ONELAW CHAMBERS IMMIGRATION NEWS: How to apply for Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain in the UK on a UK Spouse Visa

09/04/2020 | Immigration News | Aejaz Mussa

ONELAW CHAMBERS IMMIGRATION NEWS: How to apply for Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain in the UK on a UK Spouse Visa

The UK Spouse visa category is for partners of British citizens or persons with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, who wish to join, or stay with, their husband or wife in the UK with the intention of permanent settlement in the UK. You can also apply for an Entry Clearance Spouse visa if your Spouse is outside the UK, but intending to return to the UK with you.

 

What is the UK Spouse Visa?

The UK Spouse visa category is for partners of British citizens or persons with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, who wish to join, or stay with, their husband or wife in the UK with the intention of permanent settlement in the UK. You can also apply for an Entry Clearance Spouse visa if your Spouse is outside the UK, but intending to return to the UK with you. You can also switch into the Spouse Visa category.

Requirements for a UK Spouse visa application

In order to qualify for a UK Spouse Visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that you meet the following requirements:

  • Your partner is a British Citizen, is settled in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain or is in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection;
  • You and your partner are both over the age of 18 and are not in a prohibited degree of relationship;
  • You and your partner have met in person and are legally married;
  • Your relationship is genuine and subsisting and you intend to live together permanently in the UK;
  • Any previous relationships have broken down permanently;
  • You meet the Financial Requirement and will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds (discussed further below);
  • There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents;
  • You speak and understand English to the required level A1 or A2 depending whether your application is made inside or outside the UK.

The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances.  You may want to speak to our immigration lawyers for expert advice.

 

Financial Requirement for a UK Spouse visa

In order to demonstrate that you can be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds, you will need to satisfy the Financial Requirement.

 

The Financial Requirement for a UK Spouse Visa application states that you will need to demonstrate that your Partner (or both of you jointly if you are in the UK with valid leave to remain) has a gross income of at least:

  • £18,600 per annum; plus
  • £3,800 for a first child (who is not British, settled or an EEA national); plus
  • £2,400 for each additional child (who is not British, settled or an EEA national).

The Financial Requirement can be met in a number of ways, which include the use of cash savings, income from investments, salaried employment, self-employment and other relevant sources of income. You may be able to combine sources of income to meet the Financial Requirement, however some sources of income cannot be combined. You may want to speak to our immigration lawyers for expert advice.   

 

Meeting the UK Spouse Visa Financial Requirement

You can meet the UK Spouse visa financial requirement through salaried and non-salaried income, self-employed income, salary and/or dividends from a company of which you are a Director, property rental income, dividends and income from investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds, pension income, insurance payments, maintenance payments and cash savings above £16,000 that have been held for at least six months, unless you can demonstrate that they have come from the sale of property or investments within the last 6 months.

 

In some circumstances it is possible to rely on a combination of the above sources of income to satisfy the financial requirement.

 

Different considerations will apply if your Spouse is in receipt of certain benefits. If you fall into this category, please contact us for more information.

 

UK Spouse Visa processing times 

UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) processes 95% of UK Spouse Visa applications within 12 weeks, however it may take longer where your application is particularly complex or where you have been previously refused a visa to the UK.

 

If you require a faster visa processing timeline, most visa application centres outside the UK offer a Settlement Priority Visa Service. This will ensure that your UK Spouse Visa application is placed at the front of the queue at every stage of the decision-making process. The UK Spouse Visa processing time for an application submitted using the Settlement Priority Visa Service is usually normally not more than 30 working days.  A well-prepared UK Spouse Visa application may result in a quicker processing time.

 

If you apply to switch into or extend your stay as a Spouse from within the UK, you will be able to choose from two processing timelines. If you apply via the Standard Service, your in-country application will normally be decided within 8 weeks. If you apply via the Super Priority Service, you should normally receive a decision on the next working day after providing your biometric information.

 

UK Spouse Visa application fee

The Home Office application fee for a UK Spouse visa application submitted outside the UK is currently £1,523.  The Home Office application fee to switch into the Spouse category from within the UK or extend stay as a Spouse is currently £1,033.

 

UK Spouse Visa validity period and Settlement

If your application for a UK Spouse visa is successful, your visa will be valid for 33 months initially. If you apply for leave to remain in the UK as a Spouse then you will be granted leave valid for 30 months.

 

Before your initial grant of leave expires, you will need to apply to UK Visas and Immigration to extend your stay.  If your application for further leave to remain as a Spouse is successful then you will be granted further leave to remain for a period of 30 months.

 

After spending 5 years in the UK as the Spouse of a British citizen or settled person, you will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

 

Can I work and study in the UK on a Spouse Visa?

Spouse Visa holders have a full right to work and study in the UK.

 

What if I do not meet all the requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?

If you are not able to satisfy certain of the requirements for a UK Spouse Visa, you may still be able to apply to join or remain with your partner under Article 8 ECHR on Human Rights grounds if you can demonstrate that there would be very significant difficulties in your relationship continuing outside the UK. These applications are decided on a discretionary basis and must be very well-prepared in order to persuade the Home Office to exercise its discretion in your favour. 

 

Making a UK Spouse Visa application with OneLaw Chambers

At OneLaw Chambers, our immigration solicitors and barristers regularly assist with UK Spouse Visa applications in order for applicants to relocate to and settle in the UK with their British citizen or settled spouses.  We have assisted many foreign national spouses to prepare and submit successful UK Spouse Visa applications and we have represented clients from all over the world.

 

Whether you require expert immigration advice on the requirements of the Immigration Rules, an independent immigration assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a UK Spouse Visa or professional immigration representation with preparing your UK Spouse Visa immigration application, our immigration solicitors and barristers can help you.

 

We are committed to ensuring that our immigration solicitors and barristers prepare every immigration visa application with utmost quality and skill so that successful outcome is achieved every time. Our immigration solicitors and barristers operate in a friendly and cooperative manner to provide our clients with the best client care and service during the entire immigration application process.

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