A rough guide to UK spouse visa from outside UK

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To apply for the UK spouse visa both you and your partner will need to be at least 18 years of age.

Both you and your partner must have met each other.

If you or your spouse/partner were married before, the evidence must be submitted that the relationship has legally terminated.

Any documents that you are going to submit in support of your application have to be in English or officially translated into English. You would need to submit both originals and translated ones.

In terms of the visa application, the person who is applying for the visa will be the Dependant and the other person (in the UK) will be the Sponsor.  If you are the sponsor (the wife or husband in the UK), you will need to sponsor your wife or partner as a defendant and he or she would need to make a visa application. The visa application will need to be applied online.  

What visa category would you need to apply under?

If your sponsor is a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain in the UK then you will need to apply under the ‘Family of a settled person visa.

English test: Applicants who are not from the EEA area, Switzerland or English-speaking countries, would also need to pass an English test at the A1 level. These tests are run by British Council or approved centres.

If you are from one of the English-speaking countries such as the USA, Australia, etc., then you would not need to take the English test. You can check here if your country is enlisted as an English-speaking country.

It is likely that you would need to attend an interview. The list of interview centres is available here.

Visa fee: If you are applying from outside UK, the visa fee per application is currently £1464 or its equivalent amount in local currency.

Depending upon your country of citizenship, you may also need to pay a health fee known as an immigration health surcharge. This fee is taken if you need to use health services in the UK such as doctors and hospital treatment. Whether you would need to pay the surcharge or how much will it cost can be checked here.

Financial capacity: as a sponsor, you would need to show that you are earning at least £18500 a year (before tax and deduction). If your spouse or partner has a child then you would need to show ££22,400 for the first child and for each additional child you would need to show an extra £2,400. An applicant with two children will require the sponsor (i.e. the husband) to show a total income of £24800 per annum.

You will also need to provide fingerprints and biometric data at the visa centre. This information together with your visa details will be recorded onto a Biometric residence permit (BRP) card which you must collect after arriving in the UK. How and where to collect this card will be notified to you in a letter from the visa centre. It is important to know that you must collect it within the specified time as failure to do so may jeopardise your visa and or result in a fine.

How long does the visa processing take?

It can be a few weeks to a good few months depending upon the country you are applying from. You can check the current processing time here.

Once successful, you would be given a 33 months visa. Note that at first you are only given a month’s visa that allows you to travel to the UK. Once in the UK collect the BRP card which should be for the duration of your spouse’s visa. Also, note that during this period (33 months) you won’t be allowed to claim any benefits. If you do that might be taken as a breach of your visa condition.

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