The UK Spouse Visa is also known as the UK Settlement Visa. It is available to non-EU citizens who wish to come to the UK to live with their spouse/partner. The spouse has to be a British citizen, holds Indefinite Leave to Remain or has a permanent right of residence.
How to qualify for the UK Spouse Visa / Settlement Visa
To qualify, you will have to show that you are married to a person present and settled in the UK. Or who is currently being admitted for settlement.
The following types of relationship are considered for the UK Settlement Visa; Married or Civil Partners, persons living together in a relationship akin to marriage for longer than two years, and or persons engaged to be married or to become civil partners.
You will need to show that you intend to live permanently with your spouse/partner. Your marriage or relationship must be subsisting and genuine.
Both the applicant and the spouse/partner must be 18 years or older.
Financial requirement of the UK Spouse Visa
A minimum income threshold of £18,600 is required to sponsor the settlement of the spouse, partner, fiancé or proposed civil partner.
There is also a higher threshold for any children also sponsored: £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.
One can fulfil the financial requirement in one of the following ways;
- Income from employment or self-employment of your sponsor;
- If you apply from within the UK, the £18,600 can be made up of the income of both parties. In such cases, it should be easier to fulfil the financial requirement.
- Certain income from sources other than employment, such as rent from property;
- State or private pensions of you and your sponsor;
- Maternity allowances or bereavement benefits received in the UK; or
- Cash savings over a certain level. The amount of savings that you need to have will depend on the level of other income that you and your sponsor have.
If there are children involved in the application, and the minimum income threshold requirement is not met, the best interest of the child will be taken into primary consideration.
In cases where the sponsor does not meet the minimum income threshold, and there are exceptional circumstances that could have very harsh consequences for any of the parties if they weren’t able to get a visa, the Home Office will possibly consider alternative incomes of the applicants.
If the applicant cannot meet the Rules, the decision-maker should consider whether there are exceptional circumstances which would render a refusal of the application a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Should an application be successful based on these considerations, it will put the applicants on a ten-year route to settlement. Should the applicant, at a later stage be able to meet the financial requirements, they can apply again for the five-year route to settlement.
In specified circumstances the Home Office will consider other sources of income, to determine whether the financial requirement can be met in this way. The decision maker at the Home Office will, however, have to consider the genuineness, credibility, and reliability of other sources of income.
A credible guarantee of sustainable financial support from a third party.
Credible prospective earnings from the sustainable employment or self-employment of the applicant or partner.
Any other credible and reliable source of income available to the couple.
Length of Stay and Right to Work on the UK Spouse Visa
You will be subject to a probationary period for settlement of five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship.
There are no work restrictions on the UK Spouse Visa.
UK Spouse Visa and Indefinite Leave to Remain
You will qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after you have lived in the UK for five years. You will once again have to satisfy the criteria of the spouse/partner status at the end of this period.
Please also see our tips on the UK Spouse Visa Extension application.