How to go about a spouse visa application

To apply for a Marriage Visa and enter the UK, you must be married to, or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, UK settled person or UK refugee. This is also called very commonly, a spouse visa also. It is one of the most popular and common types of visa applications processed and requested for across the world. An Unmarried Partner or Spouse Visa is valid for 30 months. After 30 months, you will be able to apply for an extension for a further 30 months. It is fair to say there is a lot of paperwork around this type of visa as well as small print to be fully aware of too.

What this type of visa does

A ‘Family of a Settled Person’ visa or a Spouse visa as it is more commonly known, allows nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who are married (or in a Civil Partnership) to British nationals or those who hold settled status in the UK to enter or remain in the UK with their partner. If you reside outside the UK and wish to join your husband/wife or civil partner in the UK, you can apply for entry clearance or if you are already in the UK you can make an application to extend your stay in the UK as the ‘family of a settled person’.

What is a spouse visa?

The UK spouse visa allows non-EEA spouses to join their British or settled partners in the UK. A spouse visa is valid for 30 months and can be renewed for a further 30 months. Following this, Applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) in the UK.

The fees

If you submit your UK Spouse visa from outside the UK the Home Office fee is £1523 plus the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). However, if you submit the application from within the UK the Home Office fee is £1033 plus the Biometrics fee (£19.20) and the IHS.

The other small print regarding the costs for this type of visa

You and your spouse must have enough money to support yourselves, and any dependents, without having to rely on public funds. The sponsoring partner must be earning at least £18,600 per year. Either that or between you you must have savings of over £62,500. In some scenarios, you can meet the requirements through a combination of income and savings. If you have dependents to support, the requirements are higher.

Is it possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Once the individual has held their spouse visa for at least five years, they will be able to submit an application for  Indefinite Leave to Remain, also known as settlement.

The applicant must also be able to very clearly be able to demonstrate that:

  • they’ve spent a continuous period of five years in the UK and during this time have not breached any UK immigration laws;
  • they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test;
  • they continue to be in a relationship with their British or settled partner; and since being granted leave in this category, they have lived in the UK with their partner.

UK spouse visa applications and how a solicitor will be able to help along the way

The Home Office will carefully scrutinise an application for a spouse visa. If the caseworker does not consider that, for example, the relationship is genuine or the financial requirement, or any of the other requirements are met, the application will fall for refusal. It is therefore important  that the application is prepared thoroughly and carefully. It is also key to make sure you don’t try to cut corners. Make sure along the way this application is done 100% above board. You need to ensure you provide all of the correct and binding information. Any lies in the paperwork will be seen as illegal so it is best to be as honest as you can be from the offset.

Applying from outside of the UK

It is possible to apply from inside the UK providing you are already in the UK with immigration permission which is still valid. If you are unsure of your status, let a legal team know and they can advise you. If you do not have valid immigration status, it may be possible to apply based on exceptional circumstances depending on the facts of your case. This is just one of the variables that can be prone to occur when you are undertaking this process. It may also be good to look out for any other small print too. For example, you may need to show accounts of any businesses you have had.

Making sure you are able to meet all of the right financial requirements for this type of visa

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

In some circumstances it is possible to rely on a combination of the above sources of income. This is to satisfy the financial requirement. Different considerations will apply if your Spouse is in receipt of certain benefits. You may also then be exempt from the financial requirement. Assess as much of this as you can as far in advance as you can also. To be sure of this, make sure you keep visiting the home office website. Do this to see if there are any changes in these laws. This can happen very much at the drop of a hat. You never know what law changes there may be coming. From border to border in line with the UK, there may be different laws that come and go. One step further to go may be to also check with the embassy tied with your native country.

Getting a faster visa application

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 throughout the decision-making process. The visa processing time for a UK Spouse visa submitted via the Settlement Priority Visa Service. This is normally not more than 30 working days. From a legal point of view, a well prepared visa application may result in a quicker processing time. This can for sure work wonders and help you no end in the short and long-term.


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. Lastly, if you apply via the Super Priority Service, you should normally receive a decision on the next working day after providing your biometric information. It is good to bear all of this in mind when it comes to getting a successful overall application underway.

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