The relief is very big when one receives the initial UK spouse visa, and thoughts of the UK spouse visa extension are not even on the horizon!
However, the UK spouse visa extension and subsequent Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application will be on your doorstep soon. If all goes smoothly, one should be able to apply for the UK spouse visa extension in 2,5 years. The application for Indefinite Leave to Remain application in 5 years.
Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants have prepared guidelines for UK spouse visa clients on how to prepare for the spouse visa extension. Please note, however, that these requirements can change, and it is always best to check with your consultant.
Preparing for the UK Spouse Visa Extension
The initial spouse visa application, once collected, will be valid for a period of 2 years and 9 months. You will become eligible to lodge your UK spouse visa application once you have been residing in the UK holding that visa for 2,5 years.
You have to submit your UK spouse visa extension prior to your current visa expiring. Do set yourself a reminder and get in touch with your Breytenbachs consultant well in advance.
When applying for your UK spouse visa extension, you have to meet the financial requirements attached to the application again. This also applies when you apply for your Indefinite Leave to Remain in 5 years’ time.
The documents that provide evidence regarding the financial requirement can be fairly extensive. The Home Office’s guidance on what must be provided and the financial requirements can vary from time to time. Therefore, arrange a “check-up” consultation with your Breytenbachs consultant 9 – 12 months before the extensions. This will ensure that you are on track and able to meet and provide evidence of the financial requirement without issue.
The Home Office also require evidence that you and your partner have been continuously residing together in the UK. This is for both the UK spouse visa extension and the Indefinite Leave to Remain application.
There are various documents you need to provide to prove the cohabitation requirement. The Home Office will want to see items of official correspondence (e.g. council tax bills, utility bills, bank statements, etc.). This must be addressed to both you and your partner. Either jointly addressed or items in each of your names. It must cover the two-year period preceding the date that your spouse’s visa extension and subsequent ILR applications are submitted, respectively.
The correspondence must be sent via post. Do not print it off from an online account. Therefore, opt to have paper statements sent to you via post. Please also speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for more information about the number of documents required.
Another important thing to keep in mind is to keep track of time spent outside the UK. The Home Office does not set any particular restrictions as to how long you can spend outside of the UK. But it is important to note that when you lodge your spouse visa extension and subsequent ILR applications, there is a general requirement that you be able to satisfy the Home Office that you and your partner intend to ‘permanently reside together in the UK’. This can be difficult to prove if you have been spending more than half the year outside of the UK. We thus recommend that you and your partner avoid being absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period.
If you intend to apply for British citizenship in the future, as a very general rule of thumb, it is best to try to avoid travelling for more than 90 days per year on average.
How Breytenbachs can help you
The Home Office requires one to not only qualify for a visa but also to prove it in a very specific way. Do not risk your UK visa application. Get in touch with us today for your No Visa, No Fee guarantee.
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.