Spouse Visa UK – Top Three Tips while Applying for it
Spouse Visa UK allows non-EU partner of the British or Settled person to join and live in the UK. We can say that meeting ‘the one’ and getting married is one of the happiest times in most people’s lives, made even more rewarding when a UK Spouse Visa has been successfully granted. We were recently treated to a Royal Wedding, where Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle. And it may come as a surprise to many, but marrying a prince has not allowed the Duchess of Sussex to bypass UK immigration rules, and she is currently going through the process of obtaining British Citizenship.
Obtaining a UK Spouse Visa can be a nerve-racking process, especially given the British government’s stance on reducing immigration. Families have born the brunt of hostile immigration law policies and getting entry-clearance via the spouse visa route can be a minefield of red-tape and difficulties if you do not receive the right advice.
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To successfully obtain a Spouse Visa, you need to be aware of what is required and follow the rules to the letter. Here are our three top tips for making a successful UK Spouse Visa application.
One – Fill in the Form Correctly and Send the Right Supporting Documentation for a UK Spouse Visa
This point is crucial. Any mistakes on the Spouse Visa application form or missing supporting documentation is likely to result in an instant refusal. Therefore, investing in a professional immigration lawyer to check over your application and collate the required documents is money well spent.
Supporting documents to include in your application include:
- The evidence you meet the Minimum Income Threshold. This should include at least six months’ worth of payslips, bank statements, and P60 forms.
- Employment documents such as your employment contract and/or a letter from your employer.
- Your passport, photographs, National Insurance number, and confirmation you have paid the immigration fees and NHS healthcare surcharge.
- Evidence of your relationship, including your marriage certificate, joint bank accounts, emails or letters you have written to each other, birthday cards, letters of support from family members and friends.
- Proof you have adequate accommodation, for example, your tenancy agreement, mortgage documents, utility bills, inspection report (if it is a Housing Association Property).
Two – Make Sure you Meet the Minimum Income Requirement
One of the biggest hurdles for a UK Spouse Visa applicant and their sponsor to overcome is the Minimum Income Requirement. To obtain a Spouse Visa, you need to prove your sponsor has been earning £18,600 per year. This figure increases if you have children under the age of 18 years you wish to bring into the country.
It is estimated that 40% of British Citizens could not meet the minimum income threshold. The harshness of the policy has resulted in so-called ‘Skype-families’; where children have no contact with their non-EEA parent except via Skype because they cannot gain entry into the UK. Worryingly, there have been reports of cases where the Home Office has expressly encouraged the non-EEA partner to return to their home country and continue the relationship via a computer.
If you do not meet the minimum income requirements, you must seek legal advice. In August 2017, the government made changes to the Immigration Rules, allowing couples applying for a UK Spouse Visa to:
- Use third-party funding in some cases. Any sponsors must be prepared to prove to the Home Office they have the financial resources to support the couple and that their relationship with the couple is not likely to change.
- Have any prospective earnings or self-employment earnings from the applicant or their sponsor be taken into this means couples may not need to wait until the sponsor has been earning at least £18,600 for six months (pro-rata) before applying for a Spouse Visa.
- Have residential or commercial mortgages considered as a source of income.
- Have the rights of any children under the age of 18 taken into consideration by the decision-maker.
Three – Prepare for a Spouse Visa Interview
If you are asked to attend a Spouse Visa Interview, you should ensure you prepare properly. If the Home Office takes such an action, it is a strong indication they may not believe your marriage is genuine.
Take the time to work with an immigration lawyer who will run through a mock interview with you and your spouse or unmarried partner. It is important to have the same answers to questions such as ‘how and when did you meet’? and make sure you know details about your spouse such as how much they earn, their middle name, who their family are and what their favourite food/colour/movie is.
In a Spouse Visa Interview, you and your husband/wife will be interviewed separately. The interviewees will be on the lookout for inconsistencies in your answers, so make sure there are none. Even couples who have been together for many years get nervous at Spouse Visa Interviews, which is why it is crucial to practice your responses.
Do not let your chances of living together as husband and wife be denied because of a poorly prepared Spouse Visa application or relying on bad advice. Invest the time and money in quality legal information from a regulated law firm. This will give you and your spouse confidence that all possible steps have been taken to ensure your UK Spouse Visa application is successful.
Disclaimer: No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional advice for their immigration matters.