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What You Need to Know: Spouse, Partner or Fiancé UK Visa

What do you need to know before getting a Spouse, Partner or Fiancé UK Visa? If you’re considering moving to the UK as a spouse, partner or fiancé of a British citizen, here’s what I’ve found out…

For example, if you’re an American citizen married to someone who holds British citizenship, then your partner/spouse will be your sponsor; you’ll be the applicant. The same is true if you are in a civil partnership or a fiancé. This advice generally applies to applicants from any country.

UK Marriage Visa Terms to Know:

    • Applicant – the immigrant applying for the visa – must not be a British Citizen
    • Sponsor – the British Citizen or foreign citizen with ILR (Indefinite leave to remain), permanent residency or Settled Status in the UK
    • Marriage – The legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship. Marriages can be same-sex or opposite sex.
    • Civil Partnership – The legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship. Civil unions grant most or all of the rights of marriage except the title itself. Civil Partnerships can be same-sex or opposite sex.
    • Fiancé/Fiancée – A person who has formally promised to marry another


Spouse, Partner or Fiancé UK Visa Options

Fiancé Visa

  • Who can apply: Individuals who aren’t currently married or in a civil partnership.
  • Each application needs: an Applicant and a Sponsor.
  • Applying in the UK: No. The Applicant must be in their home country (or a country in which he or she has residency)
  • This visa permits: The applicant to come to the UK for 6 months. The applicant cannot work. The applicant must marry the sponsor within 6 months or go home. The applicant and sponsor must apply for a spousal visa before the expiry of the fiance visa.
  • Cost: £1,523 ($2,155 USD) approx. Additional charges apply for expediting the application
  • Notes: No IHS (NHS) charge. This is essentially an enhanced visitor visa that grants permission to marry. No recourse to public funds.

Immigration lawyers charge: Anywhere from £500-£1,500. Usually you can apply yourself without needing legal assistance. Exceptions apply for self-employed individuals or applicants with criminal backgrounds.

How long a decision takes: 8-12 weeks standard, 30 days to 6 weeks when using the Priority service

APPLY AS A FIANCE

Spousal / Civil Partnership Visa

  • Who can apply: Individuals who are married or in a civil partnership.
  • Each application needs: an Applicant and a Sponsor.
  • Applying in the UK: YES, if the applicant is already in the UK and switching from another type of visa. NO otherwise.
  • This visa permits: If the applicant is out of the UK it grants entry clearance and allows the applicant to come to the UK for a period of 33 months. The applicant is allowed to work but has no recourse to public funds.
  • Out of country costs: £1,523 ($2,155 USD) + £1,560 (£2,505) IHS (NHS) approx.
  • In-Country costs: £1,033 + £19.20 + £1,560 + approx.

Immigration lawyers charge: Anywhere from £500-£1,500. Usually you can apply yourself without the need for legal assistance. Exceptions apply for self-employed individuals or applicants with criminal backgrounds.

APPLY AS A SPOUSE/CIVIL PARTNER

Unmarried Partner Visa

  • Who can apply: Individuals who aren’t married or in a civil partnership but have been living together for a period fo 2 years or more and can prove this categorically.
  • Each application needs: an Applicant and a Sponsor.
  • Applying in the UK: Yes, if the applicant is already in the UK and switching from another type of visa. NO otherwise.
  • This visa permits: If the applicant is out of the UK it grants entry clearance and allows the applicant to come to the UK for a period of 33 months. The applicant is allowed to work but has no recourse to public funds.
  • Out of country costs: £1,523 ($2,155 USD) + £1,560 (£2,505) IHS (NHS) approx
  • In-Country costs: £1,033 + £19.20 + £1,560 + approx

Immigration lawyers charge: Anywhere from £500-£1,500. Usually you can apply yourself without the need for legal assistance. Exceptions apply for self-employed individuals or applicants with criminal backgrounds.

APPLY AS AN UNMARRIED PARTNER

Marriage Visitor Visa

  • Who can apply: Individuals who aren’t married or in a civil partnership who wish to marry in the UK but not live in the UK. i.e. having a destination wedding in the UK.
  • Each application needs: an Applicant and a Sponsor.
  • Applying in the UK: No.
  • This visa permits: If the applicant is out of the UK it grants entry clearance and allows the applicant to come to the UK for a period of 33 months. The applicant is allowed to work but has no recourse to public funds.
  • Fees: £95 ($135USD) approx
  • Notes: The applicant must prove that he/she will leave the country after the wedding or before the expiry of the visa

Immigration lawyers charge: Anywhere from £250-£1,000. Usually you can apply yourself without the need for legal assistance.

APPLY AS A MARRIAGE VISITOR

What You Need to Know About a UK Spousal Visa

The Spousal visa will allow the applicant to come to the UK (or extend his/her stay) for a period of 33 months. The applicant will be able work, switch jobs, volunteer attend university or be self-employed under the terms of this visa.

In order to stay in the United Kingdom past the 33 months the applicant must apply online with form FLR-M before the initial visa expires.

Four basic requirements for the UK Spousal visa:

  1. Relationship – Proof of a bona fide relationship. Photos, online chats, bills and documents proving co-habitation are generally the type of evidence required here.
  2. English Language skills –You need to prove you speak English. This is evidenced by passing an IELTS for UKVI exam or having taken a university degree course taught in English. A list of nationalities excepted from this requirement is maintained here.  Not required for Americans.
  3. Adequate Accommodation –Generally, the Home Office expects to see couples living in their own home. It’s also acceptable to say the marital home will be with parents or relatives of the couple. The evidence required for this is a tenancy agreement / land registry documents, and any documentation to show that the British Citizen and his spouse have permission to live at the address stated.
  4. Financial Requirement – Either you or the British Citizen must earn £18,600 per year and have 6-12 months of payslips and bank statements as evidence of this. Any amount of savings higher than £16,000 will offset the minimum income requirement. Savings over £62,500 held by the British Citizen or you will mean that a salary does not have to be proved. There is a separate set of requirements for self-employed individuals.

Spouse, Partner or Fiance UK Visa

Other UK Spouse, Fiancé and Partner Visa Requirements

  • The Home Office requires some prospective citizens to test for tuberculous. Here’s the required countries list and further information. The TB test is not required for American passport holders who are living in the USA or the UK. Americans living in other countries should check the link above to see if they are exempt.
  • There are other general requirements requiring applicants to disclose a criminal background.
Why not come to the UK for six months without a visa to discover if this move is right for you? Here’s how.

This information was obtained via a post by Angela (with consent) in the Facebook group, Americans in the United Kingdom. If you need further guidance join the group to ask questions!

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