Spouse or Civil Partner Visa

The Spouse or Civil Partner visa category is for partners of British citizens or persons with indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK, who wish to join, or stay with their husband, wife or civil partner in the UK. The right to apply for a Spouse Visa only applies to the husbands or wives of people who have settled status and are ordinarily and permanently resident in the UK, i.e. British Citizens, or people who have obtained ILR (also known as Permanent Residence).

A civil partnership visa UK allows non-EEA nationals to enter or remain in the UK where they are in a civil partnership with a British citizen or a person with UK settled status, i.e. someone who is living in the UK lawfully with no time limit on their stay.


You can also apply if your partner is outside the UK, but intending to return to the UK with you. Those who are married or in a civil partnership must provide their marriage or civil partnership certificate.


In order to qualify for a Spouse or Civil Partner visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • Your partner is British or holds Indefinite Leave to Remain;

  • You are both over the age of 18;

  • You have met in person and are legally married or in a civil partnership;

  • Your relationship is genuine and you intend to live together permanently;

  • Any previous relationships have broken down permanently;

  • You will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds;

  • There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents;

  • You speak and understand English to the required level.

In order to demonstrate that you can be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds, you will need to satisfy the financial requirements as well.

Financial Requirements:

You will need to provide evidence that your Spouse or Civil Partner (or both of you jointly if you are in the UK with valid leave to remain) has a gross annual income of at least:

  • £18,600; and in addition

  • £3,800 for a first child (who is not British, settled or an EEA national); plus

  • £2,400 for each additional child (who is not British, settled or an EEA national).

You can meet this requirement through salaried and non-salaried income, self-employed income, salary and/or dividends from a company of which you are a Director, property rental income, dividends and income from investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds, pension income, insurance payments, maintenance payments and cash savings above £16,000 that have been held for at least six months, unless you can demonstrate that they have come from the sale of property or investments within the last 6 months.

In some circumstances it is possible to rely on a combination of the above sources of income to satisfy the financial requirement.

Exemption From Financial Requirement:

The applicant will be exempt from meeting the financial requirement of £18,600 or above if the applicant’s partner is receiving one or more of the following:

  • disability living allowance;

  • severe disablement allowance;

  • industrial injury disablement benefit;

  • attendance allowance; or

  • carer’s allowance; and

Where the applicant is exempt from meeting the financial requirement, the applicant must provide specified evidence that his/her partner is able to maintain and himself/herself, the applicant and any dependants adequately in the UK without recourse to public funds.

English Language Requirements:

To qualify for a UK Spouse visa, the applicant must demonstrate that they can speak and understand the English language to a minimum level.

You may be able to meet this test simply by virtue of your nationality - for instance, if you come from a predominantly English-speaking country - or if you qualified for a degree that was taught in English. In both of these cases you will have demonstrated a sufficient grasp of the English language to qualify for a Partner Visa.

If not, then you will have to pass an English Language Test carried out by an approved test centre. Please get in touch with us if you would like more information about the English Language Test.

Duration of Visa:

If your application for entry clearance as a Spouse or Civil Partner is successful, your Spouse or Civil Partner visa will be issued for 33 months initially. If you apply for leave to remain in the UK as a Spouse or Civil Partner then you will be granted leave valid for 30 months.

Before your initial grant of leave expires, you will need to apply to UK Visas and Immigration to extend your stay and after spending 5 years in the UK as the Spouse or Civil Partner of a British citizen or settled person, you will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Spouse and Civil Partner visa holders have a full right to work and study in the UK.

If you are not able to satisfy certain of the requirements for a Spouse or Civil Partner visa, you may still be able to apply to join or remain with your partner on Human Rights grounds if you can demonstrate that there would be very significant difficulties in your relationship continuing outside the UK.

You can make an application for leave to remain as spouse under the 10 years route if you do not meet all the requirements of the Immigration Rules for spouse visa under the 5 years route. Generally, the applicants who cannot meet the immigration status requirement, English language requirement or financial requirement make application for spouse visa under the 10 years route.

In certain circumstances it is possible to apply for Settlement after 10 years even without meeting the financial and English language test - for instance if you can demonstrate 'insurmountable obstacles' to continuing your family life outside the UK.

If you wish to obtain advice or legal assistance in respect of your immigration matter, we offer an affordable and confidential consultation at a fixed fee with and experienced immigration lawyer where we can answer your questions and explain the processes that will apply. Your consultation fees will be set off against your instructions to the firm if you go on to instruct us.

For more information or to book an initial consultation, please contact us