This visa is popularly known as the Fiancee and Spouse visa, as international marriages are usually entered into between women from the FSU and British bridegrooms (and also foreigners with refugee status or UK residency).
Visas to the UK can be divided into two types: permanent residency and non-permanent. You do not have the right to marry a British citizen on a short-term visa (tourist visa, normal visitor visa, etc). For this there is a visitor for marriage visa and a fiancé(e) visa. The first visa allows you to return to your home country within 6 months (although you can extend your stay for another 6 months); you cannot switch to other visa categories, including marriage visas. It is not possible to bring dependants into the country on this visa, everyone who attends your wedding must obtain a General visitor visa. If you are married in the UK on a fiancé(e) visa, you can switch to a conjugal visa without leaving the country. The documentation lists for these two types of visa are very different. You can find the documents for a visit for marriage visa in the Visitor’s Visa section.
On July 9, 2012 the UK government introduced changes to the immigration laws regarding visas for marriage.
The period of residence on a marriage visa has been increased to 5 years before a residence permit is issued. This period is split into two – 33+30 months if you obtain a spousal visa outside the UK and 30+30 months if you switch to a spousal visa while in the UK. You will need to prove a level of English of at least A2 when renewing your visa (FLR).
A new pre-tax minimum income threshold of £18600 has been introduced for sponsoring a spouse and partner, or non-EU citizen fiancé and fiancé, to live in the UK. If a person with a minor child is sponsored, the threshold rises to £22400 and an additional £2400 for each subsequent child. These requirements do not apply to recipients of Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance allowance. Recipients of these allowances who sponsor a foreign spouse are allowed to have an income below the minimum threshold. Note that unless the sponsor is exempt from the requirement to prove their financial solvency, they cannot include the benefits in their income. If a couple has savings of £62500, it is not necessary to show their income. It is sufficient to show savings. If the sponsor has no income of £18600 and no savings of £62500, it is possible to combine income and savings. For example, if your income is £15,000 a year then you need to have £25,000 in your account. The calculation is done according to the scheme: (25000-16000): 2.5 years = 3600. This amount is added to the £15000 income and you get the required £18600. The good news is that the savings of both spouses/partners are taken into account.
Regarding funds in a bank account – they must have been in a balance for at least the last 6 months and the UKBA only takes into account the minimum balance for that period. Suppose you had £30,000 in your account at the start of the period, but one day in the settlement period the balance drops to £16,000. The visa officer will then assume that your balance for the entire six month period is £16,000.
Savings will not be taken into account if the sponsor is self-employed.
It’s worth noting that the savings must have a legal source.
And one more thing, not only must the sponsor’s income not fall below £18,600 a year, but it must also not have fallen below £1550 in the last 6 months.
From 9 July 2012 the probation period for residency for spouses and partners on a spousal visa has been increased from two years to five years.
The ability for migrant spouses and partners who have lived together overseas for a minimum of four years to obtain a settlement permit has been abolished and the requirement for them to complete a five-year probationary period has been introduced. In other words, the spouses of non-EU nationals who have been married abroad for four years will now have to apply for a spousal visa when they come to the UK on the same basis as before.
Requirements have been introduced for the accommodation where the couple is planning to live. If the house has 1 room, there must be no more than 2 people living there
2 rooms – not more than 3 people
3 rooms – not more than 5 people
4 rooms – not more than 7.5 persons
5 persons – maximum 10
Every extra room in addition to the five rooms, entitles you to stay for up to 2 more people.
Moreover, a child under 1 year old is not counted, and children from 1 to 10 years old are counted as 0.5 persons.
A house/apartment is considered overcrowded if two people over the age of 10, who are not husband and wife, have to share a room. Only living rooms over 50 square feet are taken into account, i.e. kitchens and bathrooms are not included in the calculation.