Personal Immigration

SPOUSE OR CIVIL PARTNER

SPOUSE OR CIVIL PARTNER VISA

The Spouse or Civil Partner visa category is for partners of British citizens or persons with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, who wish to join, or stay with their husband, wife or civil partner in the UK. You can also apply if your partner is outside the UK, but intending to return to the UK with you.

What are the main eligibility requirements for a Spouse or Civil Partner visa?

In order to qualify for a Spouse or Civil Partner visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • Your partner is British or holds Indefinite Leave to Remain;
  • You are both over the age of 18;
  • You have met in person and are legally married or in a civil partnership;
  • Your relationship is genuine and you intend to live together permanently;
  • Any previous relationships have broken down permanently;
  • You will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds;
  • There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents;
  • You speak and understand English to the required level.

In order to demonstrate that you can be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds, you will need to satisfy a financial requirement.

You will need to demonstrate that your Spouse or Civil Partner (or both of you jointly if you are in the UK with valid leave to remain) has a gross annual income of at least:

  • £18,600; plus
  • £3,800 for a first child (who is not British, settled or an EEA national); plus
  • £2,400 for each additional child (who is not British, settled or an EEA national).

You can meet this requirement through salaried and non-salaried income, self-employed income, salary and/or dividends from a company of which you are a Director, property rental income, dividends and income from investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds, pension income, insurance payments, maintenance payments and cash savings above £16,000 that have been held for at least six months, unless you can demonstrate that they have come from a specified source.

In some circumstances it is possible to rely on a combination of the above sources of income to satisfy the financial requirement.

Different considerations will apply if your Spouse or Civil Partner is in receipt of certain benefits.

What else do I need to know about the Spouse or Civil Partner visa?

If your application for entry clearance as a Spouse or Civil Partner is successful, your Spouse or Civil Partner visa will be valid for 33 months initially. If you apply for leave to remain in the UK as a Spouse or Civil Partner then you will be granted leave valid for 30 months.

Before your initial grant of leave expires, you will need to apply to UK Visas and Immigration to extend your stay.

After spending 5 years in the UK as the Spouse or Civil Partner of a British citizen or settled person, you will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Spouse and Civil Partner visa holders have a full right to work and study in the UK.

If you are not able to satisfy certain of the requirements for a Spouse or Civil Partner visa, you may still be able to apply to join or remain with your partner on Human Rights grounds if you can demonstrate that there would be very significant difficulties in your relationship continuing outside the UK.

How our immigration barristers can help

Our immigration barristers regularly assist foreign national Spouses and Civil Partners to relocate to, and settle in, the UK with their British citizen or settled partners.

Whether you require expert advice on the requirements of the Immigration Rules, an independent assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a visa or professional assistance with preparing an immigration application, our immigration barristers can help.

The financial requirement rules are particularly complex and include mandatory requirements in terms of the documentary evidence that must be provided to UK Visas and Immigration in order to demonstrate access to the relevant funds. Our immigration barristers specialise in assisting applicants with complicated financial circumstances to secure successful outcomes in their spouse and civil partner visa applications.

We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our clients’ needs. We are a highly driven team of immigration barristers, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to family members as part of a professional and friendly service.

WE CAN ALSO ASSIST WITH

  • Immigration property inspection reports for Spouses and Civil Partners

    In order to satisfy the requirements of the Immigration Rules for a Spouse or Civil Partner visa, you will need to demonstrate that there is adequate accommodation for yourself, your partner and any dependants. Our barristers can arrange for a qualified surveyor with specialist knowledge and skills to attend your property to assess and produce a comprehensive report that can be submitted in support of your application.

  • Same-day premium service appointments for Spouses and Civil Partners

    If you already have leave to remain in the UK as a Spouse or Civil Partner and are applying to extend your stay or to settle in the UK, you may be able to submit your application in person and receive a decision on the same day, using UK Visas and Immigration’s Premium Same-Day Service.

    We can arrange for one of our legal associates, who is familiar with your case, to accompany you to the premium service centre, assist you with registering, provide assistance with enrolling your biometrics and liaise with the immigration officer, caseworker and, if required, your barrister on your behalf.

  • Applications for extension of stay as a Spouse or Civil Partner

    Before your initial grant of leave as a Spouse or Civil Partner expires, you will need to apply to UK Visas and Immigration to extend your stay.

    The requirements for further leave to remain in the UK as a Spouse or Civil Partner are broadly the same as those that apply to initial applications in the Spouse and Civil Partner categories.  However, you will need to make sure that your application satisfies the relationship, financial, accommodation and immigration status requirements again.  A higher level English language requirement will also apply.

  • Applications for settlement as a Spouse or Civil Partner

    After spending 5 years (60 months) in the UK as the Spouse or Civil Partner of a British citizen or settled person, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

    In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain as a Spouse or Civil Partner you will need to demonstrate, in addition to the above requirements, that:

    • Since you have been in this category you have lived together with your Spouse or Civil Partner in the UK or there is good reason, consistent with a continuing intention to live together permanently in the UK, for any period when you have not done so;
    • You meet the higher English Language requirement that applies to settlement applications;
    • You have passed the Life in the UK test.

    If you make an application for indefinite leave to remain as a Spouse or Civil Partner but do not satisfy the above requirements, UK Visas and Immigration will go on to consider if you meet the requirements for a further extension of stay as a Spouse or Civil Partner.

  • Applications by Spouses or Civil Partners of HM Forces personnel

    The Partner of HM Forces category is for partners of UK armed forces personnel who wish to join, or stay with, their husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner in the UK.

    In order to qualify for leave to enter as the partner of a member of HM Armed Forces, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

    • You are the partner of:
      • a serving British citizen including one who has naturalised after five years’ reckonable service in HM Forces;
      • a serving foreign or Commonwealth national serving in HM Forces (including Gurkhas);
      • someone discharged from HM Forces, within the two years before the date of application, who is a British citizen or who has leave or is being granted leave at the same time under paragraphs 276E-QA of the Immigration Rules or 13-19 of Appendix Armed Forces;
    • You are aged 18 or over and have met your partner in person;
    • You intend to live together with your partner permanently;
    • You are not within a prohibited degree of relationship with your partner;
    • Your relationship with your partner is genuine and subsisting;
    • Any previous relationships have broken down permanently;
    • If you are married or in a civil partnership, it must be a valid marriage or civil partnership;
    • If you are engaged or a proposed civil partner then you must be applying to enter the UK in order to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place;
    • You will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds;
    • There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents;
    • You speak and understand English to the required level.

    In order to demonstrate that you can be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds, you will need to satisfy a financial requirement. You must demonstrate that your partner has a gross annual income of at least £18,600. This amount increases if there are ‘relevant’ children, with an additional £3,800 being added for the first child and a further £2,400 for each additional child thereafter.

    ‘HM Forces’ means a member of the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force who is serving as a member of the regular forces. ‘Gurkha’ means someone enlisted in the Brigade of Gurkhas as part of the British Army.

    Once your application for leave as the partner of a member of HM Forces has been approved, you will be granted leave to enter or remain in the UK for a period of five years (or in line with your partner’s enlistment if this is less than five years).

    After spending 5 years in the UK as the partner of a member of HM Forces, you will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

    The Home Office has made special provision for bereaved partners of HM Forces personnel to qualify for settlement early.

  • Fresh applications and Immigration Appeals for Spouses and Civil Partners

    If your application for entry clearance, leave to remain or settlement as a Spouse or Civil Partner has been refused, our immigration barristers can advise you on the merits of making a fresh application and/or challenging the decision by way of an appeal to the Immigration Tribunal.

    As well as preparing high quality visa applications, our immigration barristers provide professional legal advice and representation in relation to every aspect of pursuing a UK immigration appeal.

    Our immigration appeal barristers advise on the merits of appealing against Home Office immigration decisions, draft grounds of appeal and applications for permission to appeal, prepare appeal bundles and provide representation at immigration appeal hearings before the First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and higher courts.

WHAT CAN WE HELP YOU WITH?

To arrange an initial consultation meeting with one of our immigration barristers, contact our Spouse and Civil Partner visa team on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form.

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