In order to successfully apply for a spouse/fiancé or civil partnership visa, a foreign migrant must satisfy a number of immigration rules and criteria as set by the UK government.
The immigration requirements are quite detailed and it is very important to ensure that when an immigration application is made, the correct information and documentation to support the application is made. There are substantial fees that the Home Office and British Embassy will charge, currently the Home Office charges a fee of £601.00 to process such visa applications and the British Embassy charges a £885.00.
What is also important to note, is that the partner of the foreign migrant must have settled status in the U.K. such as British citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain, and furthermore they must earn a gross income of £18,600 per annum.
To summarise the immigration criteria to be met by a foreign migrant to apply for such a visa, this is as follows:
• Partner must be a British citizen or hold Indefinite Leave to Remain
• Partner must earn at least £18,600 p.a either as an employed or self employed individual
• There must be documentary evidence that it is a genuine and subsisting relationship (such as photographs of the couple together, itemised phone records between the parties showing call history, evidence of co-habitation if parties live together……)
• Evidence of suitable accommodation where the couple will live following their ceremony
• Foreign national must pass a relevant English test
The Home Office or British Embassy (if applicable) will grant the foreign migrant a 2.5 year initial visa if they have applied for either a spouse or civil partnership visa. A fiancé visa however is granted for six months so that the foreign migrant may come to the U.K. in order to marry or have their civil partnership and then following the ceremony, they may then make an application to the Home Office to obtain a further 2.5 year extension to remain in UK.
Before expiry of the initial 2.5 year visa, the foreign migrant must then make a further visa extension application to the Home Office to request a further 2.5 year extension. After 5 years, the foreign migrant may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the U.K.
As highlighted, it is a compulsory requirement to show that the partner of a foreign migrant earns at least £18,600 per annum in order to sponsor the foreign migrant. Where there are dependants, then the partner must earn £22,400.00 per annum. Where there is more than one dependent child, then each child thereafter will attract a financial requirement of £2400.00 so for a foreign migrant with two children, the gross annual income of the partner will need to be £24,800.00.
The type of documents that the partner needs to submit with the visa application if they are in salaried employment include:
• Copy of employment contract
• 6-12 months of payslips
• 6-12 months of bank statements showing salary has been paid into the account
• Letter from employer confirming the person’s employment and annual salary, the length of their employment and the type of employment (permanent, fixed term contract of agency…..)
For self-employed individual the documentary evidence needed is more detailed and will depend on whether the individual is a sole trader, has a partnership/ franchise or whether they are a Director of a company.
Furthermore it is possible to rely on other forms of income to satisfy the £18,600 per annum requirement including funds from property rental income, income from investments, stocks and shares/ bonds and also from pensions. In instances where an individual holds cash savings in a bank/savings account to the sum of £62,500 or above then they may rely on this amount and they do not need to show any other income from any source. However this sum must have been kept in a form of a bank/ saving account for no less than 6 months and they must show they have immediate access to these funds.
It should be noted that certain individuals are exempt for the financial requirement criteria and therefore do not need to show any income at all, such as those in receipt of the following benefits: Disability Living Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance.
It is possible to switch to a spouse or civil partnership visa in the UK, if you are on Tier visa which is valid for more than 6 months. So for example, a Tier 4 (General) migrant in the UK studying a course and during this time has relationship with a British citizen and they decide to marry. The British citizen has been in full-time employment with the same employer for the past one year and earns a salary of £20,000.00 per annum. The couple marry and then the Tier 4 (General) migrant makes an application to the Home Office requesting a 2.5 year spouse visa, which is granted. The spouse visa allows the foreign migrant to live, work and study in the UK without any conditions.
It is highly recommended to obtain professional legal advice when making any immigration visa application as good knowledge of immigration law and practice will ensure the likelihood of obtaining a visa at the first opportunity with the highest chance of success.
By Raheela Hussain
6 Market Parade
London N9 9HF
Tel. 0208 884 1166
Please note that the above article does not relate to nationals of the European Union. The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article only and in no way constitutes legal advice. For advice regarding your case, please contact Greenfields Solicitors for a Consultation. Ms Hussain offers both telephone and in-office consultations for a fee of just £49.00 for 40 minutes advice.
For questions regarding the subject covered in this guide, please visit migreat.com.