USA and the UK
- What is a UK Spouse/Partner Visa?
- Who is eligible for a Spouse Visa?
- What are the requirements for a UK Marriage Visa?
- How do you prove that your relationship is genuine?
- How do you prove that your relationship is genuine?
- What are the financial requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?
- What is the Spouse Visa UK application process?
- What documents are required for a UK Spouse/Partner Visa?
- What is the cost of a UK Spouse/Partner Visa?
- Who needs to take an English Language Test?
- What services does IAS offer?
- What can I do if my Spouse Visa application is rejected?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a UK Spouse/Partner Visa?
The UK Spouse/Partner visa allows for non-European Economic Area (EEA) spouses and civil partners of UK citizens, UK Settled persons, or UK refugees to settle in the UK with their spouse/partner for up to 30 months. Extensions for a Spouse/Partner visa can be extended for another 30 months by filing for a spouse visa extension application. If approved, the foreign spouse or partner can then make the necessary steps towards applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain and even British citizenship after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.
Individuals granted a UK Spouse Visa are eligible to live and lawfully work or study in the UK without the need for an employer or student sponsorship. However, foreign nationals in the UK under UK Spouse visas can not claim public funds.
Who is eligible for a Spouse Visa?
To be eligible to apply for a Spouse Visa, visa applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Both partners/spouses are at least 18 years old
- Both partners/spouses are married or in a civil partnership that is recognized by the UK government as lawful
- The foreign-born spouse or partner is married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or UK Settled Person
- Both partners/spouses can prove that they have been living together for the past 2 years and that their relationship is genuine
- The foreign national is engaged or holds a UK Fiance Visa where they will get married within 6 months of being in the UK
What are the requirements for a UK Marriage Visa?
UK Marriage visa applications are scrutinized closely by the UK Home Office to make sure that each relationship is genuine and not fraudulent. As a result, UK spouse visa applications must be able to meet the following criteria:
- The application contains all the necessary and required documents
- The relationship between the two applicants is considered genuine
- Both spouses/partners are able to meet the minimum income threshold and other financial requirements
- The foreign spouse/partner has adequate knowledge of the English language
- The spouses/partners can provide proof of suitable accommodation for themselves and any dependents who may travel or live with them in the UK
- The foreign-born spouse or partner has had their biometrics (photograph and fingerprints) collected
- The application includes a clear Tuberculosis (TB) Test from the foreign-born applicant (only if applying from certain countries where this is a requirement)
How do you prove that your relationship is genuine?
In order to prove that your relationship is genuine and not fraudulent for the purposes of immigration or other illegal activity, you will need to prove to the UK Home Office that your relationship is genuine by providing evidence of cohabitation and/or other evidence relating to a sustained relationship history. This may include the following:
- A joint mortgage or tenancy agreement (this can be at a residence in or outside the UK)
- Birth certificates of any children born within the relationship or other suitable evidence of shared children
- Photographic evidence of both partners together (to show that the couple has spent time together frequently)
- Shared financial accounts (joint bank account, joint savings, etc)
- Evidence of communication between the spouses/partners (ex. text messages, social media chats, etc)
- Any travel documents which prove the couple has met at least once before marriage
- Any documents which prove an intention that both spouse/partners will live together in the UK
What are the financial requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?
In order to apply for a UK Spouse Visa, all visa applicants must be able to prove that they can adequately support themselves while they are living in the UK. To prove that the couple will not be dependent on public funds, the couple will need to meet the following spouse visa financial requirements:
- The UK Spouse/Partner has an income of at least £18,600 before tax (if the couple does not have any dependent children)
- The UK Spouse/Partner has an income of at least £22,400 before tax (if the couple has 1 dependent child who is not a UK or Irish citizen)
For each additional child, the UK spouse/partner will need to make an extra £2,400 per child. If the couple is unable to meet these income requirements, you may rely on savings that total at least £16,000, or use a combination of savings and income earnings.
Furthermore, income can include earnings from either employment or self-employment, money obtained through pensions, income generated from rent or shares, or maternity, paternity, adoption, or sick pay.
Foreign spouses/partners who are working in the UK can use their earnings to count toward the income total amount. Those who are applying from outside the UK will not be able to use their earnings to count toward the total income amount, however, they can use their savings.
What is the Spouse Visa UK application process?
Applications for a UK Spouse Visa can be made online through the gov.uk website. You can apply outside of your country of residence or inside the UK. Before submitting your application, you will need to make sure that you are eligible and that you have the necessary supporting evidence to prove that you are able to meet the financial and genuine relationship requirements.
For assistance with your UK Marriage visa, contact one of our immigration professionals who can help guide you through the steps as well as help you compile a complete and thorough portfolio of supporting documents.
What documents are required for a UK Spouse/Partner Visa?
To apply for a UK Spouse/Partner Visa, you will need to submit a variety of documents to the Home Office with your application. These documents may include the following:
- Your original marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Any evidence which demonstrates that you and your partner have been living together for at least the past two years
- A valid passport
- An approved English language test (such as IELTS) proving that the applicant has met the English language requirement
- Proof of accommodation
- Any evidence that proves the relationship is genuine
- Any evidence that proves you meet the income threshold and financial requirements
- Proof that your spouse or partner is a British citizen or settled person (Ex. British passport, copy of Indefinite Leave to Remain, etc)
All documents must be submitted in their original form. Documents that are not in English or Welsh will need to be accompanied by certified translations.
What is the cost of a UK Spouse/Partner Visa?
The cost to apply for a Spouse/Partner Visa will depend on where the applicant is applying. For instance, if the applicant is applying from outside of the UK, the cost will be £1,538. If the applicant is applying for a Partner visa from within the UK, the cost will be £1,038. If there are any dependents that will be added to the application, the cost will go up to £1,538 per person (if applying outside the UK) or £1,048 per person (if applying from within the UK).
In addition, you may face additional costs such as the cost of certified translations if you have any documents that are not in English or Welsh. If you are from a country that is not a majority English-speaking country, you will need to pay for the cost of an approved English language test.
All applicants will need to pay the immigration health surcharge fee whose cost is calculated on the proposed length of stay in the UK. If you are in a hurry and applying from within the UK, you may be eligible to pay £800 for super-priority service which will process the application within a couple of working days.
Who needs to take an English Language Test?
All applicants who would like to live in the UK will need to prove that they can adequately read, write, and communicate in English. To prove that they have adequate knowledge of the English language, applicants who are not from a country that is exempt will need to have passed a valid English Language test, such as IELTS, within the past 2 years.
American citizens or foreign nationals who are from a majority English speaking country will not need to take an English language test to prove their English speaking ability nor do the following:
- Individuals who are under 18 years old or over 65 years old
- Individuals who have a long-term physical or mental condition that prohibits them from test-taking
- Individuals who hold a degree or another educational qualification that was taught or researched in English and that is considered valid by UK NARIC
What services does IAS offer?
A UK Marriage Visa has many requirements to fulfill. The application process can be confusing and challenging for these reasons. An immigration lawyer at IAS will eliminate this stress by assisting you throughout your journey to achieve a Marriage Visa.
Our services include:
- Assessing your documents and completing your application
- Combing through your evidence that proves you and your partner are in a ‘genuine relationship’
- Provide you with a Letter of Representation that argues your case and accompanies your application
- Liaising with the UK government for you
Call us at +1 844 290 6312 or get in touch online to discuss your plans to come to the UK with your partner.
What can I do if my Spouse Visa application is rejected?
If your application for a UK Spouse/Partner visa is rejected, you will be sent a written explanation of why the application was denied and if you are eligible to reapply or file for an appeal. It should be noted that petitioning for an appeal is a challenging and lengthy process that should not be done without assistance from legal counsel.
Appeals can take up to 12 months to process. Some reasons why a Partner/Spouse visa is denied include the following:
- The foreign national partner or spouse does not meet the language requirements
- The couple can not meet the financial requirements
- The couple has failed to prove that their relationship is genuine
- The visa applicant has not submitted the necessary supporting documents
- The visa applicant has filed an incomplete or inaccurate application
To make sure that you Spouse/Partner visa application will be accepted, it is recommended that your application be as thorough as possible. Our immigration lawyers at Immigration Advice Servies know exactly what the Home Office is looking for in your application and we can help check every detail and piece of evidence before your UK Marriage Visa is submitted.
At IAS, we strive to make sure that your application is completed to the highest standard. In addition, we can also provide you with an accompanying Letter of Representation to submit with your visa application.
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If you choose to file an appeal for a rejected Spouse/Partner Visa application, you will need to do the following:
- Submit your appeal to the Immigration Asylum Chamber. This must be submitted within 28 days of when you first received the refusal decision (if overseas). If you are in the UK when you received the refusal, you will have 14 days to submit your appeal.
- During this time, you must make sure that your grounds for appeal are legitimate and will likely be accepted.
- Start preparation for your appeal case. You will need to make sure that you have prepared a strong argument for the appeal to the Immigration Tribunal.
- Gather the necessary supporting documents to demonstrate why your application should be accepted.
- Attend your appeal hearing at the Tribunal (if required)
A UK Marriage Visa is granted for the first 30 months. Providing you don’t break the conditions of your visa or commit any immigration crimes, you will be eligible to apply again for another 30 months.
Once you have accumulated five years’ residency in the UK on a Marriage Visa, you may be able to switch your visa type. You may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain or even British Citizenship depending on your circumstances.
Applying from the USA, your application could take a considerable amount of time. This is because the Home Office needs to assess whether your marriage is genuine and credible.
Your UK Marriage Visa could take up to 3 months. If the Home Office experiences a certain high volume of applications at one time, it could take longer. If there are complications or issues with your application then the processing times could also be affected. The Home Office could extend the process for 24 weeks.
To speed up the process, you could apply for a premium service through one of our qualified immigration lawyers.
Certain individuals will not need to meet the mandatory financial requirements. For example, those on the following benefits may make exceptions:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
- Police Injury Pension
It should be noted that all applicants regardless of benefit status will need have the funds to support their dependents. This amount of money required is called ‘adequate maintenance’ and will be dependent on the applicant’s personal circumstances.