FAQ: Spouse Visa
AMI DHANJEE >
Consultant SolicitorMon 20 January 2020
You can apply for a spouse visa if you are married to a British national or a person who is settled in the UK (i.e. holds Indefinite Leave to Remain). As this is one of her favourite visa applications to make and she has many years of knowledge on spouse visas, Solicitor Ami Dhanjee has answered some commonly asked questions in relation to this particular category.
Q: What are the main requirements to make a spouse visa application?
A: If you are extending your spouse visa in the UK or switching to the category from a permitted visa in the UK then you would need to make sure you meet the financial, English language, accommodation and relationship requirements. These are listed below.
You and your spouse must show that you meet the financial requirement of £18,600. This can be through various forms of income including your partner’s full or part time employment, self-employment, rental income, income as a director of a limited company and various others. Cash savings may also be utilised; however, the calculations vary and you will require £62,500 in cash savings if you do not have any other income.
If you wish to bring a child dependant to the UK, additional funds will be required for each child.
English Language Requirement:
There are various ways to meet the English Language requirement which are as follows:
-UK Degree certificate
-English test qualification
-Overseas degree with UK NARIC confirmation
If you are a national of a majority English speaking country (e.g. USA) then you will automatically meet this requirement through the provision of your passport.
You are exempt from meeting this requirement if you are over 65 or you have a mental/physical illness which prevents you from taking the test and your doctor can provide confirmation of this.
You must demonstrate that there is adequate accommodation in the UK for you and any dependants so as not to cause overcrowding.
You will need to provide documentary evidence that your relationship is genuine including your marriage certificate.
If you are applying from outside the UK, then you should also make sure you meet the TB test requirement if required.
Q: How do I apply for a Spouse visa?
A: Applications are now made using an online application form and you must ensure you are using the correct form depending on whether you are applying from outside the UK or inside the UK.
Once you have completed your application form, you submit the application and book an appointment to enrol your biometrics at one of the biometric enrolment centres, either in your country or in the UK depending on where you are applying from. Once you have booked an appointment, you will need to pay the IHS surcharge fee and the Home office fee online.
It is now the procedure to upload your supporting documents to the online system rather than taking the originals to the visa centre. However, application procedures from each country vary and there are certain countries where you may still have to post the documents/copies of the documents once you have attended the biometric enrolment e.g. USA.
Your original passport will be kept by the Home Office for them to endorse with the visa once granted.
Once the above has been completed it is a matter of waiting for the Home Office to either contact you asking you to pick up your passport or if you paid for a courier at the appointment or beforehand, the passport will be sent to you.
Q: What will the duration of my visa be?
A: If you are applying for entry clearance as a spouse from another country, then your passport will initially be endorsed with a 30-day visa within which you must enter the UK, otherwise you will have to pay for this to be changed.
Once you have entered the UK, you will need to attend your chosen post office to pick up your Biometric Residence Permit Card (BRP) within 10 working days.
Your BRP card will grant you a spouse visa of 30 months after which you will need to renew your visa before the expiry of the 30 months.
If you are in the UK, you will be sent a BRP card with your 30-month visa.
Once you have completed 60 months on a spouse visa, you are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if you meet all the other requirements.
Q: Can I work in the UK once I am granted a spouse visa?
A: Yes, once you are granted a spouse visa you are entitled to work in the UK without restriction.
Q: My partner receives Disability Living Allowance or PIP, can I still meet the financial requirement?
A: If your spouse is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or PIP, they would be exempt from meeting the financial requirement and can make an application by including their DWP papers and bank statements showing receipt of the benefit. They must also show that they are able to adequately maintain you in the UK with their income.
Q: How long will it take for the Home Office to make a decision on my Spouse visa?
A: If you made an application inside the UK for an extension of a spouse visa or initial switching application, then it can take up to 6 months for the Home Office to provide a decision but is likely to be between 3 to 4 months. There are also options to use the premium service and receive a decision in either 24 hours or 5 days.
If you made an application outside the UK for entry clearance, then the guidelines provide a time frame of 12 weeks for standard applications and 6 weeks for priority applications.
Q: What happens if my application is refused?
A: You should be granted a right of appeal if your spouse visa application is refused. You will first need to submit a Notice of Appeal to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber enclosing grounds as to why you are appealing. Thereafter, your appeal will be heard at the First Tier Tribunal which you can attend if you made an in-country application. If you are outside the UK, your spouse can attend and give evidence in support of your case.
Q: How long before I can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?
A: You will first be granted a spouse visa for 2.5 years which you must renew before it expires. Once you have completed 5 years on a spouse visa you will be able to apply for ILR.
Once you have ILR, if you are married to a British citizen you can apply for naturalisation straight away. You will have to attend a citizenship ceremony to collect your naturalisation certificate and thereafter can make an application for a British passport.
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