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At Batley Law, we understand that family relationships are important and a fundamental part of life. However, in recent years, the rules and requirements for family visa applications have become increasingly complex and challenging.

At Batley Law, our experts will help you to navigate those rules with simple, straight-forward and honest advice, so that you are reunited with your loved ones as soon as possible.

What is a UK Spouse Visa?

A UK Spouse Visa is a route for those that are over 18 and married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen and wish to settle in the UK.

If you are granted a Spouse Visa in the UK, you will be granted a right to enter and remain in the UK for the validity of your visa. You will also be given the right to work. However, there will be a restriction on your ability to claim benefits.

Who can apply for a Spouse Visa?

You can apply for a UK Spouse Visa if you are:

  • Aged 18 years or over
  • Married or in a civil partnership that is recognised by the UK (always check this with an expert)
  • Married to a British citizen or UK settled person OR you have been living together in a relationship for the past 2 years and you can prove it

What are the main requirements for a Spouse Visa?

We have set out here a summary of the main requirements of a spouse visa application:

What is the Spouse Visa Relationship Requirement?

Valid Marriage
You must demonstrate that you are married, by way of a marriage certificate or some other official document. It is important to note that the marriage must be legally recognised by UK law. Generally speaking, a marriage that is legal in the country in which it is performed, will be recognised as valid in the UK. There are, however, exceptions to this. For example, a marriage that would result in either party having a polygamous relationship would not be permissible under the Spouse visa rules.
Genuine and Subsisting
You will also need to show that the relationship is genuine. This can be demonstrated by way of evidence such as photographs, evidence of contact between the couple etc.

We can advise you of the evidence that can be produced to help satisfy this requirement.

What is the Spouse Visa Financial Requirement?

You will need to prove that you and your partner have enough money to support yourselves without claiming public funds.

The ‘Sponsor’ (UK based partner) needs an income of at least £18,600 before tax if there are no dependent children. However, if you are bringing children to the UK, your partner must earn an additional £3,800 for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each child after this.

The rules in relation to the evidence that must be provided in this regard are daunting and complex, and a visa may be refused if all required documents are not provided. Our experts are able to provide you with simple and coherent advice to ensure that you are not caught out.

The income can be a combination of:

  • Wage from either employment or self-employment
  • Savings that meet the wage threshold (see our blog for more details)
  • Sick pay, maternity, paternity or adoption pay
  • Other income such rent payments or other investments
  • Pension income from the UK

The rules in relation to the evidence that must be provided in this regard are daunting and complex, and a visa may be refused if all required documents are not provided.  Our experts are able to provide you with simple and coherent advice to ensure that you are not caught out.

What happens if there is a shortfall in my income?

The Rules allow you to use cash savings in certain circumstances to make up a shortfall in income. However, there are strict rules in relation to this. The first £16,000 of any savings is disregarded and the Home Office would usually expect that the funds have been held in an account by the Sponsor for at least 12 months.

For more details, see our Blog post: How to apply for a Spouse Visa using Cash Savings?

What if the Sponsor for my Spouse Visa application is receiving benefits?

If the UK based sponsor is in receipt of a specific type of benefit, as listed in the Immigration Rules, then this may mean that the financial requirement of £18,600 does not apply. For more details, see our blog post Disability Living Allowance/Carers Allowance and UK Spouse Visa.

What if I cannot meet the Spouse visa financial requirements?

We often hear from clients that are unable to meet the financial requirements, for one reason or another. This does not always mean that a spouse visa application will be refused.

If you find yourself in this situation, contact one of our Spouse visa experts, who will enquire about your circumstances and advise whether you may be able to argue exceptional circumstances.

Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirement

For this requirement, you must show that there is adequate accommodation for you to live in with your spouse, on arrival in the UK. If the Sponsor owns the property that is to be used as accommodation, proof of ownership will be required. If the Sponsor is renting, then a copy of the tenancy agreement will be required as proof.

If the Sponsor lives with a family member, proof of ownership of the family member along with a signed document providing permission to reside for the applicant and sponsor will be required. In addition to the above, we would advise that a property inspection report is submitted as part of your application. If you require a property inspection, contact one of our team here, and we will be happy to arrange this for you. For more information, see our blog post Property Inspection Report.

Spouse Visa English Language Test

As part of your application, you will need to demonstrate that you can speak English to the required standard. Currently, the rules require that you can speak English to Level A1 of the Common European Framework of Languages.

Your qualification will be valid only if your English exam is taken through an approved (SELT) Provider. There are some, limited, exceptions, where you can be exempted from meeting the English language requirement, as follows. You do not need an English Language test if you:

  • Are a national of a majority English speaking country
  • Are aged under 18 or over 65
  • Have a long-term physical or mental condition
  • Hold a degree or any educational establishment that was taught or researched in English

What documents do I need for Spouse Visa?

An important part of the Spouse visa process is the provision of documents to the Home Office to assess the application. You will be required to submit documents as part of your visa application, to support your case.

If you are applying or planning to apply for a spouse visa, and would like a copy of our documents list for a spouse visa, contact us and we will be happy to send this to you free of charge.

Do I need to complete the Appendix 2 VAF4A form for a Spouse Visa?

You need to complete this form if your visa application is submitted using the visa4uk website. If, however, like the majority of new cases, your application is made via the gov.uk website, then a VAF4A is generally not requested by the Home Office.

How long will my Spouse Visa Application take?

The time can vary, and depends on a number of factors. There are some factors within your control, such as ensuring that you comply with all of the stipulated requirements and provide all the necessary documents. In cases where there are missing documents, a decision may take longer. This is why it is important that you receive correct advice at the appropriate time for your case.

On average, decisions are made in around 6-12 weeks. You do have the option of paying an additional premium, to receive a decision within 2 weeks.

What happens if my Spouse Visa application is rejected?

If you find that your Spouse visa application is rejected, you will have the right to appeal against this. It is best that you seek advice about the reasons for your refusal, so that you stand a good chance of being successful with your appeal.

We understand that a refusal of a spouse visa can be disappointing and distressing. At Batley Law, we have a specialist team that can handle your appeal and help you through what can be a timely and complex process. Contact us today, our experts are on-hand to discuss your case with you.

How can Batley Law help with my Spouse Visa Application

To stand a better chance of success, it is important that you receive advice from an early stage. We have a success rate of above 98% in spouse visa applications. We are therefore in a good position to ensure that you avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls that lead to a refusal.

For every case, we will:

  • Advise you of the requirements that apply to your case
  • Check all of your documents to ensure they comply with the requirements
  • Complete the online application
  • Arrange the visa appointment
  • Draft a detailed letter of representations to go with your application

If you would like our assistance with your spouse application, get in touch today.

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