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Spouse Visa Guide: Everything You Need to Know About UK Spouse Visas in 2023

The process of obtaining a UK Spouse Visa is no longer a simple one.

Whether you are a UK citizen or a settled person in the UK, or even an individual with Humanitarian Protection, understanding the complex details of the Spouse Visa application is crucial to ensure a successful outcome.

This guide aims to provide you with all the essential information you need to understand the UK Spouse Visa application process in 2023.

What is a UK Spouse Visa?

A UK Spouse Visa, also known as a Marriage Visa, is a type of settlement visa that allows non-British citizens to join their spouse or civil partner in the United Kingdom. The Spouse Visa allows the visa holder to live and work in the UK for an initial period of 30 months, with the option to extend for an additional 30 months, and to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after five years of continuous residence with their partner/spouse.

Eligibility Criteria in 2023

To qualify for a UK Spouse Visa, there are several eligibility criteria that must be met.

1. Marriage or Civil Partnership

You must be legally married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or a person settled in the UK. The marriage or civil partnership must be registered and recognised in the Country it is conducted in.

2. Financial Requirements

To demonstrate your financial eligibility, you must meet the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR). You need to have a minimum gross annual income of £18,600. However, this amount increases if you are sponsoring children who are not British citizens. For one child, you will need an additional £3,800, and for each subsequent child, an additional £2,400 is required.

It is important to note that the above income can be from non-employment sources and you may be able to rely on cash savings and assets to supplement your income.

You will be exempt from the minimum income requirement, if your spouse/partner is in receipt of certain benefits, such as Personal Independent Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Carers Allowance ect. You will instead need to demonstrate that you and your spouse will be able to adequately maintain yourselves without recourse to public funds.

It’s important to provide sufficient evidence to prove your income, which may include payslips, bank statements, and tax documents.

Depending on how you intend to meet the financial requirement, the evidence you will be required to provide will differ.

Understanding the rules relating to the financial requirements can be difficult and confusing. Our experienced Immigration Solicitors are here to help you through the process and check if you meet the financial requirements.

3. Accommodation

You must have adequate accommodation for you and your spouse. The property should meet the Home Office’s standards for space, safety, and suitability.

The Accommodation can be owed, rented, or even a family/friend home.

4. English Language Proficiency

You need to demonstrate your proficiency in the English language. You can prove your knowledge of English by passing an approved English language test.

You must pass at least level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale for your first visa application.

There are circumstances in which you may not require an English Language Certificate. These are as follows:

  • You are over 65
  • You have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from taking the test
  • You are a national of one of the English-Speaking Countries as listed on the Government website

5. Genuine Relationship

You must provide evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship with your spouse. This can include photographs, proof of travel, communication, and any other documents that prove the genuineness of your relationship.

Application Process

The application process for a UK Spouse Visa can be a complex and time-consuming affair. Here are the key steps you need to follow:

1. Online Application: An online application form has to be completed on the UK government’s official immigration website. You will need to provide detailed personal information, your marriage or civil partnership details, and information about your spouse or civil partner.

2. Visa Fee: You will need to pay a visa fee at the time of submission of your online application. The priority and super-priority services are available at an additional cost.

3. Biometric Appointment: After submitting the online application, you will be required to attend a biometric appointment to provide your fingerprints and photograph. This information is used to verify your identity.

4. Documentation: Compile all the necessary documents that prove your eligibility. These include marriage certificates, financial documents, accommodation details, and evidence of your relationship. It’s crucial to be thorough and organised during this stage, as missing or incomplete documents can lead to delays or even visa refusals.

5. Decision: After submitting your application and attending the biometric appointment, you’ll need to wait for a decision. The processing times can vary, but in 2023, most applicants can expect to receive a decision within 12 weeks, unless the priority service has been paid for, in which case a decision can be expected within 30 days.

6. Extension or ILR: As the initial 30-month visa period approaches its end, you can apply for an extension. If you meet the requirements for ILR, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years of continuous residence in the UK.

Navigating the complex immigration system can be challenging, and applicants often encounter numerous hurdles. It is highly recommended to seek professional guidance, such as consulting with our experienced immigration solicitors or advisors, to ensure that your application is prepared accurately, and that you meet all the necessary requirements. Our experienced Immigration Solicitors would be delighted to assist you through this process.

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