How to Get a UK Fiance Visa
The decision to marry someone outside of the UK is a massive step that carries a mix of excitement and challenge. One of these challenges is handling the complicated process of visa applications. Specifically, for those looking to tie the knot with a UK citizen or a settled person, understanding the UK Fiance visa becomes pivotal.
This visa serves as a gateway for couples to commence their life together in the UK. Therefore, obtaining it is of utmost importance. This comprehensive guide aims to elucidate the ins and outs of the UK Fiance visa application, its requirements, and key differences from other visa categories.
Understanding the UK Fiance Visa
A UK Fiance visa is a specific category of UK visa that allows individuals outside the UK to enter and marry their British citizen partners or individuals with settled status within the UK. This visa category is designed for couples who desire to tie the knot in the UK and live together permanently in the UK thereafter. It provides a vital stepping stone for the couple towards settling down in the UK and achieving stability for their future.
How Does the UK Fiance Visa Differ from Other UK Family visas?
The UK immigration system offers a multitude of visa categories for varying circumstances. The UK Fiance visa, UK spouse visa, and UK family visa are often intermingled. However, they serve distinct purposes and have unique requirements.
Primarily, the UK Fiance visa is a prerequisite for couples planning to marry in the UK. This visa allows the overseas partner to come to the UK and get married within a validity period of six months. After the wedding, the visa holder is able to apply for a spouse visa to remain in the UK.
On the other hand, the UK spouse visa is for those already married to a UK citizen or settled person. It permits the non-UK partner to stay and study in the UK for up to 2.5 years, and this can be extended for another 2.5 years, leading to indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
The UK family visa covers a broader spectrum, including visas for children, parents, and other dependent relatives of someone who is either a UK citizen or settled in the UK.
Also Read: How to Apply for a Fiance Visa UK?
Fulfilling the Fiance Visa Requirements
1. Age Requirement
In accordance with UK immigration rules, a key eligibility criterion for a UK Fiancé Visa is the age of both partners. To apply for this visa category, both you and your companion must be 18 or older. This requirement is in place to ensure that both parties entering into marriage or civil partnership are legally adults and can independently consent to the union.
2. Financial Requirements
The financial requirement for all family visas in the UK is scheduled to rise from £18,600 to £29,000 on April 11th 2024, and subsequently 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, read our page on family visa financial requirements, or please get in touch with us directly.
The financial requirement for a UK Fiance visa aims to ensure that the visa applicants can sustain themselves without needing public funds. Evidence of income can come from employment, self-employment, savings, or pensions. The proof required might include bank statements, wage slips, or tax returns.
3. English Language Requirement
One of the key requirements for a UK Fiance visa is proving the applicant’s English language proficiency. This can be demonstrated by passing an authorised English language examination at levels A1, A2, or B1.
Exemptions are given to those who are from an English-speaking country or who have a degree taught or researched in English. Alternatively, an English language certificate from an authorised body can also be submitted as proof of proficiency.
4. Genuine Relationship and Intentions
Demonstrating an unpretentious relationship and intentions to marry in the UK within six months of arrival is paramount for a successful UK Fiance visa application. The pair must have encountered in person and be in an unpretentious relationship intended to be maintained.
Evidential documents may include proof of communication, photographs together, travel records, records of financial support, and statements from friends and family. An intended marriage or civil partnership date and venue in the UK can strengthen the application further.
5. Accommodation Requirement for a UK Fiance Visa
Lastly, the accommodation requirement mandates that the couple must have suitable accommodation available to them in the UK. The couple needs to demonstrate that they have a place to live together in the UK that is of a suitable standard and will not be overcrowded. Evidence may include a tenancy agreement, mortgage documents, or a letter from a landlord confirming their consent for the accommodation.
The UK Fiance visa serves as a gateway for foreign nationals to enter the UK with the intention of marrying their partner and starting their life together. It is unique from other family visas and has its own distinctive set of prerequisites. Meeting these requirements with the right documentation and preparation can ensure a successful application.
Documents Required for a UK Fiance Visa Application
A critical part of your application for a UK Fiance visa lies in providing the right supporting documents. Here’s a list of what you will require:
- Proof of relationship: This can include photographs, chat records, travel tickets for visits, email correspondence, and letters from friends and family attesting to the genuineness of the relationship.
- Proof of intention to marry: This includes a letter stating that you plan to wed or become civil partners within six months of your arrival in the United Kingdom, as well as proof of wedding arrangements.
- Financial evidence: Pay slips, bank statements, or tax returns proving that the UK sponsor can support you without recourse to public funds.
- Proof of English language proficiency: A certificate from an approved English language test or an educational qualification acknowledged by UK NARIC to be equivalent to a UK degree.
- Accommodation evidence: A tenancy agreement, a letter from the landlord, or property deeds demonstrating you have suitable accommodation in the UK.
- Tuberculosis (TB) test results: Some nationals are required to provide these results if they are arriving in the UK for more than six months and are citizens in any of these documented countries.
- Additional documents: A current passport or other valid travel ID and your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) will also be required.
Applying and Obtaining a UK Fiance Visa
Securing a UK Fiancé Visa is a process with several stages. Following these steps meticulously enhances the chances of a successful application:
- Completing the Online Application: After confirming that you fulfil all the requirements, you’ll need to complete an online application form, which will query detailed information about you, your partner, and your plans while in the UK.
- Compiling Your Supporting Documents: Various supporting documents are required as part of your application. Gather these in advance to streamline your application process.
- Pay the Visa Fee: Once your application and supporting documents are ready, you must pay the visa fee. It is important to note that whatever the decision of your application, this fee is non-refundable.
- Attend a Biometric Appointment: After submitting the application and paying the fee, you will be asked to attend a biometric information appointment at your nearest visa application centre. At this appointment, your fingerprints and a photograph will be taken.
- Wait for a Decision: The last phase in the procedure is to wait for a determination on your application. Processing times can vary depending on a number of factors, but you should generally expect a decision within 12 weeks of your biometric information being taken.
Accuracy and honesty in all information provided are crucial to avoid unnecessary delays or potential application refusals.
Application Fees and Processing Times
As of 2024, the fee for a UK Fiance visa application is £1,836 when applying from outside the UK and £1,048 if you are applying from within the UK. You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application, which is typically £1035 per year.
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) aims to reach a decision on your application within 12 weeks from the application date. However, these times can vary based on factors such as location and season, among others. Anticipate a potentially lengthy wait.
Common Reasons for Fiance Visa Refusal
UK Fiancé visa refusals can be refused for various reasons, such as not meeting financial requirements, inadequate evidence to support the legitimacy of the relationship or intention to marry, lack of sufficient proof of English language proficiency, or unsuitable accommodation. Therefore, comprehensive preparation for the application to ensure all visa requirements are met is vital.
What to Do If Your UK Fiance Visa Application is Refused?
While the desired outcome is a successful UK fiancé visa application, being prepared for all possibilities, including a refusal, is important. A refusal can leave you feeling disappointed and uncertain about your next steps, but remember, there are options available to you.
- Understanding the Reasons for Refusal: When a UK fiancé visa application is refused, the UKVI provides a refusal notice detailing the refusal reasons. This information is vital in strategising your next steps.
- Appealing the Decision: If the refusal reasons relate to a human rights claim, you may be eligible to appeal. This involves a legal challenge, and you might want to seek legal advice. Take note of the time limits for lodging an appeal.
- Applying for an Administrative Review: If the refusal was due to a perceived error on UKVI’s part, an administrative review could be applied for. This allows for a reevaluation of your application, particularly focusing on the alleged error.
- Re-apply for the Visa: If the issues highlighted in the refusal notice are correctable, for instance, if you failed to provide certain documents, you might choose to rectify the issues and re-apply. However, it’s crucial to address all issues outlined in your refusal notice in your new application.
- Consult an Immigration Expert: Navigating a visa refusal can be complex and demanding. Consulting with an immigration lawyer or accredited immigration adviser could be beneficial. They can help you understand the refusal reasons, advise on the best course of action, and guide you through the appeal or re-application process if needed.
Remember, a refusal isn’t the end of your journey to live in the UK with your partner. It’s an obstacle, indeed, but with the right approach and possibly professional assistance, it can be overcome.
Living in the UK on a UK Fiance Visa
Once granted, a UK Fiance visa is valid for six months. This period is meant to give you ample time to enter the UK, marry your partner, and then apply for a spouse visa. Remember that the intention to marry should be accomplished within this duration.
However, you should note that the visa’s validity doesn’t start from your date of entry into the UK but from the date it is issued. So, you should plan your travel to the UK and wedding arrangements accordingly.
While the UK Fiance visa grants you the right to live in the UK with your partner, it does have certain restrictions. For instance, during the validity period of the fiance visa, you will not have access to public funds, and you are not permitted to work.
However, the rights and privileges drastically change once you get married and switch to a spouse visa, which allows you to work in the UK.
Converting a Fiance Visa to a Spouse Visa
After you have married your partner, you can apply to switch your immigration status to a spouse visa without needing to leave the UK.
To do this, you will need to make an application and pay the application fee of £1,048 and the healthcare surcharge fee of £1035. You will also need to prove that your relationship with your spouse is genuine, that you are financially stable, and that you fulfil the English language requirement. You must be aware of how long spouse visa takes in the UK.
Upon successful application, the spouse visa grants you leave to remain in the UK for 2.5 years. This can later be extended for another 30 months, leading to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK after 60 months (5 years).
Steering through the UK Fiance visa process can be complicated and daunting, but with the proper knowledge and guidance, you can simplify the process significantly. This guide provides comprehensive insights into what a UK Fiance visa is, its key requirements, how it differs from other UK visas, the required documents, the application process, and tips to overcome common pitfalls.
Remember, while the process might be lengthy and require effort, it’s a small price to pay for starting your journey to living together permanently in the UK with your loved one. Make sure to thoroughly prepare for your application, double-check all your documents, and meet all the visa requirements to ensure a successful UK Fiance visa application in 2024.
How UK Spouse Visa Lawyers Can Help
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the UK Fiance Visa application process? Allow our Spouse Visa Lawyers in the UK to navigate these complex procedures for you. Our team specialises in immigration law, helping couples reunite on UK shores swiftly and smoothly. Don’t let paperwork stand in the way of your love story.
Contact us for professional advice today to ensure every detail is handled meticulously, enhancing the success of your application. Visit our website or contact us directly for an initial consultation. Start your journey to a happy future together now with Spouse Visa Lawyers UK – your pathway to love without borders.
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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.
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.