- When should you apply for a Spouse Visa Extension?
- Documents required
- English language requirement
- Financial requirement
- Genuine relationship requirement
- What are the fees for a Spouse Visa Extension?
- How to extend your UK spouse visa?
- How long does a Spouse Visa Extension application take?
- Switching your visa to indefinite leave to remain
- Frequently asked questions
Who should apply for a Spouse Visa extension?
Also known as the Marriage Visa, Civil Partnership Visa, or Partner Visa, the Spouse Visa is granted to eligible candidates who meet the criteria to join their spouse or civil partner and live in the UK. This is an extendable visa that may be renewed after 30 months, under certain conditions.
For those who are eligible, it is possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK if there is evidence of having lived in the UK for over five years. After one year of holding ILR, it may be possible for you to apply for British citizenship.
The Spouse Visa is a popular visa that has strict conditions attached to it. It is recommended to seek the advice of a specialist immigration lawyer to maximise your chances of a successful application.
If you have been granted the Spouse Visa and now wish to renew or extend it, you must prepare a significant amount of evidence to prove that you are eligible to be granted a renewal to remain with your partner in the UK.
This page outlines everything you need to know about how to apply for a partner visa extension. If you need support with your application, our immigration lawyers are ready to speak with you about your case.
Phone our friendly and professional advisers on 0191 303 8965 or use the online form to get in touch.
Spouse Visa Extension: When to apply
As with all visa applications, it is crucial that you are aware of the key dates by which you must submit your application. There are strict penalties for people who overstay their visa or fail to renew in time, so it is essential to apply before your Spouse Visa expires.
If the visa is granted, you will receive limited leave to remain for 33 months if you applied outside the UK, or 30 months if you applied inside the UK.
Once you have held the visa for a total of 30 months, you can then apply for a renewal. This is the earliest that you can apply, but it gives you three months to prepare and submit your application.
Gathering your documents and preparing the application form can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. The guidance from the Home Office can change regularly, and the official guidelines do not always specify the exact forms of evidence that is required.
The application process is expensive and appeals can also be time-consuming and costly. If you want the assurance of working with a qualified immigration lawyer, contact Newcastle Immigration Lawyers today to discuss your case.
Spouse Visa Extension: Documents required
We will outline the specific requirements that you must provide for your Spouse Visa extension in more detail below. The documents that you submit must meet specific requirements.
For any document not in English or Welsh, you are required to submit a certified translation, with the contact details and signature of the translator accompanying the document.
You may be required to submit official bank statements on headed paper. Be aware that accessing these documents is likely to take time and you should start the process in plenty of time.
While you are living in the UK with your partner, it is advisable to keep good records of your time together. This could include letters proving that you have both been living in the household for the duration of your initial Spouse Visa.
The Spouse Visa extension will involve an assessment of the following requirements, among others:
- Financial (maintenance)
- Financial (accommodation)
- English language ability
- Passing the Life in the UK test
- Genuine and subsisting relationship
In terms of your individual application, you should consult a legal specialist about the exact documents required for your case.
Spouse Visa Extension: English language requirement
One of the key requirements of the Spouse Visa extension is proving a minimum level of achievement in English language skills. In most circumstances, level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is required as part of the original Spouse Visa application.
However, in order to renew your Spouse Visa, you will be expected to prove that your English level has improved to at least A2 level at a minimum. This means that a person should have evidence of passing an approved exam in English that certifies their language level.
In order to meet this requirement, the applicant must take an approved English language test at an accredited testing centre.
Spouse Visa Extension: Financial requirement
For people who wish to extend their Spouse Visa, meeting the financial requirement is important. You must prove you meet the financial requirements set down by the Home Office.
For applicants seeking spouse visa extensions, they must show:
- The couple has a combined gross yearly income of at least £18,600
- For the first dependent child, they have at least £3,800 and for every child thereafter, can evidence an additional £2,400 in income
This must be proven through payslips, letters from employers, bank statements, savings, property lettings, or other acceptable forms of proof.
Spouse Visa Extension: Genuine relationship requirement
Despite the amount of proof that is required for the initial Spouse Visa application to show that the applicant is in a ‘genuine and subsisting’ relationship, as part of the extension application, there is a requirement to show that this relationship is continuing and is still genuine.
It is highly recommended to keep proof of your relationship while you are living in the UK for the length of the original visa. This could take the form of photographs, event tickets, proof of holidays together, etc.
Similarly, providing evidence of shared finances or other obligations is considered a valuable source of proof for your visa extension.
There are no guidelines on the exact forms of evidence required to show proof of a genuine relationship. It may be helpful to discuss your situation and the best forms of proof for your individual situation with a professional immigration solicitor.
Spouse Visa Extension: Fees
If you wish to extend your Spouse Visa in 2021, the Home Office application cost is £1,033. There are a number of other charges that you may be required to pay in order to submit your application.
For example, you may be required to pay the immigration health surcharge which costs £1,560. If you are required to submit a housing report on the status of your accommodation to prove that your living arrangements are suitable, you may be required to pay a further £120.
Similarly, if you need to provide evidence of property ownership, you may have to pay for a copy of the title deeds of your home. The English language test may cost up to £150 and any translations of official documents could cost up to £300.
If your Spouse Visa extension is refused, you may face even further costs.
Speak to one of our advisers today on 0191 303 8965 or use the contact form concerning applying or for immigration advice sessions.
How to extend your uk spouse visa
When you have all your evidence, required and supporting documents, complete the spouse visa extension form to extend your spouse visa. Submit all of those to the Home Office along with full payment for the visa extension fees.
Ensure that you make full payment to avoid rejection of your visa extension application and await a decision.
Spouse Visa Extension: How long does it take?
In the majority of spouse visa extensions, they are processed in approximately 6-8 weeks. If you want it quicker, you can take the super priority service at an additional £610 to get your decision within one working day.
Once the Home Office has made a decision on your UK Spouse Visa extension application, you will be given official notice concerning your spouse visa renewal by letter or email. This will outline the condition of your stay, if your application is accepted, or explain why the application was refused if it is denied.
What to do if your visa extension was rejected
If you received notice of a rejection letter concerning your visa extension application, there are some options you can go with. Such options will be in your rejection letter.
Before you choose what route to go with, ensure that you have rectified the problem that led to the rejection. If there is no obvious problem or you are unsure why you were rejected, reach out to a spouse visa extension lawyer for advice.
Depending on the refusal, you may be able to submit an appeal against the decision. It is important to note that this appeal should be lodged as soon as possible as time limits may apply.
If you believe your extension application was rejected unfairly, you may be able to contest that decision through an appeal, administrative review, or judicial review.
Our UK immigration solicitors can review your application to discuss your chances of success with any of the options as well as provide help with the best course of action.
Spouse Visa Extension: Switching to indefinite leave to remain
A Spouse Visa is a common route towards permanent residence and British citizenship, and the path is relatively straightforward.
If you have successfully extended your visa, you are likely to reach five years of residence in the UK. This means that you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).
This leave gives you more freedom in terms of your immigration status and restrictions, but it is not the same as British citizenship. If you are granted ILR, you may have the ability to apply to become a British citizen after holding ILR for one year.
One of the eligibility requirements of Indefinite Leave to Remain is that you meet the continuous residency requirement, indicating that you have not spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in the 12 months prior to the qualifying period.
UK Spouse Visa Extension advice and assistance
Newcastle Immigration Lawyers can provide advice and assistance if you wish to extend your visa. We will make sure that your chances of a successful extension are maximised and you will have an experienced lawyer work with you to:
- Assess your situation and eligibility
- Gather evidence that you meet the requirements
- Complete and submit your application
- Liaise with the Home Office on your behalf
If you already submitted an application but was rejected, we will assess your situation, provide advice on the best way forward on your UK Spouse Visa extension, and assist in implementing that. Furthermore, if you are in the UK on a Spouse visa, we can assist you with Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Call us on 0191 303 8965 or make an enquiry online to find out more about our services.
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You should give yourself plenty of time to gather the required documents and proof to show that you are eligible for the extension. Please note that Spouse Visas will not be extended automatically: you must prepare and submit your application.
Some of the spouse visa extension requirements include:
- Financial requirements (the minimum income threshold and accommodation)
- English language requirements
- Proof of a genuine relationship
Examples of some of the information you can submit includes: passport, bank statements, job payslips, contracts, official English language test results, joint accounts, mortgages, leases, utility bills, etc.
You can apply for a Spouse Visa extension before the expiry date, but usually not before 30 months have passed on the visa. Once the visa expires, you will have only 30 days to extend it, but if you do not receive a decision in this time, you must leave the UK.
It is advisable to apply with as much time in advance so that if you are required to submit any extra information, you are likely to receive your decision before the expiry date of your visa.
You can expect a decision on your Spouse Visa application within approximately three weeks from the date of submission.
If the caseworker has further questions about your application or personal circumstances, you may have to wait for a longer period of time.
The information-gathering process can often be lengthy, so it is advised to gather all the documents you need as soon as possible so that you are ready to submit them with your application.
When making a Spouse Visa renewal application, you must meet the accommodation requirements.
Whether you are in a marriage or civil partnership, you must be able to show that you and your spouse or partner have lived in the UK together during your time on your Spouse visa so far. Also, you must prove that you intend to continue living together.
Your proof can be a shared tenancy agreement or utility bill payments.
Successful Spouse Visa extension applications must meet the good character requirement.
That means that the Home Office will check your immigration history in and outside the UK to certify that you didn’t break any immigration rules. That includes checking that you didn’t overstay any visa.
So, ensure that you apply for a spouse visa renewal before your current spouse visa expires.