As of April 2023, the United Kingdom has implemented new rules and regulations for those applying for a marriage visa. A marriage visa, also known as a spouse visa, allows a non-EEA (European Economic Area) citizen to enter and live in the UK with their British or settled partner.
The main changes to the marriage visa application process include the following:
- Financial requirements: The minimum income threshold for the sponsor, or British or settled partner, has increased. They must now have a minimum annual income of £18,600 to sponsor their non-EEA partner. However, if the sponsor has dependent children, the income threshold may be higher.
- English language requirements: Non-EEA partners must prove their English language skills by taking a secure English language test (SELT) before applying for the visa.
- Immigration health surcharge: All non-EEA partners must pay an immigration health surcharge when applying for the visa. The surcharge will grant them access to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.
- Application process: The application process has become more streamlined, with the introduction of a new online application system. Applicants can now upload documents and track the progress of their application online.
- Length of visa: The initial visa granted will be for 33 months, with an extension of a further 30 months available. After five years on a marriage visa, non-EEA partners may be eligible to apply for settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
It is important to note that the process for applying for a marriage visa can be complex and time-consuming. It is highly recommended to seek the advice of an immigration lawyer or specialist to ensure that you meet all the requirements and submit a strong application.
These new changes to the marriage visa application process aim to ensure that non-EEA partners entering the UK are able to integrate successfully and contribute positively to society. By meeting the financial and language requirements, non-EEA partners can improve their chances of successfully obtaining a marriage visa and starting their new life in the UK with their British or settled partner.