British citizens and settled individuals who have a spouse living outside the UK can bring them to the UK through the Spouse Visa, which falls under the Family Visa category.
The UK Spouse Visa, also known as the UK Marriage Visa, is a family visa in the UK and is the type of visa you will need if you wish to enter and stay in the UK to live with a partner (spouse /fiancé). for more than 6 months.
Who can apply for a spouse visa?
- As a foreign national, you can apply for a partner and spouse visa in the UK provided your partner resides in the UK:
- You are a British or Irish citizen (by birth or naturalisation)
- Has settled in the UK and has indefinite leave to remain (ILR), permanent residence or EU settled status
- You have refugee or humanitarian protection status in the UK
- Hold a Turkish Businessman Visa or a Turkish Worker Visa
You must intend to live together in the UK after moving here (if you are not already here) and you will also need to provide evidence of your genuine and continuing relationship.
UK Spouse Visa Requirements 2023
- To successfully submit an application for a partner and spouse visa, you will need to meet a number of stringent eligibility requirements, including providing evidence of:
- You are in a genuine and suitable relationship
- You have the ability to support yourself financially: a minimum gross annual income of £18,600
- You have suitable accommodation in the UK
- You meet the English language requirements: at least A1 level for your first visa application
1. Authentic relationship requirement
You will need to demonstrate that you are in a suitable relationship as follows:
- You have a civil partnership or legally recognized marriage in the UK, or;
- They have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years, or;
Plan to get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving in the UK.
Basically, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will want to make sure you have a genuine and continuing relationship. As such, they are always alert to the potential for “fictitious” marriages or relationships, where applicants falsely claim to be in a suitable relationship when they are not.
If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements for a genuine relationship, speak to one of our immigration lawyers who will be able to confirm this for you.
2. Financial requirements for UK spouse visa
Applying for a spouse visa requires the applicant and their UK-based partner to have a minimum gross annual income of £18,600. If the applicant has children, a further £3,800 per year is required for the first child and a further £2,400 for each subsequent child. This means that the minimum income for an applicant with two dependent children will be £24,800 and for three children it will be £27,200.
Only the sources of income listed below will be taken into consideration:
- Income from employment or self-employment
- Pension of the applicant and/or partner
- Maternity pay or bereavement pay received from your partner in the UK
- Any other income and/or savings specified by the applicant and/or partner
- You can see our page on financial requirements for a spouse visa and How to meet the requirements for a spouse visa if you or your partner are self-employed for more detailed explanations.
- Exemptions from meeting the financial requirement are available if a sponsor receives income from one of the following sources:
- Living allowance for disability
- Severe disability allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation System
- Mobility supplement, constant attendance allowance or war disability pension under the War Pensions Scheme
- Police accident pension
- Disability compensation for accident at work
- Accompanying allowance
- Allowance for companions
This means sponsors will not have to prove they earn £18,600 (or more). It is important to note, however, that where a partner is entitled to exemption in line with the above, the applicant will still need to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves in the UK, as well as having suitable accommodation (without resorting to public funds). For further assistance, speak to one of our immigration lawyers who will be able to advise you.
English language requirement
As a partner and spouse visa applicant, you will need to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language; this can be achieved in 3 ways:
- Passing an English language test: You will meet the English language requirements if you pass a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) English test from an approved test centre. This must be at least A1 level in speaking and writing. If you wish to extend your stay in the UK at a later date, you will need to be able to pass at least an A2 CEFR level to show continued improvement in line with your time in the country.
- Academic Qualifications: You will also meet the English language requirements if you have a bachelor’s degree or other academic qualification taught in English.
Exemption: You will not have to meet the English language requirements if you are exempt, including if:
- You are over 65 years old
- You have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from meeting the requirements
You are from one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States United
For more information, see our detailed guide on English language requirements for a spouse visa
4. Housing requirements
Applicants must demonstrate that they have suitable accommodation in the UK and that:
- It is owned or occupied exclusively by the applicant and his family members
- It has sufficient living space
- Meets all public health requirements
- You can check our Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirements page for more information
Checklist of documents required for UK spouse visa
- You will need to provide several documents together with your visa application, these may include:
- Completed application form and application fee
- Valid passport
- Previous passportsEvidence of your genuine and ongoing relationship (e.g. shared invoices, photographs, correspondence, messages).
- Evidence that you meet the English language requirements (e.g. CEFR exam certificate).
- Two passport-sized color photos in line with UK requirements.
- Proof of compliance with financial requirements (e.g. bank statements, savings statement, pay stubs)
- Details of any previous immigration applications, if any
- Details of any criminal convictions
- Your Social Security number (if you have one)
- Proof of accommodation in the UK
- Biometric information (fingerprints and a digital photograph).
- Tuberculosis test results if from a country where you need to take the test
To ensure you receive a positive decision on your partner and spouse visa application, it is essential that you provide all the evidence and documentation required by the UKVI. Failure to provide all elements in the correct format (and translated correctly where necessary) may lead to visa refusal or delay.
How to apply for a spouse visa in the UK
The application process for a UK partner and spouse visa is completed online (on the Home Office website). The application phases are as follows:
- Check your eligibility for a partner and spouse visa
- Prepare the necessary documents to prove your eligibility
- Fill out the online application form
- Pay the registration fee (see below)
- Upload all documents necessary to support your request
- Schedule a biometric appointment to have your fingerprints and photo taken
- Attend an interview if invited
UK Spouse Visa Fee/Cost 2023
The UK spouse visa application fee in 2023 is £1,048 if the application is made within the UK and £1,538 if the application is made outside the UK. Other costs include the £624 immigration health surcharge for each year and the £19.20 biometric fee. The cost of the super priority service is £800 if you wish to make a decision by the end of the next working day.
What is the processing time for a spouse visa?
You can expect to receive a decision within 12 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre. How quickly your visa will be processed will depend on the country you are applying from. If time is of the essence, you can pay an extra £800 for the Super Priority service. This will ensure you receive a decision the next business day in most cases.
How much savings do I need for a UK spouse visa?
To use your savings to meet the minimum income requirement for a partner and spouse visa, you will need savings of over £16,000. If you have sufficient savings (£62,500), you will not need to demonstrate any income. When you submit your application for a spouse visa, you will need to make and sign a declaration about the source of your cash savings.
Can I work on a spouse visa in the UK?
Yes, you will be free to work full-time or part-time in the UK on a spouse visa.
Can I add my child(ren) to my spouse visa application?
Yes, you can add your children to your partner and spouse visa application. You will need to pay an additional application fee and demonstrate that you meet the additional financial income requirements for your children.