IraqEnglishFrenchKurdish (Kurmanji)Turkish

Spouses/Partners

Spouse, fiancé (e), unmarried partner and civil partner applications

Individuals wishing to come to the UK on the basis of their relationship to a British citizen, person with indefinite leave to remain or limited leave to remain under Appendix EU or Appendix ECAA, must apply for leave to enter or leave to remain in the UK in that capacity.

The Requirements

In order to qualify, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your partner (the sponsor) must be either a British national, or a person who holds indefinite leave to remain or limited leave to remain under Appendix EU or limited leave to remain under Appendix ECAA;
  • If you are applying as the unmarried partner, you will need to demonstrate that you have lived together in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years
  • Both parties must be aged 18 and over
  • You must have met in person
  • Your relationship is genuine and you must intend to live together permanently
  • Any previous relationships must have broken down permanently
  • You will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds;
  • There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents;
  • You must speak and understand English to the required level

Financial Requirements

Your partner (the sponsor) will need to demonstrate that s/he earns a gross annual income of at least £18,600.

An income of at least £22,400 is required if the individual has a dependent child who is not settled in the UK, or who is not British.

£2,400 is required for each additional child.

Your partner can meet the financial requirement through:

  • salaried and non-salaried income
  • self-employed income
  • salary and/or dividends from a company of which you are a director
  • property rental income
  • dividends and income from investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds, pension income, insurance payments, maintenance payments and
  • cash savings above £16,000 that have been held for at least six months (unless you can demonstrate that the funds are from the sale of property or investments within the last 6 months)

In some circumstances, it may be possible to rely on a combination of the above sources of income to satisfy the financial requirements.

If your partner is in receipt of the following benefits, s/he will only be required to show that you can be “adequately maintained”:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme

Fiancé(e)s and proposed civil partners

If you apply to come to the UK as a fiancé(e) and your application is successful, you will be granted 6 months leave to enter. In addition to the above requirements, you will need to show your plans to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of arriving in the UK.

Once in the UK with this visa, you must marry/register your partnership within 6 months after which, you can switch into the spouse visa category.

Immigration Health Surcharge

As of 6th April 2015, those who are applying to enter the UK for more than six months will be required to pay an ‘immigration health surcharge” or IHS. This will be in addition to the visa fees and will be payable at the point of payment for the visa application.

Validity Period

Leave to remain is initially granted for a period of 2 ½ years (except the fiancé(e) visa which is granted for 6 months). Before your visa expires, you may apply for an extension of your leave which, if successful, will be valid for another 2 ½ years. You may qualify for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) also known as settlement, after completing 5 years on this visa. You will need to meet the requirements for ILR.

Bereaved partners and victims of domestic abuse may be able to apply for settlement before the end of the 5-year period.

Common grounds for refusal

If you do not satisfy the above requirements, your visa application may be denied. There are a number of mandatory documents which must be supplied and other evidence which may be needed based on individual circumstances. The financial requirements in particular, can be complex as specific documents must be provided.

Most decisions will carry a right to request administrative review of the decision which must be exercised within 28 calendar days of receiving the decision. You may also be able to appeal the decision on human rights grounds.

Some of the most common reasons for refusal are cited as follows:

  1. Lack of sufficient documentation. For instance:
  2. No evidence that UK based sponsor can maintain the applicant
  3. Missing documents to establish the financial requirements are met
  4. Lack of evidence to show adequate accommodation or that there will not be overcrowding
  1. Marriage not conducted lawfully or accepted as genuine. For instance:
  2. Lack of contact between sponsor and applicant
  3. Proxy marriages not conducted in accordance with laws of the country in which they took place

What can I do if I cannot satisfy the requirements?

If you are unable to satisfy the requirements as above, you may still be able apply for leave to remain with your partner on the basis of human rights grounds. For instance, where you can demonstrate that that there are compelling and compassionate circumstances which prevent you from continuing with your family life outside the UK.

If you are unable to meet the financial requirements, other sources of income can be considered in certain circumstances. However, where other sources of income are relied upon, you and any dependent children, may be granted leave to remain on a 10-year route to settlement. Other sources of income may include:

  • financial support from a third party
  • prospective earnings from employment or self-employment of the applicant or their partner
  • any other “credible and reliable” source of income

Contact Us

We would strongly advise that you seek legal advice before making an application, otherwise you risk losing the substantial application fees and risk being involved in potentially lengthy and costly appeal process.

At Descartes Solicitors our experienced lawyers can assist you whether you are making an initial or fresh application, whether you have been refused and wish to exercise a right of appeal or even where you have been denied a right of appeal.

For further information, please contact us on 0208 995 3556. Alternatively, please email us at info@descartessolicitors.co.uk