Brand

Immigration Solicitors London

Est. 2002

+44 (0)20 7038 3980

info@rlegal.com

RLegal Solicitors, 162-168 Regent Street London W1B 5TG

RLegal is regulated by the SRA, Reg No: 00380691

Unless you are British or an EEA national, you will require a visa to live in the UK as a spouse or civil partner. The legal requirements for a partner visa are complex and we strongly recommend taking good legal advice.

 

A spouse or civil partner visa entitles you to live in the UK with your partner and take employment or establish yourself in business for so long as your relationship is subsisting.

 

This is a two part visa that will require you to make an extension application after you have been in the UK for an initial period of 30 months. After spending 5 years (60 months) in the UK in this capacity, you will become eligible for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) and British citizenship.

 

Your partner must be either British or settled in the UK (i.e. hold indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence) and you must:

 

  • both be over the age of 18;
  • intend to live together permanently;
  • speak and understand English to a minimum level; and
  • be capable of supporting and housing yourselves.

 

RLegal will guide you through the complex evidential requirements and assist you from start to finish with your application.

 

We have over 30 years experience of lodging successful applications in these categories. We will take the worry out of the process and give you peace of mind.

 

For more information, please contact us on +44 (0) 20 7038 3980 where you can talk to one of our team, email us at info@rlegal.com or complete our online enquiry form

 

Alternatively click on the links below for detailed information.

To gain permission to live in the UK with a spouse or civil partner requires a partner visa.

 

1. The applicant’s partner (the sponsor) must be

 

- a British Citizen in the UK;
- present and settled in the UK; or
- in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection.

 

2. Both parties to the relationship must be aged 18 or over at the date of application and not be within the prohibited degree of relationship.

 

3. The applicant and their partner must have met in person.

 

4. They must intend to live permanently with the other as his or her spouse or civil partner and the marriage or civil partnership is subsisting.

 

5. The marriage or civil partnership must be valid, i.e. recognised by UK law. For example, religious and customary marriages are not usually recognised.

 

6. Any previous relationship of the applicant or their partner must have broken down permanently.

 

7. The applicant must meet a specific financial requirement (read more below).

 

8. The couple must be able to accommodate themselves and any dependants adequately without additional recourse to public funds. The applicant must demonstrate a minimum competence in the English language.

 

This can be done either by being a citizen of a specified country, holding a degree level qualification that was taught in English, or by passing an approved English language test to level A1.

This is one of the most complicated aspects of obtaining a spouse or civil partner visa. The law on the subject extends to over 30 pages. We set out below a summary of the main rules.

 

Applicants must show that they meet certain minimum income or savings thresholds to qualify for the visa. The annual income thresholds are:

 

Applicant with no children: £18,600

 

First child: an additional £3,800*

 

Subsequent children: an additional £2,400 per child*

 

* Applies only to children that are dependants on the application and are not British citizens or already settled in the UK.

 

- The sources of income which are acceptable are:

 

- employment or self employment of the sponsor;

 

- employment or self employment of the applicant if in the UK lawfully;

 

- certain permitted sources other than employment, such as rent from property;

 

- state or private pensions of the applicant or sponsor; or maternity allowances or bereavement benefits received in the UK; and

 

- from 6 April 2014, ongoing insurance payments, e.g. such as one might receive from an income protection policy.

 

Shortfalls in income can be made up from savings in excess of £16,000. For example, if your income is £17,000, you will have a shortfall of £1,600. The amount of savings you would need to hold is £20,000 (i.e. £1,600 x 2.5 + £16,000).

 

If you have no income, the amount of savings you need to hold rises to £62,500.

 

Savings must be held in an account in your or your partner’s name for 6 months prior to the date of application.

 

Applicants will be exempt from these financial requirements if their UK sponsor receives a specified disability related benefit or carer’s allowance. In these circumstances, it is necessary to show that the couple can still maintain and accommodate themselves without additional recourse to public funds.

Applicants for a UK spouse & Civil Partner visa must pay an 'NHS surcharge' of £200 per year in advance for each whole or part year of the visa.

 

Outside the UK

 

Applicants not presently in the UK must apply for a spouse/civil partner visa to enter the UK in the correct capacity. The application should be lodged at the nearest British overseas post authorised to deal with such matters.

 

The process involves submission of an online application and original specified evidence, attendance at a biometric appointment and potentially an interview. Applicants from certain specified countries may be required to undertake a tuberculosis test.

 

Processing times vary enormously between countries and can be from 1 week to 6 months or more.

 

Inside the UK

 

For those already in the UK, with the exception of visitors and others who hold a visa for less than 6 months duration, it is possible to apply direct to the Home Office via either the postal system or premium same day service. The process involves submission of an application with specified evidence and attendance at a biometric appointment.

 

Premium applications are processed in 1 day.

 

Postal applications vary but are typically between 3-6 months.

Outside the UK

 

£885

 

Some (but not all) British visa application centres around the world offer a ‘Priority Settlement Service’. This is an additional cost service that will place your application at the front of the processing queue. Use of this service may speed up the processing time for your application, however, the Home Office do not guarantee expedited treatment.

 

Inside the UK

 

Postal application £649

 

Premium application £1049

To qualify for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) as a spouse or civil partner, an applicant must:

 

- have completed 5 years continuous lawful residence with a spouse/civil partner visa;

- the relationship must be subsisting and both parties must intend to live together permanently;

- continue to meet the financial and accommodation requirements;

- not have any unspent criminal convictions (including motoring offences);

- civil judgements;

- have passed the Life in the UK Test; and

- demonstrate an higher level of competence in the English language.

 

This can be done either by being a citizen of a specified country, holding a degree level qualification that was taught in English, or by passing an approved English language test to level B1.

Individuals in the UK who applied for a visa in a relationship category under the rules in place prior to 9 July 2012 will continue to be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 2 years provided:

 

-they have completed 2 years continuous lawful residence in the UK with a spouse/civil partner visa;

-their relationship is subsisting and both parties intend to live together permanently;

-they can demonstrate that they can support and accommodate themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds;

-they do not have any unspent criminal convictions (including motoring offences) or civil judgements;

- have passed the Life in the UK Test; and

- demonstrate an higher level of competence in the English language.

 

This can be done either by being a citizen of a specified country, holding a degree level qualification that was taught in English, or by passing an approved English language test to level B1.

- Comprehensive legal advice

 

- Ensuring your application meets the legal requirements

 

- Assistance with compiling the complex evidence required for this category

 

- Completion and submission of all forms.

 

- Booking a biometric appointment.

 

- Ongoing liaison with the authorities where possible.

 

If you would like to discuss your application for a spouse or civil partner visa in more detail, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980, email us at info@rlegal.com or use our online enquiry form.

Ask Us

Interested in our services? Complete the form below and one of our solicitors will contact you.