To apply for a Marriage Visa, you must be married to, or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, UK settled person or UK refugee. The main eligibility criteria include providing proof that you are in a genuine relationship and that you meet specific financial conditions.
To qualify for a UK spouse/marriage visa you must satisfy the following requirements:
· You and your spouse must be 18 years old or over.
· You must have met each other and be legally married - this is to prevent arranged marriages.
· Pass the ‘Genuine Relationship Test’
· You must intend to live together permanently.
· You must have enough money to support yourselves (and any dependents) without claiming public funds.
· Your sponsoring partner must earn more than £18,600 per year or have enough savings to be able to sponsor you. The minimum financial requirement is higher if they are also sponsoring dependent children.
· You must have suitable accommodation for you, your spouse and any dependents.
· You must satisfy the English language requirements.
· Get your biometrics taken
· You may also need to pass a medical test to show you don’t have tuberculosis (TB), depending on the applicant’s country of residence
Genuine Relationship Test
The Spouse Visa applicant needs to be able to prove they are in a genuine relationship, such as a civil partnership, with their partner. There are lots of different types of evidence you can send to the Home Office, such as:
· A joint mortgage or tenancy agreement
· Evidence of any children you have together, such as a birth certificate
· Photographs that show you have spent time together frequently
· A shared bank account or savings
· Text messages or social media chat logs
· Travel documents that prove you’ve visited each other at least once before you got married
The sponsor needs an income of at least £18,600 before tax if there are no dependent children.
If you have one dependent child, you will need an income of £22,400 before tax. For any other children, the sponsor will need an extra £2,400 for each subsequent child.
English language requirements for partners
Applicants who wish to live in the UK, need to be able to prove that they can speak English. Once you have passed an English Language Test, it will be valid for two years.
You must sit an English test in speaking and listening. Your qualification will be valid only if your English exam is taken through an approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) Provider.
Currently, SELT tests for immigration purposes are only available through the Trinity College London or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Consortium.
You do not need an English Language test if you:
· Are a national of a majority English speaking country
· Are aged under 18 or over 65
· Have a long-term physical or mental condition
· Hold a degree or any educational establishment that was taught or researched in English. Your qualification will only be valid if confirmed by UK NARIC.
You can apply for a spouse visa from overseas or from within the UK.
If you are already in the UK on a fiance visa, work visa, or student visa valid for more than six months, you may be able to switch into a spouse visa.
The average processing time for a spouse visa application is 2 – 12 weeks from the date we submit the application to the UKBA. Processing times vary depending on the country where the application is made.
The Home Office’s current fee is £1,523 for applications submitted from abroad. If you are submitting your application from within the UK, the cost is reduced to £1,033. This charge will increase if you are applying with dependents and will increase for each dependent.
If applying from overseas, a spouse visa is initially issued for 33 months. If you are applying from within the UK a spouse visa is issued for a period of 30 months.
You can apply for an extension for an additional 30 months which can take your total time in the UK on this visa up to five years. At this point, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) provided you are still married and living in the UK with your spouse and continue to meet the maintenance requirements. After you have been granted ILR you may be eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
Spouse visa dependents
Children under 18 years of age can enter the UK as your dependants. You should make an application for them at the same time that you make your spouse visa application. Please note that your sponsoring spouse must show income of a specified amount, the level of which varies depending on the number of dependent children being sponsored.