Spouse and Partner Visas

Married to a British Citizen? This visa is for you. 

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This route enables those in a qualifying relationship with a British citizen or someone settled in the UK to join them here. You must intend to live in the UK with your spouse/partner.

Provided that all requirements are met, you will be granted a visa for an initial period of two years 9 months to join your partner in the UK. After this time, provided you continue to meet the requirements and you and your partner still wish to remain in the UK, you can extend your leave for a further two-and-a-half-year period.

Upon completion of five years in this category, and subject to meeting the eligibility requirements, you will be able to apply for Settlement in the UK.

How we can help

With so many options and varying levels of complexity, you need someone who understands the different routes and the requirements of each. Herrington Carmichael’s experienced Immigration team can ensure your application is managed in a co-ordinated manner, with you kept updated every step of the way.

Spouse and Partner Visa FAQs

What are the requirements for the spouse/partner visa?

The requirements of the Spouse/Partner visa are:

• You are seeking to enter the United Kingdom on the basis of your marriage to a British citizen/settled person or you have been living together in relationship for at least 2 years when you apply; and

• Your relationship is genuine and subsisting and you intend to live together permanently in the UK

• Any previous relationships have permanently broken down

• You meet the financial requirement

• Your presence in the UK is not deemed to be conducive to the public good

• Countries with high levels of TB (tuberculosis) will need to do a test to show they are not carriers or ill.

If you are from a non-English speaking country, you will need to fulfil the English language requirement. You can do this through providing evidence in one of the following ways:

  • Write and pass the SELT test at the level of at least A1 at an approved English language test centre to prove your English language ability. You will need to include your pass certificate in your portfolio of evidence to submit to the Home Office.
  • You hold a degree or higher qualification taught in English at an educational institution recognised by NAIRC
  • You are over 65
  • You are a recognised refugee
  • You are living in the UK as an orphan or widow
  • You are a victim of domestic abuse
  • You have a mental or physical condition which prevents you from sitting the exam


What are the financial requirements of the spousal/partner visa?

You and your spouse/partner must have a combined income of £18,600 minimum per year if you are applying as a partner/spouse or if you want to settle in the UK within 5 years (indefinite leave to remain. [This minimum amount is increasing to £38,700 in Spring 2024 as per the UK Governments announcement.]

The minimum amount increases per child if they are not British or Irish citizens or are not settled in the UK. The amount increases are: £3,800 per year for the first child, £2,400 per year for each child thereafter.

You will also need to pay an IHS surcharge to cover the duration of your visa – this is to access the public health system (a non-negotiable). You can calculate the total IHS surcharge for all dependants here. On average it costs £1,035 per year, per applicant. So if the visa is 2 years and 9 months, you will need to pay for each year (pro-rata for the 9 months), for each applicant. 

Can I work in the UK on this visa?

Yes. Spouse visa holders can work full-time and without restrictions in the UK. 

Can my children come over on this visa?

You will need to apply for your children using the childrens/dependants visa.  When applying, it will all fall under the same application, however, your children will be granted a visa based on their British Citizen parent’s status, rather than your spousal visa. 

This can be a complicated and overwhelming process. We can help you complete and submit your application, ensuring all the correct information is completed and the needed documents included.  

How long can I stay in the UK on this visa?

This visa is valid for 2 years and 9 months. Thereafter, you will need to renew your visa.

Does the visa need to be renewed? 

Yes. The initial visa allows you to work and live in the UK for 2 years and 9 months, thereafter you will need to apply for an extension to see you over until you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. 


Does this route lead to settlement?

Yes, subject to meeting eligibility requirements, this visa can lead to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or settlement in the UK after 5 years in the UK on this route.  You will be able to apply for British Citizenship after obtaining ILR. 

How long does it take to get a decision on the visa?

It depends on whether you are applying from inside the UK or from overseas. Current processing times are 8 weeks when applying from inside the UK, or 24 weeks when applying from overseas. For an additional fee, you may be able to prioritise your application and receive an expedited decision. Please note, these timeframes are a guideline, and some applications do take longer to receive a decision.

What do I need to prove my relationship to meet the requirements? 

Evidence accepted that shows you live together and are dependent on one another:

  • Comes from the government, a bank, landlord, utility provider, or a medical professional,
  • Confirms your relationship with your partner – for example, that you live together, share expenses, or are married or in a civil partnership,
  • Is less than 4 years old.

Some of the documentation you could use:

  • Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
  • A tenancy agreement, utility bills or council tax bills confirming that you live at the same address
  • A bank statement form a joint account or that confirms you live together
  • A letter from the dentist or doctor confirming you live at the same address.
  • If you do not have access to any of the above, the following evidence can also assist:
  • A one-off bill like vet’s fees or home repair costs
  • Letters showing you and your partner are on the voting register at the same address
  • Student finance documentation confirming your same address.


What if I cannot afford the visa fee?

You may be eligible for a fee waiver if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Do not have a place to live or cannot afford one
  • Have a place to live but cannot afford essential living costs like food or heating
  • Have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child’s wellbeing.

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