you to travel to the UK to get married to your partner. After this time, you can switch to a Spouse Visa from within the UK if you wish to remain here.
Yes, you are free to work during your time as the spouse or partner of your British sponsor. You are not restricted by how many hours you can work, and you can work in any job/be self-employed.
You are not eligible to work while you live in the UK as the fiancé of a British person (on a Fiancé Visa). However, once you have switched to the spouse category (if you choose to do this) you will become eligible to work.