Table of Contents
Getting a Spouse Visa Extension After 2.5 Years
If you are a foreign national living with your British or settled spouse in the UK and are on a UK Spouse Visa, you need to apply for an extension approximately 28 days before the initial grant of 2.5 years expires.
A UK marriage or spouse visa allows you to migrate and live in the United Kingdom with your British spouse. However, the visa has a limit of 2.5 years. In other words, you need to apply for your spouse visa extension before the expiry of the 2.5 years, preferably 28 days prior to expiry. Just like other UK visas, The UK spouse visa extension application has a number of requirements. In this article, we discuss them, alongside what you need to prepare to maximise the chances of your application being successful and approved by the Home Office.
Who Can Apply for a Spouse Visa Extension?
A valid UK spouse visa is the first requirement for the extension. Extending is stretching out something, in this case, the period of a spouse visa. So, you need to have a valid spouse visa so that the period will be extended by a further 2.5 years if your application is successful.
A husband to a British wife (or one who has permanent residence/ settled status) or a wife to a British husband (or one who has permanent residence/ settled status) can apply for a visa extension.
Read more about Spouse Visa Extension UK Requirements 2022
When to Apply for a UK Spouse Visa Extension?
Your initial spouse visa allows you to live in the UK for 2.5 years, after which you’ll be considered an overstayer if you don’t apply for an extension. So, you need to apply for an extension before the initial 2.5-year period of the initial visa lapses.
However, avoid the last-minute rush when applying for the extension, lest you fail to meet the application deadline. You need to give yourself enough time to collect and put together documents and proof to see your application successful. Start to collect documents well before the expiry of your initial period of stay.
Additionally, it is worth keeping in mind that your extension application might take several months to be processed unless you ask for a priority consideration (with additional home office fees of about £800) whereby if the priority service is available, the application can be considered in a matter of days. Once the application has been submitted, it does not matter if your current visa expires on the day you submit the application or at any time afterwards, so long as at the time you submit the application, you have a valid visa.
You’ll be out of status and be considered an overstayer if you continue staying in the UK under an expired visa. Remember overstaying your visa without reasonable grounds is a criminal offence under the UK Immigration Act 1971, section 24. Furthermore, if you apply for an extension of your spouse visa after the expiry of the visa, and if it is refused, you will not have a right of appeal, and the best you can achieve is a judicial review of the decision which is not as good as an appeal to an independent judge of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
What are the Requirements of the UK Spouse Visa Extension 2022?
The requirements for the visa extension are similar to for the spouse visa application. However, the rule of thumb observed by the Home Office officials when determining the facts of your application is that you should be able to prove a genuine spousal, or civil partnership or long-term relationship between you and your partner.
If not a British citizen, your partner should have ILR indefinite leave to remain / settled status,
Additionally, you need to show that:
- The sum of your spouse’s (and own income if you are working too) continues to meet the £18,600 threshold.
- You’ve not broken any immigration rule or UK law.
- You are English language proficient at A2 of the Common European Framework for languages unless you have a degree from the UK taught in English.
- You meet the good character requirement.
Which Documents Should I Attach in My UK Spouse Visa Extension Application?
You are required to attach an array of documents in your application to convince the Home Office officials that you are qualified for the visa extension. The documents include (but are not limited to):
- Your marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate is UK-recognized. If you have none of those, you can attach evidence showing you’ve been in a long-term relationship (at least two years) with your partner and you intend to continue living together permanently.
- Your current spouse visa or any other valid travel document that’s recognised by the home office
- Evidence proving that you’ve been living continuously with your spouse in the UK upon getting your current spouse visa. This can comprise of correspondence and documents addressed to both of you at the same address over the period of the previous 2.5 years; for example, evidence such as utility bills, bank settlements held jointly and junk mail addressed to both of you or some addressed to both and some separately.
- Evidence of sufficient accommodation in the UK without overcrowding.
- Payslips (or any other document to show your earning history in the UK) to prove your ability to meet the minimum income requirement.
- Your spouse’s copy UK passport or documents showing he/she has been granted UK’s settled status such as indefinite leave to remain.
- Documents showing your criminal convictions (if applicable)
What Happens if My UK Spouse Visa Extension Application is Accepted?
The approval of your application to have your UK spouse visa extended means that you have additional 30 months to continue living in the UK. The extension comes with an extra advantage in that you can apply for indefinite leave to remain since you’ll have accrued five years of living in the UK. One of the requirements when you’re applying for the UK’s indefinite leave to remain, is that you should have accrued at least five years of continuous residence in the country under a qualifying visa. The UK Spouse visa is among the qualifying visas.
What Can I Do If My Application is Rejected?
It is unfortunate that some spouse visa applications are declined, and this happens when the Home Office finds an application falling short of the aforementioned requirements.
If your application is declined, the Home Office will inform you about the options you can explore in your rejection letter. If you missed out on something in your application, the rejection letter would highlight the exact mistake. You may have the right of appeal.
Alternatively, with the information provided by the home office, you can make another application for the extension and be sure to include the previously missed details/information in your second application. If you are going down that route, then you should make the second application within 14 days of the rejection of the first. If you do that, you will not be regarded as an overstayer and will continue to benefit from all the advantages of your visa when you were first granted it for the initial 2.5 years, so you can continue to work, for example, whilst your application for an extension is under consideration.
In case you feel that the Home Office was unfair in rejecting your application, you might have an opportunity to appeal the decision. However, you need to confirm if you are eligible for the appeal from your rejection letter.
If you are non-British living in the UK with your spouse, it’s crucial to remember to apply for a spouse visa extension before the expiry of the 2.5 years of your initial spouse visa. Preferably, involve an experienced UK immigration lawyer in the preparation of your visa extension application and during the application process to ensure that you do everything right the first time. Count on our immigration solicitors for hassle-free and ultra-effective spouse visa extension application processing.
Ask our Expert Legal Team
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.
Whether it is about a complex or straightforward UK immigration issue, buying or selling a property, divorce, employment, corporate matters, making a will, notary services or discussing any legal issue of your choice – Gulbenkian Andonian is here to help!
Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below, and we will reply to within 24 hours on UK working days.
Neither Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors ltd, nor their employees, agents, consultants or assignees, accept any liability based on the contents of written articles which are meant for guidance only and not as legal advice. We advise all readers to take professional advice before acting. If you would like to consult with a professional lawyer or solicitor to discuss your case, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.