A spouse visa is a visa much the same as any other visa except that it is issued on the basis of marriage. It allows a non-EU spouse to come to the UK on the basis of his relationship and it allows them the right live and work in the UK. It will only be issued if the non-EU spouse is married to a UK citizen or some who has Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
There are a number of rules that need to be satisfied before the non-EU spouse will be issued with a marriage visa. These rules are known as the 'Immigration Rules'. An application for a marriage visa will be refused if the requirements of the immigration rules are not met. Therefore, it is very important that any proposed marriage application meets all the elements of the rules.
How long can I stay in the UK ?
Initially a UK spouse visa is issued for a 30 month period (in-country) or a 33 month period (out -out-of country) After this time a person need to submit an extension applicant and, if successful, will be granted further leave for 30 months. On completion of the 60 months (5 years) period that person may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.
Please note that since July 2012 Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) is no longer available. If you have been together for less than 4 years, a spouse visa will usually be granted for a probationary period of 30(33) months + 30 months. You must live together for at least five years before the non-EU spouse will be granted settlement in the UK. The non-EU spouse should apply for entry clearance before entering the UK. Children of the marriage who are under 18 years old are allowed entry to the UK as dependents, and can make their application at the same time as the main applicant. After five years in the UK if you meet the residence requirements you may then apply for UK citizenship.
How do I qualify ?
An applicant for a marriage visa in the UK must be 18 years of age or over and the partner with settled status in the UK must be 18 years of age or over.
You must be formally married to your spouse and must intend to live together permanently. The intended accommodation must be suitable for you both (plus any dependents). You also have to show that you have enough money to support you and your spouse (and any dependents) without having to claim any public benefits.
To be eligible for the UK marriage visa partners must:
be legally married to each other; and
plan to live together;
have met each other;
can be supported by themselves without recourse to public funds; and
have adequate accommodation where dependents can live without recourse to public funds
- be able to communicate in English at the required level or be exempt
If a person has more than one husband or wife, only one of them will be allowed to join them in the UK as their husband or wife under the UK marriage visa.
If a person is applying within the UK for leave to remain on the basis of marriage, at the time of the application the person must have leave to remain in the UK on a visa category that was initially issued for a period of more than six months.
Switching into a spouse while in the UK (in-country applications)
You may switch in-country to become a spouse of a British citizen or someone settled in the UK. It is important that you provide the Home Office with all the relevant documents that show your relationship is subsisting and that you intend to live together permanently.
To be eligible for a UK spouse visa you must be able to support and accommodate yourself without recourse to public funds.