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Step-by-Step Guide: How two Apply for A Spouse Visa into UK

Updated: May 9

My guide can be used for both Entry clearance & Further leave to remain applications when you apply Spouse Visa UK.

Our Step-by-Step guide is a broad overview of Spouse Visa UK processing time scales, regarding how to prepare, saving & recording important information, how to assess your application evidence, where you can find the UK Spouse Visa online form.

Visual map of submitting a UK Visa application
Visual step-by-step map of submitting a UK Spouse visa

Our Step-by-Step guide to UK Spouse visa.

When planning to live in the UK on a UK Spouse Visa you need to be a married partner of British / Irish citizen, or an overseas nationals married partner who holds Indefinite leave to remain. You and your partner both need to be over 18 years old. Currently living and settled in the UK or returning together to permanently settle in the UK. It's important to understand the spouse visa process to ensure a smooth and successful immigration process. Our guide will walk you through the steps of applying for a UK spouse visa, from researching the requirements to submitting your application.


Step 1: Determine your eligibility to apply UK spouse visa

Researching UK spouse visa requirements

Before starting your UK spouse visa, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the eligibility requirements associated with this type of visa. The UKVI has different visa eligibility requirements for different visa categories so you need to be familiar specifically with eligibility criteria for UK Spouse visa in the UK:

  • Meet the Age Requirement

  • Intention to settle in the UK

  • Not in a Prohibited relationship:

  • Required to have met in person

  • Married Partners

  • In Genuine and Subsisting Relationship

  • Previous Relationships are Permanently dissolved

  • Meet Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirements

  • SELT English test if English isn't your native 1st language

  • Meet spousal maintenance requirements under Appendix FM

  • TB (tuberculosis) certificate if applying from outside UK

Your own application requirements can vary in order to qualify for a UK Spouse Visa depending on your personal circumstances. Do get in touch using my contact form if you require any advice or support with your UK Spouse Visa requirements.

Questions you need to consider:

  1. Can I apply from inside the UK? or

  2. Do I need to apply from outside the UK?


Step 2: Collecting Your Documents

You need to make sure all your documents are in a format that either UKVI overseas partner accepts or UKVCAS accept when applying in the UK. I recommend all documents should be saved in PDF A4 format @ DPI 300 in black font so it reduces the overall size of the document you upload to their document portal. Documents should not exceed more than 6mbs in size otherwise you will not be able to upload them onto the appropriate document portals.

Accommodation Requirement

You will need to provide evidence that demonstrates the property you will or do occupy is owned or rented by you, that you are legally and exclusively entitled to occupy the property and that the property will not be overcrowded or contravene public health regulations.

Financial Requirement

Your individual circumstances under appendix FM will dictate which categories you need to select to demonstrate how you meet the minimum income requirement of £18,600 per annum. This could be through PAYE Employment or Self-employment, Non-employment income, Cash Savings or Pension income. Your chosen categories will specifically dictate what evidence you need to provided based on your individual circumstances.

Relationship Requirement

You will need to provide evidence that demonstrates you meet the eligibility requirements relating to age, your not in a prohibited relationship, you have met in person, your marriage, how your relationship is genuine and subsisting and how you intend to live permanently in the UK together and demonstrate any previous relationships you both were in have permanently dissolved.

Tips: Preparing to apply Spouse Visa UK

To increase your chances of a successful UK spouse visa, consider the following:

Start early and plan ahead

Begin the process well in advance of your intended travel dates. This allows ample time for gathering documents, completing the online form, and addressing any potential issues that may arise.

Double-check all the information

Ensure that all the information provided on your online form and supporting documents are accurate and consistent. Any discrepancies or errors can raise red flags and could negatively impact your case.

Be honest and transparent

Provide truthful and transparent information throughout your visa submission. Any false information can result in serious consequences, including visa refusal and potential ban from entering the UK in the future.

Reviewing and proofreading your documents

Before submitting your online form, take the time to review and proofread all the information you have provided. Check for any errors, inconsistencies, or missing documents. It's also beneficial to have someone else review your application to provide a fresh perspective and catch any overlooked mistakes.

Check for errors and inconsistencies

Seek feedback from others

Ensure clarity and readability


Step 3: Complete UKVI online form

You can find the UK spouse visa form on GOV.UK website.

Once you are confident that your application is complete and accurate, submit it through the UKVI online portal. UK Spouse Visas are typically submitted online, and you will be required to pay all applicable fees before the application is considered submitted. Once you have submitted you will be able to download a copy of your application form & document checklist which we recommend you keep for future reference.

Once you have completed the online form, you will be required to complete their declarations. Your UK Spouse visa is not considered submitted until you have paid your IHS fee and UKVI online fees.

Immigration Health Insurance Charge (IHS) Standard 2.5 year Spouse visa incurs a charge of £1560.00. This charge is to allow you full access to NHS services in the UK once you have paid it the system will generate a IHS reference number allocated to you.

An Entry clearance UK Spouse visa is charge @ £1538.00 and a Further leave to remain (FLR-M) Spouse visa is charge @ £1048.00.

Once you have paid the UKVI application fee you will be able to upload a copy of your application form and checking list of all your core application documents the UKVI require to assess your UK spouse visa application.

Your UKVI checking list isn't regarded by them as a complete comprehensive list as it only confirms core application documentation based on your online application form answers. Depending on personal circumstances, how complex your visa application needs are you may be required to include additional documentation not specifically indicated within the checking list document so bare this in mind when submitting yourself.


Step 4: Book your Biometrics appointment

Once you have completed & paid your visa and IHS fees, UKVI online form will direct you to upload your accompanying documents onto UKVI (Home Office) local commercial partner’s document upload portal if applying from outside the UK or UKVCAS if applying from within the UK.

The amount of time required to complete this process will be dictated by your application complexities based on your overall application needs and how many documents your are uploading.

You can opt to use UKVCAS or the local commercial partners own document processing services. However I don't recommend using them. I always recommend uploading your own visa application documents directly to their document portal as relying on them to complete the process correctly can’t be guaranteed.

Your application preferences are generally dictated by your chosen submission method which you have a couple of options. When uploading your documents you can choose to either use the UKVI standard visa application service or you can opt to use their priority service.


Step 5: Attend your Biometrics appointment

Refer to UKVCAS website for in-country application submissions & refer to local commercial partner’s website for out-of-country visa application submissions in regards to what documentation and information you need to take with you to your biometrics appointment. Both UKVCAS & local commercial partner’s offer added value services to expedite your application these can be purchased prior to selecting your biometrics appointment.


Step 6: Wait for an application decision

UKVI standard service operates on a 60 working day decision process. When a decision has been made on your visa application you will receive an email from UKVI confirming the outcome of your visa application and when your UK BRP card will be issued out to you when applying within the UK or requesting you collect your passport at which point the outcome will be confirmed then.


Seeking professional help:

If you find the visa application process overwhelming or if you have complex circumstances, consider seeking my professional assistance. I can provide you with guidance and ensure your application meets all the necessary requirements. Using an Immigration lawyer or adviser when submitting a visa application isn’t mandatory, but it can be beneficial in certain situations.

All my services are fixed fee services, so the costs of dealing with your visa application are clear from the start.


Common mistakes to avoid when applying:

  1. Not providing accurate information

  2. Not submitting your documents correctly

  3. Not demonstrating you met Appendix FM requirements correctly

  4. Not demonstrating you met English language requirements correctly

  5. Not demonstrating you met TB certificate requirements correctly if applicable

UK Spouse visas are general considered one of the more complicated visa applications to compile and submit. If you are considering attempting to submit your own spouse visa application. I do recommend you consider having it professionally checked before you pay your online application form. As you will not be able to edit the application form after you pay your application fee.

Check out my working with you page for a full outline of how I work with clients from Start to Finish.

visual map of working with clients
Visual map of working with clients

To get your application process started complete my contact form.

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