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The UK Spouse, Partner or Civil Partner visa rules allow a partner of a British national or a person who is settled in the UK to apply for leave to enter or leave to remain (ILR) in the UK as long as you meet the UK government’s requirements. This includes knowledge of the English language, evidence of a genuine and lasting relationship and the ability to meet financial requirements.
If all requirements are met, entry visas are issued for an initial period of two and a half years and can be extended for a further two and a half years. Upon completion of five years under this category, you may be eligible to apply for settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as the settled person’s partner. If you are married to a British Citizen and you meet the conditions of your stay, you may be eligible to apply for British Citizenship on completion of the three year period in the UK.
Applicants may be joined or accompanied by a partner and dependent children under the age of 18. Your dependent partner can work or study in the UK.
To prove your relationship is genuine for the spouse visa, you will need to provide more than just your marriage certificate. The documents you provide to show that your relationship is genuine will be subjective to you and will depend on your situation. You should obtain anything that shows you are in a continuous relationship such as evidence of calls, texts or email communications between you and your partner if you are living apart or evidence of living together such as joint bank statements or joint bills. You can also get photos of time spent together and statements from friends and family. If you have any children together, you can use any documents related to your child such as their birth certificate if you are both named as parents.
If you’re not married, you will need to show that you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply. This can include providing doctor or dentist letters, having a joint bank account, shared utility bills, or voting registration confirmation to demonstrate that you live at the same address. In addition, you could provide evidence of being in a relationship such as travel tickets, anniversary cards, or photos taken together.
For the spouse visa, you must show that you earn at least £18,600 per year or that you have considerable savings in your bank account instead. There are multiple ways that you can meet the financial requirement for the spouse visa depending on your situation and how you earn an income.
The visa you apply for depends on your situation. The spouse visa is for people who have been in a relationship and living together for at least 2 years akin to marriage, or those that are married. The fiancé visa is for people who plan to get married in the UK. The spouse visa is initially granted for 2 and a half years and leads to settlement in the UK, whereas the fiancé visa is a short-term visa lasting for 6 months and does not lead directly to settlement.
The standard processing time for a spouse visa for someone applying from outside of the UK is 24 weeks. For those applying from within the UK, the processing time is typically 6-8 weeks. Before you apply for the visa, it will also take some time to complete the online application form and gather all the information and documentation required, which could take around 2-6 weeks. In addition, if you need to sit an English language test, it will take time to book the test and receive the test certificate. Similarly, if your documents need to be translated into English, this can take a few weeks depending on the translation company. All these factors will need to be considered when weighing up how long it will take to apply for this visa.
The spouse visa application fee costs £1538 if you are applying from outside of the UK and £1048 if you are applying inside the UK. You must also show that you meet the financial requirement of having an income of at least £18,600 per year. There are other additional costs involved with bringing your spouse to the UK such as doing an English language test, having any documents translated and applying for a TB test if required.
A subsisting relationship is one that is ongoing and continuous. In other words, just getting married is not enough, it must be a long-term relationship. If you are unmarried, you will need to show that you have lived together in a relationship for at least 2 years. Just showing that you live together is not enough, however. You will also need to prove that you are a couple, perhaps you travel together, have children together or have joint commitments like pets, finances or property.
The process of applying for a UK Spouse visa can be lengthy and frustrating without the right guidance. Bridge Partners have years of experience and have successfully assisted many entry clearance and in-country applications for spouse and partner visas.