Home TRAVEL TIPS Immigration: Changing Status from a UK Fiancé Visa to a Spouse Visa

Immigration: Changing Status from a UK Fiancé Visa to a Spouse Visa

Transitioning from a Fiancé Visa to a Spouse Visa in the UK can be exciting and daunting. The process involves several legal channels and a host of evidentiary procedures. 

This guide will serve as a pathway to understanding the process in a more structured and easy-to-follow manner.

Initial Entry to the UK with a Fiancé Visa

For starters, gaining entry into the UK to marry a UK citizen or permanent resident demands a UK Fiancé Visa. This specific visa type allows the holder to move to the UK and get married within the visa’s six-month validity. 

It’s essentially the first step for international lovebirds planning to settle in the UK.

Some primary requirements for this visa include:

  • Both partners must be at least 18 years old.
  • Proof showing that they’ve met in person.
  • Evidence of having a genuine relationship.
  • A plan to live together in the UK after marriage.
  • Meeting the minimum income threshold or having substantial savings.

Once the marriage is solemnized within the stipulated six-month period, the next step is to change the immigration status from a Fiancé Visa to a Spouse Visa.

Transitioning to a UK Spouse Visa

Transitioning from a Fiancé Visa to a Spouse Visa is known as “switching” your immigration status. The process involves submitting an application for a Spouse Visa before the expiry of the Fiancé Visa and maintaining legal status in the UK.

Key points to remember during this transition process:

  • Apply before your Fiancé Visa expires.
  • Provide evidence of your marriage.
  • Demonstrate that your relationship with your spouse remains genuine and subsisting.
  • Confirm that you and your spouse plan to reside together permanently in the UK.

How To Have A More Permanent Status In The UK

A UK Spouse Visa grants a more permanent status than a Fiancé Visa. You can stay for up to 2.5 years on your Spouse Visa, with the option of extending for the same duration. 

After five years on a Spouse Visa and meeting all the other criteria, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.

Advantages of a Spouse Visa include:

  • The right to work in the UK without restrictions.
  • Access to public funds, such as benefits and pensions, depends on your eligibility.
  • The ability to apply for ILR after five years, provided all other requirements are met.

Navigating the Challenges in the Application Process

Applying for a Spouse Visa can be a complex process. It demands thorough preparation and meticulous documentation. Here are specific points to bear in mind when applying:

  • Pay attention to the validity dates of your current visa. Ensure that your application for a Spouse Visa is submitted before your Fiancé Visa expires.
  • Prepare for the application fees. In addition to the visa fee, there may be an Immigration Health Surcharge to be paid.
  • Show proof of income. You will need to meet specific financial requirements to demonstrate that you can support yourself and your spouse.
  • Evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship. This might comprise sharing a home, joint financial responsibilities, or having children together.

Seek Expert Help

Given the complexity of immigration laws and procedures, getting professional help to navigate the process can be highly beneficial. Immigration consultants can provide valuable guidance, ensuring your visa application meets all the necessary criteria. 

They can also help take the burden of paperwork off your shoulders and assist you if you face any roadblocks.

Who is Eligible to Apply for a UK Spouse Visa?

A UK Spouse Visa, also known as a UK Marriage Visa, is a type of settlement visa that allows spouses of British citizens or individuals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK to come and live with their partners in the United Kingdom. 

The visa is also relevant for those in a civil partnership or unmarried relationship.

Eligibility Criteria

Understanding who can apply for a UK Spouse Visa requires a breakdown of eligibility:

  1. Relationship Status: The applicant must be married or in a civil partnership that’s recognized in the UK with a person who is either:
  • A British citizen
  • Settled in the UK, possessing indefinite leave to stay or ‘right to abode’
  • Keeping refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
  1. Financial Requirement: The UK citizen or resident (the Sponsor) must have an annual income of at least £18,600. 

This increases to £22,400 if a dependent child is also immigrating, with an additional £2,400 for each further child. The income can come from either the Sponsor or the Applicant.

  1. Accommodation: The couple must have suitable accommodation arranged in the UK.
  1. Language Requirement: Fluency in English is a prerequisite, evidenced through passing an English language test at CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level A1 or A2 from an approved test provider, or by having an academic qualification taught in English recognized by the UK NARIC as equivalent to a UK’s bachelor degree or higher.
  1. Genuine Relationship: The couple needs to provide proof demonstrating they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship to ensure it is not a marriage of convenience. This is often substantiated by communication records, travels together, joint finances, or a shared address.
  1. Age: Both parties must be at least 18 years old at the time of application.
  1. Maintenance: The Sponsor should be able to support the family (if any) without recourse to public funds.

Final Words

Switching from a Fiancé Visa to a Spouse Visa in the UK is a journey that signifies a new chapter in life. Despite its intricacies, proper guidance and thorough preparation can make the process smooth and hassle-free.

You and your spouse can embark on an exciting new life in the UK together with a dedicated approach and patience.