UK Fiance visa and Spouse Visa

UK Fiance Visa and Spouse Visa: Which is Faster?

Moving to a new country with your partner is exciting! You’ll get to start a new life together and make memories. In the UK, there are two main visas for joining your partner: Spouse and Fiance visas.

None of these visa options are inherently faster than the other. We’ll explain the differences between both visas and provide insight into the timeframes required so you can make an informed decision.

What is the Difference Between UK Fiance visa and Spouse Visa?

The fiance and spouse visas serve specific intents and have their own requirements and benefits.

UK Fiance Visa

The UK Fiance Visa is an entry route for those who intend to marry their partner, who is either a British citizen or settled within the UK. It is a family visa that allows the visa holder entry to the UK for up to six months, during which they must get married. Failing to marry within this time period would mean you must return to your home country, as extensions for this visa are rare. However, you will be able to switch to a spouse visa from this once you are married to your partner.


  • Be in an authentic relationship with a British national or settled person
  • Intending to marry in the UK within six months of entering
  • Proof that any prior marriages or civil partnerships have ended

Read More: UK Fiance Visa Document Checklist

UK Spouse Visa

The UK Spouse Visa, also known as a partner visa, is for those already married outside the UK or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or someone living in the UK with settled status. This visa allows overseas citizens to stay in the UK for 2.6 years, which can be extended for another 2.6 years if the conditions are met. This visa is also a pathway to obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and eventual British citizenship.


  • Already be married or in a civil association recognised in the UK
  • Prove an authentic and continuous relationship
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the English language
  • Provide supporting documents showing the ability to financially support oneself and any dependents in the UK

Read More: How to Apply for UK Spouse Visa: A Comprehensive Guide

Both visas offer the chance to be with your partner in the UK, but their benefits vary. Whereas the Fiance Visa serves as a precursor to the Spouse Visa, the latter is a direct pathway to apply for British citizenship after securing the ILR. Time spent in the UK on the Spouse Visa counts towards the five-year residency requirement for ILR, making it a potentially faster route to permanent residency.

While both visas are under the UK family visa category and serve as pathways to get your partner to the UK, they cater to different scenarios. Your choice between the two would depend on your current marital status, future plans, and how you envision your life unfolding in the UK.

Which is the Quicker Option? Processing Time of UK Fiance Visa and Spouse Visa

When it comes to processing times, the UK Home Office treats both the Fiance Visa and Spouse Visa similarly. Typically, a decision is rendered within 12 weeks for both types of visas, but this timeline can vary depending on individual circumstances, the completeness of the application, and other external factors.

However, when considering the entire journey towards Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or British citizenship, nuances between the two visas can influence the timeline. With a Fiance Visa, after marrying your partner in the UK, you’ll be required to switch to a Spouse Visa to stay longer and advance towards settlement.

Also Read: Stay Outside the UK on a Spouse Visa: Rules and Regulation

This transition involves another visa application process, additional fees, and further waiting time. In addition, time spent in the United Kingdom on a Fiance Visa does not contribute towards the five-year residency requirement for ILR. Thus, the cumulative time and process might be longer if you initially opt for a Fiance Visa.

Also Read: How to file for a fiance visa UK?

On the contrary, if you start with a Spouse Visa, you’re already on a direct route towards ILR and eventually British citizenship. Time spent in the UK on this visa counts towards the residency requirement, potentially making it the quicker option in the long run.

Also Read: When to Apply for Spouse Visa Extension

Deciding Between the Two Options: When to Choose Which

Your decision between the UK Fiance Visa and Spouse Visa should align with your personal circumstances, relationship status, and long-term goals in the UK.

Unmarried but Expecting Wedding in the UK 

If you have yet to marry and dream of having a wedding ceremony in the UK, the Fiance Visa is your go-to. It gives you six months to marry in the UK. Post-wedding, you can apply for a Spouse Visa to extend your stay and set your sights on ILR.

Already Married or Planning a Wedding Outside the UK

If you are already married or prefer tying the knot outside the UK, directly applying for a Spouse Visa might be more efficient. It saves you from an additional visa application and starts your countdown towards the ILR from day one.

Considering Costs and Applications

The financial criteria for all family visas in the UK is £29,000 as of April 11th 2024. Later in the year, it will rise once again to £34,500 later in the year and then to £38,700, as anticipated by early 2025. The UK government frequently updates these requirements. For the latest information and guidance on meeting these financial standards through income, savings, pensions, investments and more, read our dedicated page, or please contact us directly.

Financial considerations can also influence your decision. While marrying in the UK might be a dream for some, remember that transitioning from a Fiance Visa to a Spouse Visa means two separate application fees. Directly applying for a Spouse Visa is a single application and might be cost-effective in the long run.

Long-term Settlement Goals

If your ultimate goal is to obtain ILR or British citizenship, the Spouse Visa might be more strategic, as it directly contributes to the residency requirement.

While both visas provide routes to be with your partner in the UK, your personal circumstances, financial considerations, and long-term aspirations should guide your decision. Ensure that you gather all necessary supporting documents, understand the eligibility requirements, and are clear about the benefits and constraints of each visa type.

Remember, the UK Home Office places significant emphasis on genuine relationships. Whether you are applying for a Fiance Visa or a Spouse Visa, it is crucial to prove the authenticity of your relationship to avoid potential refusals. Whichever path you decide, ensure that it matches with your journey of love, commitment, and future aspirations in the UK.

Final Words

Choosing between a Fiance Visa and a Spouse Visa is more than meeting eligibility criteria; it is about planning your future, securing your status in the UK, and honouring your relationship with a British citizen or settled person. Understanding the pros and cons of each type of visa will make your journey to the UK enjoyable.

Let Spouse Visa Lawyers Guide Your Journey to the UK!

The process of obtaining a UK visa may seem intimidating, but it can be simplified. Let Spouse Visa Lawyers be your guiding star. Our expert immigration lawyers bring clarity, simplicity, and success to your visa journey.

From complex visa processes to tailored advice for unique situations, we’re here, ready to champion your cause. With our years of knowledge and experience in the immigration sector, we are best placed to guide you through the complex UK visa process.

So why navigate this tiresome process alone? Contact us today, and let’s make your UK dream possible and pleasantly smooth. Your brighter future in the UK is just a click away!

You Ask, We Answer


The Fiance Visa does not grant you the right to work in the UK. Once you marry and switch to a Spouse Visa, you will then have the right to work, study, and live in the UK.

If you do not marry within the allocated six months on a Fiance Visa, you must leave the UK. Extensions are rare, and overstaying can adversely affect future visa applications.

Yes, children under 18 can be included as dependents on your Spouse Visa application, ensuring they can enter and stay in the UK with you.

The income threshold for all UK family visas is £29,000 as of April 11th 2024. It will rise again to £34,500 later in the year, after which it will rise to £38,700 by early 2025. Changes to these financial requirements are a common practice by the UK government. Read our page on family visa financial requirements for current and detailed advice on complying with these financial criteria and how you can meet them through income, savings, investments, pensions and more. Or contact us directly for a consultation.

The initial validity of the Spouse Visa is 2.5 years (2 years and 6 months). Then, you may submit an extension request for another 2.5 years. After 5 years on a Spouse Visa, you will become eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

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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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