Top 10 Spouse Visa Extension FAQs
There comes a time in every UK spouse visa holder’s life when their thoughts naturally turn to …. applying for an extension of stay. That time normally comes a few months before they have been living in the UK as a spouse of a British citizen or settled person for 2.5 years. In this post we look at ten of the most common questions asked by spouse visa holders when considering applying for a spouse visa extension.
Can I extend my spouse visa?
Once in the UK with leave as a spouse, you can apply to extend this leave, providing that you meet the requirements set out in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.
The requirements for further leave to remain in the UK as a spouse are broadly the same as those that apply to initial applications in the spouse visa category. 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.
When should I apply for a spouse visa extension?
You must make sure that you submit your spouse visa extension application prior to the expiry of your leave. If you do not, your leave will not be extended, by virtue of Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971, whilst your application is pending and you will become an overstayer.
It is advisable that you submit your spouse visa extension application within 28 days of the expiry of your leave.
How do I make a spouse visa extension application?
The process for applying to extend a spouse visa is similar to the out-of-country process for spouse entry clearance applications.
Applications are made online, and then you will be required to attend a centre to enrol your biometrics and have your passport scanned.
Once you have submitted your online application, you will be able to upload copies of your supporting documents to the Home Office’s partner website and you will be able to book an appointment to attend a service centre to enrol your biometrics.
What is the processing time for a spouse visa extension application?
If you apply via the Standard Service, your application for further leave to remain as a spouse will normally be decided within 8 weeks. If you apply via the Super Priority Service, you should normally receive a decision on your spouse extension application the next working day after providing your biometric information.
If your application is complex or you have an adverse immigration history, you may find that your spouse extension application takes more time to consider.
Can I travel while my spouse visa extension application is pending?
No. If you leave the Common Travel Area, which includes the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, when your application is pending, your application will be treated as withdrawn. This will cause difficulties because you may not be able to re-enter the UK.
This post sets out in detail the impact of travelling whilst an application is pending.
How do I meet the financial requirement for a spouse visa extension?
Just as in your spouse visa entry clearance application, you will need to meet a financial requirement.
You will need to show that you or your partner has an annual income of at least £18,600 plus additional funds if you have children. Meeting the financial requirement with children is covered in this post. You can rely on your own or your spouse’s income in order to meet the financial requirement, or you can combine your earnings.
The financial requirement can be met in a number of ways including through employment, self-employment, property rental income, pension income, savings etc. In certain circumstances you may be able to rely on a combination of these.
If you rely on cash savings alone, you will need to show that you have £62,500, plus additional sums if you have children. This post covers using cash savings in order to satisfy the spouse visa extension financial requirement.
Do I need to take another English Language test?
If you were required to sit an English Language test in order to meet the English language requirements for your entry clearance application, you may need to sit another test at a higher level.
Spouse visa extension applications require evidence to show that, since entering the UK, your English Language skills have improved. The required level for the test at the extension stage is A2 of the Common European Framework for References.
Tests must be completed at a provider approved by the Secretary of State.
You may previously have relied on a degree that was taught in English to meet the language requirement. You will need to resubmit the degree certificate and any confirmation from UK NARIC, if relevant.
What supporting documents do I need for a spouse visa extension?
The Immigration Rules contain strict requirements in terms of the supporting documents that you must provide in support of your spouse visa extension application, as well as the content and format of the documents. Advice from an immigration lawyer will ensure that your application satisfies the requirements of the rules and is technically correct. However, in general terms, you should include:
- Evidence that your partner is British or in the UK with indefinite leave to remain;
- Evidence that you and your partner are over the age of 18;
- Evidence that you have met your partner in person and that your relationship continues to be genuine and subsisting;
- Evidence that since the grant of entry clearance that you have lived with your partner together in the UK or provide a good reason why you have not;
- You will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds;
- There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents; and
- You speak and understand English to the required level.
When can I apply for indefinite leave to remain as a spouse?
You will need to check whether you are on a five or ten year route to settlement.
Five year route
Most people in the spouse visa category are on a five year route to settlement. Therefore, after two grants of 30 months’ grant of leave, you will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Ten year route
Some people are in the UK on a ten year route to settlement. If you are on the ten year route to settlement, you will need to have had four grants of leave before you can apply for indefinite leave to remain.
When can I become a British citizen?
If you are married to a British citizen then, subject to satisfying a residence requirement, you can apply to naturalise as a British citizen as soon as you are granted indefinite leave to remain.
If you are married to a non-British citizen with indefinite leave to remain, you will need to wait 12 months from the date of being granted indefinite leave to remain before you can apply for British citizenship. Again, you will also need to satisfy a residence requirement.
Contact our UK Spouse visa extension immigration lawyers
For expert advice and assistance in relation to a spouse visa application, spouse visa extension or spouse visa appeal, contact our immigration barristers and lawyers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.