UK Spouse Visa Application Process & Requirements Guide 2024

spouse visas 2024

UK Spouse Visa Application Process 2024

The UK Spouse Visa is a key immigration route for partners of British citizens and those settled in the UK. As we approach April 2024, applicants must prepare for the significant changes in the minimum income requirement for spouse visas. 

The new minimum salary threshold of £29,000 set to increase on the on April 11, 2024 will not only impact the financial planning of applicants but also increases the need for careful planning and documentation to meet the Home Office’s stringent standards. At Primus Solicitors, we’re committed to guiding you through every step of this complex process, ensuring your journey towards securing a UK Spouse Visa is as smooth and successful as possible.

 

Eligibility Criteria for Spouse Visas In 2024

To be eligible for a UK Spouse Visa in 2024, your partner in the UK must either be a British citizen, have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), permanent residence, or have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection. This visa category is designed for those who are married or  in a civil partnership for at least two years. It’s key that both individuals are committed to continuing their life together in the UK.

Intention to Live Together

An essential points to meet for the UK Spouse Visa is the genuine intention to live together. Applicants must provide clear evidence of their relationship’s legitimacy and durability, showcasing their plans to build a future together in the UK. This commitment is scrutinised by the Home Office to ensure the relationship’s authenticity and to guard against fraudulent claims.

 

Key Takeaways Table

Key Aspect Detail
Eligibility Requirements Partnership with a British citizen, settled person, etc.
Financial Requirement Increase Rising to £29,000 on April 11, 2024
Intention to Live Together Evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship required

 

A clear understanding of these criteria and the impending changes is crucial. For detailed guidance and support, consider consulting our dedicated team of immigration Solicitors through our UK Family Visa Services and UK Spouse Visa Solicitors pages.

 


Spouse Visa Requirements

The UK Spouse Visa application process is intricate and quite complicated; its designed to ensure that only genuine and eligible relationships receive approval. 

Genuine and Subsisting Relationship

At the core of your application is the requirement to prove that your relationship is genuine and subsisting. Whether you’re married, in a civil partnership, or have been living together for at least two years, you must provide compelling evidence of your relationship’s authenticity. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Marriage or civil partnership certificates
  • Joint bank account statements
  • Shared tenancy agreements or mortgage documents
  • Photographs and correspondence that chronicle your relationship

The Home Office conducts thorough checks to deter sham relationships. It’s imperative that your documentation accurately reflects your shared life and commitment to each other.

Financial Requirement

The financial threshold is a crucial component, ensuring that couples have the means to support themselves without recourse to public funds. Currently set at £18,600, this requirement will increase to £29,000 on April 11, 2024. For applicants with children, an additional £3,800 is needed for the first child and £2,400 for each subsequent child, emphasising the need for sound financial planning.

Income sources that are considered include:

  • Employment or self-employment earnings
  • Pensions
  • Maternity, paternity, adoption, or sick pay
  • Other specified savings and investments

In cases where the UK partner receives certain disability benefits or carer’s allowances, exemptions to the financial requirement may apply, though applicants must still demonstrate their ability to maintain adequate living standards without accessing public funds.

English Language Requirement

Applicants must also prove their knowledge of the English language, which can be demonstrated through:

  • Passing an approved English language test at level A1 or higher
  • Holding an academic qualification taught in English and recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Certain exemptions apply, such as for applicants aged over 65, those with disabilities that prevent them from taking the test, or nationals from English-speaking countries.

Accommodation Requirement

You must show that you have, or will have, adequate accommodation in the UK without overcrowding and that meets local health and safety standards. This includes proving that the accommodation is owned or exclusively occupied by you and your family.

 

Required Documents Checklist

Document Type Examples
Relationship Evidence Marriage certificates, joint bills, photographs
Financial Evidence Bank statements, payslips, savings accounts
English Language Proof Test results, academic qualifications
Accommodation Evidence Tenancy agreement, mortgage documents, property deeds

 

Application Process

UK Spouse Visa application process requires careful preparation and attention to detail. The process is primarily conducted online, involving several crucial steps designed to assess your eligibility and the authenticity of your relationship. 

Online Application

The Spouse visa application is filled out via an online form on the Home Office website. You’ll need to fill out the application form accurately, providing detailed information about your relationship, financial situation, accommodation, and adherence to the English language requirement.

Document Preparation

Gathering the required documents is a critical phase. You’ll need to provide evidence supporting every aspect of your application, from your relationship and financial stability to your English language proficiency and accommodation arrangements. 

Application Fee and Healthcare Surcharge

When you have completed the online application, you will ned to pay the application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). These fees vary depending on whether you are applying from within the UK or from abroad. The IHS fee allows you access to the National Health Service during your stay in the UK.

Biometrics Appointment

After submitting your application and paying the fees, you will be required to book a biometrics appointment. This involves providing your fingerprints and a photograph at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or a designated Service and Support Centre (SSC) in the UK. 

Possible Interview

In some cases, the Home Office may request an interview to further assess the authenticity of your relationship and application. This is a standard procedure in situations where additional clarification is needed. 

 

Costs and Fees Overview

Fee Type Cost (2024)
Application Fee (Outside UK) £1,846
Application Fee (Inside UK) £1,048
Immigration Health Surcharge £1,035 per year
Biometric Fee £19.20
Super Priority Service (Optional) £1,000 for next working day decision (subject to availability)

 

Key Tips:

  • Double-check all details on your application form for accuracy.
  • Ensure your documents are complete and correctly formatted; missing or incorrect information can lead to delays or denial.
  • Prepare for your interview (if applicable) by reviewing the details of your application and relationship.

 


Visa Extensions and Settlement

After successfully obtaining your UK Spouse Visa, the path towards permanent residency via ILR in the UK will begin. This process first involves extending your visa and eventually applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Understanding the criteria and preparing in advance for these steps is crucial for a seamless transition.

Spouse Visa Extension

Your Spouse Visa will initially be granted for a period of up to 2 years and 9 months. Prior to its expiration, you must apply for an extension to continue living in the UK legally. This extension is crucial for those aiming to settle permanently in the UK, as it bridges the gap towards eligibility for ILR.

Requirements for Spouse Visa Extension:

  • Continued cohabitation with your UK-based partner in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
  • Meeting the financial requirement, ensuring you and your partner can support yourselves and any dependents.
  • Proof of ongoing fulfilment of the English language requirement.
  • Adequate accommodation without recourse to public funds.

The extension application is an opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to your life in the UK and to update the Home Office on your circumstances.

Switching From A Spouse Visa to ILR

After residing in the UK for 5 years on a Spouse Visa, you become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Obtaining ILR is a significant milestone, as it grants you permanent residency status in the UK, which allows you to live and work in the UK indefinitely.

ILR As a Spouse Requirements:

  • Residence in the UK for 5 years on a Spouse Visa.
  • Continuous relationship with your UK-based partner.
  • Life in the UK Test: A requirement demonstrating knowledge of British life and the English language.
  • Financial stability: Meeting the financial requirement without relying on public funds.
  • Adequate accommodation for you and your family.

Successfully transitioning from a Spouse Visa to ILR requires careful preparation and adherence to the UK’s immigration rules. This achievement marks a pivotal moment, paving the way for potential British citizenship in the future.

Considerations for Spouse Visa Extensions and ILR

  • Timely applications: Ensure you apply for extensions and ILR before your current visa expires to avoid any legal complications.
  • Documentation: Keep thorough records of your relationship, financial stability, and adherence to the eligibility criteria.
  • Professional guidance: The ILR route and application can be complex. Seeking advice from immigration experts can help ensure a smooth process.

 

Spouse Visa Refusals

Facing a visa refusal can be disheartening, but it’s important to understand the common reasons for spouse visa refusals and the steps you may be able to take. Some of these reasons might include insufficient evidence of a genuine relationship, failing to meet the financial requirement, or issues with documentation.

 

Conclusion

The UK Spouse Visa application can be a very long and complicated process, from application to permanent residency, demands diligence, accurate documentation, and an understanding of the UK’s immigration laws. As UK immigration law evolves, staying informed and prepared is crucial for a successful journey. At Primus Solicitors, we’re dedicated to supporting you through every step of this process, offering expert legal advice and guidance to ensure your application has the best chance at success.

You can explore more of our services further by visiting our UK Family Visa Services and UK Spouse Visa Solicitors pages, for professional advice tailored to your unique immigration case.

 

If You Need Any Assistance Or Legal Advice For Your Spouse Visa, Contact Our Specialist UK Immigration Solicitors Today!

 

Call a UK Spouse Visa Solicitor!

Contact Primus Solicitors for professional, specialist legal advice with your UK Visa  Application.