UK spouse visa basics
This visa class covers three different partner statuses:
- Married partners
- Unmarried partners
The marriage or relationship may be heterosexual or same-sex. The visa, which is initially issued for a two-and-a-half year period, allows the partner to work without restriction in the UK. You may also exit and re-enter the country multiple times. At the end of the two-and-a-half years, you will need to extend the visa in the UK for a further two-and-a-half years.
In order to apply for the visa, you must:
- Have met (not just online)
- Intend to live together permanently
- Meet the financial requirement (see below)
- Meet the English language requirement
- Have satisfactory accommodation in the UK
You must apply for the visa outside of the UK in your home country.
Types of partners
You can apply for this visa (known as the UK spouse visa) if you are lawfully married to a British citizen.
You may apply for a partner visa if you are in a long-term relationship with a British citizen. A further criteria is to demonstrate that you have been cohabiting (akin to a marriage) for two years.
You can apply for this visa (known as the UK fiancé visa) if you are engaged to a British citizen. You must show that you intend to get married or become civil partners within six months.
The financial requirements
If both the applicant and the British citizen are resident overseas, then the requirement can be met by either partner. If the British citizen is resident in the UK, then the requirement must be met by the British citizen alone. One of the following criteria must be met:
- Annual gross income of £18,600* (or the pound equivalent)
- Cash savings of £62,500* (or the pound equivalent)
- A combination of the above
* If children are included in the application, then these financial requirements increase accordingly.
Indefinite leave to remain
The UK spouse or partner visa counts as qualifying time in the UK towards indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Read more about indefinite leave to remain.