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If you want to settle in the UK and your spouse has indefinite leave to remain or British nationality, you may be eligible to apply for a spouse visa.
The spouse visa is one of the most popular visa applications dealt with by our experienced settlement team. Our clients include those that are:
- Inside the UK with current leave to remain
- Inside the UK with no leave to remain
- Outside the UK
Your immigration status in the UK will determine whether you’re able to make an application from here, or will need to return to your home country/country of residency. In some circumstances you will be entitled to make the application from within the UK, this is called ‘switching’. An application to 'switch' from within the UK can be made provided you:
- Are not a visitor
- Do not have permission to stay for less than 6 months (unless in the fiancé category)
- Have not been granted temporary admission
- Are not in breach of the immigration rules
If you do not meet these requirements our team will go through alternative options available to you.
Making a spouse application can be a stressful experience and at Quantum we are aware of the anxieties and complications involved. That’s why our specialist lawyers will go through the process thoroughly and explain what we believe is the best option available to you.
In general, most applications are made from outside the UK.
In order to qualify in the spouse/civil partner category, you must be able to satisfy the following requirements:
- Legally married
- Met in person
- English language
- Minimum financial requirements
- Genuine and subsisting relationship
- We will go through these requirements in considerable detail at your consultation.
Legally married - In order to qualify for this visa you must be legally married to your partner. You do not have to get married in the UK, but you must be married in accordance with the laws of the country in which you marry. Both parties to the marriage must also be over 18 years old.
Met in person - You and your partner must have met in person. This means that a ‘virtual’ meeting on the internet will not suffice; you have to have met your partner physically in person.
English language requirements - The Applicant must be able to demonstrate a certain level of English to qualify for this visa. If you are from a country outside of the European Economic Area (or Switzerland) that is not a predominantly English speaking country then you will have to take an English language test by an approved test provider.
If however you have obtained a degree which was taught in English, it may be sufficient enough to show that you meet this requirement.
New financial requirements - Since July 2012 the Home Office has imposed complex financial requirements in settlement applications to prevent foreign nationals from using public funds, and there is little if any room for discretion. There are a number of ways of demonstrating an income:
- Self employment
- Non employment income e.g. pension
- Other specified income
The UK national, i.e. sponsor, must show that they can financially maintain and accommodate their spouse in the UK. Unfortunately, the applicant’s income cannot be included as part of the calculation unless they are already in the UK and have permission to work.
To satisfy the new financial rules the sponsor will have to demonstrate that they earn at least £18,600 per annum. This amount is higher if you are sponsoring a dependent child and increases with each additional dependent child to the application. British children are exempt from this.
In some circumstances you may be exempt from the financial requirements, for example, if you claim:
- Disability allowance
- Carer’s allowance
Please contact us to see if you qualify for an exemption.
Accommodation - In relation to living arrangements, the sponsor will need to show that there is adequate accommodation to the couple.
Genuine relationship - This part of the Rules requires the Home Office to assess whether your relationship is genuine or not. Without proper evidence of your relationship the Home Office will have good reason to refuse the application.
In order to succeed in this application, it is not enough to prove that you are legally married; parties to the marriage must show that they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship. This is a highly subjective requirement and with the increase of what the Home Office term as ‘sham marriages’ this requirement is becoming harder to satisfy.
There are several pieces of evidence that you can gather to meet this requirement to the Home Office’s satisfaction.
Our lawyers will be able to provide detailed advice on the documents you should gather to evidence your relationship; a detailed and tailor-made check list of documents will be sent to you so that you will be fully aware of all the documents you will need to obtain.
FIANCÉ/PROPOSED CIVIL PARTNER
Should you wish to get married in the UK you can apply for a fiancé visa.
Like the Spouse visa, this visa requires you to prove your relationship and satisfy financial and accommodation requirements. The main requirements for this visa are:
- Genuine and subsisting relationship
- Minimum financial threshold and accommodation
- English Language
Once granted, this visa allows you to live in the UK for 6 months.
Not everyone needs to get married to settle in the UK with their partner. For those who do not want to get married there is the option of the Unmarried Partner visa.
The main requirements in this category are the same as those for the spouse visa, except of course the requirement to get married.
The Home Office requires vigorous evidence to demonstrate your living arrangements and cohabitation for a 2 year period. Our lawyers will be able to guide you in gathering the considerable documentation required to meet the evidential requirements.
Our dedicated team of family immigration experts will talk you through the application and evidential requirements to ensure you are fully briefed on what steps are available to you. The acceptable forms of income can be highly complicated and therefore our expert immigration lawyers will guide you through the process thoroughly, assessing your personal circumstances and ensuring the advice is straightforward and time effective.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
When you are first granted leave in this category you will be given leave of 2 and a half years. Thereafter, you will be eligible for an extension – provided you still meet the requirements under this category – for a further period of 2 and a half years. After a period of 5 years in the UK in this category you will be eligible for ILR.
Once granted leave as a spouse, you will be permitted to take up employment in the UK, set up a business or be self-employed.
Same Day/Priority Service
At Quantum our immigration lawyers are unique in that we are registered with the Home Office, allowing us to book and arrange a same day priority service.
We are experts in preparing same day applications and will guide you through this specialist service with care and attention.