How Can I Bring My Chinese Wife or Girlfriend to the UK?

Globalisation is increasing cross-cultural relationships. People from different backgrounds are falling in love today. A notable example is the growing number of British men marrying Chinese women.

This trend has many reasons, like interest in Chinese culture or simply finding love. However, bringing your Chinese partner to the UK can be challenging as you need to understand visa options to make the move smooth.

In today’s article, we will be taking a look at three different options for bringing your Chinese wife or girlfriend to the UK: a fiance visa, a spouse visa, and a civil partnership visa. We’ll also answer your questions about the process. Let’s dive in!

Also Read: Bringing Your Husband or Boyfriend to the UK

The Fiancé Visa Route

bringing chinese wife or girlfriend to the uk

If you’re planning to tie the knot in the UK, the UK Fiancé(e) Visa or Marriage Visitor Visa might be the perfect choice for you. This visa enables your Chinese girlfriend to stay in the country for up to six months and permits you to legally get married or enter into a civil partnership during your stay. It is distinct from a standard Tourist Visa as it facilitates the celebration of your union in the presence of your loved ones.

Eligibility Criteria for the Fiancé Visa

Age requirement

Both you and your partner must be at least 18 years old.

Marital status

You must be legally free to wed or get into a civil partnership. This means that if either of you was previously married or in a civil partnership, you must provide a death certificate for the former spouse or partner or present the decree absolute from the divorce.

Duration of stay

The duration of your partner’s visit to the UK must not exceed six months and the wedding must take place during this six-month period.

Financial support

The required financial threshold for all UK family visas is currently £29,000 as of April 11th 2024, and will increase again to £34,500 later in the year, after which it will rise to £38,700 by early 2025. These financial thresholds are routinely adjusted by the UK government. Read our dedicated page on how to meet the UK family visa financial requirements. For the most up-to-date information and guidance, get in touch with us directly.

Return travel

Your partner should be able to cover the cost of their return travel out of the UK. Neither of you should intend to establish permanent residency in the UK.

Marriage or civil partnership plans

You must provide details of the planned marriage or civil partnership, including evidence of any expenses already incurred, such as venue bookings or deposits.

Ceremony arrangements

You should be able to present proof of arrangements made for the ceremony, including booking confirmations for the venue or any other relevant service providers.

Couples have a distinctive chance to celebrate their love and commitment in the UK through the Fiance Visa. After obtaining the Fiance Visa and following the marriage or civil partnership ceremony, your Chinese spouse can transition to the Spouse Visa route.

Processing Time of Fiancé Visa

The processing time for a UK fiancé visa can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the application and the volume of applications being processed at the time. However, most applications are typically processed within a timeframe of 2-3 months. 

By following this pathway, your partner will be able to reside, work, and eventually apply for a UK Spouse Visa after the wedding takes place, which then leads to indefinite leave to remain in the UK after a period of five years. To learn more about the Spouse Visa and its requirements, read below.

To get expert assistance for bringing your Chinese girlfriend to the UK under the UK Fiancé(e) visa route, do not hesitate to call us for guidance.

The Spouse Visa Route

If you are already married to your Chinese partner and plan to settle in the UK, the Spouse Visa is the most suitable immigration route. This visa grants your partner the right to reside in the UK for up to 2 years and 9 months, with the possibility of extending their stay without leaving the country.

Eligibility Criteria for the Spouse Visa

In order to be considered for the spouse visa route, you must satisfy these essential requirements:

Age requirement

Both you and your spouse must be at least 18 years old.

Citizenship or residency status

One of you must be a British citizen, hold permanent leave to remain, settled status, or be a permanent resident of the UK. Alternatively, one of you must have refugee or protected status in the UK.

Recognised marriage or civil partnership

Your marriage must be legally recognised in the UK.

Relationship duration

You must have already lived together for not less than two years.

English language proficiency

Your partner must demonstrate good proficiency in the English language.

Financial support

In the UK, the financial criteria for obtaining family visas is £29,000 as of April 11th 2024. This will increase once more to £34,500 later in 2024 after which it will further increase to £38,700 by early 2025. As these financial requirements are frequently altered by the UK government, for the latest guidelines and assistance, read our page on family visa financial requirements or contact us.

Accommodation requirement

In order to meet the accommodation requirement for a UK spouse or fiancé visa, the sponsor must have suitable accommodation in the UK that meets the Home Office’s standards for the partner and any dependents.

Processing Time of Spouse Visa

While the processing time for a UK Spouse Visa can vary depending on various factors, most applications are typically processed within 3 months. Following a decision, the applicant will receive notification of the outcome, and if the visa is approved, they can begin making arrangements to reunite with their partner in the UK. 

The eligibility criteria for a Spouse Visa may vary depending on individual circumstances, such as the applicant’s country of origin, personal and financial situation, and other factors. 

As the application process can be complex, seeking assistance from Spouse Visa lawyers is recommended to ensure that you fully understand the specific requirements and receive professional guidance throughout the application process.  

For expert advice on bringing your Chinese wife to the UK with a Spouse Visa, do not hesitate to call us for guidance.

The Civil Partnership Visa Route

The Civil Partnership Visa is ideal for individuals who wish to enter or are already in a civil partnership with their Chinese partner. This visa grants the civil partner the right to live, work, and study in the UK for an initial period of 30 to 33 months, with the possibility of extending their stay up to 5 years.

Eligibility Criteria for the Civil Partnership Visa:

To qualify for a Civil Partnership Visa, both the applicant and the sponsor must meet specific requirements:

Sponsor’s status

The UK-based partner qualifies as a sponsor if they hold any of these: British or Irish citizenship, settled status in the UK, pre-settled status, a Turkish Businessperson or Turkish Worker visa, or refugee status/humanitarian protection.

Relationship status

To qualify, you and your partner must be legally in a civil partnership recognised in the UK and not within a prohibited degree of relationship. It is a requirement that both of you have had a face-to-face meeting prior to the application process.

Your connection must be honest and ongoing, and you plan to live together in the UK permanently. Any previous relationship must have ended forever.

Age requirement

Both partners need to be at least 18 years old to be eligible.

Financial requirement

The financial requirement for all family visas in the UK is £29,000 as of April 11th 2024. This will once again rise to £34,500 later in 2024, after which it will rise once again to £38,700 by early 2025. The UK government often revises these financial thresholds. To stay informed about the latest criteria and how to meet them through income, savings, investments or pensions, read our page on family visa financial requirements, or please get in touch with us directly.

Adequate accommodation

The sponsor must provide suitable accommodation in the UK that meets Home Office requirements for their partner and any dependents.

Processing Time of Civil Partnership Visa

The Home Office has established a 12-week (3-month) service standard for processing Civil Partnership Visa applications submitted from abroad. This visa is granted for an initial duration of 33 months when applied for from overseas or 30 months if applied for within the UK. An extension for an additional 30 months is required to reach the 5-year mark.

Upon completing five years on a Civil Partnership Visa, individuals can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This is contingent upon remaining in the civil partnership, living with your partner in the UK, and continuing to meet the maintenance requirements outlined above.

For expert advice for bringing your Chinese partner to the UK with a UK Civil Partnership visa, do not hesitate to call us for guidance.

You Might Like: Bringing an Indian Wife or Girlfriend to the UK

Ways to Establish the Authenticity of a Relationship

When applying for a visa to bring your Chinese wife or girlfriend to the UK, it is essential to provide evidence that your relationship is genuine and ongoing. The Home Office scrutinises applications to ensure the relationship is not a sham, solely for immigration purposes.

To establish the authenticity of your relationship, you will need to present a combination of documents that corroborate your claims. 

Here are some suggestions for the types of evidence you can provide:

Communication records

Submit records of your correspondence, such as emails, text messages, phone call logs, and chat histories, to demonstrate the frequency and duration of your communication.

Proof of gifts or sentimental items

Submit receipts, invoices, or photographs of gifts or sentimental items exchanged between you and your partner.

Joint account statements

Provide statements from any joint bank accounts or financial investments that you share with your partner.

Joint address

Submit proof that you have shared an address in the UK or abroad. This could include utility bills, lease agreements, and hospital or GP letters.

Note that the quality of the evidence is crucial. A well-organized, comprehensive set of documents can significantly improve the likelihood of a successful visa application. It is also essential to ensure that all documents are translated into English if they are in Chinese or another language.

You Ask, We Answer

FAQs About UK Visas For Chinese Wife or Girlfriend

To bring a spouse from China to the UK, the UK-based spouse must either be a British citizen, have settled status in the UK, or have refugee status. The couple must prove they are in a legitimate, ongoing relationship and satisfy financial requirements, ensuring they won’t rely on public funds. The Chinese spouse needs to pass an English language test and meet health and character requirements.

The duration for processing an application to bring a Chinese spouse to the UK varies depending on each case’s specific circumstances. It typically takes between 2 and 12 weeks to process a settlement visa and up to 3 weeks for a standard visitor visa. However, these timeframes may be extended due to case complexity or additional requirements.

The total expenses involved in bringing a Chinese spouse to the UK depend on the visa type and the specific situation. For example, a family visa application from inside the UK costs £1048, while from outside, it is £1,846, while a standard visitor visa is £115. Other costs related to the application process may include the English language test fee, healthcare surcharge, and potential charges for legal or translation services.

Chinese spouses can work in the UK if they receive a visa that allows employment. If they are granted a settlement visa, they can work and study in the UK without restrictions. However, if they obtain a visitor visa, they are not permitted to work in the UK.

Yes, Indian spouses can work in the UK after they arrive if they are granted a visa that allows them to work. For example, if they are granted a settlement visa, they will be allowed to work and study in the UK without any restrictions. However, if they are granted a visitor visa, they will not be authorised to work in the UK.

The specific documents needed to bring a Chinese spouse to the UK depend on the visa type and each case’s unique circumstances. Commonly required documents may include a valid passport, proof of the relationship, evidence of meeting financial requirements, confirmation of passing the English language test, and medical and character certificates. It is recommended to consult a qualified immigration advisor to ensure all necessary documents are included in the application.

How Can Spouse Visa Lawyers UK Help?

Navigating the complex world of immigration and visa applications can be daunting, especially when trying to bring your spouse or partner to the UK from China. Spouse Visa Lawyers UK can help ease this burden by providing expert legal advice and support tailored to your unique situation.

Our experienced immigration lawyers are dedicated to helping you find the most suitable visa route for your partner. Our assistance includes helping you prepare your application, ensuring all the required documents are provided, and guiding you throughout the process, including any possible hurdles.

Reach out to Spouse Visa Lawyers UK, contact us today for a consultation and give your partner the best chance to join you in the UK.

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The information provided in our articles is intended solely for guidance and should not be considered legal advice. We do not assume responsibility for any liabilities arising from the information in written articles and recommend that all readers seek professional advice before taking any action. For those wishing to discuss their case with a professional, please feel free to contact us directly.

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