UK Spouse/Partner Visa

This visa provides an opportunity for non-British partners to live and work in the UK. You can apply for this family visa if you are the husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner (living together in a relationship for at least 2 years) , fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner (will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving)of a specified partner (see below) Some of the requirements are terribly restrictive, for example, applicants must meet a significant minimum income/finance threshold, which has been subject to fierce legal battles and criticism from family groups.

Our team provides expert legal advice and representation to those who are applying for a UK family visa as a partner or spouse, and we have a strong track record of successful applications.

What Are the Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa or Partner Visa?

To successfully obtain a family visa as a partner or spouse, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You and your partner both need to be 18 or over.
  • Your partner must either:
    • be a British
    • have settled in the UK – for example, they have ILR, settled status or proof of permanent residence
    • be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status – they must have started living in the UK before 1 January2021
    • have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
    • have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
  • You are in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK or you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply or you are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving
  • If you are a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, you must be seeking entry to the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place in the United Kingdom.
  • The relationship between you and your sponsor must be genuine and subsisting
  • You intend to live permanently with your sponsor in the UK and have adequate accommodation without recourse to public funds
  • Your sponsor meets the financial requirement. This would normally mean having an income of at least £18,600 per year (this increases if you have children) and/or having sufficient savings
  • You meet the English language requirement
  • The initial entry clearance visa is granted for 33 months (30 months if the application is made from inside the UK; if you apply as afiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, you will be give a 6-month visa to enable you to enter the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place here), after which you may apply for a Spouse Visa Extension of 30 months. After five years, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

How Do I Apply for a UK Spouse Visa or Partner Visa?

You can apply online. You would also need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre to enrol biometric data (photograph and fingerprints) as part of the process.

Not only will you need to fill in the application form correctly, you will also need to upload copies of the required supporting documents, which can be extensive.

If the caseworker examining your application has doubts about the genuineness of your relationship, you may be asked to attend a Spouse Visa Interview. You will be asked questions about your relationship and each other to see if your marriage is authentic, and not a sham.

What Supporting Documents Will I Need for Spouse Visa or Partner Visa?

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) officials will want to see the following documents (It is not an exhaustive list) included with your application:

  • Your current passport or other travel documents
  • Your marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Divorce certificate for any previous marriages, if applicable
  • Details of any criminal convictions, if applicable
  • Your National Insurance number (if you have one)
  • Details of your accommodation in the UK
  • Bank statements
  • Evidence of employment income, if applicable
  • Your sponsor’s British passport or Indefinite Leave to remain document
  • Details of any children who are also coming to the UK

What Are the Advantages of having a spouse visa under this category?

Being separated from your partner or spouse can be heart-breaking for you and your children. If you have fallen in love and married someone from the UK, obtaining a family visa can allow you to come to the UK and spend a life with your partner or spouse

Our team can provide legal advice and representation you require so you and your spouse/partner can live, work and build a future together in Britain.

What Can I Do if My application is Refused?

an application under this category can get refused if not prepared carefully. The British government has a goal to lower net migration. To achieve these targets, it is likely that immigration officials will refuse family visas on even the most tenuous grounds, so there is no room for error.

To add to the misery, when a family visa refused, it is not always an option to make an appeal or an administrative review. Therefore, your only option when faced with a refusal may be to submit a new application entirely or to apply for a judicial review.[SH1]

We understand the emotional rollercoaster couples can go through when they are forced to battle with government officials. Our lawyers provide a sensitive and compassionate service to our clients and have the expertise and experience needed to swiftly challenge a negative decision by Home Office and provide you with a positive result.

Why Choose Us to Help You Apply for a UK Spouse/Partner Visa

As highly experienced immigration experts, our lawyers will work with you to check that your application is filled in correctly and that all of the correct documentation is provided. This will prevent immigration officials from being able to refuse your submission due to a mistake.

By working with us, you can be confident that your best interests will be protected, and the visa application process will go through smoothly. We work hard and aim for the best possible results. Read our success stories on Spouse Visas here.

Can I extend my spouse visa?

Yes, provided you meet the requirements you should be able to extend your visa for 30 months (2.5 years) at a time. You will need to extend your visa at least once to complete your 60 month (5 year) qualifying period for settlement as a partner or spouse. You might also need to extend if you don’t fully meet the requirements for settlement after 5 years, for example, if you cannot yet speak English to the required level for settlement or if you fail the Life in the UK test.

English language requirements for partners

Applicants need to show they meet the English language requirements, in Speaking and Listening. For your initial application you will need to pass an approved English language test at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening, which is beginner’s level. For your extension after 2.5 years, you must prove that you pass an approved English language test at least a CEFR level A2 l, which could be considered as elementary level and is slightly more difficult than A1. For settlement, you must demonstrate that you can speak English at B1 level, which is intermediate level.

How long can you stay?

If you apply as afiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, you will be give a 6-month visa to enable you to enter the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place here;otherwise, you will be granted for 33 months (Entry Clearance) or 30 Months if the application is made inside the UK. You can extend your visa and you would normally be able to apply for settlement no more than 28 days before completing 60 months on your spouse visa. If you apply successfully to settle in the UK, you would be free from immigration restrictions – that means that there would be no time limit on your permission to live in the UK.

How long does the partner visa process take?

You need to complete an online application to attend a physical (biometric) appointment whether applying from inside or outside the UK.

An application made from outside the UK could take around 3 months to be processed. Priority services are available in some countries, for expedited processing. On approval, your passport would be endorsed with a “vignette” to allow you to travel to the UK. You would need to collect your biometric residence permit on arrival to the UK from a pre-selected Post Office.

From inside the UK the normal service standard is 8 weeks [SH2]

Although the decision would normally be issued within 8 weeks of your biometric appointment your biometric residence permit will usually take a further 7 working days to be issued from the date of the decision.

What are the spouse visa financial requirements?

In order to make a successful application as a partner or spouse, the couple must provide specified evidence to show that they have sufficient income or means to support themselves in the UK. This requirement applies if the partner is joining the UK sponsor from overseas, if the couple are already living together in the UK or if the couple are returning to the UK, from overseas. Evidence required depends on the couple’s individual circumstances, but generally speaking the financial requirement for a partner visa is £18,600. So, for example, if the sponsor has been in permanent paid employment for more than 6 months, earning a fixed salary of over £18,600 per annum, the couple could use evidence of the sponsor’s income to meet the financial requirement.

Evidence of savings can also be used or combined with employment income evidence to meet the financial requirement. Extensive additional evidence would be required for self-employed individuals who are relying on their self-employed income to meet the financial requirement.

If the couple have children who would be sponsored as dependents of the main applicant partner, the financial threshold is increased for each child included in the application. Specifically, in addition to the £18,600 threshold for the partner, an additional £3,800 is required for the first child and a further £2,400 for each additional child.

How much does it cost to apply as a partner or spouse?

The cost of a spouse/partner visa made inside the UK is £1033. The applicant will also need to pay £19.20 biometric enrolment fee as part of the application.

From outside the UK the spouse visa (classified as a “settlement visa” for the purpose of entry clearance) the visa cost is £1523. The settlement priority service, if available in the country of application would be an additional £573.

The applicant must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is £624 per year (£312 for every 6 month period). The spouse visa is granted for a 30 months (2.5 years) inside the UK, therefore the total surcharge would be £1560 for leave to remain. From outside the UK, the visa is granted for 33 months, therefore the total surcharge would be £1,872.

How can I qualify for the Spouse/Partner Visa accommodation requirements?

You normally need to show that you have adequate accommodation for yourself and your partner (and anyone else who is part of your family unit). This means that the space you occupy must not be overcrowded and is affordable to you. You can own or rent the property. You may even be staying somewhere rent-free, for example with family members.

In every case, you will still need to submit evidence that there is sufficient space for you and your partner in the home.

If you do not have a home in the UK and plan to secure a property later on down the line (for example if you are relocating back to the UK from overseas) you will still need to show that you have a realistic prospect of moving into adequate accommodation by the time you travel to the UK.

What happens if my UK Spouse/Partner Visa application is accepted?

If your application is approved, you will be granted 33 months (entry clearance) or 30 months (leave to remain) biometric residence permit(if you apply as afiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, you will be give a 6-month visa to enable you to enter the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place here)

Where applying from overseas, your passport would initially be issued with a 30 day “vignette” which will allow you to travel to the United Kingdom. You will need to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of arrival to the UK from a Post Office you would have selected during the application process.

During the period of your visa, you will be able to live and work in the United Kingdom. You will not be able to access public funds whilst on a spouse visa but you will have access to the NHS, as you will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your visa application. Although you are permitted to travel overseas, you will need to reside with your partner in the UK continuously to qualify for an extension of leave/ILR after 60 months. You should keep evidence of living together from the date your visa is granted, for example bills, bank statements and other official letters and correspondence addressed to you and your partner at your shared home.

What happens if my Spouse/Partner Visa application is rejected?

If your application is rejected as invalid or refused you will be issued with a letter confirming the decision. If the application is refused, the letter would also confirm if you have the right of appeal. Depending on the grounds for refusal you may consider re-applying or challenging the decision if you believe the decision is wrong or unfair.

Time limits may apply for challenging a decision so you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. If you are already in the UK, your current status may also be affected by the negative decision, so you it is advisable to seek legal advice to check how your status and future applications may be affected.

Can I switch to a Spouse/Partner Visa?

It is possible to switch into the spouse visa category, provided you do not have leave as a visitor or leave granted for 6 months or less (with an exception of fiancée visas, which are granted for 6 months, but allow you to switch into the spouse route).

Can I settle in the UK on a Spouse/Partner Visa?

The spouse visa category is a route to settlement. Provided you meet all the requirements, you would normally be eligible to apply to settle in the United Kingdom no earlier than 28 days prior to completing 5 years as a spouse visa holder.

  • spouse visa extension checklist
  • ID document
  • Biometric residence permit (current)
  • Evidence of cohabitation with your spouse
  • Evidence of meeting the financial requirement
  • Evidence of meeting the English language requirement (CEFR B1)
  • Evidence of adequate accommodation in the UK
  • Applicant/Sponsor declaration

How to renew my visa

To renew your visa, you will need to submit an online form (also known as an FLR(M) form). Having paid the relevant application fees you would need to upload scanned copies of your supporting documents to an online portal managed by the Home Office’s commercial partner, Sopra Steria.

Sopra Steria also manage UK visa appointments and you would need to book and attend a physical appointment (bringing hard copies of your documents with you) at an approved Biometric Enrolment centre.


The type of questions which may be asked at a spouse visa interview will depend on the individual caseworker. However, examples may include:

  • How did you and your spouse meet?
  • How much does your spouse earn?
  • Have you met their friends and family?

Our team can conduct a mock interview with you both to help you prepare for the interview.

Following a high profile Supreme Court decision in 2017, the Home Office has changed the immigration rules to allow caseworkers to consider, in specific circumstances, any third-party funding when examining whether the minimum income threshold has been met.

Success Story on UK Spouse Visa or Civil Partnership Visa

On January 19, 2018 | In Spouse / Partner Visa | By A Y & J Solicitors

Creative Solution for Income Threshold to Join British Spouse in the UK

Entry Clearance Application to join your British spouse in the UK – Meeting the Income threshold using savings. Mr S is a Non-EEA national who married his British spouse over 20 years ago. He is the father of two British children and has lived in a Non-EEA country for the last 19 years. He has…

A Y & J Solicitors’ Review

5 Out of 5 Star
Simon H gave AY&J Solicitors 5 stars via @Trustpilot

Professional and comprehensive service that was faultless. The attention to detail and the guidance provided in completing the application and the required documentation was perfect. My consultant lawyer Sok Wei Low was extremely helpful and was always accessible to answer any questions I had at any time. I would highly recommend The service and was extremely pleased with the final outcome.

5 Out of 5 Star
Mehta gave AY&J Solicitors 5 stars via @Trustpilot

I had recently applied for spouse visas through A Y and J Solicitors. Yash has indeed years of special expertise in this field and guided me with the right set of documents especially when its a self employed case. A highly knowledgeable person, very professional, extremely talented and friendly person. Diana as well, very thorough with her bits, very knowledgeable and eye for detail , absolute perfectionist. Everyone at office are helpful and indeed friendly. I would 100% highly recommend AY&J Solicitors services Excellent Services delivered by highly talented professionals.

5 Out of 5 Star
Silva Dabhi gave AY&J Solicitors 5 stars via @Trustpilot

Amazing people at A Y & J Solicitors! Smooth operation throughout and very helpful advice.