The UK Spouse Visa, also known as the UK Marriage Visa, enables the spouse of a UK citizen to immigrate to the UK if their partner is a settled resident in the UK with no immigration restrictions on their stay. With this visa, spouses can work and study in the UK.
To qualify for a UK spouse/marriage visa, you and your spouse must be at least 18 years old, have met each other and be legally married, intend to live together permanently, have enough money to support yourselves and any dependents without claiming public funds, and have suitable accommodation. Additionally, your sponsoring partner must earn more than £18,600 per year or have enough savings to sponsor you. If your partner is also sponsoring dependent children, the minimum financial requirement is higher. You must also satisfy the English language requirements.
Applicants can apply for the Spouse Visa from overseas or within the UK, and the processing time varies from 2-12 weeks depending on the country. The visa is initially issued for 33 months when applied from overseas and 30 months when applied from within the UK. The visa can be extended for an additional 30 months, which can lead to an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and eventually British citizenship.
To enter the UK on a Spouse Visa, applicants must apply for entry clearance before arriving in the UK. Children under 18 can enter the UK as dependents, but their sponsoring spouse must meet a specified income level.
As an applicant for a Spouse Visa, English language proficiency is necessary, and applicants may need to take an approved English language test if they are not from a majority English-speaking country or do not have a degree taught in English.
The average processing time for a spouse visa application is 2 – 12 weeks from the date of submission to the UKBA, with processing times varying depending on the country of application.
A spouse visa is initially issued for 33 months if applying from overseas and for 30 months if applying from within the UK. You can apply for an extension for an additional 30 months, which can take your total time in the UK on this visa up to five years. After being granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and continuing to meet the maintenance requirements, you may be eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
If you are seeking to enter the UK based on your relationship with a UK national, you must apply for entry clearance before coming to the UK. If applying from within the UK, you must have leave to remain in the UK on a visa that is valid for six months at the time of application. You cannot switch to a spouse visa if you were initially admitted entry for a period of less than six months, such as for visitor or prospective student purposes.
As a spouse visa applicant, you must be able to demonstrate your ability to speak and understand English. You must meet the English language requirement if you are a non-European Economic Area and Switzerland national in a relationship with a British citizen or someone settled in the UK and want to immigrate to the UK as that person’s spouse. If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country or do not have a degree taught in English, you will need to pass an English language test from an approved provider. If you are applying from overseas, arrangements can be made for you to take an approved English language test in your home country.
Children under 18 years of age can enter the UK as your dependants, and you should make an application for them at the same time you make your spouse visa application. Your sponsoring spouse must show income of a specified amount, the level of which varies depending on the number of dependant children being sponsored.