Applying for Spouse Visa to the UK.
Introduction to applying for Spouse Visa to the UK:
When applying for spouse visa to the UK you need to be a partner of Irish / British citizen, or an overseas nationals partner who holds ILR. You, both need to be over 18 years old at the submission date and either living and settled in the Great Britain or returning together to permanently settle in the United Kingdom.
To be successful in applying for spouse visa UK application you will need to demonstrate you can adequately maintain yourselves without the need to access public funds. Demonstrate you met the criteria under Appendix FM, and demonstrate you are in a legitimate, subsisting relationship together. A spouse visa can lead to indefinite leave or settlement after a period of 5 years.
Before submitting you need to check you meet the correct criteria so your spouse visa will be considered valid:
You and your partner are both over the age of 18;
You and your partner are not in a prohibited relationship;
You and your partner have met in person;
You and your partner are in a legally recognised marriage in the United Kingdom;
Your relationship is genuine and subsisting;
You and your partner intend to live permanently together in the United Kingdom;
Any previous relationships you both have been in are permanently dissolved;
You meet the wife visa UK income threshold requirements under appendix FM;
You have adequate accommodation for you and any dependents without requiring access to public funds
Passed an English Language test if English isn't your native 1st language
You may need a TB (tuberculosis) certificate if applying from outside United Kingdom
This means that you and your partner must not be directly related in anyway:
Required to have met in person
You must have met face-to-face in person which developed into a mutual acquaintance and from their developed into a relationship.
Marriage in the United Kingdom
In order to qualify for a wife visa in the UK, you and your partner will need to be in a legally recognised marriage in the UK. In the United Kingdom you are required to give your intention to marry and complete the notice period required. Your marriage must have taken place at an authorised place of marriage and your marriage must have been conducted by a person authorised to register marriages. A marriage in the UK must be evidenced using a marriage certificate.
Marriage outside the United Kingdom
An overseas marriage will be recognised in the UK if the marriage is formally recognised in the country in which it took place and the marriage correctly followed and satisfied the legal requirements of the country in which it took place. There is nothing in the laws of either person’s country of domicile at the time of the marriage to prevent the marriage from being recognised; and any previous marriages of the couple had broken down permanently. A marriage outside the UK must be evidenced by a reasonable equivalent to a UK marriage certificate valid under the law in force within the relevant country to meet the spouse visa UK requirement.
Genuine and Subsisting Relationship:
To meet spouse visa UK requirement you need to provide the Home Office with evidence that your relationship is genuine and sustaining. UKVI make their decisions on whether a relationship is genuine and subsisting on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all evidence you provide and using balance of probability around your individual circumstances to make their decision.
Factors UKVI may consider:
The length of your relationship;
Whether you are now living together or have done so in the past
Do you have children together (biological, adopted or step-children) and shared responsibility for them;
Whether you have shared responsibilities;
Whether you have visited one another’s home country
Whether you have meet each others families;
Whether you have made or discussed plans of living together in the UK;
Should UKVI have any concerns about the genuineness of your relationship they will more likely scrutinise your UK Spouse Visa and possibly look for grounds to justify an refusal.
Intention to live permanently in the UK
To qualify for a family visa, fiance visa, spouse visa, partner visa & civil partner visa, UK Visas & Immigration want you to clearly satisfy them that you and your spouse intend to live together permanently in the UK immediately following the successful issue of your spouse visa or as soon as your circumstances allow.
Previous Relationships are Permanently dissolved
UKVI will want proof neither you or your partner are married to another person at the date of your application for entry clearance as a UK married partner. If either of you have been previously married then you will need to provide evidence that any marriage outside your current relationship has ended. Divorce certificates are the easiest way of demonstrating the end of a marriage but other documentation can also be used. A divorce in the UK is demonstrated through a decree absolute from a civil court. Overseas divorces must be evidenced using an equivalent to a decree absolute that's lawfully valid within the relevant country.
UK Accommodation Requirement
Whether you apply for a spouse visa from outside or within the UK, you need to provide evidence of adequate accommodation is available to you and your partner on arrival to the UK. Which you own or occupy exclusively without the need to access public funds.
SELT Test English Language requirement
To meet the English language requirements when English is not your native language you will need to sit an SELT language test to meet the spouse visa UK requirements there are 3 different language levels required for family visas, spouse visa extension(s) and when you apply for indefinite leave to remain before acquiring your British Citizenship.
SELT level A1 Test applies for Entry clearance
SELT level A2 Test applies for FLR
SELT level B1 Test applies for ILR
For an in-depth look at obtaining an appropriate SELT language certificate check out:
TB (tuberculosis) certificate if applying from outside UK
Depending on where you live when applying from outside the UK you may need a TB certificate as part of your spouse visa UK requirement for more information on when and from where you will need to obtain a certificate check out my post:
When applying through entry clearance for a UK Spouse visa, your partner must meet the minimum income threshold under Appendix FM in their own rights or demonstrate they have a visa financial exemption.
If you are eligible for a visa extension under spouse visa UK requirement using FLR-M, or civil partnership visa from within the UK, you can rely on joint household income if you are eligible to work under your current LTR / FLR or demonstrate your partner has an exemption.
How to met Appendix FM through ‘adequate maintenance’ when you have an exemption
If your UK married partner has a long term illness or disability and receives any of the following benefits or allowances through the Department of Work & Pensions in the UK, then you may be able to apply under "adequate maintenance" through appendix FM.
To meet Appendix FM you will need to provide evidence of “adequate maintenance” rather than demonstrating you meet the minimum income threshold spouse visa UK requirements above. Your family application can be considered on “adequate maintenance” grounds by providing supporting evidence of any of these benefits.
• Carer’s Allowance
• Disability Living Allowance
• Severe Disablement Allowance
• Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
• Attendance Allowance
• Personal Independence Payment
• Armed Forces Independence Payment or
• Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
• Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
• Police Injury Pension
“Adequate Maintenance” threshold requirements will continue to apply on your next family visas application as long as your partner continues to receive any of those benefits or allowances indicated above at the time of your next submission.
Financial Categories under Appendix FM
The financial requirements for everyone else can be demonstrated through one or more of the following 5 categories:
Category A: In employment with current employer for 6 months or more
If you apply from outside the UK your partner (sponsor) will need to demonstrate they met Appendix FM financial requirements in their own right. If you are already in the UK holding LTR / FLR with permission to work your application can be considered under joint household income.
Joint household income is a combination of both "Sponsors & Applicants" joint employment income from all income sources recognised under Category A. You can combine Category C: non-employment income, Category D: cash savings and Category E: pension if necessary to meet the minimum financial requirement of £18,600 per annum.
Category B: Less than 6 months with employer or has variable income
This category is used when your partner and/or you are in the UK with permission to work. Either your partner and/or you are in salaried or non-salaried employment at the date of submission, haven't been with the same employer and/or not earning the same income level relied upon in the application for at least 6 months prior to the submission date of your spouse visa application.
Category B can be used by anyone who has been with their current employer for less than 6 months, or who has been with their current employer for more than 6 months but their earnings our variable and need to be considered under category B rather than under Category A.
Category B, financial requirements must be met and evidenced in 2 parts.
First, your partner and/or you (with permission to work in UK) must be in salaried employment at the date of application submission and have been in employment with a new employer for less than 6 months, you can count the gross annual salary at the date of application towards the financial requirements if your income exceeds £18,600 under appendix FM for this new employment period.
To meet part (2) your partner and/or you must have received in the 12 months prior to the application submission date combined level of income required to meet part (2) of the calculation for Category B exceeding £18,600 per annum.
Category C: Non-employment income
Non-employment income, is from property rental or dividends from shares.
• property rental
• dividends or income from investments, stocks and shares, bonds or trust funds
• interest from savings
• maintenance payments from a former partner of the applicant.
• UK Maternity Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment
• Widowed Parent’s Allowance
• payments under the War Pensions Scheme,
• Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
• The Armed Forces Attributable Benefits Scheme
• Maintenance grant or stipend (not a loan) associated with undergraduate
study or postgraduate study or research
• ongoing insurance payments
• ongoing payments from a structured legal settlement
• ongoing royalty payments
Category D: Cash Savings
If you and or your partner have savings above £16,000, these can be used solely or in combination with salaried or non-salaried employment. UK spouse visa applicants who rely on savings to satisfy financial application requirements should bare in mind the level of savings required on a entry clearance & FLR spouse visa application is different from the level needed when applying for ILR under spouse visa.
(Savings value – £16,000) ÷ 2.5 = (£) qualifying value
Category E: Pension income
If your partner or both of you are retired you can use your State (UK or foreign), occupational or private pension to demonstrate you meet Appendix FM requirements. Pension income can be combined with categories A-D in order to meet Appendix FM requirements.
Category F & G: Self-employed
If you are self-employed you can use Income generated through your self-employed activities, including income as a company director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK, or yourself if you are in the UK with permission to work.
Category F: Last full financial year
Where the applicant’s partner (and/or the applicant if they are in the UK with permission to work) is in self-employment or is either the director or employee (or both) of a specified limited company in the UK, at the date of application, they can use income from the last full financial years accounts to meet the financial requirement.
Category G: Average of last 2 full financial years
Where the applicant’s partner (and/or the applicant if they are in the UK with permission to work) is in self-employment, or is the director or employee (or both) of a specified limited company in the UK, at the date of application, they can choose instead to rely on Category G. This allows them to use an average of the income received in the last 2 full financial years to meet the financial requirement. A reference to the ‘average’ of the income received in the last 2 full financial years in Category G is a reference to the mean average.
Income under Category F or Category G can be combined with income from salaried and non-salaried employment, non-employment income and pension income in order to meet the financial requirement. However cash savings cannot be combined with income under Category F or Category G.
Marc Gibson our immigration adviser specialises in assisting foreign national spouses relocate and settle in the UK with their partners. Marc has supported hundreds of UK and other settled nationals sponsor their foreign married partners to prepare and submit successful UK spouse visa renewal applications. Whether you require a consultation to understand the Immigration Rules for UK married partner visas, or have your partner visa application professional checked by him before submission or use his representation service to prepare and submit your own Spouse Visa application for you, Marc can help.
Appendix FM financial requirements are particularly complex and include mandatory requirements in terms of the documentary evidence needed to demonstrate you can meet the requirements of the spouse visa application. Our immigration adviser specialises in assisting married couples with complex financial circumstances complete and submit successful marriage applications.
Marc prides himself on being friendly, approachable and professional in meeting his clients’ needs, he is dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to his clients when providing his UK Spouse Visa service.