Also known as a UK marriage visa, a spouse visa allows married partners of UK citizens to immigrate to the UK. UK citizens and permanent residents are eligible to sponsor their spouses or partners for a Marriage Visa.
because they are married to someone who is ‘settled in the UK’ – i.e. a person who is ordinarily resident in the UK and has no immigration restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK.
Spouse visa requirements
To qualify for a UK spouse / marriage visa you must satisfy the following requirements:
- The sponsor and the applicant must be 18 years or over.
- They must be legally married to each other / in a civil partnership with each other.
- They must have met each other- this is in case of arranged marriage.
- They must intend to live permanently together.
- The applicant must be able to support himself/herself, or be supported by the partner, without access to public funds.
- The sponsoring partner must earn more than £18,600 per year or have enough savings to be able to sponsor you. The minimum financial requirement is higher if they are also sponsoring dependent children.
- The sponsoring partner must have suitable accommodation for spouse and any dependants.
- The spouse must satisfy the English language requirements.
How do I apply for a spouse visa?
You can apply for a spouse visa from overseas or from within the UK.
If you are already in the UK on a fiance visa, work visa, or student visa valid for more than six months, you may be able to switch it into a spouse visa.
How long does the application take?
The average processing time for a spouse visa application is 2 – 12 weeks from the date the application is submitted to the UKBA. Processing time may vary depending on the country where the application is made.
How long does a spouse visa last?
Partner visas are valid for 30 months, which can then be extended for another 30 months. After this, the applicant will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Can I extend my spouse visa?
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. At this point you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) provided you are still married and living in the UK with your spouse and continue to meet the maintenance requirements. After you have been granted ILR you may be eligible to apply for naturalisation as British citizen.
Spouse visa entry clearance
If you are seeking to enter the UK on the basis of your relationship with a UK national you must apply for entry clearance before coming to the UK.
If you are applying from inside the UK you must have leave to remain in the UK on a visa that is valid for six months at the time you apply.
You cannot switch to a spouse visa if you are already in the UK and were initially admitted for a period of less than six months – for example, if you were initially admitted entry as a visitor or prospective student.
English language requirements for partners
As a spouse visa applicant you must be able to show that you can speak and understand English.
You must meet the English language requirement if:
- You are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland; and
- You are in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled in the UK; and
- You 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 then you will need to pass an English language test from an approved test provider.
If you are applying from overseas we can make arrangements for you to take an approved English language test in your home country.
Contact us to find out more about the English language requirements.
Spouse visa dependants
Children under 18 years of age can enter the UK as your dependants. You should make an application for them at the same time that you make your spouse visa application. Please note that your sponsoring spouse must show income of a specified amount, the level of which varies depending on the number of dependant children being sponsored.