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FAQs Partner Visa UK

1. What is the change to the financial requirement for a UK partner and spouse visa?

On 11th April 2024, the minimum income requirement for the UK partner visa is increasing to an annual salary of £29,000. Subsequently, it is anticipated to increase further to approximately £34,500 per year at an unspecified time later in 2024. Applications submitted on/before 11th April 2024 will be subject to the lesser minimum income requirement.

2. Is the income requirement before or after tax?

The minimum income requirement for the UK spouse visa is £18,600 gross, before tax deductions.

3. Can my partner cancel my UK partner  and spouse visa?

The power to grant or revoke visas rests solely with UK Visas & Immigration. However, if your relationship breaks down, you get divorced, or stop living together, this change in circumstance must be reported to the Home Office, which may result in your visa being cancelled, following which you will be given a grace period to either leave the UK or secure alternative immigration permission.

4. How long can you stay outside the UK on a UK partner and spouse visa?

While many UK visas impose a restriction on absences, the UK partner and spouse visa does not set a specific limit for time spent abroad. However, if you plan to settle in the UK and eventually naturalise as a British citizen, it’s important to consider the residency requirements for Settlement and Citizenship as outlined in our guides Unlocking your British Passport: Naturalisation as a British Citizen  and Unlocking your British Passport: The Guide to Indefinite Leave to Remain

5. What is the financial requirement for the UK partner and spouse visa?

The following sources can be relied on to meet the financial requirement:

  • income from salaried employment or self-employment
  • non-employment income, for example, income generated from property or dividends from shares
  • cash savings of £62,500 or above, held for at least 6 months prior to the date of application

If relying on income from salaried employment, payslips covering the 6-month period preceding the date of application must be provided, along with personal bank statements corresponding to the same period(s) as the payslips, demonstrating that the salary has been regularly deposited into the account.

6. How much does a UK partner and spouse visa cost?

Various costs need to be considered when applying for a UK partner and spouse visa. For applications made within the UK, the visa application fee is £1,846, whereas it’s £1,048 for applications made from outside the UK.

Additionally, applicants must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, granting access to healthcare in the UK. The fee varies depending on the length of the visa, but amounts to £1,035 per year of the visa duration.

7. Can I cancel my UK partner and spouse visa?

Yes, you can cancel your UK spouse visa by notifying the Home Office. Upon notification to the Home Office, your visa will be curtailed, and you will be given a grace period to either leave the UK or secure alternative immigration permission.

8. Can I work in the UK on a UK partner and spouse visa?

Yes, UK partner visa holders are permitted to work full-time with minimal restrictions.

9. Which English test is required for a UK partner and spouse visa?

For a UK partner and spouse visa application, you must take a ‘Secure English Language Test’ (SELT) to fulfil the English language requirement. Certificates from non-SELT tests cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.

First-time UK partner visa applicants must pass an approved English test at a minimum level of A1 of the CEFR ( “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages”).

Applicants applying to extend their 33 or 30-month spouse visa must pass an approved English language test at a minimum level of A2 CEFR.

10. What is the processing time for a UK partner and spouse visa?

At present, the standard processing time for a UK spouse visa is currently 6 months for applications made from outside the UK and 8 weeks for applications made from within the UK.

Subject to availability, there are priority services available for purchase to expedite visa application processing times:

  • For applications made inside the UK: Next working day decision service with an additional cost of £1,000.
  • For applications made from outside the UK: The cost and availability of the priority service varies depending on the country of application.

11. Why would a UK partner and spouse visa be refused?

The primary reason for the refusal often stems from couples failing to provide sufficient evidence of their genuine and subsisting relationship.

While the Immigration Rules request the marriage certificate as a mandatory document to demonstrate the nature of the relationship, additional evidence is typically required to strengthen your case.

As a general guideline, it’s advisable to submit documents to the Home Office illustrating that you and your spouse have been living together or spending time together as a couple prior to marriage. However, cultural, religious, or long-distance relationship circumstances may pose challenges in this regard.

For detailed information on evidence requirements for proving a genuine and subsisting relationship, please refer to our guidance – “Spouse Visa – Is your relationship genuine and subsisting?

12. How do you get a National Insurance number on a UK partner visa?

When your visa is approved and you are issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (‘BRP’), you may have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of your BRP. Not all BRPs have this – it depends on factors like the date it was issued and your immigration history.

If your BRP does not have a NI, you can apply for one online  or by calling the National Insurance number application line 0800 141 2079.

13. How long is a UK partner visa valid for?

Following the initial period of 2 years and 9 months, applicants can extend their visa for an additional 2 years and 6 months. To qualify for this extension, it is crucial to maintain the continuity of the eligible relationship with the UK-based partner, ensuring that the dynamics of the relationship remain consistent.

The extension period plays a pivotal role in the journey towards potential Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship.

Rebecca Hone

Senior Associate

View profile

+44 20 7539 8019

Monica Mastropasqua

Paralegal

View profile

+44 20 7539 8021

Our immigration solicitors have a proven track record of obtaining fiancé, spouse and unmarried partner visa for applicants wishing to come to the UK as the partner of a British/ Irish citizen or person present and settled in the UK.

14. Which is faster to obtain, the UK fiancé or spouse visa?

In terms of processing times, the Home Office handles both the Fiancé Visa and Spouse Visa applications similarly. However, each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and the timeline can vary based on individual circumstances, the thoroughness of the application, and other external factors.

For more detailed information on the Fiancé Visa and Spouse Visa, please refer to our – Spouse Visa UK Guide 2024 and Fiancé visa UK Guide.

 15. What happens if you don’t meet the financial requirement for a UK partner and spouse visa?

If you do not meet the financial requirement for a partner and spouse visa, you may still be eligible to apply, if one or more of the following apply:

  • You have a child in the UK who is either a British citizen or has resided in the UK for 7 years, and it would be unreasonable to expect them to leave the UK; or
  • Living together as a couple outside the UK would pose significant challenges that cannot be reasonably overcome for you and your partner; or
  • There are exceptional circumstances that could lead to a breach of your human rights if your application were to be refused.

Consideration may be given as to whether the minimum income requirement is satisfied when assessing other reliable sources of income, financial assistance, or available funds.

16. How do you switch from a fiancé visa to a spouse visa?

You must apply to switch from a fiancé visa to a spouse visa before your fiancé visa expires, following your marriage in the UK. When switching to a spouse visa, you must demonstrate either that you are in a civil partnership with or married to the British citizen / settled person who sponsored your fiancé visa application.

 17. How much is the NHS fee for a UK partner and spouse visa?

You can access the NHS when you obtain your visa. Alongside the visa fee, when submitting a partner visa application, you are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which grants access to NHS services. This surcharge amounts to £1,035 for each year of the visa’s duration. You can find more information in our guide Spouse Visa UK Guide 2024.

 18. What happens after your UK partner and spouse visa is approved?

If your application is successful, you will receive a residence permit valid for either 33 months (entry clearance) or 30 months (leave to remain). If applying from overseas, your passport will initially be issued with a 30-day “entry vignette,” allowing you to travel to the UK.

Upon arrival in the UK, you must collect your biometric residence permit (the actual visa) from a Post Office. You would have selected the Post Office during the application process.

 19. What is the 28-day rule for a UK partner and spouse visa?

Certain documents, particularly financial evidence, are time-sensitive and must be dated within 28 days of the date you submit your application. Therefore, if you obtain certain documents too early, you will need to request them again closer to the time of applying.

20.  Can I apply for ILR after 2.5 years on a UK partner and spouse visa?

No, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after continuously holding a partner visa in the UK for 2.5 years. To be eligible for ILR, you must have held leave as a spouse for 5 years (60 months), which requires an extension to reach the 5-year mark.

21. Can you get a UK spouse visa without being married?

Yes, however, this visa is referred to as the Unmarried Partner Visa UK . To qualify for an Unmarried Partner Visa, the applicant and their unmarried partner must have cohabited in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for a minimum of two years prior to the visa application date. Documentation must be provided to demonstrate that they have resided at the same address during this period.

If there are valid reasons as to why you have not been able to live together e.g., work, study, or cultural reasons, your partner can instead provide ‘evidence of ongoing commitment,’ which our immigration experts can advise on.

22. How do you prove a relationship in the UK?

When applying for a visa based on your relationship with a British citizen or a person settled in the UK, it’s crucial to demonstrate to UKVI that your relationship is genuine and ongoing.

You will be required to provide UKVI with various documents to substantiate your relationship. These documents should be less than four years old, sourced from official entities (e.g., medical professionals, or local authorities), and must illustrate the authenticity of your relationship with your partner/spouse.

The specific documents necessary will vary depending on your circumstances. Some examples of documents you may need to provide include, but are not limited to:

  • Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
  • Tenancy agreement, utility bills, or council tax bills indicating that you reside at the same address or share financial responsibilities
  • Bank statement from a joint bank account showing that you live at the same address

Our immigration solicitors have a proven track record of obtaining fiancé, spouse and unmarried partner visa for applicants wishing to come to the UK as the partner of a British/ Irish citizen or person present and settled in the UK.

About this article

Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Rebecca Hone

Senior Associate

View profile

+44 20 7539 8019

Monica Mastropasqua

Paralegal

View profile

+44 20 7539 8021

About this article

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