Marriage And Family
Alan Platt (Director) gives expert video advice on: What is a 'spouse visa'?; How long is a spouse visa valid for?; Why is a spouse visa valid for longer if you marry an EU national? and more...
What is a 'spouse visa'?
A spouse visa is issued to the spouse of a British citizen, or a person settled in the United Kingdom. It's applied for at a British diplomatic mission abroad, or can also be applied for in the United Kingdom at the home office following a marriage.
How long is a spouse visa valid for?
There are two validities for spouse visas. Generally, two years if you marry a person who is a British citizen or settled in the UK, and generally the visa would be valid for five years if you are married to a European Union national who is living and working in the United Kingdom.
Why is a spouse visa valid for longer if you marry an EU national?
The reason it's valid for longer if you marry an EU national is because the application to remain on the basis of your marriage to an EU national is made under EU law. It's not made under British immigration law. British immigration law specifies that you must be married in a cohabiting marriage for a two-year period before you can apply for indefinite leave to remain, but EU law only specifies that you must be married to an EU national for a five-year period before you can apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Will I be interviewed before gaining a spouse visa?
In the majority of cases, the answer to that would be "no". In most cases, applications for spouse visas are looked at on papers only, meaning that you would have to prove that you're married, that your relationship is genuine, and that if given a visa and you come to the United Kingdom, that you can support and accommodate each other without recourse to public funds.
I am married to a someone settled in the UK, will I automatically become a British citizen?
Not on marriage, no. You would still have to do a two year qualifying period. That means at the end of the two year period, you can apply for permanent residency and settled status.
Does a spouse visa apply to those in civil partnerships?
It's a slightly different type of visa. It's issued to people in same sex relationships who want to enter into a civil partnership in the United Kingdom. At the end of a two year period of a co-habiting and subsisting relationship, the foreign national may apply for indefinite right to remain.
I'm only engaged, can I bring my fiance into the country?
Yes, you can bring your fiancé into the United Kingdom, if you intend to get married within six months of your fiancé's arrival and also, obviously, if you are settled in the United Kingdom, meaning that you'll be a British citizen or a foreign national with indefinite leave to remain.
How long is a 'fiance visa' valid for?
A fiancé visa is valid for six months, and you're expected to get married within the six months. However, exceptionally, if you don't get married within that time period, you can apply for an extension through the home office, as long as you can demonstrate good reason why the marriage has not taken place and obviously evidence that you do intend to get married within a reasonable period of time.
Can my unmarried partner move with me to the UK?
Yes, your unmarried partner can move with you to the United Kingdom if you can establish that you've been in a subsisting relationship for a two year period, and also that you are a British citizen or somebody with indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. You'd have to demonstrate that your relationship had subsisted for at least two years and normally you would do that through documentation showing that you'd lived at the same address together for that period of time.
Can my family move with me to the UK?
In certain circumstances your family can move with you to the United Kingdom. For example, you may bring to the UK your wife and your dependet children who would be under the age of 18. But is is also possible, if you are settled in the United Kingdom, to make applications for your eldery dependent relatives, that means your mother and father. Or in certain circumstances if you can show that your extended family members are living in very difficult conditions abroad then you may apply to bring them to the UK. If you can demonstrate that you are responsible wholly for supporting them, that you can accomodate them when you bring them to the UK. And again that they are not going to fall in charge of public funds when they come here.