Joining a partner in the UK

Under UK immigration laws, there is a clear focus on keeping a family together wherever possible. That’s why there are various visas available to help loved ones live here happily together. If your partner already lives in the UK, you may apply for a visa in order to join them. Fortunately, Latitude Law has extensive experience with spouse visa applications, and has reunited countless loved ones in the UK.

What are the requirements for a UK spouse visa?

There are a number of requirements for the partner visa. Firstly, your spouse must be one of the following:

  • a British citizen
  • have settled in the UK (they have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or proof of permanent residence)
  • have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

You must also be able to prove the following:

  • you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK, or you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply; or
  • you are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving

On top of this, you must also:

  • have a good knowledge of English
  • prove that you can financially support yourself and your dependants, usually by meeting minimum income or savings rules
  • have the intention of living with your partner or spouse if your visa is granted to remain in the UK

If you’re not married yet, and haven’t lived together for more than 2 years, you’ll probably be considering the fiancé / fiancée category. Remember you will not be able to work or access free healthcare in the UK until you are married, and your length of stay is restricted to six months, as opposed to two and a half years for married applicants.

If you’re intending to marry or enter a civil partnership, you must prove that any previous relationships have ended, and you are intending to marry or enter civil partnership within six months of arriving in the UK.

If your children are not British, they may apply for entry at the same time as you seek your spouse visa if they are under 18 and you have sole responsibility for their care.

Can I extend my spouse visa?

If you’re granted a visa as a spouse or civil partner, you can apply to extend your visa before your leave expires.

To be eligible for a partner visa extension, you need to meet similar requirements that were set out when you made your original spouse visa application. Remember there’s a slightly higher English language requirement at this stage of your case.

If your leave has been renewed and you’ve been living in the UK for five continuous years, you can apply to settle in the UK. This is called ‘indefinite leave to remain’.

How we can help

Committed couples belong together. So if you’re applying for a UK spouse visa, it’s critical that you enlist expert legal support from the very beginning. That’s why the Latitude Law team is on hand right from the earliest stages of application. We’ll make sure you submit the right documentation to give you the best chance of success with your visa application. Our reputation and expertise mean Latitude Law is recognised as a leading immigration law firm, and our guidance can give you the best possible chance of securing you a UK spouse visa.

Why choose Latitude Law?

When you’re applying for something as important as a partner visa, you need to know you’re in safe hands. The experienced solicitors at Latitude Law specialise in immigration, and have in-depth knowledge of specific rules, Home Office guidance and the case law which informs the handling of these applications.

Spouse Visa Q&As

Am I eligible to join my partner in the UK?

To apply, you and your partner must both be over the age of 18. Your partner must be either a British citizen, have indefinite leave to remain or proof of permanent residence, or have refugee status or humanitarian protection within the UK. You and your spouse must either: be married or in a civil partnership, have been living together for at least two years or you are a fiancé/fiancée or proposed civil partner and you plan to marry in the UK within six months of your arrival.

Who can apply for a spouse visa?

If your partner or spouse already lives in the UK, you can apply for a Spouse Visa, which entitles them to live with you here for over six months.

How long is my UK partner visa valid?

If you are applying as a fiancé/fiancée or proposed civil partner, your spouse will be granted permission to stay for 6 months, and are expected to switch into the partner category during that period. If you are already married, a civil partner or in a long-term (2 years cohabitation) relationship, it is 30 months.

When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Applications for ILR can be made after you have lived in the UK for 5 years continuously with limited leave as a partner. Any permission to stay in the UK as a fiancé/fiancée or proposed civil partner, will not count towards these 5 years.

What is the required income to sponsor a spouse in the UK?

The minimum required income for a partner in the UK is £18,600 a year. You may also rely on savings, but the threshold is high (currently £62,500 if you do not have an income on which to rely).

What costs are involved in applying for a partner visa?

If you are applying outside of the UK the cost of a partner visa costs £1,523. If you applying in the UK online or by post, the fee is £1,033. If you are applying in the UK, in person, by the premium service, then the charge is £1,643. Note that the Immigration Health Surcharge is not payable by fiancé/fiancées who correspondingly don’t have free access to NHS services.

Are my partners dependants eligible to join them in the UK?

If you have children under the age of 18, or were when you submitted your application, then you are able to bring them with you on your UK spouse visa. There is an additional income requirement of £3,800 for your first child and an additonal £2,400 for each child after that.

What happens if the relationship ends?

If your relationship ends, you must either apply for a new visa or leave the UK. You may be able to apply: for a work visa, for leave to remain as a parent of a British or settled child, or leave based on your private life within the UK.

What are the English language requirements?

You can prove your knowledge of English language by passing an approved English language test, with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening. If you have a degree that was taught or researched in English, this is also valid. But your qualification must be recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher.

What should I do if my application is refused?

You can appeal against the decision if your spouse visa is refused. This must be done within 28 days of refusal if you are outside of the UK or within 14 days if you are in the UK.

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