We can help applicants wishing to join their husband, wife or civil partner settled in the UK. You will be refused leave as a spouse or civil partner if you or your sponsor was or would be aged under 18 on the date of your arrival in the UK.

You must show that you have a genuine and subsisting relationship and intend to live together permanently.

Sham marriages/marriages of convenience

There has been considerable publicity given to the problems of sham marriages or partnerships.

The authorities have approved the definition of a “marriage of convenience” as “a marriage…with the sole aim of circumventing the rules on entry and residence…and obtaining…a residence permit or authority to reside in a member state”.

Lawyers at CH Legal have been involved in cases where allegations of sham marriages have been made by the Home Office. The Upper Tribunal in Papajorgj [2012] UKUT 38 held that there is no initial burden on a Claimant to demonstrate that a marriage to an EEA national is not one of convenience.

However, there is an evidential burden on the Claimant to address evidence justifying reasonable suspicion by the Home Office that the marriage in question was undertaken for the predominant purpose of securing residence rights.

If you find yourself in this position, please contact us and our lawyers can assist you.

Other requirements

You must also have enough money to support yourselves (and any dependents) without claiming public funds. Your sponsoring partner must earn more than £18,600 per year or have enough savings to be able to sponsor you.

The minimal financial requirement is higher if they are also sponsoring dependent children.

You must also have suitable accommodation for you, your spouse and any dependents.

You must also satisfy the English language requirements.


The financial requirement can be met in a number of ways as set out in the Immigration Rules and the Immigration Directorate Instructions.

We can advise you on the ways in which you can demonstrate the financial requirement. Appendix FM-SE of the Immigration Rules also details the way in which the required level of income can be demonstrated or evidenced.

The Guidance runs to some 26 pages and we can help guide you through its complex rules.


How do I apply for a spouse visa?

You can apply for a spouse visa from overseas or from within the UK. If you are already in the UK on a fiancé visa, work visa or student visa valid for more than six months you may be able to switch to a spouse visa.


How long does the visa application take?

The average processing time for a spouse visa application is two to twelve weeks from the date we submit the application to the UKBA. Processing times vary depending on the country where the application is made.

We can on your behalf correspond with the British High Commission in the country in which you are based to help facilitate quicker response times.


How long does a spouse visa last?

If applying from overseas a spouse visa is initially issued for 33 months. If you are applying from within the UK a spouse visa is issued for a period of 30 months.


Can I extend my spouse visa?

You can apply for an extension for an additional 30 months which can take your total time in the UK on the visa up to five years. At this point you can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) provided you are still married and living in the UK with your spouse and continue to meet the maintenance requirements. After you have been granted ILR you may be eligible to apply for naturalization as a British citizen.


 English language requirements for partners

As a spouse visa applicant you must be able to show that you can speak and understand English. You must  meet the English language requirement if:

  • You are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland; and
  • You are in a relationship with a British citizen or a person settled in the UK; and
  • You want to immigrate to the UK as that person’s spouse.

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country or do not have a degree taught in English, then you will need to pass an English language test from an approved test provider.

If you are applying from overseas we can make arrangements for you to take an approved English language test in your home country. Contact us to find out more about the English language requirements.


Spouse visa dependents

Children under 18 years of age can enter the UK as your dependants. You should make an application for them at the same time that you make your spouse visa application.

Please note that your sponsoring spouse must show income of a specified amount, the level of which varies depending on the number of dependent children being sponsored.

Contact us for further information or to book an initial appointment.