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How to Apply for a Spouse Visa in the UK

The process of applying for a spouse visa in the UK is detailed and requires careful preparation. This guide aims to provide a clear understanding of the requirements and steps involved in securing a Spouse visa UK, ensuring you can reunite with your partner in the United Kingdom.

Understanding the Spouse Visa

A spouse visa, also known as a UK marriage visa, allows married partners of UK citizens or settled persons to join them in the UK. This visa is part of the UK family visa category and is valid for 2.5 years (30 months). After this period, visa holders can apply for an extension or, eventually, for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a spouse visa, you must meet several key requirements:

  1. Relationship Requirements: You must be legally married to or in a civil partnership with a UK citizen or a person with settled status in the UK. The relationship must be genuine and subsisting.
  2. Financial Requirements: You and your partner must demonstrate that you can financially support yourselves without relying on public funds. Generally, the sponsoring partner must have an annual income of at least £18,600, which increases if there are dependent children.
  3. English Language Proficiency: The applicant must meet the English language requirement, typically demonstrated through a recognized English language test or by having an academic qualification that was taught in English.
  4. Accommodation: You must have adequate accommodation for you, your partner, and any dependents.

Required Documents

Gathering the necessary documents is a crucial step. Ensure you have the following:

  • Passports: Valid passports for both you and your partner.
  • Proof of Relationship: Marriage or civil partnership certificate and evidence of a genuine relationship (photos, correspondence, etc.).
  • Financial Evidence: Payslips, bank statements, and employment letters proving the required income level.
  • Accommodation Details: Proof of adequate housing, such as a tenancy agreement or property ownership documents.
  • English Language Proof: Test results or academic certificates.

Application Process

Step 1: Complete the Online Application

Start by filling out the online visa application form on the UK government website. This form will ask for detailed information about you, your partner, and your relationship.

Step 2: Pay the Fees

The spouse visa application fee is £1,538 for applications made outside the UK and £1,048 for those made within the UK. Additionally, there is an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £624 per year, which must be paid at the time of application.

Step 3: Book and Attend a Biometrics Appointment

After submitting your application and paying the fees, you will need to book a biometrics appointment at a visa application center. At this appointment, your fingerprints and photograph will be taken.

Step 4: Submit Supporting Documents

You will need to submit all required supporting documents either by uploading them online or by mailing them to the relevant address. Ensure all documents are correctly labeled and submitted within the specified time frame.

Step 5: Await Decision

Once your biometrics are completed and your documents are submitted, you will need to wait for a decision. The processing time for a spouse visa can vary, but it typically takes up to 12 weeks for applications made outside the UK and up to 8 weeks for those made within the UK.

Spouse Visa Extension

When your initial spouse visa is nearing its expiration, you will need to apply for your spouse visa extension to remain in the UK. The extension, also known as Further Leave to Remain (FLR), requires similar documentation and proof of relationship as the initial application. You will also need to meet the financial requirement and show continued cohabitation with your spouse. The application should be made before the current visa expires to avoid any legal issues. The extension, once granted, is typically valid for an additional 30 months.

Common Challenges and Tips

Financial Requirements

Meeting the financial requirement can be challenging, especially for those with fluctuating incomes. It’s essential to keep detailed records of all income sources and, if necessary, seek professional advice to ensure you meet the criteria.

Documentation

Incomplete or incorrect documentation is a common reason for visa refusals. Double-check all documents for accuracy and completeness, and consider consulting with an immigration expert if you’re unsure about any aspect of your application.

Relationship Proof

Providing adequate proof of a genuine relationship can sometimes be subjective. Include as much evidence as possible, such as joint bank statements, utility bills, and photographs of time spent together. Statements from friends and family attesting to your relationship can also be helpful.

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