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All Your Questions About UK Spouse/Unmarried Partner Visas Answered

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- By Maryem Ahmed of OTS Solicitors

If you are the spouse or unmarried partner of someone who is ‘settled’ in the UK you can apply to join them under a spouse visa, Civil Partnership visa or Unmarried Partner visa.

Applications for these visas can be complicated, and it is highly recommended you engage an Immigration law specialist to advise and help you prepare the application.

To help you understand the process, we have prepared answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the spouse visa, Civil Partnership visa or Unmarried Partner visa.

If you require any further advice on spouse or family visa applications, you can contact our Immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123.

What are the qualifying criteria for a Spouse or Civil Partnership Visa?

To be eligible you must:

  • be legally married to each other or in a civil relationship that the UK recognises
  • be at least 18 years old
  • your partner must be present and settled in the UK or relocating with you to the UK
  • have met each other on a prior instance (this is to prevent arranged marriages)
  • intend to live as husband/wife/partners permanently
  • show you can support yourselves and dependants without recourse to public funds
  • prove you have suitable accommodation
  • show you can speak and understand English
  • meet the financial criteria

How do I qualify for an Unmarried Partner visa?

To qualify for the Unmarried Partner visa you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • You and your sponsoring partner must both be 18 years of age or over.
  • You and your partner must intend to live together on a permanent basis.
  • You must show that any previous relationship that you or your partner were involved in (whether it be as a married or an unmarried couple) has ended.
  • You need to show that you have been living with your partner for at least two years in a relationship similar to marriage. You will need to provide documentary evidence confirming this.
  • You and your partner must have sufficient funds to support yourselves (and any dependants) without claiming public funds.
  • Your unmarried GBR or settled partner must be earning, at least, £18,600 per annum or savings to be able to sponsor you. If also sponsoring children as dependents then the financial requirement will increase.
  • You must have suitable accommodation available for you, your partner and any dependants.
  • You must also satisfy the English language requirements

Can I make an application from outside the UK?

Yes, you can make an application for a Spouse, Civil Partnership or Unmarried Partner visa outside the UK by applying online at the visa4uk website. If you are from a country where you cannot make an online application you can apply for entry clearance using application form VAF4A along with Appendix 2 or another relevant appendix.

Can I make an application from inside the UK?

Yes, using application form FLR (M). OTS Solicitors can provide you with a same day application service for spouse and unmarried partner visas.

What is the financial requirement to bring a spouse and dependent children to the UK?

If you are a person who is ‘settled’ in the UK, (meaning you have Indefinite Leave to Remain or citizenship), you must earn a minimum of £18,600 per annum to bring your non-EEA spouse or partner into the country to live with you.

If you are sponsoring a child as well as a spouse or partner, you will need an income of at least £22,400. For each additional child being sponsored, you will need an additional £2,400 of income per year.

The income of the spouse or partner who is applying for the visa will not be taken into account.

How long will a spouse visa be granted for?

For applications outside the UK, a visa will be granted for 33 months, which can be extended for a further 30 months.

For applications within the UK, if you are successful your visa will be granted for 30 months, with an opportunity to extend for another 30 months at the end of the term.

Once you have lived in the UK for five years on a Spouse, Civil Partnership or Unmarried spouse visa, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

How do I satisfy the English language requirements?

If you are from a country outside the EEA or Switzerland, where English is not the main language, then you will need to pass an English language test to be granted a Spouse, Civil Partner or Unmarried partner visa. The test must be provided by an approved test provider.

What do I do if my application for a spouse visa, Civil Partnership visa or Unmarried Partner visa is refused?

If your visa is refused, you have the option to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal within 28 days of the date of receipt of the refusal letter. An Immigration Judge will decide whether the Entry Clearance Officer was correct or incorrect to refuse the visa and has the power to overturn the refusal decision to let the foreign spouse enter the UK. However, it could take around six months for a Court hearing date in the UK, so to avoid a possible refusal, it is very important that you put in as many documents as possible to convince the Entry Clearance Officer that a Spouse, Civil Partnership or Unmarried Partner visa should be granted.

If you are refused a right of appeal, then you can challenge the refusal by way of judicial review, but you must apply within 90 days of receiving the refusal letter.

At OTS Solicitors, we are experts in managing applications and appeals for Spouse, Civil Partnership and Unmarried Partner visas. Our solicitors are regarded as some of the best Immigration lawyers in the UK, and we have an excellent record of successfully managing visa applications.

If you wish to talk to us about your situation, please phone our London office on 0203 959 9123 to make an appointment with one of our Immigration specialists.

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