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Spouse Visa Extension

If you’re a US-born citizen living in the UK on a Spouse/Civil Partner Visa, you are eligible to apply for another 30-month visa through a Spouse Visa extension.

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What is a UK Spouse Visa extension?

A spouse visa is available for persons who are not EEA residents (someone who is not from the European Union or European Economic Area), are married to a British citizen and want to live in the UK with their spouse.  This UK Spouse visa is initially valid for 30 months after which you can apply for a visa extension of another 30 months if you wish to continue living in the UK.

After your spouse visa extension expires and you have now lived in the UK for a total of 5 years, you will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This is a form of permanent residence and enables a person to live and work in the UK without restrictions.

Once someone has been living in the UK under Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) for 12 months, they will be eligible to apply for naturalization and become a British citizen. They will also become eligible to apply for a British passport.

What are the requirements for a UK Spouse Visa extension?

The requirements for a Spouse visa extension are similar to the requirements for the first Spouse Visa. You must be married to a UK citizen (or an individual who has ILR) and have the intention to continue living in the UK and of course, already have a Spouse Visa.

In addition to these requirements, applicants must meet these requirements:

  • Have a combined income with your partner/spouse of at least £18,600
  • Have not breached any law or immigration conditions
  • Have the ability to prove a certain level of English
  • Can meet the good character requirement

What is the relationship requirement?

In order to extend your Spouse Visa, you will need to prove that you are still in a genuine relationship and wish to continue it indefinitely. In addition to providing evidence of a long-term relationship such as a marriage/civil partnership certificate, the applicant must present further evidence that they have been living with their partner during their time in the UK.
Evidence that satisfies these requirements can include:

  •  Correspondence addressed to both the spouse and applicant at the same mailing address
  •  Joint mortgage or lease agreements
  • Council tax bills
  • Utility bills
  • Bank statements

Furthermore, any evidence provided must be in its original form, dated and headed on paper. Also, any marriage or civil partnership certificate must be validly recognized by the UK.

What is the financial requirement?

As it is with most visas, the applicants must provide evidence that they can financially sustain themselves whilst living in the UK. For a Spouse Visa extension, the financial requirements are as follows:

  • The applicant and their partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600
  • If the applicant has a child, the minimum income threshold rises to £22,400
  • The threshold increases by a further £2,400 for each additional child that the couple may have

Furthermore, the child must be under the age of 18, not from an EEA country and is dependent on the UK spouse and the applicant.

Additionally, there are other ways to meet the Spouse Visa extension financial requirement. This includes wages, an income from owning a business, income from property, income from being self-employed, income from stocks and shares, and savings (up to the amount of £16,000).

You will not need to fulfil the financial requirement if your UK spouse or partner is the recipient of one of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit
  • Police Injury Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
    Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under War Pensions Scheme

Recipients of these benefits will need to demonstrate that they receive enough money to financially provide for their partner, aka ‘adequate maintenance’. The amount needed will depend on the couple’s circumstances and if they have children.

What is the good character requirement?

In order to stay in the UK, spouse visa applicants must demonstrate that they meet character suitability conditions, aka the good character requirement.  For this, the Home Office will take into account your immigration history and conduct while you have been living in the UK.

If you have broken any laws or violated any terms of your visa, you will not meet the good character requirement and potentially be denied a Spouse Visa extension.  If this happens, the Home Office will then determine if you owe any money to the NHS or a litigation debt of some kind.

Generally speaking, those individuals who have been living lawfully and responsibly in the UK don’t need to worry too much about meeting this requirement and should have no problem in proving that they have met the character suitability conditions.

closeup of legs

Do I need an English test?

As a general rule, a spouse visa applicant must be able to demonstrate that they can adequately communicate in English whilst in the UK and therefore will need to pass an English test. However, if you are an American who is applying for a Spouse Visa Extension, you will most likely not need to take an English test as you are a national from an English-speaking country and satisfy the language requirements.

If you are not from an English-speaking country, you must pass an English language exam taken through an approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) Provider. This exam is valid for 2 years. You do not need an English Language test if you:

  • Are a national of a majority English speaking country
  • Are aged under 18 or over 65
  • Have a long-term physical or mental condition
  • Hold a degree or any educational establishment that was taught or researched in English. Your qualification will only be valid if confirmed by UK NARIC.

What forms do I need for a Spouse Visa extension?

In order to apply for a Spouse Visa extension, you must complete and submit the FLR(M) form. This form requires a variety of different information and documents. It is important to fill this out as correctly as possible as any mistakes no matter how small and minor may result in your Spouse Visa extension being refused.

If the Home Office determines that you have not provided enough sufficient evidence, they may request a face-to-face interview which you must attend.

As this is an important form for your visa extension, it is recommended that you seek advice and guidance from an immigration lawyer to make sure that everything is in order.

What documents do I need for a Spouse Visa extension?

In addition to the FLR(M) form, you will need to provide supporting documents relevant to your application. These may include:

  • Your current passport or other valid travel ID
  • Proof of your spouse’s UK status (ex: UK passport, Indefinite Leave to Remain)
  • Proof of your continued relationship (ex: marriage certificate, joint bank statements, any bill invoices addressed to the both of you, joint mortgage or lease agreements, etc)
  • Proof of meeting the financial requirement (ex: payslips, bank statements showing savings)
  • Certified English language test certificate (not really applicable for Americans as they are already from an English-speaking country)

You will need to provide documents in their original form. Electronic financial documents are acceptable if they are accompanied by a letter from the issuing authority. In addition, if you have had any previous passports that show a relevant visa stamp, you will be asked to submit a photocopy of that passport visa page along with a photocopy of the photo page.

What are the fees for a Spouse Visa extension?

To apply for an extension of your Spouse Visa, you will need to pay the following fees:

  • The Spouse Visa Application fee: £1,033
  • The Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): £19.20
  • Translation of any documents not written in English or Welsh (if applicable): cost will vary
  • Health Surcharge fee: £624 per year (£1560 in total)

The Health Surcharge is a fee that allows the visa recipient access to the National Health Service during their stay in the UK.   This fee is mandatory for any applicant wishing to stay and live in the UK longer than 6 months and is expected to be paid along with the Spouse Visa Application fee.

couple looking at lake

What is the application process for a Spouse Visa extension?

When you have completed the FLR(M) form and gathered all of your supporting documents and evidence, your application is ready to be sent off to the Home Office.  You may submit your application online or via post, just make sure to pay all the fees associated with the Spouse Visa extension application at this time.  Failure to make the payment in full may result in your application being automatically rejected.

You will receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks.  If you are in a hurry and need a quicker decision, you may pay for the super-priority service. This service costs an additional £800 and will process your application within 1-2 working days

What happens if my spouse visa extension is denied?

If you applied for a Spouse Visa extension and are denied, you will receive a rejection letter informing you of the reason why you were refused and what options are available to you. If the reason why you were denied is obvious and fixable, you can send in another application after you have rectified the problems in the first application.

You can challenge the Home Office’s decision if you find that your application has been unfairly refused.  This can be done through an official appeal or administrative review. If this is the case, your rejection letter should inform you which options are available to you for an appeal.

If all else fails, you may proceed with a Judicial Review although it should be noted that this is a lengthy and complicated process.

How can IAS help?

Contact us to be in touch with one of our expert immigration lawyers who can assist you with your application. Our lawyers are fully qualified and familiar with the UK Spouse Visa renewal process. They will confirm that your documents are sufficient to prove you and your partner’s relationship is genuine and will also provide a Letter of Representation to support your application.

Call us at +1 844 290 6312 or make an inquiry online to speak to an expert immigration lawyer about your circumstances.

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Frequently Asked Questions

In order to apply for a Spouse Visa renewal, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are in a genuine relationship that can be backed by evidence
  • You intend to continue living together in the UK
  • You must have an immigration history which reflects your good character and conduct
  • You need to continue to meet the Spouse Visa financial requirements.

If your UK Spouse Visa Extension application is rejected, you will have 14 days to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal. The First Tier Tribunal will then decide whether or not to hear your case.

Contact one of our immigration lawyers quickly to assist your appealing process. IAS houses experts in Spouse Visas and renewals. Your lawyer will be able to guide you through the stressful time of appealing a rejected Spouse Visa application.

Once you have applied for a UK Spouse Visa Extension, you should be able to stay in the UK for the full five years required for Indefinite Leave to Remain. These applications will require you to prove that you still meet all the requirements of your previous visa application.

The application for ILR will also have a number of other requirements which you will need to prepare for. These include a Life in the UK test and possibly further proof of English Language ability.

You cannot apply for permanent residency in the UK if you are a fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner.

More on ILR from a Spouse Visa

UK Spouse Visas are notoriously tricky to obtain. The applications are often lengthy and confusing, so it is best that you seek expert advice with this particular visa type.

At the Immigration Advice Service, we seek to make your Spouse Visa Renewal application successful in the UK by:

  • Ensuring you meet the financial requirements according to the minimum income threshold;
  • Checking your documents and evidence to prove your relationship is genuine;
  • Cooperate and liaise with the UK government from beginning to end of your application;
  • Complete each form to a professional standard;
  • Produce a personalized Letter of Representation. This will detail the merits of your case, along with supporting UK case law to ensure your chances of success are maximized.

Contact us on +1844 290 6312 or make an inquiry online to start your application for a UK Spouse Visa extension.