Bring Your Spouse To The UK

Our immigration solicitors can help you to join your partner in the UK if you are a non-UK national. No case is too complex for our team when assisting clients to apply for the UK spouse visa.

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Spouse Visa UK Solicitors

If you are a national of a country other than the UK, and your spouse is a British citizen or a UK settled person, you might wish to spend time with them in the UK. Our spouse visa UK solicitors can help you obtain the visa enabling you to accompany your spouse in the UK for more than six months.

UK immigration law can be extremely complicated and challenging to navigate. Prospective applicants for the spouse visa for the UK are therefore likely to appreciate the knowledge and experience of our central London lawyers, who will be able to assist them in their efforts to secure this visa at the first attempt.

Our team at Cranbrook Legal has helped a wide range of non-UK national spouses to join their UK partner. We can offer various spouse visa packages, and can handle even the most demanding and specialised cases.

You will stand a much better chance of being successful with your UK spouse visa application if you receive professional help to fulfil the Home Office’s requirements. Our SRA-regulated UK spouse visa lawyers can hold your hand through every stage of the application process for this visa, answering all your questions and handling your case with the utmost care, dignity and integrity.

Book your consultation now with our immigration specialists to discuss how we can help you secure the best possible outcome.

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How much does it cost to apply for a UK Spouse Visa?

If you wish to apply for a visa as a spouse for the UK, and you are applying from outside the UK, the fee for this is £1,523; for those applying while in the UK, the fee is £1,033.

In the event that you wish to add a dependant to your application, the fee will – again – be £1,523 for each person added if you are applying while outside the UK, and £1,033 for each person if you are applying from within the UK.

There are certain circumstances in which you might not be able to pay the fee for a UK spouse visa application. If any of the below are true and prevent you from paying the charge, you have the option of filling in UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)’s online fee waiver request form:

  • You do not have a place to live and are unable to afford one
  • You have a place to live but are unable to afford essential living costs such as food or heating
  • You have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child’s wellbeing

There are also certain other spouse visa UK financial requirements that you will need to meet in relation to your income; more details about this are provided further down this page.

How can you help me obtain a UK Spouse Visa?

Cranbrook Legal is an award-winning UK immigration law firm, with more than 25 years’ experience in the UK immigration sector. Our wide-ranging and in-depth expertise and track record leaves us well-placed to guide and assist you through the UK spouse visa application process.

Our progressive and dynamic UK spouse visa solicitors are committed to delivering a first-class service to those who wish to obtain this visa so that they can accompany their spouse in the UK.

We are capable and experienced in helping couples in an extremely wide range of circumstances when it comes to this visa category. We are highly knowledgeable about the Home Office’s requirements, and will communicate with you throughout the process to maximise your likelihood of a successful application.

Furthermore, we operate on the basis of a fixed fee, agreed with you at the outset of your case. This will give you crucial financial certainty, with no need to worry about hidden charges or costs. To find out more about our service, please call 0208 215 0053.

What is a UK Spouse Visa?

The UK spouse visa – also sometimes referred to as the marriage visa –is a visa route that enables non-UK nationals to join their partner in the UK.

A subcategory of the UK family visa, the spousal visa is the visa type that would allow you to spend more than six months living with your spouse in the UK. If you intend to visit your spouse in the UK for less than six months, you might instead seek out a Standard Visitor visa or Marriage Visitor visa; our experts in UK immigration law can advise you on your options.

Securing this UK visa as a spouse would give you the right to stay in the UK for two years and nine months. For those applying for the equivalent visa as a fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner, this stay is limited to six months. After this period has passed, you will be required to apply for a visa extension in order to stay for longer.

If you are successful in extending this visa, or switching to this visa from another visa category in the UK, you will be permitted to stay in the UK for two years and six months.

What are the requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?

In order to apply for a UK family visa as a spouse, both you and your partner must be at least 18 years old. In addition, your partner is required to either:

  • Be a British or Irish citizen
  • Have settled in the UK – for instance, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence
  • Be from the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status; they must have begun to live in the UK prior to 1 January 2021
  • Have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
  • Have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

It is also crucial that you and your partner intend to live together permanently in the UK, following your successful UK spouse visa application.

If your partner has settled status, you may have the option of applying to the free EU Settlement Scheme or for a family permit.

Those interested in applying for the UK spousal visa or partner visa will need to prove that one of the below is true:

  • They are in a marriage or civil partnership that is recognised in the UK
  • They have spent a minimum of two years living together in a relationship at the time of their application
  • They are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within six months of their arrival in the country

Please consult our dedicated pages for the UK fiancé visa and civil partner visa if any of these routes may represent a better match to your circumstances and requirements.

If you wish to apply for a visa as a spouse in the UK, you must also prove that you:

  • Have a good knowledge of the English language
  • Are able to financially support yourself and your dependants

In the event that you fail to satisfy the above requirements, it might still be possible for you to submit a visa application or have your permission to stay extended if:

  • You have a child in the UK who is a British or Irish citizen or has spent seven years living in the UK, and it would be unreasonable for them to be forced to leave the UK
  • There would be very significant and impossible-to-overcome difficulties for you and your spouse if you lived together as a couple outside the UK
  • It would constitute a breach of your human rights to prevent you from coming to the UK or to force you to leave the UK

For an in-depth conversation about the complete range of spouse visa requirements and how we can help you fulfil them, please make an enquiry today to our immigration specialists.

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What documents are needed for a Spouse Visa UK Application?

A key part of the spouse visa UK requirements is the provision of a wide range of documentation, as will be crucial to your efforts to present the strongest possible case for this visa.

The Home Office will expect you to provide the following details and evidence:

  • All your names
  • Your birthdate
  • Your current passport or other valid travel ID
  • Copies of the photo page and any visa or entry stamps in your previous passports
  • A copy of your biometric residence permit, if you have one
  • Information about any previous immigration applications you have made
  • Information about any criminal convictions
  • Your national insurance number, if you have one
  • The birthdates and nationality of your parents, if you are applying from outside the UK
  • The results of your tuberculosis test, if you are from a country where taking this test is a requirement
  • A certified translation of any document in a language other than English or Welsh

If you are submitting your UK spouse visa application from outside the UK, you will need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

It will also be necessary when applying for the spouse visa for the UK to give proof of your finances, in addition to proving your knowledge of the English language. There are also further documents that you may need to supply to the Home Office, depending on your circumstances.

Proving your relationship is just one of the important spouse visa requirements. The evidence that you provide of this should:

  • Come from the Government, a bank, utility provider, landlord, or a medical professional
  • Confirm your relationship with your partner
  • Be less than four years old

The below documents are examples of items that you might use for this:

  • A marriage certificate
  • A tenancy agreement, council tax bills, or utility bills confirming that you pay bills together or live at the same address
  • A bank statement from a joint bank account, or confirming that you reside at the same address
  • A doctor or dentist’s letter, confirming that you live at the same address

If you lack evidence that satisfies these criteria, there is alternative evidence you can supply to the Home Office. Examples of such evidence include:

  • One-off bills, such as for home repair costs or vet’s fees
  • Letters confirming that you and your spouse are on the voting register for the same address
  • Student finance paperwork confirming that you and your spouse reside at the same address

For more tailored advice and information in relation to the documents you could supply to strengthen your case for this visa, please make an enquiry today to our spouse visa solicitors.

How do I know if my marriage is valid in the UK?

Your marriage will be recognised in the UK if both of the following are the case:

  • You followed the correct process in the country where you got married
  • It would be permitted under UK law

With regard to the UK law requirement, individuals wishing to get married in England or Wales must be at least 16 years old, and if they are under 18, they need permission from their parents or guardians to enter into a marriage. They must also not be closely related to the person to whom they intend to get married.

A key component of the UK spouse visa application process is proving to the Home Office that your relationship is genuine. As detailed above, there are various documents that you can provide as part of your application to show this, including – but not limited to – a marriage certificate.

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How much do I need to earn to support my Spouse?

As an applicant for the spousal visa for the UK, you will be expected by the Home Office to have a combined income with your partner of no less than £18,600 a year.

The below examples can all count as income for those applying for a visa as a spouse in the UK:

  • Income from employment before tax and National Insurance (as shown on payslips or a P60); applicants are only allowed to use their own income if they earn it in the UK
  • Income earned from self-employment or as a director of a limited company in the UK, as can be found on a Self Assessment tax return
  • Cash savings of more than £16,000
  • Money from a pension
  • Non-work income, such as from property rentals or dividends

Applicants for the spouse UK visa who are using income from self-employment or employment are expected to prove that they or their partner received that income for six months or more.

Proof of your income will need to be submitted as part of your UK spouse visa application. If you or your spouse are employed, you could include:

  • Bank statements showing the income of you or your spouse
  • Six months of payslips
  • A letter from an employer, dated and on headed paper

The Home Office will expect such an employer’s letter to confirm:

  • You or your spouse are employed there
  • The job title or position held by you or your spouse
  • The period of time for which you or your spouse have worked there
  • The type of contract (such as permanent or fixed term)
  • The amount earned by you or your spouse before tax and National Insurance
  • The period of time for which you or your spouse have been paid your current salary
  • The payslips are genuine

You will be told the exact documents you need to provide for this purpose when you apply online for your spouse visa for the UK. For more specific advice and guidance – including if the income you and your partner have is more complicated, or if you wish to combine different sources of income – please do not hesitate to book a consultation with our UK spouse visa solicitors.

It will usually be necessary for you and your spouse to satisfy the minimum income requirement if you wish to settle in five years as a partner – otherwise, it might be possible for you to settle in the UK in 10 years.

How long does it take for a Spouse Visa UK decision?

If you are applying from outside the UK for a spouse visa, you can usually expect to receive a decision on this within 12 weeks. For those applying from within the UK, meanwhile, the wait for a decision is typically up to about eight weeks from the date of application, presuming they use the standard service.

It might be possible for those applying within the UK to pay an additional £800 for the super priority service, so that they can receive a quicker decision. If you use this service, you can normally expect a decision to be made:

  • By the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information, provided that the appointment is on a weekday
  • Two working days after providing your biometric information, if you have a weekend appointment

There are certain more complex circumstances in which your application might take longer to be processed – for example, if you:

  • Fail to meet the minimum income requirement
  • Cannot prove your English language knowledge
  • Need to attend an interview
  • Have not provided all the evidence that the Home Office requires
  • Have a criminal conviction or other personal circumstances that will need to be reviewed

If my application is successful, how quickly can my Spouse come to the UK?

Presuming your UK spouse visa application is successful, this will be confirmed in a Home Office decision letter. It will then take up to a further 10 working days for your biometric residence permit to arrive.

Those who are approved for a spousal visa after providing their biometric information at a visa application centre will receive a sticker – also referred to as a ‘vignette’ – that will go in their passport.

This vignette will show the visa that the successful applicant has been granted, as well as the period of time for which the visa is valid (start and end dates), and the visa conditions – in other words, what the visa holder can and cannot do during their time in the UK. For more information, please call 0208 215 0053.

What happens if my Spouse Visa application is refused?

In the event that your application for the UK spousal visa is refused, you will normally be entitled to appeal against the decision if you think it was unfair. The letter of refusal will inform you whether you have the right to appeal.

If you are eligible to appeal the Home Office’s decision, you will be able to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) on human rights grounds.

Alternatively, you might be best advised to simply submit a new UK spouse visa application, especially if you lack concrete grounds to appeal the refusal of your previous application.

If you have been refused for this visa and would like to talk through your options with highly capable and knowledgeable spouse visa lawyers, please make an enquiry to our team today.

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UK Spouse Visa Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a religious marriage certificate recognised by the Home Office for a Spouse Visa?

Broadly speaking, a marriage that may or may not have taken place in the UK will be recognised in the UK if the correct process was followed for this marriage in the country where it took place, and if it would be permitted under UK law.

The situation with religious marriages is more complicated. For instance, in the case of religious marriages that have the potential to become polygamous marriages (allowing the male partner to have more than one wife), it will not usually be possible to apply for a spouse visa for more than one wife.

A religious marriage is not normally considered to be legally valid in England and Wales unless it takes place in a registered building. Nonetheless, there is a range of documents that applicants for a partner or spouse visa for the UK can provide to the Home Office, to help show that their relationship is genuine – and a marriage certificate is just one of these.

If you are considered a self-employed person under the Immigration Rules, you will need to provide the Home Office with evidence that you meet the spouse visa UK financial requirements.

You can rely on self-employment when applying for a visa as a spouse in the UK, as any of the following:

  • A sole trader where the business is in the ownership and control of one person
  • A partnership where the business is owned and controlled by at least two people
  • A franchise using an established business model

As an applicant for the spousal visa through any of these routes, the Home Office will expect you to provide:

  • Annual self-assessment tax returns
  • Proof that you are registered as self-employed with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • Evidence of your Unique Tax Reference number, business and personal bank statements for the full period relied upon

It is also necessary to supply evidence to the Home Office that your self-employment is ongoing at the time of your application. In addition, you must provide one of the below:

  • Audited accounts, if your business is required to produce these, for the financial year(s) relied upon;
  • Unaudited accounts, if your business does not need to produce audited accounts, for the financial year(s) relied upon;
  • A certificate of VAT registration and the VAT return for the financial year(s) relied upon if turnover is more than £79,000 or was in excess of the threshold applicable during the last full financial year;
  • Evidence of planning permission or consent from the local planning authority to operate the type/class of business at the trading address, where this is needed; or
  • A franchise agreement must be submitted if applicable

You may be seeking a UK visa as a spouse who is also a director or employee of a specified limited UK company. For the purposes of applying for this visa, a specified limited company is a UK registered company in which:

  • The person is either a director or employee of the company, or both, or of another company in the same group; and
  • Shares are held – whether directly or indirectly – by the person, their partner or the following relatives of the person or their partner: parent, grandparent, child, stepchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin; and
  • Any remaining shares are held – whether directly or indirectly –by fewer than five other people.

If you are a director or employee of a specified limited company in accordance with the above definition, you will be expected to provide what may prove to be a significant volume of evidence that you satisfy the financial requirements for this visa.

This evidence will need to cover the company’s last full financial year, and should include, among other documents:

  • The company’s tax return for the last financial year;
  • Company accounts;
  • Business bank statements; and
  • A Current Appointment Report from Companies House

Furthermore, the Home Office will require you to provide evidence that you actually received income, in the form of:

  • Payslips;
  • Dividend vouchers; and
  • Personal bank statements

Our spouse visa UK lawyers can assist you with the gathering and analysis of these documents for your application, to help ensure the evidence you provide is consistent and complete, in addition to meeting the Home Office’s requirements.

As aforementioned, applicants for the spouse visa for the UK are required to have a combined income with their partner of a minimum of £18,600 a year, including if they wish to settle in the UK (a status also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) within five years.

You will be expected to prove that you have additional money if you have children who:

  • Are not British or Irish citizens
  • Do not have pre-settled status
  • Are not permanently settled in the UK

It might not be necessary for you to prove you have extra money if your children are citizens of the European Union (EU), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and they do not have pre-settled status or are not permanently settled in the UK.

If you do need to prove you have additional money as part of your UK spouse visa application, you will be required to earn an additional:

  • £3,800 for your first child
  • £2,400 for each child you have after your first child

This is also referred to as the ‘minimum income requirement’. It may be possible for you to use your savings rather than income. The manner by which you got the income will determine how you prove you have this money when applying for a UK spousal visa.

It may be necessary for you to pay the Immigration HealthSurcharge (IHS) as part of your application for the spouse UK visa, including for any children who are joining you in the UK as your dependants.

If you do need to pay the surcharge, you can do this as part of your application online, or when you book an appointment. You will then be able to start using the National Health Service (NHS) once you have paid the surcharge (or have confirmed you are exempt from paying it) and the Home Office has granted you a spousal visa for the UK.

There are certain individuals who will not need to pay the surcharge but will still be able to use the NHS. The following, for instance, will still need to obtain an IHS reference number, but will not be required to pay:

  • Children under 18 who have been taken into care by a local authority
  • Relevant civilian employees at NATO or the Australian Department of Defence in the UK (or their dependants)

The amount that you can expect to pay as part of a UK spouse visa application is as follows:

  • £624 a year as someone aged over 18 at the time of your application
  • £470 a year for each dependantaged under 18 at the time of the application

For more information and guidance about the healthcare surcharge if you are interested in joining your partner in the UK, please contact our UK spouse visa lawyers today.

You will need to take a tuberculosis (TB) test if you are resident in any of the Home Office’s listed countries in relation to this, and you intend to come to the UK for more than six months. This includes when you are applying for a UK visa as a spouse, with the results of this test needing to be provided to the Home Office.

If this is one of the spouse visa UK requirements for you, it will be necessary to take the test at a clinic that has been approved by the Home Office. The test will involve you being given a chest x-ray; in the event of the result of the x-ray being unclear, you may also be asked to provide a sputum sample, which is phlegm coughed up from your lungs.

If the test shows that you do not have TB, you will be presented with a certificate that will remain valid for six months from the date of your x-ray, and this certificate will need to be included with your UK spouse visa application.

You will not need to undergo a TB test if any of the following is the case:

  • You are a diplomat accredited to the UK
  • You are a returning UK resident and have not spent more than two years away from the UK
  • You have spent a minimum of six months in a country where the UK does not require TB screening, and you have spent no more than six months away from that country

For more detailed advice and guidance in relation to the full range of spouse visa requirements that will apply to you –including in relation to any tuberculosis testing that may be expected by the Home Office – please contact our capable and experienced immigration lawyers. You can call us on 0208 215 0053.

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