Apply for a Spouse or Marriage in the UK

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UK Spouse Visa Application

Are you looking to apply for a Spouse Visa, or to extending your spouse visa in the UK? If you are a UK citizen or you are settled in the UK, you are eligible to bringing your spouse or civil partner to join you to the UK.

Master Legal Services is an expert team of immigration lawyers that provides comprehensive services with UK Spouse and Marriage Visa applications for individuals, based inside and outside the UK. For further information on obtaining UK citizenship for your spouse, feel free to contact our office to speak to our immigration lawyers on 020 8935 5205 or on +44 7710987064.

Spouse Visa UK Requirements as of 2020

Both yourself and your partner must meet the following criteria when applying for a Spouse Visa in the UK;

  • Both you and your partner are over 18 years’ old
  • You are planning to live together permanently
  • You can financially support yourselves without recourse to public funds
  • You are in a civil partnership or married to a British citizen
  • You will need to show that you have good knowledge of English Language

UK Spouse Visa, and Spouse Visa Extension Financial Requirements as of 2020

If you are applying for a marriage visa within the UK, you will need to meet the most current 2020 UK Spouse Visa and Spouse visa Extension Financial Requirements. You will need to show that you are able to financially support your spouse, without claiming UK public funds. You will be able to meet the financial requirements for a UK Spouse Visa application or Extension through a mixture of income sources, such as employment, self-employment, sick pay, maternity or paternity pay, the income coming from rent or shares, or cash savings.

This will need to be proven to the Home Office with documentary evidence which could include payslips, P60’s, self-assessments, bank statements, letters from your employer.

In 2012 UKVI introduced new legislation requiring British citizens and permanent residents looking to sponsor their partners or dependent children with a UK settlement visa to meet the UK spouse settlement visa and spouse visa extension financial requirement:

  • If a UK settled person wants to sponsor a non-EEA civil partner, spouse, fiancé, or unmarried partner to join them in the UK, they must have an annual salary amounting to at least £18,600.
  • The minimum income for couples with one dependant child is currently set at £22,400.
  • A further £2,400 is required for each additional child.

Note that the financial requirements for UK spouse settlement visas and extensions must be satisfied each time that the non-EEA nationals are renewing their UK Spouse visa application and when they apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

What income sources can be considered when applying for a Marriage Visa in the UK?

  • Sponsor’s earnings in the UK, or the sponsor overseas earning given that they have a confirmed job offer in the UK.
  • Migrant spouses’ employment income – given that they are in the UK with permission to work.
  • Migrant spouses’ overseas employment income or offers of employment in the UK.
  • Sponsor’s savings amounting to £62,500. The savings must be under the sponsor’s control for at least 6 months and readily available.
  • Pensions which exceed the minimum threshold per year.
  • Income from property rentals exceeding the minimum threshold per year.

Does non-employment income count for my UK spouse visa application?

 Non-employment income amounting to the minimum £18,600 can come from sources such as:

  • Savings
  • Rental Income
  • Interest payments
  • Maintenance payments

Are there any exceptions from the financial requirements of a UK Spouse Visa application?

The financial requirement for a spouse visa and spouse visa extension does not apply if the UK based sponsor is receiving one of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Severe Disablement Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Constant Attendant Allowance, Mobility Support or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Police Injury Pension

The financial requirement for a UK spouse visa or extension is not applicable if you are an EU national or have one of the following benefits:

  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
  • Or bereavement benefits

Meeting the relationship status requirement for UK Marriage Visa:

When submitting your UKS spouse visa application you are required to prove that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your spouse/ civil partner. As part of these requirements, you will need to show that you have been living together for at least 2 years before your application for a marriage visa within the UK, and how you have been keeping in touch with one another.

If you are applying for your fiancé to join you in the UK, you will be required to show that your fiancée or proposed civil partner will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of their arrival.

Before bringing your spouse to the UK do speak to one of our expert immigration advisors. They will help you understand what documentary evidence you will need to provide in your specific circumstance to be able to meet the criteria when applying for a UK marriage or spouse visa.

English Language Requirement for UK Spouse Visa applications

People who wish to submit applications for a spousal visa under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules must, first of all, provide proof that they satisfy the requirement for the English language. This particular condition comes with variations as you proceed with the stages of the spouse visa application procedure. Individuals who are at the initial stage of application submission will only prove their competence to a lesser level compared to people whose applications are made for further leave or ILR.

If your marriage visa application is for first permission to come into Britain, you fall into the category of individuals who must provide proof of a good grasp of English to a minimum of A1 level of CEFR which means the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. When your application is for leave to remain, then your own knowledge of the English language has to be at A2 level at the minimum. However, it is different for migrants applying for ILR, also referred to as a settlement. This category of people is expected to prove their knowledge of English to a minimum of B1 level.

Exemptions and language test when applying for the UK spouse visa

This is in respect to the Spouse Visa English Requirement, both those who can enjoy exemptions and the language test itself, under Appendix FM, which is targeted towards Family Members in the rules for immigration. It touches the under listed topics in coverage;

  • The meaning of the English language requirement for a spousal visa.
  • Immigration regulations that are targeted towards English Language requirements for a spousal visa.
  • Identity of the citizen of an English speaking nation.
  • Any degree either researched or taught in English.
  • English text is requisite for a British spouse visa.
  • Spouse visa refusal as a result of failure to meet the necessary English requirement

What do immigration rules say about the English requirement for a spouse visa?

A good look at Appendix FM paragraph E-ECP.4.1 reveals the way that spouse visa English requirement may be satisfied. In addition, applicants for a spouse visa will be able to get full information on the exemption in E-ECP.4.2. However, the details for exemption is not restricted to the paragraph, you will still find more on degrees researched and taught in English and for citizens of major English Speaking nations in E-ECP4.1.(a) and (c). Consequently, individuals who are not enjoying any form of exceptions must provide proof of a minimum score of CEFR A1 from Standard English Language Test like IELTS UKVI.

English requirements for spouse visa applications: the exemptions

A distinct group of people exists who enjoy exemptions from the English requirement for a UK spouse visa application. These individuals are not required to meet the standard. They include people in such situations like;

  • When the age of an applicant has exceeded 65 years, he or she doesn’t need to satisfy the English requirement for a spousal visa.
  • Exemptions are also enjoyed by applicants who can lay claim to exceptional circumstances or disabilities of any kind.
  • Applicants who happen to be citizens of countries where English is the major language will be considered under this group.
  • If you have a degree, researched or taught in English, you fall under this category.

How marriage visa applicants can demonstrate competency of the English language

There are various methods in which applicants for a UK Marriage Visa can demonstrate their competence in the English language. They are as follows;

Citizens from nations where English is majorly spoken

Applicants for spouse visas in the UK who are citizens countries where English is a major language will not be called on for a demonstration of their capabilities in the English language. What they need is just their passport. There is a long list of nations which are recognized as majority English speaking; they include the following;

1.    Australia

2.    Barbados

3.    Antigua and Barbuda

4.    The Bahamas

5.    Canada

6.    Grenada

7.    Belize

8.    Dominica

9.    Jamaica

10.    St Kitts and Nevis

11.    Guyana

12.    New Zealand

13.    St Vincent and the Grenadines

14.    St Lucia

15.    Trinidad and Tobago

16.    Unites the States of America

Degree Holders

This category of applicants for a marriage visa in the UK includes;

1.    Applicants who are holders of BA, master or a doctorate degree from academic institutions located in the United Kingdom can leverage on their degrees to satisfy the requirement for the English language.

2.    Applicants, who are holders of BA, masters or doctorate degrees from academic institutions outside the United Kingdom, have the need to get verification from UK NARIC, certifying that their degree is equivalent to the ones awarded in Britain.

3.    Applicants whose BA, masters and Doctorate degrees are awarded in nations considered to be majorly English speaking also need to get verifications from UK NARIC.

4.    There are still other categories of applicants that are mandated to get UK NARIC verifying that the degrees they hold were researched and taught in English to an appropriate level of CEFR

Test for the English language

Applicants for a UK spouse visa who are not citizens of countries where English is majorly spoken and those who are not holders of relevant degrees are the ones concerned. An approved test on the English language in both listening and speaking will be set for such individuals in a bid to prove their competence in spoken English. This is the only way they can meet the requirements for a UK spouse visa application.

There are conditions all English language tests must meet before they can be classified as approved. It is compulsory that the test is conducted at a Home Office approved SELT, which means Secure English Language Testing providers. You can be able to access the SELT through two mediums;

1.    Trinity College London (the United Kingdom only)

2.    IELTS SELT Consortium (the United Kingdom as well as overseas).

An applicant who wishes to book a test should endeavor that the option they select is the one for taking a test for the purposes of UKVI instead of taking it for academic or general purposes. Validity for this kind of examination does not exceed a couple of years, and an applicant is likely to face refusal if it is discovered that he or she sat for an academic or general test instead of the approved one for UKVI. People whose assessment has expired will also face refusal.

Extending Spouse Visa in the UK

If the application of a spouse visa is accepted, your spouse will be granted a visa for 2.5 years leave to remain. After this, they can apply for extending their spouse visa for another 2.5 years in the UK.

Under the old Immigration Rules, a migrant with leave as a spouse could apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) after their initial leave expired i.e. after 2.5 years.

However, the new Immigration Rules have extended this. Once your non-UK spouse has completed 5 continuous years in the UK (i.e. they have applied for leave twice), they will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) status. On a good note, if they have been granted ILR as a spouse, they are eligible to apply for naturalization immediately. Under other visa categories, the migrant is required to hold ILR for at least 12 months before they are eligible for naturalization in the UK.

If you are looking to renewing or extending your spouse visa in the UK do get in touch with our legal experts at Master Legal Services for an initial free consultation on how to apply for your spouse visa extension.

Why was my UK Spouse visa Refused?

Here are some of the main reasons for the refusal of a Spouse Visa:

Financial requirements for UK Spouse Visa and Extension

In order to be eligible for a UK Spouse Visa, the sponsor of the applicant has to meet the financial requirements in order to prove that they can easily support their partners.

A frequent mistake in the Spouse Visa application is not providing enough evidence or what the sponsor earns, this can include P60, Self-Assessment Tax Return, Dividends, and more. If an error is made or there is simply not enough information proving that the sponsor earns the required amount – the applicant might receive a rejection.

Evidence of relationship

Providing the consular with a marriage certificate to prove that you are married to a British citizen is not sufficient. Extensive evidence is required to demonstrate that the relationship two people share is genuine. You might ask yourself, what would count as enough evidence that I am married with a British citizen? Usually, this includes phone logs, correspondence, receipts of gifts exchanged, bookings, contracts, and pictures. If the couple fails to demonstrate that their relationship is genuine The Home Office will simply refuse the Visa. Contradicting information will also lead to a refusal.

English proficiency

The English language condition must be satisfied by the applicant rather than the sponsor. In order to prove sufficient command of English, the applicant must provide relevant documentation. The applicant has to fulfill the Home Office with supplementary details as stated by the department. Quite often, Spouse Visas are rejected because of this fairly plain step.

At Master Legal Services we have a team of experienced UK spouse and marriage visa lawyers, all based in London and ready to provide you with a free initial consultation on extending or renewing your spouse visa within the UK.

Some of the immigration services we provide include applications for British citizenship, the EU settlement scheme, Indefinite Leave to Remain, Spouse Visa, Fiancee visa, and many more. Our very high success rate and a money-back guarantee are testimony to our confidence that we can help you successfully to apply for a spouse and marriage visa extension. Call today for an up to date consultation on the spouse visa UK requirements as of 2020!