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Today we look at how spouses of overseas citizens in the UK can apply for visas and settlement under current UK Gvt legislation.

At present, you need a family visa to live with your spouse in the UK for more than 6 months. If you are currently living outside the UK, you can apply for a family visa from there before you arrive and you will get a decision within 12 weeks.
If you are currently living inside the UK on a family visa with your spouse, you can apply to extend your stay or, if you came to the UK on a different visa, you can switch to a family visa in order to stay. A decision on this will take about 8 weeks providing you meet the minimum income requirement, can prove your knowledge of English and have no criminal conviction or personal circumstance that need to be reviewed.
NB You can extend or switch a visa at any time before your current permission to stay in the UK expires. However, if you are extending a visa to stay with the same family member, you will only get up to 28 days added to your new visa.


Your situation Apply outside the UK Apply in the UK online
Joining your partner, parent or child £1,523 £1,033
NB You may also need to pay an immigration healthcare charge as part of your application.

Are there any circumstances when you cannot apply for, or switch to, a family visa?

Yes, if your family member in the UK is on a temporary or work or student visa, but you could apply to stay with them as a dependant instead.
Also, if you have a visitor visa or a visa for 6 months or less.
However, you might be able to switch to a family visa in the UK if you have either:

  • a 6-month family visa as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
  • permission to stay in the UK for the outcome of a family court case or divorce

Are there any other ways in which I can settle in the UK as a spouse?

Yes, if you had previous permission to stay as a spouse and were the victim of domestic abuse or your partner died, or if your partner has refugee status or humanitarian protection within the UK. You can also apply for an EEA family permitif your spouse is from the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

How do I apply?

You and your partner both need to be 18 or over and your partner must also either:

  • be a British citizen
  • have settled in the UK (they have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or proof of permanent residence)
  • have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

NB You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply.

You must be able to prove one of the following:

  • you’re in a civil partnership or marriage recognised in the UK
  • you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years
  • you are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving

You also need a good knowledge of English and funds. If you do not meet these requirements you may still be able to apply for a visa or extend your permission to stay if:

  • you have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK
  • there would be very significant difficulties for you and your partner if you lived together as a couple outside the UK that could not be overcome
  • it would breach your human rights to stop you coming to the UK or make you leave

For more information, please see:

Halil İbrahim Koca

Immigration Adviser

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