A Spouse Visa UK can be a gateway to building a life together permanently in the UK with your partner. If you have a valid fiancé visa and have now married or formed a civil partnership in the UK, you must switch to a Spouse Visa. This process, though complex, is an important step under the UK immigration rules that enables couples to continue their journey together in the UK.
In this blog post, you will learn how to switch from fiance visa to spouse visa in the UK. Discover the eligibility criteria, documents required and get a step-by-step guide on how to apply for UK Spouse Visa.
Understanding the UK Fiancé Visa and UK Spouse Visa
The UK fiancé visa functions as a type of family visa, granting individuals the opportunity to enter the UK with the intent of marrying a British citizen, a person with settled or pre-settled status, or someone of a different nationality. Its validity is capped at six months.
Contrastingly, the Spouse Visa UK falls under the category of partner visas. It grants the non-UK spouse of a British citizen or a person with settled status the right to come to the UK to stay together and work in the UK. It’s initially valid for 2.5 years, with the potential for extension.
The key variance between the two lies in their terms and benefits. The UK fiancé visa is a short-term visa offering no rights to employment in the UK. Conversely, a Spouse Visa UK allows for an extended stay in the UK and provides the right to work. Moreover, it opens up the possibility to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), given specific criteria are met.
Requirements to Switch From Fiance Visa to Spouse Visa UK
If you have a valid fiancé visa and have married your partner in the UK, you can apply to switch to a UK Spouse Visa. The primary criteria for switching include a genuine relationship with your partner, meeting the financial requirement, and demonstrating English language proficiency.
Both you and your spouse must be at least 18 years old, and your union must be legitimate. You must demonstrate the legality of your marriage and your intention to reside together in the UK permanently. Before the fiancé visa expires, you must apply for the spouse visa.
To meet the financial requirements under the UK immigration rules, you or your UK partner should earn a minimum of £18,600 (set to rise to £38,700 in spring 2024) annually or have savings of £62,00 (set to rise to £112,750 in 2024).
English Language Requirements
The applicant must prove English language proficiency based on the set benchmark by CEFR, depending on the application stage.
Immigration Status Requirements
You must apply from within the UK, and the Home Office will consider your application provided your UK fiancé visa is still valid.
Mandatory Documents for Switching from Fiance Visa to Spouse Visa
An accurate and complete set of documents is critical to your spouse visa application. You must submit evidence of your relationship, financial capacity, English language skills, and immigration status.
1. Proof of Relationship
Your application should include evidence of your relationship, such as a wedding certificate, photographs, correspondence, and any other evidence that substantiates your connection is unpretentious.
3. Financial Documents
The financial requirement is essential to the spouse visa UK application. You need to furnish documents that verify your income or savings. This could include bank statements, payslips, or tax returns, demonstrating that you meet the minimum monetary requirement set by the UK visa rules.
4. English Language Requirement Documents
The spouse visa application must include proof of English language skills. This might be a degree credential taught or studied in English or a certificate from an authorised test provider.
5. Other Supporting Documents
You may also need to submit additional supporting documents, such as proof of your legal residence in the UK, details of your immigration status, and copies of your passport pages.
Also Read: When to Apply for Spouse Visa Extension
Switching Process and Spouse Visa Application
The transition from a fiancé visa to a UK spouse visa necessitates an application form within the UK. To uphold your legal status, initiating this process before your UK fiancé visa expires is strongly advised. Once all crucial documentation has been assembled, your next steps would be to fill in the spouse visa application form, settle the application fee, and submit your documents to an authorised visa application centre.
The spouse visa UK application needs to be made online. You must complete the application form on the UK government’s official website. During this procedure, you will be required to plan an appointment at a visa application centre to submit your biometric details and additional data.
The spouse visa application form must be completed accurately, providing honest and detailed answers. Make sure to explore the form thoroughly and supply all required information. Consider consulting with visa solicitors to ensure your application is properly filled out.
Also Read: UK Spouse Visa Extension Process
How to Submit the Supporting Documents
Once your online application is submitted, you need to prepare your supporting documents for submission at the visa application centre. Your documents should be original and rephrased into English if they are in a foreign language. It’s important to organise your documents properly, as a well-organised application package can facilitate the processing of your application.
The spouse visa application fee is payable online when submitting the application. As of the time of writing, the fee for making an application in the UK is £1,048, but it’s always good practice to check the most up-to-date fee on the official UK government website.
Spouse Visa Processing Times, Costs, and Fees
Typically, the processing time for a spouse visa application can range from 8 to 12 weeks from the submission date. However, processing timeframes might change based on how many applications the Home Office receives.
Changing from a fiancé visa to a spouse visa incurs several costs apart from the visa fee. As mentioned before, there is a standard application fee of £1,048. Besides this, there is an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) that allows you to access the UK’s National Health Service. The IHS cost is £1035 per year from January 2024.
There can be other fees not directly related to the visa application, such as the cost of English tests, translation fees, etc.
How Spouse Visa Lawyers UK Can Help You With the Switch
At Spouse Visa Lawyers UK, our expertise lies in the mastery of UK immigration law, ensuring you receive the utmost assistance during your journey from a fiancé visa to a spouse visa. Our deep-rooted understanding of UK immigration rules and procedures amplifies the likelihood of your application being accepted, ensuring it adheres to all the requisite legal norms.
Our committed team of lawyers eases the application process, guiding you through each stage and aiding in collating and organising all vital documentation. Leveraging our extensive experience with similar cases, we spot potential hiccups before they escalate, devising forward-thinking solutions to pre-empt any obstacles.
Get in touch with us today. We’re committed to making your UK spouse visa application process stress-free. Let us take the helm, steering you towards a successful transition and a promising future in the UK.
You Ask, We Answer
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.