Partner or Spouse Visa

A UK Partner or Spouse Visa (thereafter, the Spouse Visa) is one of the most challenging visas which requires to provide extensive documents that must meet the relevant criteria. It can lead to indefinite leave to remain (ILR)/settlement in the UK after a period of 5 years.
In this guidance, a partner/spouse is referred to as your sponsor.

Understanding the Housing Market

The Spouse Visa requirements 

To qualify for a UK Spouse Visa, you will need to meet the following UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements:

• Your sponsor is a British or Irish citizen, is settled in the UK (for example, they have ILR, settled status or proof of permanent residence), has a pre-settled status, has a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa, or has protection status, i.e. refugee or person with humanitarian protection.

• Your relationship is genuine and subsisting. This means that you must demonstrate that you are in love and intend to live together permanently in the UK. 

• You and your sponsor are both over age of 18.

• You must proof that you can support your family without seeking public funds. 

• You are in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK.

• You and your sponsor have met in person.

• You have adequate accommodation to live together and with dependants if applicable.

• You must also meet the financial requirement.

• You must be able to speak and understand English.

• Your and your sponsor’s previous relationships (if any) have broken down permanently.

• If you and your sponsor are not married or in civil partnership, you must prove that you have been living together, in a genuine relationship that is like marriage or civil partnership, for at least 2 years.

• If you apply as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, you will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving. When you marry or enter into a civil partnership, you will need to apply for permission to extend your stay in the UK. 

You may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme if your sponsor has settled or pre-settled status. 

Depending on your personal circumstances, the above requirements may vary.  You may wish to speak to an immigration specialist to advise you on requirements applicable to your situation.  Adam Bernard Solicitors can provide tailored help and guidance on your Spouse Visa application.

A genuine and subsisting relationship

To be successful in your application, you must demonstrate that you and your sponsor are genuinely in love and that your relationship is subsisting.  The rules on the evidence that is needed are less prescriptive than those in relation to the financial requirement.

The main criteria for a decision maker to be satisfied that your relationship is genuine and subsisting is the following:

·      Whether you and your sponsor have met in person. It is not enough to show that you just met once, you need to demonstrate that this meeting led to making of a mutual acquaintance.

·      Whether you and your sponsor have been or are now living together.

·      Whether you and your sponsor have visited the other’s home country/family.

·      Whether you or your sponsor have any shared responsibilities, i.e. financial and/or parental.

 

Evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship

The decision maker will expect to see evidence of your regular contact, signs of affection and companionship.

You must show that you and your sponsor have been spending some time together. To this end, you can provide records of holidays taken together, chat/call logs, photographs of you together.

If you have been or are now living together, the decision maker will expect to see evidence of your cohabitation. This can be bank statements, utility bills, council tax bills and any other formal documents linking you together. Ideally, these documents should be in your joint names, but it is not compulsory. You can submit the documents addressed to you and your sponsor individually at the same address. 

In case you are married or in civil partnership, you must provide a marriage or civil partnership certificate respectively.  

The decision maker may undertake additional checks and/or interview you and your sponsor if he/she has doubts as to the genuine nature of your relationship. In such a situation, it is recommended to seek a professional immigration advice. Our immigration lawyers can assist you in preparation for an interview process to ensure it’ll run smoothly.

 

 

Financial requirement

To be successful in your Spouse Visa application, you must demonstrate to the decision maker that you can be adequately maintained in the UK without access to public funds.

Unless you are exempt to the financial requirement, you will need to demonstrate that your sponsor has a gross annual income of at least £18,600.

From 11 April 2024, the above minimum income threshold will increase from £18,600 to £29,000. The threshold will further increase to around £34,500 at an unspecified time later in 2024; and then to around £38,700 by early 2025.

You can rely on your sponsor’s income only when applying for an entry clearance (outside the UK). If, however, you are in the UK with valid leave to remain, you can combine your income with your sponsor’s income to meet the minimum threshold.

If you have children who will be sponsored as dependents of your sponsor, the minimum income threshold is increased for each child included in the application, namely:

·      £3,800 for a first child who has indefinite leave to remain in the UK, pre-settled or settled status or is an EEA national with a right to reside in the UK;

plus

·      £2,400 for each additional child who has indefinite leave to remain in the UK, pre-settled or settled status or is an EEA national with a right to reside in the UK.

 

How to satisfy the financial requirement

The financial requirement can be satisfied in the following ways, including combination of them:

·      UK-based salaried income from employment.

·      Income from self-employment as a sole trader, a partner or in a franchise.

·      Non-employment income, e.g. income from property rental or dividends from shares.

·      Cash savings above £16,000 held for at least 6 months prior to the date of the application.

·      Pension.

It is important to note that cash savings cannot be combined with self-employment income, or with income from employment as a director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK.

The immigration rules on the financial requirement are complex. There are mandatory documents that must be submitted together with a Spouse Visa application. If any of the mandatory documents is omitted, a Spouse visa application is more likely to be refused. It is recommended to receive a professional advice from an immigration lawyer.  Our lawyers have more than 10-year experience in assisting clients with their Spouse Visa applications and navigating the complex financial requirement evidence.

 

Exemptions to the financial requirement

You may be exempt from the financial requirement in certain cases.  This usually applies if your partner is in receipt of the following benefits or allowances in the UK:

·      Disability Living Allowance.

·      Severe Disablement Allowance.

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