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26 May 2020

A couple’s guide to getting a UK Visa

5 mins

If you are thinking of moving here with your British or settled partner, our solicitors answer some key questions which you must think about before applying for a UK visa. 

Can I apply for a visa for my partner to live with me in the UK?

Yes, provided they meet certain requirements.

They must be able to show that they are in a genuine relationship with you, do not have a poor immigration history or criminal record and that they can satisfy the financial requirements. There are also English language requirements.

Your partner can apply from within the UK if they have been issued a UK visa which is valid for more than six months (unless they are here as a fiancé). Alternatively, they must apply for a visa from their country of nationality or of legal residence.   

How much money do I need to sponsor my partner for a UK spouse visa?

The financial requirement for a UK spouse visa to be met is a gross annual income of £18,600 plus an additional £3,800 for the first non-British child who is also applying for a visa (plus a further £2,400 for each additional non-British child).

The financial requirement may be met by the applicant and/or their sponsor if applying in the UK, but can only be met by using the sponsor’s salaried or self-employment income if applying from outside the UK.

The requirement can also be met through cash savings, pensions and some other specified incomes.

Does my partner have to speak English to apply for a UK visa as a partner/spouse

Yes, most visa applicants will need to take an English language test to prove they have a certain level of English before they can make a visa application as a spouse or partner. The level of English needed varies depending on it is an initial visa application or an extension application. There are strict requirements about which English language test they and the evidence that must be provided. There are certain exemptions from needing to take a test for those who have studied a degree taught in English or nationals from certain countries.

How much does the spouse/partner visa application cost?

The current Home Office fees for applications vary depending on whether the application is made from inside the UK or outside.

As of 5 September 2022 the current fees are:

  • £1,048 if applying from inside the UK
  • £1,538 if applying from outside the UK (payable in local currency)
  • In addition, there is the Immigration Health Surcharge. This is designed to cover the cost of a migrant’s use of the NHS while in the UK. The surcharge is currently £624 per year and therefore, for a spouse/partner application the cost is £1,560 (£624 x two and a half years or 30 months).

Every person applying must pay both the Home Office fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge, including children.

We are not married, can I still apply for a spouse/partner visa for them?

Yes, so long as you and the applicant must have been living together continuously in a serious relationship for at least two years prior to the UK visa application being made. If you are not yet married and wish to marry in the UK you can apply for a fiancé visa, which will allow the applicant to enter the UK to marry and then apply to switch their visa to that of a spouse.

We want to marry in the UK, but we do not intend to live in the UK afterwards. Should we apply for a spouse/partner visa?

There is a separate visa route for marriage visitors, who wish to visit the UK purely to marry. This has different requirements and fees to spouse/partner visas.

I don’t meet the visa requirements to bring my partner to the UK, what can I do?

There are some exceptions allowed in limited and exceptional circumstances for applicants who cannot meet all of the requirements.

If granted a visa, will my spouse/partner be able to stay here permanently?

An applicant will be granted 30 months stay in the UK, or 33 months if applying from outside the UK.  The visa is extendable and can lead to being eligible for permanent residency in the UK (also known as indefinite leave to remain) after five or 10 years, depending on whether certain requirements are met. 

Do I need a lawyer to make a visa application as a partner?

The requirements for a visa to come to and/or stay in the UK as a spouse/partner or child are complex and the documents required are particular. We would strongly advise that you seek legal advice before making an application.

My UK spouse/partner visa application was refused, what can I do?

There are limited rights of appeal against Home Office decisions to refuse to grant visas on family/private life applications.  The appeals must be submitted within a very short time frame.  The appeals will be heard by an Immigration Judge at the First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).  If you are out of the UK you will not be allowed to enter for the appeal but you can appoint a UK lawyer to advise and advocate for you and your partner/family members in the UK can attend.  

How can I or my partner make an application?

Contact our highly specialised and expert immigration team for advice and assistance in making an application. Our highly regarded team has expertise in guiding clients through the layers of making such an application and we are highly recommended in all the legal directories for our personal approach and bespoke counsel.

How can we help you?

We are here to help. If you have any questions for us, please get in touch below.