Spouse, Fiance & Marriage Visas

Family (Fiances, Spouses etc)

You’ll need a family visa to come to the UK and live with a family member for more than 6 months. If you’re outside the UK you can apply to live with your:

Spouse or Partner

To apply as a partner, you and your partner both need to be 18 or over. Your partner must also either be a British citizen, have settled in the UK (i.e they have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or proof of permanent residence or have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK. You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply.

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A guide to help you check that you meet the criteria to apply for a Spouse or Partner Visa…

You must be able to prove one of the following:

  • That you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
  • That you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply
  • That you are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving

You also need to prove you:

  • Have a good knowledge of English through an academic qualification (ie you have a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English and your qualification is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher) or by taking a test (ie by passing an approved English language test with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening).
  • You do not need to prove it if you’re applying as a child or as an adult coming to be cared for by a relative, if you’re over 65 or have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from meeting the requirement or you’re a national of a majority English speaking country.
  • Can financially support yourself and your dependents by meeting the financial requirement (gross income of £18,600 pa which can be derived from employment, self-employment, savings, pensions or non-employment income such as property rentals or dividends.

If you don’t meet these requirements you may still be able to apply for a visa or extend your permission to stay if:

  • You have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK
  • There would be very significant difficulties for you and your partner if you lived together as a couple outside the UK that couldn’t be overcome
  • It would breach your human rights to stop you coming to the UK or make you leave

Fiancé, Fiancée or proposed Civil Partner

If you’re applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner you must prove that any previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended and you plan to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of arriving in the UK; you won’t be able to work during your engagement.

Child

You may be eligible to apply to settle in the UK if at least one of your parents is settled. If you were born in the UK you’ll get the same permission to stay as your parent and you can either be added to your parent’s next application as a dependent or apply separately.

Whether you can apply depends on your age and how your parent applied.

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The requirements for applying at a glance…

If you’re under 18:

  • You must not be married, in a civil partnership or living an independent life
  • You must be financially supported without claiming public funds and one of your parents must also be applying or have applied for a visa or to extend their permission to stay as a partner (and the partner they’re joining is your other parent) or as a parent (and they have sole parental responsibility for you). Otherwise, you might still be eligible to apply if there are serious reasons to let you come to, or stay in the UK and there are plans for your care.

If you’re over 18:

  • Your parent can include you in their application as a dependent, or you can apply separately yourself.
  • You can only apply if you got permission to stay in the UK (‘leave to remain’) on a Family Visa when you were under 18 and you don’t live an independent life (e.g., you haven’t left home, got married and/or had children).

Parent

You can apply to live with your child in the UK if they are under 18 on the date you apply or have been under 18 when you first applied for the visa and do not live an independent life

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A quick guide to check you meet the criteria…

  • Your child is living an independent life if, for example, they’ve left home, got married and had children.
  • Your child must be living in the UK and be a British citizen, and/or have settled in the UK (ie they have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or proof of permanent residence) and/or, if you’re applying in the UK, have lived in the UK for 7 years continuously and it wouldn’t be reasonable for them to leave.
  • You need to have sole or shared parental responsibility for your child. If you share parental responsibility, the child’s other parent must not be your partner and be either a British citizen or settled in the UK
  • If the child lives with their other parent or carer, you must have access to the child in person, as agreed with the other parent or carer or by a court order.
  • You must be able to prove that you’re taking an active role in your child’s upbringing and you plan to continue after you apply.
  • You must also prove you have a good knowledge of English and can financially support yourself and your child without claiming public funds. If you don’t meet these requirements you can still extend your permission to stay if your child in the UK is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years and/or it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK. You’ll get permission to stay for 2.5 years. After this you’ll need to apply to extend your stay.

Adult Dependant Relative

A quick guide to check you meet the criteria…

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  • You must be outside the UK to apply and require long-term care from a parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son or daughter who is living permanently in the UK and must also be either a British citizen, have settled in the UK (they have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or proof of permanent residence) or have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.
  • You must prove you need long-term care to do everyday personal and household tasks because of illness, disability or your age; that the care you need is not available or affordable in the country you live in, that the person you’ll be joining in the UK will be able to support, accommodate and care for you without claiming public funds for at least 5 years and that you’re 18 or over.
  • Your stay will be unlimited if you applied to join a family member who’s British or settled in the UK – you won’t need to apply to extend or settle or as long as your family member’s stay if they have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK – you’ll need to apply to extend or settle when they do.

Extensions of Stay

If you’re already in the UK, you can apply to extend your stay with your family member. If you came to the UK on another visa, you may be able to apply to stay with your:

  • Spouse or partner
  • Child
  • Parent

You may also be able to apply in a different way in some circumstances.

Private Life

You can only apply on the basis of your private life if you’re already living in the UK.

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  • You must be able to prove that you’re under 18 and you’ve lived in the UK continuously for at least 7 years
  • It would be unreasonable to expect you to leave the UK or you’re between 18 and 24
  • You’ve lived continuously in the UK for more than half your life or you’re 18 or over
  • You’ve spent less than 20 years in the UK and would have very significant problems living in the country you’d have to go to or you’re 25 or over and you’ve been in the UK continuously for 20 years

Domestic Violence

You may be eligible to settle in the UK if you’ve had permission to stay (‘Leave to Remain’) in the UK as a partner and in that time: Your relationship with your partner broke down because of domestic violence or your partner has died

Family Reunion

You may be eligible to settle in the UK if you want to reunite with a partner or parent who has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK. Your relationship must have started before your family member left their home country.

EEA Family Permit

You may be eligible to settle in the UK if your family member is from the European Economic Area or Switzerland

UK Ancestry Visa

You can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if you are a Commonwealth citizen applying from outside the UK and are able to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK, you are able and planning to work in the UK and can prove that you are 17 or over, have enough money without help from public funds to support and house yourself and any dependants and can/plan to work in the UK.

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You must also show that you have a grandparent born:

In the UK, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man or
Before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland or
On a British-registered ship or aircraft
You can claim ancestry if either you or the relevant parent were adopted or were born within or outside marriage in the UK
You can’t claim UK ancestry through step-parents.

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