This article was updated on February 5th, 2024.
2024 is a big year for ALL UK Family Visa Immigration routes, including the UK Spouse Visa, with changes set to take place to the financial threshold on April 11th 2024.
This can be worrying for those who are seeking to start a life with their UK-based partner as for those who are married to a British citizen or individual with settled status in the UK, applying for a spouse visa can be a paramount step in the process of joining your partner in the UK. However, one of the most pressing questions for anyone contemplating this route is how much the spouse visa application will cost. And with each passing year, it becomes even more critical to know the approximate costs, as they tend to increase.
It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the current fees and how they may change in the coming year. In this article, we will explore how much a spouse visa in the UK currently costs, how the fee structure works, and more. Read on for a comprehensive breakdown of the spouse visa UK cost and crucial insights into the application process.
Eligibility Requirements for UK Spouse Visa
Navigating the eligibility requirements is a crucial step towards a successful spouse visa application. In this section, we will discuss these requirements to equip you with a thorough understanding of what to expect and how to prepare.
Criteria for Obtaining a UK Spouse Visa
Here are some of the most important requirements you must fulfil to apply for the UK Spouse visa:
1. Minimum Age Requirement:
One of the foremost requirements for sponsoring a spouse visa UK application is the minimum age limit. The sponsoring partner must be at least 18 years old. This age benchmark ensures a level of maturity and responsibility in the sponsor, essential for undertaking the process.
2. Genuine Relationship Test:
An essential component of the application process is passing the genuine relationship test. The Home Office may rigorously investigate the authenticity of your relationship to ensure it’s not a ploy to sidestep UK immigration rules. Evidence of shared finances, property, children, photos and communications records can all be used as evidence to support your relationship’s legitimacy.
3. Recognition of Overseas Marriages:
For a successful spouse visa application, your marriage or civil partnership must be recognised by the UK Home Office. While most overseas marriages are recognised, it’s wise to confirm this before beginning the application process to avoid any unexpected complications.
4. Valid Marriage or Civil Partnership:
Last but not least, you must be able to provide a legally valid marriage or civil partnership certificate. This document acts as a keystone of your supporting evidence and validates your relationship’s status.
Spouse Visa Application Process
Understanding the application process is a stepping stone towards a successful UK spouse visa application. Here, we will walk you through the process in an easy-to-digest manner.
The first thing is to prepare all the required documentation. They form the backbone of your application. You must provide documents such as your marriage certificate, proof of meeting the financial requirements, evidence of suitable accommodation in the UK, an English language test certificate (if required), and more. Begin with creating a document checklist required for this visa and gather them all.
After you’ve gathered all the required documents, the next step is to file your application, which is an online process. Whether you’re applying from within the UK or abroad, you’ll be prompted to fill in multiple sections, which include personal data and details about your relationship, among other things.
Remember that any inconsistencies, inaccuracies, or missing data could lead to your application being rejected, which could subsequently cause delays and monetary loss and even affect future applications. Hence, ensure you’re thorough and verify all data not just once but twice before you file your application.
Financial Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa
The primary monetary prerequisite for a UK spouse visa is meeting the minimum income threshold.
The financial threshold requirement for ALL family visas will be raised from £18,600 to £29,000 on April 11th 2024, followed by increases to £38,700 by early 2025. This requirement is often changed by the UK government. For the most up-to-date info, visit our page on family visa financial requirements or contact us directly.
But what if you, as the sponsoring partner, don’t meet this income threshold through your salary alone? Fear not, as the Home Office allows you to use savings of currently £62,500, which will change to £88,500 on April 11th, 2024.
In cases where the applicant is also bringing dependent children to the UK, the financial requirements increase. For the first child, the sponsor must earn an additional £3,800 per year, and for each subsequent child, an extra £2,400 per year is required. It’s important to factor these additional costs into your financial planning when applying for a UK spouse visa with dependents.
Cost Breakdown: How Much is a Spouse Visa UK Cost?
After understanding the eligibility and financial requirements for a UK spouse visa, it’s time to delve into the intricate breakdown of the actual cost involved in the application process. To make this task manageable and less intimidating, we’ll cover both the official visa fees and the hidden costs.
Official Visa Fees for a UK Spouse Visa
As of 2024, the official visa fee for a spouse visa application made from outside the UK is £1,846. If you’re applying from within the UK, the cost is £1,048. These figures are the Home Office’s standard application fees, and they are subject to change each year.
The visa fees, along with the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), must be paid online at the time of submitting the application. The IHS is a mandatory fee that gives the applicant entry to the National Health Service (NHS) services in the UK, which costs a flat fee of £1,035 per year. There is also a £19.20 fee for registration of biometric information.
Unfortunately, the Home Office does not refund the visa application fees if your application is refused. The IHS fee, however, is refundable in the event of a refusal, withdrawal of application, or if you paid more than you should have.
Note that visa fees usually change annually, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on updates from the Home Office to ensure you’re aware of the most recent fees when you apply.
Other Costs of a UK Spouse Visa
The official fees for a spouse visa UK application only tell half the story. In reality, there are numerous ‘hidden costs’ that can raise the total amount you’ll need to budget for. Let’s explore these often-overlooked expenses.
A. Document Translations
If your evidence of support is not in English or Welsh, a certified translator must translate them. This can cost anywhere from £20 to £50 per page, based on the document’s language and complexity.
B. Tuberculosis Test Cost
For applicants applying from certain countries, a Tuberculosis (TB) test is a mandatory requirement. The test must be taken at a clinic approved by the Home Office, and the costs can vary depending on the country, but you should budget around £100 for this.
C. English Language Test Costs
Unless you are a citizen of a majority-English-speaking country or possess a degree taught in English, you must pass an English language exam (a1 level) administered by an authorised provider. These examinations can cost anywhere between £150 and £250.
D. Applying Dependant Children
If you’re planning to bring dependent children to the UK, there are additional costs to consider. The application fee for each dependant is the same as the main applicant, meaning you’ll have to pay the full visa fee and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for each child.
E. Lawyer Fees
Hiring an immigration lawyer to assist with your application can be a wise investment. While fees vary depending on the complexity of your case and the reputation of the law firm, you should expect to pay for assistance related to making a visa application.
G. Priority Visa Service Fees
This is an option step for those who want fast results. The Home Office provides a Priority Service and a Super Priority Service for those who wish to expedite their application’s processing time. As of 2023, the Priority Service (decision within 6 weeks) costs £500, and the Super Priority Service (decision within 24 hours) costs £800.
When combined, these hidden costs can significantly increase the financial commitment required for a UK spouse visa application. Therefore, having a clear understanding of these potential expenses at the outset is crucial to avoid unpleasant surprises and ensure a smooth, well-planned application journey.
Processing Times and Duration of a UK Spouse Visa
Standard processing times for a spouse visa application vary, but the Home Office aims to process most applications within 12 weeks of the application date. This is for applications made beyond the UK. If you’re applying from within the UK, the Home Office typically takes up to 8 weeks to check and decide on the application.
Various factors can influence processing times. These include the time of year, the completeness of your application, whether an interview is required, and even the country from which you’re applying. Incomplete applications or those that require further investigation can take considerably longer.
If your spouse visa application is successful, you’ll initially be granted leave to remain in the UK for 2.5 years. After that, you can apply for an extension of the same duration. Once you’ve been in the UK for five years on a spouse visa, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which allows you to stay in the UK without time restrictions.
How Spouse Visa Lawyers UK Can Help
As we discussed above, navigating the complex web of a UK spouse visa application can be daunting. With intricate eligibility requirements, multifaceted financial aspects, and a broad array of necessary documents, the whole process can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, you are not required to undertake this voyage alone. UK Spouse Visa Lawyers can provide invaluable support, guiding you step by step through the labyrinth of the application process. We can provide crucial insights into the application process, help manage the paperwork, and ensure you meet all requirements correctly.
Don’t let the complexity of the process stand in your way of reuniting with your loved one. Contact us now, and take the first step towards bringing your spouse home.
You Ask, We Answer
FAQs About UK Spouse Visas
Need Help with Your Spouse Visa Application?
Securing a spouse visa in the UK is a significant step, and it’s more than just about the cost. The process can seem overwhelming, from understanding the exact charges to navigating the intricate application procedure. But there’s no need to feel daunted; we’re here to help.
Our expert team of UK spouse visa lawyers will support you at every phase of your application. We’ll provide accurate and timely information on all the associated fees, ensuring no pitfalls along the way. But more than that, we’ll help you put together a robust application to improve your chances of a successful outcome.
We’ll guide you through the Home Office requirements, assist in collating necessary documents, and advise you on how to demonstrate your relationship’s authenticity, a critical part of the application process.
Our goal is to reduce your stress and provide reassurance during this pivotal time in your life. Let us help you navigate the spouse visa application process effectively, freeing you to focus on what really matters – planning your future together in the UK.
Don’t embark on this journey alone. Let us be your trusted guide! Contact us to see how we can help.
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.
Dr Bernard Andonian has over four decades of experience as a London-based UK Immigration Solicitor and was also a former immigration Judge. He has been awarded a PhD in Law from the University of West London for his in-depth knowledge of UK immigration and nationality law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts whilst representing clients in the UK, and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.