A. Fiancé Visa (Fiancé Visa)
The Fiancé Visa is for a person who wishes to marry a British citizen but who is resident in a different country. The visa is issued for a maximum period of 6 months and during that time the parties must formalise their marriage in the UK.
If, due to exceptional circumstances, the marriage ceremony is postponed for a period of time, the visa can be extended.
Both future spouses must be at least 18 years old.
Those arriving on a Fiancé visa are not authorised to work in the UK. The inviting partner (sponsor) must show that they have an income of at least £18,600 a year.
One of the prerequisites is that the future spouses must prove that they have met before and know each other well as well as demonstrate an intention to live together permanently after marriage.
The Fiancé visa applicant must prove that he/she has a command of English at least at level A1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The applicant must take a language test from the Home Office approved list before applying for the visa.
In the case of minor children of a Fiancé visa applicant they can come to the UK as dependants. But the Fiancé dependent visa application is a complex and time-consuming procedure, so immigration specialists recommend applying for dependent visas for children after the applicant is formally married to a British citizen.
After marriage, it is possible to apply for a Spouse/Civil Partner Visa without leaving the UK.
B. The Spouse/Civil Partner Visa
After getting married, the spouse or partner of a British citizen must apply for a Spouse/Civil Partner Visa.
Civil Partner refers to a partner in a legally registered same-sex marriage.
The visa is for 33 months for overseas applicants and 30 months for UK applicants. This visa can then be extended for a further 30 months.
The Spouse/Civil Partner visa allows you to live and work in the UK without restriction for the duration of the visa. The holder of a Spouse/Civil Partner visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK provided that the spouse has lived together in the UK for five years, the marriage has not been dissolved and the applicant intends to settle permanently in the UK.
The 180-day rule does not apply to people with a spouse visa or an unmarried partner visa.
Requirements for Spouse/Civil Partner visa applicants
Both spouses must be at least 18 years old. Both partners must be at least 18 years old at the time of application. The passports accompanying the application form will be sufficient to prove the age of the spouses.
The spouses must know each other and have met before. In most cases it is unlikely that the spouses have not met in person before marriage. However, it is possible in some circumstances. For example, if the marriage is entered into in absentia by prior agreement, or without the consent of one of the partners (forced marriage), or in the case of a sham marriage.
Home Office refuses to explain the algorithm for determining a sham marriage
None of these circumstances are taken into account when considering applications for a spousal visa, so it is very important to attach evidence to the application that the spouses/partners know each other well and have met on several occasions.
Such evidence may include:
photographs of the spouses where they have been photographed together at different times, including at the marriage ceremony;
tickets, hotel reservations or other accommodation in the name of both spouses in the places where they have been together;
a marriage certificate.
In addition to the above, the visa officer may ask a few questions about the development of the relationship: dates, places of meetings, trips together, etc.
Note that proof of Internet contact is not admissible. It must necessarily be supported by evidence of actual meetings between the spouses/partners.
Marriage or partnership must be formally registered and recognised in the UK
The visa applicants will have to show that their marriage or partnership is registered and officially recognised in the UK.
In most cases, an official marriage certificate from the place where the ceremony takes place will suffice.
A couple can get married in a church. In the UK, this can be done in the Anglican Church in England or Wales. Such a marriage will be considered valid. The UK Border Agency does not recognise other types of religious marriages, i.e. such marriages will not be considered valid.
Embassies marriages are also recognised.
As for same-sex marriage partners, they can also officially register their marriage in the UK. Same-sex marriage certificates issued in some other countries under the laws of those countries are also recognised in the UK.
One of the spouses/partners must reside permanently in the UK
The applicant must provide evidence that their spouse or partner is habitually resident in the UK and either has British nationality or is habitually resident in the UK, EEA nationals who have Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme or only have Pre-Settled Status if the EEA nationals started to live in the UK before 01 January 2021 and have documentary evidence to that effect.
UK nationals who are abroad but who intend to return to the UK for permanent residence are deemed to be resident in the UK.
Both spouses/partners must intend to live together permanently
The applicant and his/her spouse or partner must show a firm intention of living together permanently, a requirement which is mandatory for both parties.
Evidence is provided by formal letters of commitment from both spouses/partners confirming their intention to reside permanently at the address where the UK spouse/partner has their own or rented accommodation.
The Visa Officer may ask the applicant questions about the address, ask for a description of the place where the home is located, etc. in order to verify the veracity of their intentions.
Both spouses/partners must be able to support themselves and their dependants fully financially and provide for their housing (rented or owned) without recourse to public funds
Evidence can be a rental agreement or title deed, and proof of a mortgage loan.
If possible, a letter from the local council stating the number of rooms in the flat and the facilities needed.
Sponsoring spouse/partner must meet minimum income requirements
The sponsoring spouse must show that they have an annual income of at least £18,600. If there is one child this amount will be £22400 plus an additional £2400 for each child if there is more than one child. The appropriate minimum will apply at all stages: initial application, renewal, permanent residency. (This requirement does not apply to children with UK citizenship or EEA nationals who have permanent residency or Settled Status under the EU Settlement scheme).
What counts as income:
An employee’s wages or self-employed income. The income of both the sponsoring spouse and the applicant (or only the applicant) may be counted if the applicant is in the UK and eligible to work;
The regular income of the sponsor and/or the applicant which is not employment related (the applicant’s income is not counted if he/she is not applying in the UK);
The government or non-government pension (whether received in the UK or overseas) of the sponsor and/or the applicant;
any maternity or bereavement benefit(s) received in the UK by the sponsor and/or the applicant;
any savings of more than £16,000 which the sponsor and/or the applicant have had in their possession for at least the last 6 months and which they may use in their absolute discretion.
Sponsors in receipt of the UK Disability Living Allowance are exempt from the financial requirements.
Evidence of sufficient funds:
letters from employers;
financial documentation if the sponsor has a business;
proof of payment of taxes.
This is not a definitive list, as proof of funds can vary and other documents may be submitted depending on the circumstances.
English Language Requirements
The applicant for a Spouse/Civil Partner visa should prove that he/she has an English language proficiency not lower than A1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Before applying for a visa, the applicant must take a language test from an approved list.
Further, at the time of visa renewal, the applicant must demonstrate English proficiency at A2 level.
If the future spouse is in the UK on any visa valid for more than 6 months (other than a visitor’s visa), he/she may marry or register a relationship with a British citizen without going on a Fiance visa. Once married, the spouse is transferred to a Spouse/Civil Partner visa without leaving the UK and acquires all the rights that an immigrant has under this visa.
C. Applying for permanent residence/permit (ILR)
After 5 years of residence in the UK on a Spouse (Civil partner) visa, the applicant is eligible to apply for permanent residency. The applicant must pass the Life in the UK test in order to be granted permanent residency. Exceptions are those over the age of 65 or who have medical contraindications.
Also, applicants for ILR under this category must, in addition to Life in the UK, pass an English language test with a score of at least B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
They must also intend to continue living together with their spouse/partner and must meet the financial and accommodation requirements.
D. Transition from another immigration category
If the applicant intends to come to the UK for the first time on the basis of a marriage they must apply for an entry clearance under the Spouse (Civil partner) Visa category.
If the immigrant is already in the U.K. on any valid visa issued for a period of more than 6 months (other than a visitor visa), he/she is entitled to marry or enter into a partnership with a person who is a resident of the UK or a U.K. citizen. Once the marriage or partnership has been legally entered into, he can change to a Spouse (civil partner) visa without having to leave the country.
When applying for such visas, particular attention will need to be given to the documents required, as each case is different. Therefore, we recommend contacting an immigration professional for such cases.
E. Spouses of EEA nationals with permanent residence or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme
Registered spouses who married before December 31st, 2020 can apply for an entry permit as a family member (EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit) and then apply internally for Pre-Settled Status, which is linked to the status of the partner.
In all cases, the spouses must be in a close relationship and be married, and they must have strong documentary evidence of the sincerity of the relationship.
In addition to the above, the following factors must be taken into account:
It is at the discretion of the immigration officer to grant permission to enter as a family member of the spouse.
Spouses are allowed to take up employment or self-employment as long as their partner exercises contractual rights in the UK.
Spouses can apply for permanent residence (Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme) after 5 years of residence in the UK.
F. Appeals (for overseas and domestic applications)
Applicants whose visa applications are refused will be granted full rights of appeal, provided that no other leave to remain in the UK is granted at the time of the decision. However, in these appeals applicants will not be allowed to use new evidence to challenge the Home Office’s decision that was not originally submitted as part of the visa application that was submitted and refused. The applicant will have 10 working days from the date of service of the decision to appeal against this decision.
It is strongly recommended to seek professional assistance when appealing against any decision.