UK Spousal Visa – All you need to know!

UK Spousal Visa
Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash


Clients often refer to the UK Settlement Visa as the UK Spousal Visa. However, it is not only available to spouses. The route is also available to civil partners, persons who have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage for longer than two years, and persons engaged to be married or become civil partners.

Your spouse/partner has to be a British citizen, hold Indefinite Leave to Remain or have a permanent right of residence in the UK.

Below are some answers to most FAQs on the popular UK Spousal Route.

Switching to a UK Spousal Visa

Can I switch from the Skilled Worker Visa to a UK Spouse Visa when I marry my British partner?

Once you get married, you can switch to a UK Spouse Visa or stay on your Skilled Worker Visa. However, you have no obligation to switch to the Spouse Visa.

You can apply for a UK Spouse visa from within the UK. Unfortunately, if you decide to switch to the Spouse Visa, your qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain will restart.

The main advantage of the UK Spouse Visa is that there are no work restrictions, whereas, with a Skilled Worker Visa, you are only allowed to work for your sponsoring employer.

We highly recommend that you speak to your Breytenbachs consultant so that we can consider all the facts of the matter.

Can I switch to a UK Spouse Spouse Visa while on a UK Visitor Visa?

Unfortunately, switching to a UK Spouse Visa while on a UK Visitor Visa is not possible. You will be allowed to switch from visas granted for longer than six months. E.g. A Student Visa or Skilled Worker Visa.

Extension of the UK Spousal Visa

My spousal visa extension renewal is due November 2023. How long in advance/when is best to start my renewal application?

We would normally recommend setting up an appointment with our office 6-7 months before the expiry of the current visa so that you have sufficient time to get the paperwork together and for us to complete the necessary paperwork.  The applications are submitted to the Home Office once the applicant has completed 2.5 years of residence from entry into the UK.

Contact us to set up your appointment at [email protected], or you can contact your Breytenbachs consultant directly.

Fiancée Visa vs UK Spousal Visa

What is the difference between a Spouse Visa and a Fiancée Visa?

The main difference is that one applies for a Spouse Visa if one is already married to a British Citizen/person settled in the UK and a Fiancé Visa if one wishes to marry a British citizen/person settled in the United Kingdom.

Both applications are settlement visas.

On the UK Spouse Visa, applicants can work once they reach the United Kingdom. With the fiancé visa, the applicant will first have to get married to their British spouse and then apply from within the United Kingdom to extend their stay as a spouse. They can only work once the UK Spouse visa is approved.

Death of a Spouse or Partner

My spouse, a British Passport holder, passed away after I received my UK Settlement Visa. I am still in the UK. Do I need to leave the UK?

We are very sorry for your loss. You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a Bereaved Partner. You will have to show that you were living together in the UK and intended to continue living together permanently in the UK. Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for further assistance.

How Breytenbachs can help you

Breytenbachs strongly recommend that persons who want to apply for the UK Spousal Visa seek help from a qualified Breytenbachs consultant. We will be able to advise on the correct procedures to ensure a successful outcome and help you plan your route to British citizenship.

Please email Breytenbachs at [email protected] or visit our website for more information. You can also phone your nearest Breytenbachs on the following numbers: Durban – 031 880 2777, Cape Town – 021 879 0969 or Pretoria – 012 460 9959, or our London office at +44 207 442 2160.