What is the Spouse Visa?
The Spouse Visa is part of the UK family visa category, this visa allows spouses and civil partners of British citizens or settled persons to join them in the UK. The Spouse Visa grants you the right to both live and work in the UK, it is granted for an initial period of 30 months but can also be extended.
To be eligible for the Spouse Visa you must either be married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or settled person, as well as this you must be able to demonstrate a knowledge of the English language, pass the genuine relationship test, meet the financial requirements and have proof of adequate accommodation in the UK.
The Spouse Visa can also be used as a route to permanent settlement in the UK, after living in the country for at least 5 years with a Spouse Visa you could be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Once you hold Indefinite Leave to Remain you could also be eligible to become a British citizen.
The Spouse Visa processing time
It usually takes between 2 to 12 weeks for a Spouse Visa case to be processed but this time can vary depending on the documents provided and the country where the application is submitted from.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic 90% of non-settlement visa applications made outside the UK, which includes the Spouse Visa category, were processed within 3 weeks. 98% were processed within 6 weeks and 100% were processed within 12 weeks.
Processing times may currently be longer due to the impacts that the pandemic has had on the UK immigration process.
Making sure your application is completed correctly and that you have submitted all of the necessary documents can help to ensure that your visa application won’t be delayed.
The Home Office also offer a Priority Service that reduces the visa processing times. With the regular priority service the processing time for your UK visa application could be reduced to 5 working days. There is also a Super Priority Service, this service allows you to receive a decision from the Home Office by the next working day.
Because of coronavirus (COVID-19) there’s a limit on how many people can apply for the priority services, currently this option is closed to UK Spouse Visa applications but it may reopen.
The Spouse Visa application process
When considering the time it will take for you to obtain a Spouse Visa you should not only be aware of the processing times once your application has been submitted, but also the time it will take for you to complete the Spouse Visa application process.
Applying for a Spouse Visa can be a complex and time-consuming process. You will need to complete the application form and gather a substantial portfolio of evidence to prove to the Home Office that you can meet the requirements.
Documents you will need to gather include:
- Your original marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Proof that you and your partner have been living together for at least the past two years
- A valid passport to get leave to remain in the UK
- A valid certificate to meet the English language requirement
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof that the relationship is genuine
- Proof that you meet the income threshold and the financial requirement
- Proof that you are married to a British citizen or settled person (for example, UK citizens can submit a copy of their passport)
If any of your documents are not written in English the Home Office requires you to accompany them with translated versions from a professional translator.
Once you have applied you will also need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre to provide your biometric information, this is your photograph and fingerprints.
The Spouse Visa extension
If you wish to remain in the UK beyond the validity period of your Spouse Visa then you can apply for a UK Spouse Visa extension. A Spouse Visa extension will allow you to stay in the UK for a further 30 months, after which you could be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
To be eligible for a Spouse Visa extension you will need to continue to meet the original Spouse Visa requirements, including being able to prove that your relationship is genuine and meeting the financial requirements.
The processing time for a Spouse Visa extension is usually no more than eight weeks, you can also use the Home Office super priority service to receive a quicker decision.
How can London Immigration Lawyers help?
Applying for a Spouse Visa can be a lengthy and stressful process, combined with the Spouse Visa processing time this means that it can take a very long time to be able to obtain a UK Spouse Visa. Luckily, our immigration lawyers are here to help.
Our immigration lawyers offer a fast-track application service that will make sure your UK Spouse 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 Spouse Visa application process, or how we can help you to apply, get in touch today on 020 4502 8582.
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