Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers for Spouse Visa

What is a spouse visa?

Spouse visa is an immigration route to settle in the UK for a partner or spouse of a foreign country who wants to join their partner in the UK or any other country.

My partner is unable to meet financial requirements for spouse visa extension due to the loss of income or lost job due to Covid-19 or has been furloughed by the employer, what options I have?

Many people have been furlough by their employers, a lot of self-employed lot their income in the pandemic. This has caused many people unable to meet the financial requirements to apply for visa or extend stay. UK government paid 80 percent of the salary is paid to the employees.

We recommend to get professional immigration advice to find out the options you may have to extend the stay. Not only we provide personal visa advice after taking into consideration of your circumstances. Our team of expert immigration advisers is in hand to work out the alternative options you may have and on how to extend your stay in UK.

What are main requirements of partner visa?

  • You and your partner must be 18 years old or above.
  • Intends to live together permanently
  • Your partner must be either British Citizen or have Indefinite Leave to Remain in UK or have humanitarian or refugee status in United Kingdom
  • Your partner must prove that he or she can prove English Language Requirement or Knowledge of English
  • You can prove that your partner will be able to financially support you and any other dependants including children (if you have any) without recourse to the public funds
  • Any previous relationships or marriages of both of partners are ended (divorce certificate is required) before making visa application.
  • Above requirements for spouse or partner visa are the main requirement and apply in general. There are some exceptions to the above requirements too.

How long is spouse visa valid for and what is the duration extension- FLR?

Spouse visa is valid for 30 months (2.5 years) visa and so is the extension until they complete 5 years to qualify for permanent residence in the UK, commonly known as ILR or Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Why spouse visas applications are refused?

  • Income threshold is not met.
  • Appendix FM SE required particular documents in prescribed format. Information not being in the correct format is one of the main reasons of refusal.
  • For knowledge of English, the Home Office only accepts approve tests. At the time of making an application, if English test provider is not in the current accepted list, the applications are normally refused.
  • Providing the full and correct information in the application form is compulsory. Many of the civil partner or partner visa or FLR applications are refused where applicants did not provide full information.
  • Concealment, falsifying information are among other many factors which contribute to the refusals of spouse visa application.

Can I extend my partner visa?

Immigration rules allow extending a spouse visa as long as spouse visa extension requirements are met. This visa route leads to Permanent Residence and British Citizenship. The requirements include financial requirements, cohabitation requirements, English language requirement.   

How much does a UK spouse visa extension fees?

As of 1 Jan 2021, the Home Office fees to apply for a partner visa or extend stay as a partner in the UK is £1033. This is in addition to the NHS Health Surcharge which is £1560 for 2.5 years (£624 per year). The UK Home Office normally increases their fees every year in April and some time in October. Biometric information capturing fees £19.20 also applies to all partner applications inside the UK including FLR and switching to spouse visa. Biometric appointments at visa application centres are free sometimes. But most of the times, free appointments are not available. And the applicant has to pay for the appointment. Appointment booking fee ranges from £69.99 to £199.99. The approximate cost of the spouse visa extension application is £2700.

How much does a UK spouse visa cost, applying outside the UK?

The application from outside the UK cost £1523. The National Health Services Health Surcharge also applies. The fees are correct at the time of writing. Visa and nationality fees increase almost every year. 

How much does it cost to get a faster decision on my application?

You have to pay an extra £800 for faster decision on extension applications.

When can I apply for spouse visa extension UK?

Though you may apply a few months in advance but it is recommended to apply not more than 28 days before your visa or leave to remain runs out.

Which documents are required for spouse visa extension in the UK?

You will need evidence to prove your income to meet financial requirements, you will also need evidence that you are still in a relationship and have been living together as a spouse. You also need to meet English language requirements. 

How early can you apply for spouse visa extension or when can I apply for spouse visa extension?

You should apply within 28 days before expiry of current leave.

How soon can I renew my UK visa before it expires?

28 Days before your current leave runs out. If you apply too early, you might have shortfall in your 5 years period to be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also called UK Permanent Residence

How much does a visa extension cost in the UK?

The cost of UK spouse visas consists of few types of fees which includes Home Office or Embassy Fees (£1033 from inside UK, £1523 from outside UK), Biometric information charges £19.20 applicable to FLR and switching applications, NHS health surcharge £1560 (£624 per annum for 2.5 years or extension for partner visa), appointment booking range from free to £110 normally. You might also need extra money for translation of documents if they are not English such as Marriage Certificate. 

When should I apply for visa extension?

You can apply a few months in advance. We advise that you do not apply before more than 28 days before expiry of your current leave as a partner.

How much is the NHS surcharge for a spouse visa?

NHS health surcharge for is £624 a year at the time of writing. Partner visa is valid for 2.5 years and health surcharge is payable 2.5 times £624 i.e £1560.

How do I make a spouse visa extension application?

Applications are not possible by post anymore. All partner visa extension applications are made online using form FLR(M). 

What is the processing time for a spouse visa extension application?

The Home office guidance says that they will decide all switching and FLR applications within 8 weeks. Complex applications can take much longer to decide. Due to the pandemic, spouse visa extension applications are taking between three to four months after registering biometrics.

Can I travel while my visa extension application is pending?

You should not make any travel arrangements until a decision has been made on your application.

How do I meet the financial requirement for a spouse visa extension?

You can meet the financial requirements by proving your income from employment income, self employed income, income from dividends, savings, property income and other sources. In some cases, you can combine income from more than one sources. 

Do I need to take another English Language test?

Yes, you will need to provide evidence of passing the English Language Test at Level A1 or A2. The level of test will depend if you are applying from outside the UK or inside you. You need CEFR Level A1 if applying leave to enter outside UK. If you proved Knowledge of English language requirement by passing A1 test then for leave to remain or visa extension you need A2 test pass certificate.

What supporting documents do I need for a spouse visa extension?

As part of FLR application, you need to attach income documents such as salary slips, bank statements, six (6) documents to prove that you have been living together such as letters addressed to you and your partner at same address, documents to prove English language requirement, evidence of identity such as passports, travel documents and national identification card.

When can I apply for indefinite leave to remain as a spouse?

There are two different routes, 5 Years and 10 years spouse visa routes. In a five years spouse visa, you can apply for ILR after spending 5 years. Similarly in the ten (10) years route, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain application after spending 10 years of lawful residence in the UK as a spouse of a British Citizen or a UK settled person.

When can I become a British citizen as a spouse of a British citizenship?

The process of becoming a citizen of a country by living there is called Naturalisation. In the US English, it is written as Naturalisation. You can become British Citizen after 12 months of your permanent residence in the UK. 

What are the character suitability requirements?

The good character requirements apply to visa applications in particular to the ILR and Naturalisation applications. This covers criminal convictions, war crimes, terrorist views or engaging in any such activities. If you have a conviction, you should get professional advice before making an immigration, visa and nationality application.

What is the extension English test requirement?

If you meet the English language requirement as part of your entry clearance application as a spouse then you need to pass the A2 test of CEFR.

What is the Spouse Visa extension form?

Paper application forms for spouse visa extension applications are not used anymore. Now all applicants for partner visa FLR should be made online using the form FLR(M).

What is the Spouse Visa extension fee?

At the time of writing, the fees is £1033 from inside the UK for spouse visa extension applications. A separate fee of £19.20 also applies for biometric enrolment. NHS health surcharge is also payable at the rate of £624 per year.

What are the next steps after a Spouse Visa extension?

Majority of the spouses can apply for Permanent Residence in the United Kingdom after their spouse visa extension (FLR), after spending 5 years in the UK. The five years are counted from the day they first entered the United Kingdom, exceptions apply.

What can I do if I receive a rejection for UK spouse visa?

If your spouse visa application has been refused then you can either challenge the refusal by filing an appeal. Alternatively you can make a fresh spouse visa application (reapply). Appeals sometimes take months. The best way to go forward will depend on the reasons of refusal of spouse visa application. For minor reasons which are easily rectifiable, making a new application could be a better option.

When can I apply to extend or switch the visa?

There is no legal limit or rules to explain when you can apply to extend your visa. You should not apply not more than 28 days before expiry of current visa. Switching applications can be made at any time, though effects of the switching for future applications in particular ILR should be assessed before making a switching application to spouse visa from inside UK.

What are the other ways I can stay in the UK?

There are many routes for someone to stay in the UK including a work routes, job offer by a Tier 2 Employer, getting married to a British Citizen

Can I apply for a UK family visa if my family member is from the EU, EEA or Switzerland?

Yes you can apply for the UK. The type of visa you can apply and their requirements will depend on your circumstances and your relationship to the EU citizens. If you are a close family member such as wife or husband or children then you can apply for a EU family permit or apply under EU Settlement Scheme for settled status or pre-settled status. If you are an extended family member then a detailed assessment will be required to find out the best visa category. 

Have a question, contact us.