Spouse and Fiance(e) Visas

Holding her hand with an engagement ring on it

Most importantly, consider getting specialist legal advice and representation for your application.

This is because the underlying rules are complex and you may not be able to interpret and apply them to your circumstances correctly.

If your application is refused, you’ll need to spend much more money and time to resolve your visa situation. Getting specialist legal advice and representation at an early stage is therefore advisable to maximize the prospects of success.

1. What is a spouse/partner visa?

Spouse visa allows married, civil and unmarried partners of British citizens, and those with Indefinite Leave to Remain, pre-settled status, settled status or humanitarian or refugee status, to settle in the UK.

2. What is a fiance(e) visa?

If you want to solemnize your marriage or civil partnership in the UK, you can apply for a fiance(e)/proposed civil partner visa.

3. Can unmarried partners apply for a family visa?

Unmarried partners may also apply for a settlement visas provided that they’re able to demonstrate cohabitation as partners for at least 2 years.

4. What are the eligibility, suitability and relationship requirements for this visa?

To succeed in this application you’ll need to demonstrate that you:

  • made a valid visa application;
  • meet suitability requirements; and
  • meet the following additional legal requirements:

Relationship requirements

Your partner, spouse, unmarried partner or fiance(e) must be:

  • over 18;
  • a British Citizen, or have pre-settled/settled, humanitarian or refugee status.

 The couple must not be within the prohibited degree of relationship;
 They must have met in person;
 Their relationship must be genuine and subsisting;
♠ If married, the marriage/partnership must be valid/recognised in the UK;
 The previous marriage or partnership, if any, must have permanently broken down; and
 They must intend to live together permanently in the UK.

Bear in mind that some of these requirements are subjective and burden of proof is on the applicant.

Applicants for Fiance(e), Proposed Civil Partner visa must evidence that they are seeking entry to the UK to get married or to enter civil partnership within 6 months of arrival.

Applicants must also check whether they are applying from a country where a TB certificate is required.

Suitability requirements

These deal with issues of criminal conduct, ‘bad character’, adverse immigration history etc.

For in-country applications, you must not be a visitor, on a visa for 6 months or less, on immigration bail or in breach of immigration laws (exceptions apply).

5. What are the financial requirements for the partner, spouse or settlement visa, the unmarried partner visa, and the fiance(e) visa?

In a nutshell, the financial requirement for partner, spouse, fiance(e) and unmarried partner, in case they have no children, is to have at least £18600 in annual income from a job in the UK or £62500 in cash savings.  This is set to rise to £29,000 from 11 April 2024, followed by gradual increases to £38,700.

In most cases it is the Sponsor’s employment that is relevant. However, that is not always the case and the applicant’s finances may also be considered if, for example, the applicant has savings or income from employment in the UK.

The income must be from one of the following sources:

  • Salaried Employment
  • Self-Employment
  • Pension Income
  • Maternity allowance or bereavement benefit
  • Rental income
  • Other income of the applicant and partner (in some cases)
  • Cash savings

The applicant must also be able to demonstrate that the sponsor can provide adequate accommodation without recourse to public funds.

6. What are the financial requirements if the couple have children?

If you’re also applying for children to reside in the UK, the amounts required to meet the financial requirement are as follows:

 Applicant alone: £18,600
 1 child: £22,400
 2 children: £24,800
 3 children: £27,200
 Increase of £2,400 for each additional child.

7. What is the English language requirement for the partner, spouse, unmarried partner visa, and the fiance(e) visa?

The applicant is not required to meet the English language requirement if the applicant is from a majority English speaking country or has completed a degree which was taught in English or is over age 65 or have a physical or mental condition which prevents you from meeting this requirement or there are exceptional circumstances which would prevent you from meeting it.

For all other applicants, valid evidence of his/her proficiency in English language at A1 level is required.

8. What if I cannot meet the financial requirement for partner, spouse, settlement, unmarried partner o fiance(e) visa?

The financial requirement is waived where the sponsor is in receipt of a specific Disability living allowance Severe disablement allowance, Industrial injury benefit, Attendance allowance, Carer’s allowance, Police Injury Pension. The couple, however, will have to provide specified evidence that the settled partner is able to maintain and accommodate themselves, the applicant and any dependents with adequate maintenance without recourse to public funds. The adequate maintenance which has been interpreted by the British courts as a level of income which is equivalent to or greater than the “income support” level.

Also, for if you are applying from inside the UK, you may be able to switch into the spouse visa without having to meet the financial requirement if there are insurmountable obstacles to your return to your country of origin with your partner.

9. Can I rely on a family member’s income to meet the financial requirement for the partner, spouse, settlement, unmarried partner or fiance(e) visa?

Following the judgement in MM v SSHD – the test case challenging income threshold of £18600 for spouse visa applicants – the UKVI has issued some amendments to the rules for cases involving children and new guidance on the assessment of other sources of income.

If you wish to switch into spouse visa but don’t meet the income requirement, you may still be able to make an application. Book an online, phone or office consultation to get advice on your specific circumstances.

10. What would be the length of the spouse, partner, unmarried, civil partner, or fiance(e) visa?

If you succeed in your application you will get a visa for an initial period of 33 months (overseas applications) or 30 months (in-country applications) subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds. Fiance(e) visa gives you the permission to live in the UK for 6 months.

11. Can I apply for the ‘spouse, partner, unmarried partner, settlement visa’ from inside the UK?

Yes, you can switch into the ‘partner visa’ visa or extend your visa in this category if you are in the UK on a valid visa and meet all applicable legal requirements.

However, you must not be in the UK:

♠ as a visitor;
♠ with leave for a period of 6 months or less, unless it’s granted pending family or divorce proceedings’ outcome;

♠ on immigration bail unless you arrived more than 6 months ago and paragraph EX.1 applies;
♠ in breach of immigration laws (except that, where paragraph 39E of these Rules applies, any current period of overstaying will be disregarded), unless paragraph EX.1. applies

12. When will I be be apply for permanent residence?

You will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence or settlement) after completing a continuous period of at least 60 months.

Those relying on EX1 (insurmountable obstacles), if successful, will be put on a longer ten (10) year route to settlement requiring extension of stay every two and a half (2.5) years.

13. What if I do not meet the English requirement or if I do not have the funds or income with which to maintain and accommodate myself?

If you meet all the other requirements except for the ‘financial and/or English requirement’, you may be able to rely on the EX.1 route. The downsides of this route are that you’ll be placed on a longer route to settlement which means you’ll need to spend 10 years on this route before you can apply for permanent residence in the UK.

This also means you will need to make the same application every 2.5 years before your visa expires which will mean additional cost and stress. You will also need to jump an extra hoop of proving that “there are insurmountable obstacles to your family life continuing overseas”. That additional requirement means your application will not be a straightforward one, and so you’ll need to provide additional evidence. You will also be subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds unless the Home Office deems such recourse to be appropriate.

You should also get advice on whether you can rely on a third party’s support to meet the financial requirement.

14. Can I apply for a ‘parent of a child’ visa instead?

You cannot make an application for the parent of a child visa if you’re eligible for the partner visa.

15. Can I apply for the ‘partner visa’ as an overstayer or on temporary admission?

You may be able to apply to switch into this category under paragraph EX.1 of the Immigration Rules if you don’t have a valid visa in the UK, or have overstayed for more than 28 days or are here on immigration bail and you arrived in the UK more than six months ago.

16. Is there anything else I should consider when applying for parent of a child visa?

If you’d like to apply for the parent of a child visa please be aware that applicants can be refused even where they appear to meet the applicable legal requirements. Such refusals are attributable to the applicant’s failure to provide evidence in the format required by the rules or them being legally illiterate failing to properly interpret and apply the law to their own circumstances.

An application may be refused even when the applicant appear to meet all these legal requirements.

The reason behind refusal is mostly that the applicants fail to observe and comply with strict evidential requirements. In other words, they fail to provide the supporting evidence in the prescribed format. Some of the consequences of such refusal are:

 that the applicants lose the application fees
 that the applicants have to spend much more on appeals with little or no prospects as the law prohibits applicants to rely upon new evidence at appeal which wasn’t submitted with the original application;
 that they might have to apply again with more fees to pay
 that the future applications might become complicated or even impossible, in certain unfortunate cases

The applicant, as a result, not not only loses the application but also the application fees. It is therefore critical that proper immigration law advice and representation is sought before you submit your case to the Home Office to ensure you meet all applicable rules and policy guidelines increasing your prospects of success.

It is therefore in your best interest to seek legal advice and representation prior to making an application for your Spouse, Marriage, Fiance(e), Civil partner or Proposed civil partner visa.

Check out our Spouse Visa FAQs page too.

Looking to make an application for the partner, spouse, fiance(e) or unmarried partner visa?

Maximize your chances of success by getting specialist legal advice for your application. Use the button below to book your online, phone or office consultation.