Getting a spouse visa

It is sometimes the case that family members of a British citizen, such as the children or spouse, will not be British, or will be from a country in Europe in which different regulations apply, and as a result will need to make an application to come to the UK.

These applications come under the Immigration Rules. Once an application is granted, the family member may be given a visa or, for an application by a husband or wife, a spouse visa. This application must be done right.

What are the rules for spouse visas?

Depending on the relationship between the applicant and the family member in the UK different rules will apply. However, there are rules common to all family members such as that there is enough money for the family member to live off and that there is somewhere for them to live in the UK.

Additional rules for a spouse, for example, are that both parties are over 21 and that they intend to live permanently together.

There are categories in which other family members can come to the UK including:

  • Children
  • Elderly relatives
  • Fiancés
  • Unmarried partners
  • Other relatives

Requirements for a successful spouse visa application   

Firstly, the foreign national must be the spouse of either a British citizen or a person who has been granted citizenship (indefinite leave to remain).

The married couple must also have been married for four years in order for the foreign national spouse to obtain a two-year provisional spouse immigration visa to stay in the UK. If the couple remain together for these two provisional years as well, the foreign national will usually then be entitled to apply for citizenship in the UK.

There are other requirements which safeguard against false marriages, or those who wed purely for the reason of obtaining residency or citizenship in the UK. Under UK immigration law:

  • The couple must have actually met before a wedding took place
  • Spouses must intend to and actually live together for the time that they are declared as spouses within the UK. Sometimes immigration officials will make checks to ensure that each spouse is living in the manner and at the address listed as their marital home in official immigration documents
  • The UK citizen (or person granted indefinite leave to remain) must have sufficient funds to provide for the couple without public benefit as foreign nationals may not have a visa to work
  • Children of the couple who are under 18 can enter the UK as dependents of the foreign national if they have resided until then with the spouse immigration visa applicant

An application from outside the UK under these rules usually costs £585 at the time of writing, with fees frequently changing. Failure to properly complete the application can result in the application being refused by the Home Office, which will mean that you need to resubmit the application with a new fee.

Using an Immigration solicitor will mean that the form is properly completed and will reduce the chance of your application being refused by the Home Office.

For further information see our FAQ page on spousal visas.

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