Moving to a different country to be with your loved one can be a life-changing decision. One of the most critical aspects of this process is obtaining a spousal visa. In the UK, a spousal visa allows non-EEA nationals to live in the UK with their partner who is either a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain. Here’s everything you need to know about spousal visa applications in the UK.
Before applying, it is essential to ensure that you meet the necessary eligibility criteria. Generally, you must:
- Be married or in a civil partnership that is recognised in the UK.
- Intend to live together permanently in the UK.
- Meet the financial requirement, usually an income of at least £18,600 per annum.
- Have adequate accommodation in the UK.
- Prove your relationship is genuine and subsisting.
To support your spousal visa application, a range of documents are required. These include:
- Valid passports
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Evidence of your relationship, such as photographs or communication logs
- Financial evidence to meet the income requirement
- Proof of accommodation in the UK
Notably, if your marriage certificate is not in English or Welsh, you will need to provide a certified translation. We highly recommend marriage certificate translation by Translayte, who offer quick turnarounds and a professional service.
Applying for a UK spousal visa involves several steps:
- Complete the Application: Apply online via the UK government’s official website.
- Pay the Fee: The application cost for a spousal visa is substantial; ensure you can afford it before proceeding.
- Biometric Information: After applying, you will need to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and photographs) at a visa application centre.
- Supporting Documents Submission: After your biometrics appointment, submit your supporting documents for assessment.
- Wait for a Decision: Once your application is submitted, wait for a decision. The duration of this process can vary significantly, influenced by a range of different factors.
A critical aspect of the spousal visa application is meeting the financial requirement. This generally involves having a minimum annual income of £18,600. However, if you have children, the requirement increases. You can meet this requirement through various means, including employment, savings, or a combination of both.
Health surcharge and English requirement
Applicants are usually required to pay a health surcharge as part of their application, which grants them access to the National Health Service (NHS) while in the UK.
In addition, unless you are from an English-speaking country, you will likely need to prove your knowledge of English. This is usually demonstrated by passing an approved English language test.
Potential pitfalls and how to avoid them
Spousal visa applications are rigorously scrutinised, and mistakes can lead to delays or refusals. Some common pitfalls include:
- Insufficient evidence of a genuine relationship
- Not meeting the financial requirements
- Lack of proper documentation, including translations of non-English documents
To avoid these, ensure your application is complete, accurate, and well-documented. Seek professional advice if necessary.
Renewing your spousal visa
It’s essential to note that a spousal visa in the UK is initially issued for a period of 2.5 years. After this, you will need to apply for an extension, which also lasts for 2.5 years. After a total of 5 years, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if you meet the requirements.
Applying for a spousal visa in the UK is a significant step towards building a life with your partner in a new country. It is a complex process, and the stakes are high, which is why it is so important to be thoroughly prepared and well-informed. By understanding the eligibility criteria, preparing the necessary documentation, and being aware of potential pitfalls, you are well on your way to a successful spousal visa application.
The article Everything you need to know about spousal visa applications first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.
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Author: Apollonas Kritikos