In order to settle in the UK as the wife, husband, or partner of a UK citizen you must apply for your own visa. This guide will outline what type of visa you should apply for, and what the rules and restrictions are.
It can be exciting moving from one country to another alone but moving as a couple can sometimes be a little more challenging due to immigration rules.
It is possible to move to the UK if you are the partner or spouse of a UK citizen or resident, although there are a few things you must consider before applying.
What is a Spouse Visa?
A UK Spouse Visa allows married or civil partners or cohabiting partners of UK citizens to move to the UK.
To be successful in obtaining a spouse visa you will need to show a substantial amount of evidence about your relationship to prove you are eligible.
For example, you could provide
- Your marriage certificates
- Tenancy agreements/deeds to any property you own together
- Evidence of communication whilst you have been married e.g. phone call logs, messages, and emails
- Photographs together – specifically at significant events such as your wedding day
- Evidence of a relationship prior to marriage
- Travel documentation from you living apart to prove you have visited each other
- Details of joint accounts like bank accounts
To enter the UK on a Spouse Visa it is essential that you provide as much evidence as possible of your relationship from it’s very start to the present.
The UK requires proof of a genuine and subsisting relationship in order to grant someone a Spouse Visa – this is to prevent arranged marriages and human trafficking, which are both illegal.
Despite the name, you do not have to be married or in a civil partnership to obtain a spouse visa. If you have been cohabiting with your UK resident partner for at least two years and can prove this, then you may be able to enter the UK via a spouse visa.
UK Spouse Visa Requirements
To obtain a Spouse Visa there are other requirements which include:
- A minimum income threshold of £18,600 – this must be in your present country and not count potential earnings from a job in the UK
- Proof of English Language ability – you will have to pass an English language test
- Evidence of adequate accommodation
- Having an intention to live together permanently
- Having enough money to support yourselves and any children without claiming public funds
If you have already joined your spouse or partner in the UK, you may be able to apply to switch from a different immigration visa to a spouse visa.
However, you will not be allowed to switch categories if you are in the UK as a visitor for a period of six months or less.
The amount of time you have been married will also be considered, as well how long you or they have lived in the UK.
If you are seeking to enter the UK on the basis of your relationship you will have to apply for entry clearance before coming to the UK.
Entry clearance is the checking procedure that immigration officials undertake to make sure that a person qualifies under immigration rules for UK entry.
EEA or Switzerland
If you or your partner is from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland but currently living in the UK, then you are eligible to apply for an EEA Family Permit to join your partner.
You should bear in mind that like with a spouse visa if you apply for this permit, the UK government usually requires you to prove that you and your partner have lived together in a relationship for at least two years.
Engaged in a British Citizen?
If you are engaged to someone who is a permanent UK resident, you can join them only if you can prove that
- You intend or enter into a marriage or civil partnership together within six months of entering the UK – contact with the relevant governing bodies can be used as evidence
- You intend to live together permanently once you are legally married/in a civil partnership – applications to view property together could suffice as evidence
- You have previously met your partner
- You have somewhere to live legally, even if it is temporarily
- You can support yourselves and any dependents without having to work or rely on public funds
In order to join your fiancée/fiancé, you have to apply for fiancé entry clearance or a suitable visa before traveling to the UK.
You should first apply for a fiancé visa if you plan on extending your stay with a spouse visa after the six months of your initial visa expires.
If the Home Office decide that you satisfy the above requirements for a fiancé/proposed civil partner visa you will be allowed to stay in the UK, but only for an initial six-month period.
Important! During this period, you by no means are allowed to work in the UK.
Once you legally marry, you are entitled to apply for further leave to remain in the UK by applying for a spouse visa, which will enable you to extend your stay.
If your application is successful, then you are legally permitted to live and work in the UK for two and a half years.
At the end of these two and a half years, you are able to apply for permanent residency if the two of you are still married and you fulfill all of the correct requirements.
Getting Married in the UK
If you want to marry her and leave within six months you should apply for a marriage visitor visa but be aware that you will not be allowed to extend this for longer than the six-month period without leaving the UK to apply for another type of visa.
If you are unsure of what visa is appropriate then it is advisable to seek legal immigration advice.