5 things you need to know when applying for a spouse visa

There are three types of spouse visa in the UK – a family visa, for people who want to join their British relative, a marriage visitor visa, for people who want to get married in the UK, and a Tier 2 General visa for dependants of people who are working in the UK.

The processes for each visa are similar, but there are important differences so it’s vital that you know which category you fall into before applying.

How to obtain a family visa:

For people hoping to join their British spouse in the UK, there are several requirements for getting a family visa, including an ability to speak English and the financial means to support yourself. This means that you and your partner must have a salary of at least £18,600 a year, or £22,400 if you have children.

Documents you’ll need for a family visa:

Documents are needed to support these points. So you’ll need proof of salary, proof of English skills and proof of your relationship. The application fee is £1,464 which makes it important to get the process right first time.

Holding the visa entitles you to work and study in the UK, and after some time you’ll be entitled to claim indefinite leave to remain, which means you won’t need a visa. These visas last for 33 months in most cases, and can be extended.

Who can apply for a marriage visitor visa:

Visitors who are staying in the UK for less than six months can apply for a marriage visitor visa. The criteria for this are less stringent than other visas, but the most important are that your relationship is genuine, that you have the means to support yourself during your stay, and that you have firm plans to leave within six months.

The application cost is £87 and most applications take 15 days or less to process.

When you need a tier 2 General visa for dependants:

For expats who are working in the UK and want their families to join them, there are options for adding dependant visas to your working visa. So someone working in the UK under a Tier 2 General visa is able to sponsor their dependants for a similar visa.

Eligibility for a Tier 2 General visa for dependants:

To be eligible, you’ll need to provide several things: proof that each dependant has at least £630 available to live on, proof they have paid a healthcare surcharge entitling them to use the National Health Service, and biometric details which will help prove their identity.

The fees are £587 if you are outside the UK, or £1,267 if you’re extending your visa from inside the UK.

The British visa system can seem complex and tedious and it’s important to avoid any unpleasant surprises by making sure that you apply for the correct visa and hand over the right information to support your application.

If you’re struggling to make sense of the family visa options, Santa Fe is ready to help with advice and assistance from our expert team. To find out more about what Santa Fe can do for you, get in touch today by visiting our Contact Us page.

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