A UK spouse visa enables non-British individuals with British spouses to join and live with their partners in the UK legally. If you are in the UK on a spouse visa or planning to use the visa to move and live in the country, you need to bear in mind that the visa is valid for 2.5 years (30 months) only. However, this doesn’t mean that you must go back to your home country upon the expiry of the visa. The Home Office allows you to apply for an extension of the visa.
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If you wish to continue living in the UK with your spouse, you need to apply for the extension of your spouse visa. You’ll have 30 more months of living in the country once the immigration department accepts your application.
Read more about UK Spouse Visa Extensions After 2.5 Years
Within the 30-month extension of your stay in the UK, you’ll continue enjoying all the benefits and rights associated with your visa. In addition to having the ability to work in the country without restrictions, you can also rent a property or open a bank account, among other benefits. Better still, at the end of the extended period, you might be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
When Should I Apply for the Spouse Visa Extension?
It is worth noting that you might be considered an overstayer if you continue living in the UK on an expired spouse visa. Overstaying is illegal in the UK, and you risk deportation if you’re convicted of the offence. Therefore, you need to ensure that your visa extension application is made early enough so that it is approved a couple of days before the date of the expiration of your visa.
Preferably, send your application within 28 days before the expiry date of your visa. Remember that the Home Office won’t remind you that your visa is expiring. It’s your responsibility to keep tabs on the validity of the visa.
If you’re unable to apply for the extension on time for some reason, you can still apply past the ideal timeline, but you have to give convincing proof that your lateness is on reasonable grounds.
Which Requirements do I Have to Meet to Apply for a Spouse Visa Extension Successfully?
Just like a spouse visa application, the extension application is detailed, requiring a wide range of documentation to ensure that you’re still eligible for the rights given to a British citizen’s or a settled UK resident’s spouse.
First, you must be legally married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or someone who’s settled in the UK on an indefinite leave to remain, refugee status or humanitarian protection.
If not married or in a civil relationship with your partner, your relationship can still be considered for the visa extension if it is at least two years old and is akin to a marriage or civil partnership. All in all, you need documents to prove that your relationship is ‘genuine and subsisting’ and also recognized legally.
For you to be in a lawful marriage or civil partnership, it means that both you and your partner must be aged at least 18 years.
Besides, you must prove that you and your sponsor (your partner) have been living together in the UK for the period that you’ve been in the country on a spouse visa and that you are planning to continue living together indefinitely, beyond the visa extension period.
You will have to prove that you have a sufficient amount of money to support each other permanently without relying on government/public funds. As such, your annual income and your partner’s income combined should be at least £18,600 if you don’t have a child, and a minimum of £2,400 if you have one child ( a child should be under 18).
If you have more than one child, each of the additional children makes your required combined income minimum requirement increase by £2,400.
Bank statements and payslips are mostly used to prove one’s financial ability.
Learn more about the UK Spouse Visa Financial Requirement
Unless you are a citizen of an English speaking country, 65 years old or older or suffering from a hindering physical or mental condition, you must prove that you can speak and understand English to a proficient standard. Therefore, you are required to take an English language test at any of the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) Provider centres in the UK and pass the test to A1 level or higher, depending on the various intrinsic factors that could be affecting your performance in the test.
It is advisable that you reach out to an immigration lawyer who is well versed in the areas of family immigration law to help you secure your Spouse Visa extension.
How do I Make a Spouse Visa Extension Application?
Spouse visa extensions can be made in person or online, but due to the scrutinous nature of such applications and the fact that a large percentage of them can fail for various reasons, it is always best to allow an experienced immigration team handle it for you.
Our expert immigration team at Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors can guide you through the spouse visa extension application as long s you meet the relevant criteria outlined in the checklist below.
- We will help you fill in the form; FLR (M), and all its required sections.
- You must provide the valid documents as specified in the application form. This includes a marriage certificate, a most recent passport (or any other valid travel document), national identification card and financial document (e.g. bank statements and payslips).
- Make sure all declarations are filled and signed by you and your spouse.
- Have enough money to pay the required fee (these fees are subject to change so please do call us to find out the latest figure).
- Book an appointment at a UKVCAS office.
- Then finally, visit a UKVCAS to have your biometrics taken.
We will take care of all of the above for you, so you don’t have to worry about a thing apart from turning up to your appointments.
What is the Processing Time?
After you have gone through the application process, the waiting time is usually subject to the service route you choose to go through. In most cases, the wait time ranges between 8 and 12 weeks. When the process is done, you will be issued a residency card.
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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
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Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.