Top Ten Best Spouse Visa Extension Questions
You would think that a spouse visa would be indefinite in length as after all marriage is meant to be for life. However, if you secure a UK spouse visa, your visa will only last for up to thirty-three months. Prior to the expiry of your spouse visa, you have to decide if you want to apply to extend your spouse visa, switch to a different UK visa category or leave the UK. You therefore need to be organised and be ready with your immigration application if you choose to apply to extend your UK spouse visa.
In this article our Spouse Visa Solicitors look at the top ten best spouse visa extension questions to help you understand your spouse visa options and the spouse visa extension application process.
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For advice on extending your spouse visa or any aspect of immigration law call the expert London Spouse Visa Solicitors and immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
- Who can apply for a UK spouse visa extension?
If you secured a first spouse visa then you should be able to apply for a spouse visa extension. The extension eligibility criteria are broadly the same as the criteria to make a UK spouse visa application.
The spouse visa extension criteria are contained in Appendix FM of the immigration rules. In particular you will need to be:
- Still in a genuine relationship with your spouse or partner.
- Intending to continue to live with your spouse or partner on an indefinite basis.
- Able to show that you have been living with your spouse or partner during the period of your spouse visa.
- Able to meet the financial requirement for a spouse visa.
- Able to prove you meet the English language requirement.
- Still of good character.
- How to best make a spouse visa extension application?
Nowadays you make a spouse visa extension application online and you or your Spouse Visa Solicitors can then upload your supporting documents and sort out a biometric appointment.
Although the application is online it is still best to not assume that it is just a case of filling in a bit of information and pressing the submit button. You need to give yourself or your Spouse Visa Solicitors the time to prepare your application and any supporting paperwork properly, especially if your financial or personal circumstances are complex or you are asking a Home Office official to exercise discretion over the immigration rules because of your exceptional circumstances.
- How long does it take to get a UK spouse visa extension?
If you apply for a spouse visa extension you will normally get a decision in about eight weeks. Your application may take a lot longer to decide if your circumstances are considered complex by the Home Office. For example, if your spouse or partner is self-employed and if whether you meet the financial requirement isn’t clear-cut.
It is possible to pay the Home Office to use their priority service to get a quicker decision on your application. This may be your best option if you need to travel abroad for work or family reasons as whilst your spouse visa extension application is being considered by the Home Office you can't leave the Common Travel Area. If you do leave then your spouse visa extension application is treated by Home Office officials as having been withdrawn by you. That, in turn, could lead to you having entry clearance problems if you leave the UK whilst you have a pending extension application and you then try to re-enter the UK. That’s why it is best to discuss any upcoming travel plans outside the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man with your Spouse Visa Solicitors so you can either decide that priority service is your best option or delay your travel plans.
- How do I prove I am in a genuine relationship when applying for a spouse visa extension?
You may think that it is unnecessary to prove that you and your partner or spouse are living together permanently in a genuine and subsisting relationship as you proved the strength and nature of your relationship when applying for your spouse visa. However, the immigration rules are clear that you need to be able to evidence your relationship at the time of your spouse visa extension application.
Proving the genuineness of your relationship is harder to do if you are not married or in a civil partnership with your partner. Spouse Visa Solicitors say it is important to retain paperwork to evidence your relationship or to give sufficient time to obtain duplicate paperwork before you need to submit your spouse visa extension application to the Home Office. The documents needed will depend on your personal circumstances.
- Do I have to meet the financial requirement when applying for a spouse visa extension?
You have to meet the financial requirement when applying for a spouse visa extension. It isn’t enough to say that you and your spouse or partner met the financial requirement at the time of your original spouse visa application as the Home Office won't simply accept that your financial circumstances are the same as the date of your first spouse visa application. You will need to provide supporting evidence.
Depending on the complexity of your financial circumstances it can take time to get the right paperwork together. That’s why it is best to consult Spouse Visa Solicitors early so you know what documents you need to locate to evidence that you meet the financial requirement.
You will need to be able to prove that you or your partner (or the two incomes combined) amount to an annual income of at least £18,600 gross per year. Additional annual income is needed if you and your partner have children who are not British citizens.
With a spouse visa extension application, the financial requirement can be earnt income or self-employment income, property rental income or pension income. Savings can also be used to prove or help prove you meet the financial requirement. If you want to evidence that you meet the financial requirement based on cash savings alone, then you will need to have at least £62,500 (more if you have children who are not British citizens).
- Do I have to meet the English language requirement when applying for a spouse visa extension?
Most people are anxious at the thought of having to prove that they meet the English language requirement for a spouse visa. When it comes to an extension application you may need to prove you meet the English language requirement again as on an extension application you need to be able to evidence that you meet the English language requirement at what is referred to as the A2 level. You may not need to sit another test if you are exempt, for example, because of your country of origin or because you studied at an English university or obtained a degree taught in English.
- How long will my spouse visa extension last for?
If your spouse visa is extended the extension is for thirty months. Prior to the extension expiring you will need to make a decision on whether to apply to switch visa, apply for indefinite leave to remain or leave the UK. As an application for indefinite leave to remain involves meeting residence requirements it is best to get expert legal advice from Spouse Visa Solicitors on the eligibility criteria for indefinite leave to remain when applying for your spouse visa extension.
- What happens if I don’t meet the spouse visa extension eligibility criteria?
If you don’t meet the spouse visa extension eligibility criteria then all may not be lost. That is because the immigration rules say that you can apply for a spouse visa renewal based on exceptional circumstances. You may still be able to apply to the Home Office to extend your spouse visa if, for example, you:
- Have a child in the UK who is a British citizen, or the child has lived in the UK for seven years, and it would be unreasonable for the child to leave the UK.
- Would experience significant difficulties if you lived with your spouse or partner outside the UK and those difficulties can't be overcome.
- Would have your human rights breached if you were made to leave the UK.
If you are worried about whether you meet the eligibility criteria for a spouse visa extension or are concerned about whether you will be able to use the exceptional criteria it is best to get expert legal advice from Spouse Visa Solicitors as soon as you can. That way you can understand all your immigration options and timescales.
- What happens if I don’t extend my spouse visa?
If you don’t apply to extend your spouse visa then you will either need to apply for a new visa under a different visa category or leave the UK. If you don’t take either of those steps you will be classed as an overstayer.
Once the Home Office have you down as an ‘overstayer’ this will impact on any future immigration applications you choose to make. That’s why Spouse Visa Solicitors say it is best to diary up your spouse visa expiry date and make your spouse visa extension application before your current visa expires. If you don’t a Spouse Visa Solicitor may be able to sort out your immigration position but it will be a lot harder to resolve and will take more time and money. It is also why good Spouse Visa Solicitors will encourage you to plan ahead and discuss your long-term immigration goals, such as indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship, when you first apply for a spouse visa so you know how best to achieve your immigration goals.
If you submit a spouse visa extension application before the expiry of your spouse visa you won't be classed as an overstayer if your extension application is not decided by the Home Office before your current spouse visa expires but it is best to make your extension application about a month before your visa is due to expire.
If you are an overstayer on a spouse visa or at risk of becoming an overstayer it is best to not ignore the problem as it won't go away. Call 0203 959 9123 to speak to expert and friendly Spouse Visa Solicitors about your options.
- Do I need to use a Spouse Visa Solicitor to apply for a spouse visa extension?
You don’t have to use Spouse Visa Solicitors to apply for a spouse visa extension as you can make your own application. It is normally best to get legal advice if you have concerns about :
- Proving the status of your relationship.
- Proving you meet the financial requirement (for example, because of the nature of your self-employed income or because you want to use income from a combination of sources to evidence that you meet the financial requirement).
- Whether you will now meet the good character requirement (for example, because you have been prosecuted for a driving offence or criminal offence).
- The timing of your application because you have left it late to apply or you need to go abroad shortly.
- The application generally and you want peace of mind and to reduce the risk of your spouse visa extension application being refused.
UK Online and London Based Spouse Visa Solicitors and Immigration Lawyers