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

If you are a non EEA national and married to a British national or someone with indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence), you will require a UK spouse visa to live and work in the UK.

The legal requirements for a UK spouse visa are complex and we strongly recommend taking good legal advice from an immigration solicitor. RLegal are specialist immigration solicitors accredited with the Law Society of England & Wales and have assisted many clients to obtain UK spouse visas successfully. 

A UK spouse 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.

The UK spouse visa is a two part process 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 with a UK spouse visa, you will become eligible for indefinite leave to remain and then British citizenship.

Your spouse 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 immigration solicitors will guide you through the complex evidential requirements and assist you from start to finish with your UK spouse visa application.

We have over 30 years experience of lodging successful applications for UK spouse visas. We are a specialist firm of immigration solicitors based in central London. Our clients are based both within and outside of the UK.

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 further detailed information.

To gain permission to live in the UK under a spouse visa you will need to satisfy the following requirements.

 

1. The applicant’s spouse (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 spouse must have met in person.

 

4. They must intend to live permanently with the other as his or her spouse and the marriage must be subsisting.

 

5. The marriage 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 spouse 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.

 

A successful application will lead to the grant of a visa for 30 months (33 months if outside the UK). During this time you must collate evidence of cohabitation to show that your relationship is subsisting before applying for a further 30 months visa. Once you have completed a total of 60 months continuous lawful residence in the UK as a spouse or partner, you will become eligible for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence or settled status).

 

The criteria to be met for an extension of stay are the same as for the initial application with 2 notable exceptions:

 

1. The applicant must demonstrate cohabitation with their partner during the previous 2 1/2 years; and

 

2. The applicant must pass a slightly higher Secure English Language Test at level A2.

This is one of the most complicated aspects of obtaining a UK spouse visa. The law on the subject extends to over 30 pages. We set out below a summary of the main rules. As a firm of accredited specialist immigration solicitors located in central London we are able to assist and advise on all aspects of UK spouse visas.

 

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 spouse;

 

- 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 spouse; 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 spouse's name for 6 months prior to the date of application.

 

Applicants will be exempt from these financial requirements if their spouse 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.

 

Following the case of MM in the Supreme Court the general legality of the financial requirement was found to be lawful, however, the Home Office is now obliged to conduct a more rounded view of the applicant's financial circumstances where they do not meet the strict criteria outlined above. If you don’t meet the financial requirements under the Immigration Rules, you may still be able to apply for a visa or extend your permission to stay if:

  • you have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK; or
  • there would be very significant difficulties for you and your partner if you lived together as a couple outside the UK that couldn’t be overcome; or
  • it would breach your human rights to stop you coming to the UK or to otherwise require you to leave the UK.

Applicants for a UK spouse visa must pay Immigration Health Surcharge of £200 per year in advance for each whole or part year of the visa which is a mandatory requirement and enables them to access the NHS whilst in the UK. This is obligatory even if the individual holds comprehensive private health cover.

 

Outside the UK

 

Applicants not presently in the UK must apply for a UK spouse visa to enter in the correct capacity. 

 

The process involves submission of an online application and attendance at a biometric appointment where a scan of the applicant's fingerprints and a digital photograph of their face will be taken. For most countries around the world, the UK has rolled out a system of central consideration of settlement applications via the international processing hub in Sheffield, UK.

 

Once the biometric appointment has been completed, we as your representatives can then submit the full application with original supporting documentation to the international processing hub in Sheffield. Note that applicants in the USA must send their supporting documentation to the processing hub in Sheffield direct.

 

In rare instances, an applicant may be called to attend a video interview or interview in person.  Applicants from certain specified countries may be required to undertake a tuberculosis test.

 

Despite processing for most applications being done centrally in the UK, processing times can still 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.

 

We are able to accompany clients who wish to expedite the processing of their civil partner visa through the premium route and thereby improve the probability of the application being processed successfully. Many of our clients have found this service beneficial as it alleviates considerable stress when facing challenging laws and legal procedure.  

 

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

Outside the UK

 

£1464

 

Premium option £551

 

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 UK spouse visa application at the front of the processing queue, but applicants should note that some types of cases will not be expedited if they fall into specified criteria. Use of this service may speed up the processing time for your application, however, the Home Office do not guarantee expedited treatment.

Applicants should note that during peak processing periods it is advisable to consider processing a UK spouse visa through the priority settlement route to avoid lengthy waiting times. As we are a firm of specialist immigration solicitors we can advise on whether you should do so.

 

Inside the UK

 

Postal application £993

 

Premium option £590

To qualify for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence) through a UK spouse visa, an applicant must:

 

- have completed 5 years continuous lawful residence with a UK spouse 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 Secure English Language Test (SELT) to level B1 in the listening and speaking disciplines.

Although there are likely to be very few people left subject to the Immigration Rules in place prior to July 2012, for those individuals in the UK who applied for a UK spouse visa in a relationship category under the rules in place prior to 9 July 2012, they 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 on a UK spouse 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 Secure English Language Test to level B1.

- Comprehensive legal advice relating to UK spouse visa law and procedure

 

- Ensuring your application meets the legal requirements for this category

 

- Assistance with compiling the complex evidence required for this category through a firm of specialist immigration solicitors accredited with experience of dealing with UK spouse visas

 

- Completion and submission of all forms.

 

- Booking a biometric appointment.

 

- Ongoing liaison with the authorities where possible.

 

RLegal immigration solicitors is located in central London and we are accredited in immigration law by the Law Society of England Wales. Although we are based in the UK we are able to assist clients from overseas who require legal assistance for processing a UK spouse visa through an experienced accredited immigration solicitor.

 

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.

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