How to successfully get a UK spouse visa for your partner

How to successfully get a UK spouse visa for your partner. Image credit: AdobeStock

How to successfully get a UK spouse visa for your partner

(Partner Content) A spouse or partner of a UK citizen or a permanent resident can apply for a spouse visa to move permanently to the UK.

How to successfully get a UK spouse visa for your partner

How to successfully get a UK spouse visa for your partner. Image credit: AdobeStock

What is a UK spouse visa?

A UK spouse visa, also known as a UK marriage visa or a UK partner visa, is a means for non-UK citizens to join their partners in the country. You can apply if you are married, engaged, in a civil partnership or in a long-term relationship where you’ve been living together for at least two years. 

On a spouse visa, you can work and study in the UK without restriction. It is valid for 33 months, with the ability to extend, and it can lead to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and eventually British citizenship.

Do I have to be married to get a UK spouse visa?

No, you do not have to be married to successfully get a spouse visa. You must have been living together for at least two years and you will need to prove this. 

Ultimately the Home Office requires your relationship to be deemed “genuine” and “subsisting”. Demonstrating this in your application often requires innovative thinking. This is especially so in situations where, for cultural or religious reasons, the two of you have not previously lived together or spent a significant amount of time together prior to the marriage. However, you must have met in person before.

Decision making in the application process is also fairly subjective. So it’s best to provide an abundance of evidence in support of your application. The rules for the evidence that is needed are far less prescriptive than those regarding the financial requirements.

Suitable evidence to prove your relationship

In order to successfully get your UK spouse visa you need to provide documents that are deemed suitable by the UK Home Office. If you and your partner have been living apart for a lengthy period of time, or have never lived together and recently married, suitable evidence of an authentic and subsisting relationship could include:

  • Records of holidays taken together, including flight and accommodation bookings
  • Evidence that you have kept in touch whilst apart
  • Photographs of you and your partner at your wedding, on holiday or at important life events
  • Letters of support from friends and family
  • Evidence of any joint financial commitments
  • Any other formal documents linking both of you (invoices, memberships, etc.)

If you have been living together prior to making an application, then in addition to the above, the Home Office would expect to see evidence of the cohabitation such as tenancy agreements, mortgage statements, utility bills, etc. The Home Office does make allowances for arranged marriages in certain scenarios where evidence of cohabitation, holidays and communication may not be available.

UK spouse visa financial requirements for 2021 

The UK government wants to make sure that you will be able to support yourself and your family without relying on public funds. If you want to be able to settle and gain ILR status within five years, then you and your partner must meet the financial requirement of the visa. This can be met in a few ways.

Employment, non-employment and pension Income

The British National must have a minimum gross annual earning of £18,600, as well as a confirmed job offer, or confirmed earnings of £18,600 once they are in the UK.

If you are bringing children who do not have British citizenship, you will need to prove you have an extra £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each subsequent child.

Children under the age of 18 can get a UK dependant visa. You can make the application for any dependant at the same time as your spouse visa application. You will need to use your income or cash savings to show you have met the minimum income requirements for over six months prior to your application.

You can use cash savings to make up any shortfall in earnings for employed individuals, but there is a restriction on self-employed individuals and other forms of employment.

Cash savings

You can use cash savings only to meet the financial requirement, and this will mean you will not need a confirmed job offer in the UK to apply for the visa. The cash savings amount that you need to hold for longer than 6 months is £62,500 and this increases with each dependant you add to the application. The cash savings cannot be credit, loan or any form of access bond.

Certain exceptions will allow you to gain a partner visa without meeting the minimum income requirements, such as having:

  • Disability Living Allowance 
  • Carer’s Allowance 
  • Industrial injury disablement benefit

UK spouse visa processing time

If you are submitting the application from inside the UK, it generally takes twelve weeks for the Home Office to process the application. There are, however, additional priority services that you can purchase to reduce the processing time – to around six to eight weeks.

Completing a UK spouse visa application is a complex process. Demonstrating that a relationship is genuine and subsisting for the application process can be one of the most challenging aspects. Our immigration experts can ensure a smooth and efficient visa application process. Give us a call on +44 (0) 20 7759 7527 +27 (0) 21 657 2180 or get in touch via email at