The heart wants what the heart wants. Sometimes that means a partner who was born in a different country. If you're married or in a relationship with a British citizen, coming to the UK to live with your partner is possible. But it’s not easy. You’ll have to prove to the Home Office that you are in a genuine relationship and that you fulfil the many requirements to apply for a family permit. Learn about the requirements, documentation, and how to apply in this article.
A Partner or Spouse Visa is a legal document which allows individuals to enter the UK for longer than 6 months to live with their partner. This visa is essential if you want to work and settle down in the UK. It grants you the right to stay and access public services like the NHS. But it doesn't entitle you to access public funds or social benefits.
As a rule, applications for this permit are available to all individuals in a civil partnership or married to a Briton. You can also apply if you have lived with your British partner for at least 2 years somewhere else and you have documents to support your relationship.
You'll typically need to apply for this permit if you come from a country outside the European Union. This will also apply to you if you are from the EU but failed to make an application for the EU Settlement Scheme after Brexit and before the deadline (30th June 2021).
To apply, you need to fulfil particular requirements before commencing the application process. In general, you can apply for a spousal visa if:
Before embarking on the application process, it would be useful to prepare a spouse visa checklist to make sure you have the proper documents before you apply. For this application to be successful, you must:
Update: as of May 2022, COVID-19 certificates are no longer required and photos of you and your partner together are no longer accepted.
If you are interested in applying for this visa, you can do it online or in person. Both options are accessible to individuals living in the UK. However, if you live abroad, you must apply online. No exceptions are given for individuals outside the UK, so you can only use the immigration website to apply for a spouse visa.
If you are already living in the UK under a different visa, you can visit the immigration website to switch to the Spouse Visa. You can visit the UK visas and immigration office for help if you need additional information regarding the application.
If you live in the UK and do not feel confident about using a computer, you can get Assisted Digital support from the Home Office Application over the phone or in person.
Once you send your application for review, you must attend a meeting with the UK biometrics department in your resident country and provide the necessary biometric information to get your BRP card. Unfortunately, it may be challenging to track your application’s status online since this option is unavailable.
However, you can ask for an update on your application from the UK Visas and Immigration office for a fee. You can give them a call or email, but there are costs pinned to each option you choose. If you don’t want to spend money to find out your application’s status, you can wait for a notification from the UK Visas and Immigration department once it’s complete.
You will get an email from the UK visa and immigration office in your resident country informing you of the outcome. If your application is approved, you will be told you can pick up your passport with the visa permit from their offices to be able to relocate. If your application is refused, you'll receive an email stating the reasons why this was the case, and you'll be given the chance to appeal.
The application cost for a spouse visa is £1,538 if you apply outside the UK and £1,048 if you can apply inland. There is also a £1,560 healthcare surcharge to access the NHS services. However, this price may change depending on the location. If your partner doesn't have housing or has a low income, you can be exempted from paying this fee. Once you receive the spouse visa, it is usually valid for 2 years and 9 months. But it can be extended. You'll need to renew your visa before it expires. Only after you applied twice are you eligible for indefinite leave to remain.
Processing the Spouse Visa can take around 24 weeks or more, so you may want to begin the process as early as possible. You can read more about how to fast track your application by following the link.