1. Both spouses must be at least 18 years old
Both partners must be at least 18 years of age at the time of application. The passports attached to the application form will be sufficient to prove the age of the spouses.
2. 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. Nevertheless, this is possible under certain 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.
None of these circumstances are taken into account when considering applications for a spousal visa, so it is very important that the application is accompanied by evidence that the spouses/partners know each other well and have met on a number of 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 be supported by evidence of actual meetings between spouses/partners.
3 Marriage or partnership must be officially 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 is taking 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.
4. one of the spouses/partners must be permanently resident in the UK
The applicant must provide evidence that his or her spouse or partner is habitually resident in the UK and has either British nationality or habitual residence.
UK nationals who are overseas but who intend to return to the UK are deemed to be resident in the UK.
5. 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.
6. Both spouses/partners must be able to support themselves and their dependants fully financially without recourse to public funds
7. Minimum income requirements for the sponsoring spouse
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 who have British nationality, or one of the EEA nationalities, or permanent UK residency).
What counts as income:
An employee’s wages or self-employed income. Both the income of 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 sponsor’s and/or the applicant’s regular non-employment income (the applicant’s income does not count if he/she is not 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 widely and other documents may be submitted depending on the circumstances.
8. Both spouses/partners must be able to provide fully for themselves and their dependants in housing (rented or owned) without recourse to public funds.
Evidence can be a rental agreement or title registration certificate, and proof of a mortgage loan.
If possible, it is advisable to provide a letter from the local council about the number of rooms in the flat and the availability of the necessary facilities.
9. The applicant for a Spouse/Civil Partner visa should prove that he/she has a good command of English at least at level A1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The applicant must pass a language test from the approved list before applying for the visa.
As from 1 May 2017, the applicant must demonstrate knowledge of English at A2 level when renewing the visa.