10 tips to help with your spouse visa application
Applying for a UK visa can be complicated – and this is certainly the case if you are considering a spouse visa application. It’s made all the more difficult because both practically and emotionally, so much depends on getting a spouse visa. If you are living apart from your partner everything is more difficult. It’s even more so if you have children who are living with one or other of you. Family life is almost impossible, conducted through Skype or Facebook – hardly conducive to the best interests of you or your children. Given the importance of obtaining a spouse visa to so many, our team of Immigration solicitors in London has put together a list of 10 tips to help with your spouse visa application.
1. Check if you must apply from outside the UK
If you are already in the UK on a different visa, you may be able to switch to a spouse visa without leaving the UK to make your spouse visa application from outside the country. A UK Immigration lawyer will be able to advise you on this.
2. Be clear about your partner’s settled status in the UK
If you are applying for a spouse visa, the partner you are joining must be a British citizen, have settled status in the UK – either Indefinite Leave to Remain, or proof of permanent residence, or have refugee status or have been granted humanitarian protection in the UK. If you are not sure that your partner has settled status in the UK, you may need to talk to a Legal 500 Immigration solicitor who can advise you on this.
3. Check that your marriage or civil partnership is recognised in the UK
Your marriage will usually be recognised in the UK provided you have followed the correct procedure to get married or be civil partnered in the country where the ceremony took place. If you aren’t yet married but are planning to marry abroad and then apply for a spouse visa so that you can join your partner in the UK, make sure you understand what the requirements are in the place where you wish to marry. Your partner may need to provide UK documents, depending on which country the marriage will happen.
4. Demonstrate that you intend to stay in the UK permanently
If you are applying for a spouse visa, you must be able to demonstrate that you intend to live together permanently in the UK.
5. Consider how you will prove your knowledge of English
Having a good knowledge of English is one of the requirements of a spouse visa, as it is for other UK visas. You can provide academic qualifications recognised by UK NARIC, or agree to take a test with at least a CEFR A1 in speaking and listening. Nationals of some countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA, along with Caribbean nations, do not need to prove their knowledge of English.
6. Work out whether you meet the minimum income requirement
This can be the most stressful aspect of the spouse visa application. You must be able to prove that you and your partner has a combined income of £18,600 a year – the amount of the minimum income requirement increases if a child, or children will be coming to the UK with you. You have to be able to show that the finds come from 5 specified sources, unless you can show that there are “exceptional circumstances” which could or would mean that refusing the spouse visa would breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees family life and private life. Talking to a solicitor with expertise in article 8 Immigration cases will help you understand how this could help you.
7. Make sure your application includes any ‘Human Rights’ issues
The best Immigration lawyers will advise you that since 2015, there are only limited opportunities to appeal against a decision to refuse a spouse visa application. One of the ground of appeal is that the decision is the refusal of a Human Rights claim. OTS Solicitors are very experienced in the Immigration case law on article 8 which guarantees the right to private and family life, and can make sure your application is drafted in the best way possible to allow you the right of appeal should the decision be against you.
8. Collect together all your documentation
As with any of the applications for other UK visas, your spouse visa application needs to be supported by extensive documentation. This includes documentation relating to the minimum income requirement. Gathering this documentation together in good time will help your application run more smoothly.
9. If you don’t meet the requirements
If you don’t meet the spouse visa requirements, you may still be able to apply to come to the UK, or extend your existing visa if you have a child in the UK who is a British Citizen or who has lived here for 7 years, and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK. You can also apply to stay if there would be significant, and insurmountable, difficulties for you and your partner to live outside the UK as a couple.
10. Instruct a Legal 500 Immigration solicitor to assist you with your application
OTS Solicitors are recommended in the Legal 500 for Immigration and Human Rights matters. Our team of highly experienced Immigration solicitors in London can ensure your spouse visa application has the best chance of succeeding. Book your appointment by calling 0203 959 9123 today.