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UK Spouse Visa: What You Need to Know

Added by Berlad Graham
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June 13, 2024

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Some of the rules governing the application process for a UK spouse/partner visa were updated in May 2024, with further changes expected over the next 12 months. 

Applying for a UK visa can be complicated, and any errors can have devastating consequences. 

To help you stay on top of the UK visa rules, in this blog our experienced Immigration Lawyers answer some frequently asked questions about the UK Spouse Visa process. 

What is the UK Spouse Visa? 

Marrying a British person doesn’t automatically give foreign nationals the right to live in the UK with their spouse. To be able to stay in the UK with your spouse or civil partner, you must apply for a UK spouse or partner visa. 

A UK spouse visa is available to married partners of British citizens, or those with settled person status, and enables an eligible foreign national to join and live with their spouse in the UK. 

Spouse visas are one of a number of family visas available to people wanting to live with a family member in the UK for more than six months. 

What are the new rules for UK Spouse Visa 2024? 

There were two changes to the rules governing UK spouse/partner visas that came into effect in April 2024: 

  1. Increase in minimum financial requirement to £29,000. Previously, British people who wanted to sponsor a foreign spouse or partner for a visa had to earn £18,600 a year. Since 11 April 2024, this minimum income threshold has increased to £29,000, with further rises expected, potentially to £34,500 later in 2024 and £38,700 in early 2025. This will all depend on the result of the general election in July 2024. 
  2. Additional funds for dependent children rules scrapped. As of 11 April 2024, those applying for a spouse visa no longer need to show any additional funds for dependent children they may wish to bring with them to the UK. Under the previous rules, applicants had to prove they had an additional £3,800 for the first child and an extra £2,400 for each additional child either through their income or cash savings. 

Does the £29,000 requirement apply to UK Spouse Visa extensions? 

No. The new financial requirement only applies to first-time applications made after 11 April 2024. Any applications for extensions to UK spouse visas whose fiancé(e), partner or spouse applied for a visa before 11 April 2024 will only need to demonstrate a minimum income of £18,600 per year. 

Whose income counts towards the minimum financial requirement for a UK Spouse Visa? 

If you are making an initial application for a UK spouse visa from outside the UK, only the sponsor’s income counts towards the minimum income threshold. For extensions and permanent residence, both incomes count. 

More answers to frequently asked questions about the changes to legal migration rules for family and work visas in 2024 are available on the government’s website by clicking here. 

Who can apply for a UK Spouse Visa? 

To be eligible for a UK spouse visa, you must be able to prove: 

  • You and your spouse are over 18 years of age. 
  • Your spouse is a British citizen or has settled status in the UK. 
  • You have met each other and are legally married. 
  • You intend to live together permanently in the UK. 
  • Your sponsoring partner meets the minimum financial requirement threshold of £29,000 per year. 
  • You have suitable accommodation for you, your spouse and any dependants. 
  • You have a good knowledge of English (A1 Level). 

For the UK government’s full list of eligibility requirements for a UK spouse or partner visa, click here. 

How do you apply for a UK Spouse Visa? 

Immigration is a complex area of law and one of the most difficult to navigate. When the stakes are high, it can be easy to make mistakes, which can cause added complications and extra stress. 

Specialist legal advice from an immigration lawyer with experience in the UK visa application process can make the difference between a successful application and an unsuccessful one. 

At Berlad Graham LLP, our dedicated team of lawyers has many years of experience in the UK immigration system, and we will put together the most robust case possible on your behalf. 

We represent clients worldwide, and our immigration solicitors speak many languages. These include Italian, Polish, Romanian, Hebrew, and Pashtu, meaning we can talk to you in your native language. This can be highly beneficial in ensuring that all the information in a visa application is correct. 

If one of our immigration team does not speak your native language, an interpreter can be instructed. 

To speak to our friendly, experienced, professional immigration solicitors today, please call 0330 475 5665 or email info@bglaw.co.uk. 

How long does it take to get a UK Spouse Visa? 

It currently takes around eight weeks to process a UK partner or spouse visa if the application is made from within the UK 

If you are applying from outside of the UK, as of June 2024, applications for partner or spouse visas are taking around 24 weeks. 

Can you work on a UK Spouse Visa? 

Yes. Once your UK spouse visa has been granted, you are eligible to work in the UK. 

How long does a UK Spouse Visa last? 

UK spouse visas are initially granted for up to two years and nine months. If you extend a UK spouse visa, or switch to this visa from another existing UK visa, you can stay in the UK for up to two years and six months. 

After five years qualifying residency in the UK, you should then be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.  

Immigration Solicitors Uxbridge 

There are many reasons why people want to enter the UK. Some want to work, study, or do business, others want to visit relatives or access private medical treatment, and some may even need to seek refuge and live in the UK permanently.  

Whatever the reason behind your visit, you should always research whether you require a visa. 

Each visa has its own eligibility criteria and validity period. To avoid breaching immigration rules, individuals subject to immigration control should always ensure that they have made adequate arrangements to leave the UK before their visa expires.  

Berlad Graham LLP offers a full range of immigration advice for individuals, including applications for UK spouse and partner visas. 

If you need legal advice about UK family visas or need to talk about any other aspect of immigration law, call one of our experts today on 0330 175 5655, email us at info@bglaw.co.uk or fill in our contact form.