The spouse or civil partner visa category is for partners of British citizens or those settled in the UK to either apply to join them or extend the stay to remain together. This category can be applied from within the UK or abroad. This route is normally taken by married couples or civil partners to live together in the UK and leads to settlement after 5 years under normal circumstances.
Spouse or Civil Partner visa requirements
In order to qualify for a Spouse or Civil Partner visa, both the applicant and their partner would need to be above 18 years old and satisfy the below requirements.
- Spouse/Civil Partner must be British or Settled in the UK
- Both have met in person, legally married, or in a civil partnership and the relationship is genuine and subsisting
- Meets the Financial requirement and will be able to maintain themselves adequately in the UK without recourse to public funds
- Intend to live together permanently and have suitable accommodation available
- Meet the English language requirements of CEFR level A1 for Initial applications and A2 for extensions
The financial requirement that needs to be met differs on the basis of the number of financial dependants applying together. The minimum requirement is an annual income of £18,600 for a partner application and there will be an additional £3800 for the first child and £2400 for each child afterward. Only those children, who are not British or settled in the UK will be counted for the additional income requirement.
The financial requirements can be met in a number of different ways including salaried or non-salaried income, salary or dividends from the company, income from self-employment, rental income, pension or income from any investments, etc to name a few. It is also possible to use cash savings that have been held for more than 6 months if above £16,000 to be used in part or full to meet the financial requirement. The applicants can also combine some selective type of income and/or savings to meet the financial requirement. This is an area where applicants must take extra caution, as not providing the right specified documents to evidence income remains one of the most common reasons for refusal under this route.
The applicants may rely on Human Rights grounds if they otherwise do not meet all requirements and can demonstrate that there would be very significant difficulties in continuing the relationship outside the UK. The Home Office may also consider in specific circumstances, any third-party funding or support when examining whether the minimum income threshold has been met.
Extension & Settlement
Applicants are usually awarded 30 months of initial leave if they apply from within the UK, and 33 months if they apply from outside the UK. They will be able to extend their leave if they continue to meet the requirements, and they will be eligible to apply for settlement after five years in this category. It’s also worth mentioning that if the applicants are given permission based on human rights or otherwise fail to meet the standards, they will only be entitled to live in the UK after ten years. If they meet all other qualifications, the spouse of a British citizen can apply for British citizenship immediately after settling in the UK. Holders of a Spouse or Civil Partner visa enjoy full rights to work, study, and do business in the United Kingdom.