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.
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UK Spousal Visa Financial Requirement
What are the financial requirements for the UK Spousal Visa?
Partners of a British citizen or of a person who has ILR in the UK can apply for a visa to either enter or remain in the UK. They have to meet several requirements, such as speaking good English, being of good character, and proving to have adequate accommodation. One of the most important criteria for this visa category relates to finances. The rules governing the financial requirement of a spouse visa are highly prescriptive and difficult to navigate. Unfortunately, many applications are refused on the basis that the couples do not have enough funds/income to meet this requirement or do not provide the correct documentation required by the law.
One of the ways in which it is possible to meet the spouse visa financial requirements is by showing a certain amount of cash savings. The savings can belong to the applicant, to the sponsor or to both. The funds must be held in an account in the name of the applicant, the sponsor or both jointly. The savings must be immediately accessible, withdrawable (with or without a penalty) and originate from any legal source. A declaration about the source of the funds is required, along with the other mandatory supporting documents.
The amount of savings needed depends on several factors, such as the visa category applied for, whether there are non-British/non-settled children applying and whether they have other sources of income (e.g. employment income, pension, etc.) which can be combined with the savings.
At the entry clearance/leave to remain stage, if an applicant relies on cash savings only (and there are no children), the level of savings required is £ 62,500. However, if the applicant is eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain, the level of savings required is considerably less, being £ 34,600. You must hold the level of the funds continuously for 6 months.
Switching to a UK Spousal Visa
Can I switch from a 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 can only 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 can switch from visas that are valid for longer than six months. E.g. A Student Visa or a 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 applicant can submit the application to the Home Office once he/she 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 marry the British spouse. They can then apply from within the United Kingdom to extend their stay as a spouse. You can only work once you have your UK spouse visa.
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. To do so, you will have to show that you were living together in the UK. You must also show that you intend 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 Breytenbachs. Given the complexity of the law and the Home Office’s guidance, we strongly recommend that those who are considering applying for a spouse visa seek immigration advice. Refusal of an application will cause a significant financial loss, especially after the recent increase in the immigration application fees by the Home Office.
Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes without any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.