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With effect from 9 July 2012, the Immigration Rules have been amended to introduce new requirements for those applying for leave to enter, leave to remain, further leave to remain and indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a family member.

A UK marriage visa enables a person to apply for leave to enter the UK or leave to remain in the UK on the basis that they are married to a person who is present and settled in the UK. Settled status means that the person is living here lawfully with no time limit on their stay.

There were further Rules changes in July 2017 following the decision in the UK Supreme Court case of MM (Lebanon), providing that in certain exceptional circumstances where children are involved, third party support, potential income from employment or self-employment and some other financial sources may be taken into consideration.

Transitional arrangements

Please note that a fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, spouse, civil partner, same-sex partner, unmarried partner, child or adult dependent with leave to enter or remain in the UK on the family route granted before 9 July 2012, or granted following applications made before 9 July 2012, will remain subject to the Immigration rules in place before that date.

What is a spouse visa?

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.

Important points

 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. Switching can be done by post (may take a few months) or in person at one of the UK BA dedicated (PSC) regional same day service centres.

Public Funds

To be eligible for a UK spouse visa you must be able to support and accommodate yourself without recourse to public funds.

The above options are not exhaustive as we treat every client's case individually. Please do not hesitate to book a phone, Skype or office consultation with us for a professional immigration advice and possible further representation before the UK Border Agency or the First Tier or Upper Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (FTT/UTT IAC).

We are here to help: , 077 911 45 923 (Mob/Viber/WhatsApp), 0330 001 0342 and, of course, the helpful instant and same day Legal Centre Skype, Phone, Viber and WhatsApp Consultations