A ‘Family of a Settled Person’ visa or a Spouse visa as it is more commonly known, allows nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who are married (or in a Civil Partnership) to British nationals or those who hold settled status in the UK to enter or remain in the UK with their partner. If you reside outside the UK and wish to join your husband/wife or civil partner in the UK, you can apply for entry clearance or if you are already in the UK you can make an application to extend your stay in the UK as the ‘family of a settled person’.
Our immigration solicitors are regularly instructed to assist in the preparation and submission of the Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa application for Applicants either in the UK or abroad. Our specialist immigration team are ready to meet with you in person or via Skype to consider with you whether you meet the eligibility requirements. As soon as you instruct us we liaise with you in preparing your Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa application with the requisite supporting documentation.
What is a UK Spouse visa?
The UK spouse visa allows non-EEA spouses to join their British or settled partners in the UK. A spouse visa is valid for 30 months and can be renewed for a further 30 months. Following this, Applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) in the UK.
How much is UK Spouse visa fee?
If you submit your UK Spouse visa from outside the UK the Home Office fee is £1523 plus the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). However, if you submit the application from within the UK the Home Office fee is £1033 plus the Biometrics fee (£19.20) and the IHS.
What do I need for Spouse visa UK?
In order to submit a successful UK spouse visa application, Applicants must be able to show that they are in a genuine and subsisting marriage with a British citizen or a settled person who is present in the UK. If you are living with your British or settled spouse outside the UK you may be eligible for a UK spouse visa (subject to meeting additional requirements). Applicants are also required to meet the financial and English language requirements (see below).
The UK Immigration Rules set out strict criteria that must be met by those applying for a Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa. Please see some of the requirements that must be met below:
- You must be in a genuine and subsisting marriage with a British citizen, a person present and settled in the UK or someone who is in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection;
- You must intend to reside with your spouse/partner permanently;
- You must have suitable accommodation for yourself, your spouse and any dependants;
- You must meet the financial requirements (i.e. have enough money to support yourself, your spouse and any dependants without recourse to public funds); and
- You must satisfy the English language requirements by sitting an English language test with a Home Office approved test provider.
If you are granted a Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa, you will be given Leave to Enter/Remain in the UK for 2 years and 6 months after which you can apply for Further Leave to Remain. Thereafter, our immigration team can assist you in applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and then for British citizenship.
What is the financial requirement for UK Spouse visa?
For entry clearance applications, Applicants are required to show that their Sponsor has an income of at least £18,600. However, for in-country applications, the Applicants can rely on their own income or combine their income with their Sponsors to each the £18,600 threshold.
There are a number of different ways you can meet the financial requirement such as salaried employment or self-employment; however, there are other ways such as rental income, cash savings, and pensions. We recently posted about the different ways Applicants can meet the financial requirement. The mandatory documents under Appendix FM SE vary depending on how you wish to meet the financial requirement.
What is the English test for Spouse visa for UK?
Applicants are required to pass an English language test with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with at least a CEFR level A1 or above in speaking and listening and must submit the pass certificate. You can also meet the English language requirement if you are from a majority English speaking country or you have studied a degree taught in English.
Can you work in the UK on a Spouse visa?
Migrants who have been endorsed under the UK Spouse visa route are able to work without any restrictions. Migrants can work for an employer or work as a self-employed person.
How early can I apply for Spouse visa extension?
Applicants can apply for their spouse visa extension 28 days before the expiry of their current spouse visa. However, Applicants are advised to commence the application process 3 months before the expiry as this will give them sufficient time to collate the mandatory documents under Appendix FM SE.
Can you switch into a UK Spouse visa?
Applicants who are already in the UK can apply to transfer their existing leave to the UK spouse visa route i.e. switching from Tier 2 or Tier 4 visas to the spouse visa. Applicants must have a visa that is valid for more than 6 months to exercise the switch provision in the Immigration Rules.
New Home Office Policy Guidance on meeting UK Spouse Visa eligibility requirements
As of 10 August 2017, the much-awaited change to the UK Home Office Policy Guidance has now been revealed. We previously wrote about the impact of MM Majid Javed v SSHD and the impending change to the Home Office Policy Guidance on meeting the Minimum Income Requirement under Appendix FM Immigration Rules for Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa applications.
The new Home Office Policy Guidance essentially introduces a new Unjustifiably Harsh Consequences Test by considering any interests of children and alternative sources of income in meeting the Minimum Income Requirement. The new Unjustifiably Harsh Consequences Test applies in Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa applications, where applicants do not meet the Minimum Income Requirement under Appendix FM Immigration Rules. However, if the Home Office accepts that the refusal could lead to Unjustifiably Harsh Consequences; applicants will be permitted to rely on other alternative sources of income, financial support or other funds to make up the deficit in meeting the Minimum Income Requirement.
The Home Office has inserted a new paragraph 21A under Appendix FM-SE Immigration Rules, which sets out where the Minimum Income Requirement is not met, a decision maker must take into account the sources of income, financial support or funds by way of:
- A credible guarantee of sustainable financial support to the applicant or their partner from a third party;
- Credible prospective earnings from the sustainable employment or self-employment of the applicant or their partner; or
- Any other credible and reliable source of income or funds for the applicant or their partner, which is available to them at the date of the application or which will become available to them during the period of limited leave applied for.
The full Home Office Policy Guidance can be accessed here in two parts: Appendix FM Section 1.0a Family Life as a Partner or Parent – 5 year route LEXVISA Solicitors and Barristers & Family Life as a Partner or Parent and Private Life – 10 year routes guidance August 2015 LEXVISA Solicitors and Barristers
Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced by the Home Office on 6 April 2015 and applies to temporary, non-EEA migrants who are coming to the UK for more than 6 months. Payment for IHS is collected by the Home Office and goes directly to the National Health Service (NHS).
If instructed, our team of expert lawyers can consider whether you will need to pay the IHS. If you wish to consider your options, please contact our team today and arrange a meeting with a qualified immigration solicitor who can advise you of your options.
Expert UK Immigration Solicitors
Our expert immigration team understand that an application can be refused where an Applicant lacks the correct understanding of the supporting documents required to satisfy the Home Office’s requirements. The UK Immigration Rules coupled with the Home Office’s supplementary Policy Guidance are complex and a failure to submit the correct documentation could lead to a UK visa refusal which can cause Applicants emotional stress and disruption for their families.
Our expert immigration team are regularly instructed to assist in the preparation of Family of a Settled Person or a Spouse visa applications and in some cases are instructed to attend same day visa appointments at one of the Premium Centre’s in the UK. Our team offer some of the following services:
- Consultation with an experienced immigration solicitor who can advise on whether you meet the eligibility requirements;
- Tailored legal advice which will assist you in collating the documents required for an application; and
- Preparation of online/paper visa application forms and legal representations.
If you wish to have your documents checked by an expert immigration solicitor, please contact us so we can explore your options.
We are an Immigration law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our specialist immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02071830570.