Applicants married to British citizens or settled persons in the UK can apply for a spouse visa to join their respective spouses in the UK. Applicants who are successful will be initially granted 30 months leave. There are a number of requirements that must be satisfied such as the financial, English language and accommodation requirement. Applicants often struggle to meet the financial requirement of £18,600 due to their lack of experience in submitting applications of this nature. Whilst the financial requirement seems like a troublesome requirement there are a number of different ways of meeting this requirement. It is also possible to rely on third-party support when meeting this requirement as per the judgement in MM Javed (please see below).
What is a Spouse Visa?
Respective spouses of British citizens or settled persons in the UK can apply for a UK Spouse visa to join them in the United Kingdom. There are a number of requirements that Applicants must meet when applying for a Spouse visa. We have highlighted the main requirements below:
- Applicants and their Sponsors must be aged 18 or over;
- Applicants must not fall under the General Grounds of Refusal;
- Applicants must be in a genuine and subsiding relationship and be married;
- Applicants must meet the financial requirement and accommodation requirement; and
- Applicants must meet the English language requirement.
There is no fixed way in meeting the above requirements and there are a number of ways the requirements can be met. However, the requirements are strict and each one must be met and supporting documents must be provided. Under this route, Applicants can apply for settlement once they have acquired 5 years of continuous lawful leave in the United Kingdom as a spouse.
What is the financial requirement in a Spouse visa application?
There are many ways Applicants can meet the financial requirement in Spouse visa applications. The financial requirement also referred to as the minimum income requirement is £18,600. We have highlighted some of the routes below:
- Applicants can meet the financial requirement by relying on their Sponsors income from salaried employment. This can be salaried employment with one employer for a period of 6 months or more alternatively employment with various employers for a period of over 12 months, overseas salary can also be relied on.
- Applicants can rely on income from non-employment such as income deriving from; property, dividends or other income from investments, bonds or trusts funds, ongoing royalty or insurance payments amongst other forms of income.
- Applicants may solely rely on cash savings held in the sum of at least £62,500 for a period of more than 6 months and have full ownership of the savings, and then these can be relied on exclusively or in combination with another category. The savings can be from any legal source, including a gift from a family member or other third party, provided the source of the cash savings is declared.
On 10 August 2017 the Supreme Court Judgement in MM Javed unanimously backed Theresa May’s harsh Minimum Income Requirement deeming the Minimum Income Requirement to be lawful. Whilst the Supreme Court judgement did not strike out the Minimum Income Requirement, it acknowledged that the Minimum Income Requirement is being inconsistently applied by the Home Office causing hardship for families and that the Home Office Policy and Guidance is ambiguous and lacks clarity. The Supreme Court held that the Home Office Policy and Guidance should be amended to give more weight to alternative ways of meeting the Minimum Income Requirement.
MM Javed is considered as a real victory for families, as the Supreme Court judgement has pressured the Home Office to amend its Policy and Guidance allowing alternative sources of income such as the Applicants overseas employment or funding from family members to be considered. It is important that Applicants contact our specialist immigration team in order to make sure you meet the financial requirement and have the necessary supporting documents for your Spouse visa application.
What is the English language requirement in a Spouse visa application?
Applicants applying for a Spouse visa must show that they meet the English language requirement by having a recognised English test qualification from an approved test centre. Applicants would need to submit the original certificate with their application and make sure they meet the relevant level of English language. If you are applying as a spouse you must have a minimum level of A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) in speaking and listening from a UKVI approved centre. A list of approved tests and providers to show that you meet the English Language Requirement was published by the Home Office on 22 February 2017 and can be found here. The list consists of approved centres in the UK and in the rest of the world and types of tests accepted by the Home Office. Applicants would have a choice of taking Integrated Skills in English test, Graded Examinations in Spoken English, IELTS Life Skills test or IELTS for UKVI.
Some applicants might be exempt from the English Language Requirement if they are aged 65 or over or unable to take the test because of a long-term physical or mental condition. Also, nationals of the following countries would not need to prove their knowledge of English and sit an exam: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland (for citizenship only), St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines Trinidad and Tobago, and USA. Nationals of countries that are not on the list will need to prove their knowledge of English, even if English is an official language.
What is the Accommodation requirement in a Spouse visa application?
To meet the accommodation requirement Applicants must show that there will be no overcrowding on the selected address given in the Spouse visa application. Under paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules, the definition of overcrowding is contained in the Housing Act 1985. Under section 324 of the Housing Act 1985 and for the purpose of Immigration applications, a property is deemed to be overcrowded if the room standard is breached. The room standard is breached when the number of persons sleeping in a property and the number of room available as sleeping accommodation is such that two persons aged 10 or over of the opposite sex who are not living together as a couple must sleep in the same room. Children under 1-year-old are not counted and children aged between 1 and 10 are counted as half a person. Sleeping accommodation means bedrooms and living rooms and bathrooms and kitchens are not considered suitable sleeping accommodation. The Home Office decision maker will assess how the sleeping arrangements within the property could be organised rather than how they are currently organised.
Using Legal Representation to Submit a Spouse visa application
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on the law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a Spouse Visa Application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Spouse Visa Application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.
The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successfully Apply for Spouse visa application
Our team of solicitors and barristers bear in mind the paramount duty of all legal representatives to act in your best interest whilst complying with the strict letter of the law. Our team of specialists can be distinguished from other law firms with our client-tailored approach and scrutiny of options available to you from the outset. We will be able to advise you in respect of the merits of your Spouse Visa Application by providing you with advice from our leading team of solicitors before your matter even reaches the Home Office. We can assist you with the preparation of your visa Spouse Visa Application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
If you wish to consider your options, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your matter and if necessary advise you of the next steps you should take in a consultation.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
If you need professional legal advice about submitting a successful Spouse Visa Application, please contact us for a case assessment on 02071830570. You can also reach us via our contact form.