Applying for a Spouse Visa UK
Making a UK Spouse Visa application can be a complex and time-consuming process. This UK visa is renowned for being difficult to acquire due to the rigorous standards applied by the Home Office.
In a bid to prevent so-called ‘sham marriages’ – which are fraudulent marriages often used as a means of gaining immigration permission under false pretences – the Home Office upholds strict criteria that must be met by applicants.
Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be applying for a Spouse Visa from inside the UK or outside the UK. When considering visa fees, it is important to note that applying inside the UK costs less than applying from outside of the country.
There are also a number of other factors which can influence the cost of the Spouse Visa – including if you have hired an expert immigration lawyer, if you have used a priority service, and the cost of the immigration health surcharge (IHS). We explore these costs below as well as outlining the application process.
How much does a Spouse Visa cost?
As it currently stands, the Spouse Visa costs £1,523 for applications made outside the UK – this allows the visa holder to live in the UK with their spouse/partner typically for a period of 33 months. For those applying for an extension to their Spouse Visa from within the UK, the cost currently stands at £1,033. This application is made by completing the form ‘FLR (M)’, which allows for an extension to your stay in the UK for another period of up to 33 months (2 years 6 months).
There are, however, a number of factors that may raise the Spouse Visa fee. For example, the cost will increase if you have recruited an immigration lawyer to assist with your application – in this case, you will not only be paying for the application fees but also for the service provided by your lawyer. It is often highly advised that you seek the help of an immigration expert due to how frequently Spouse Visa applications are rejected by the Home Office.
Similarly, if you use a priority visa service (or a super priority service), this will also raise the cost. A priority visa service is ideal for those who are approaching a tight deadline and who therefore need their application to be processed quicker than standard processing times. These are considered premium services; you pay extra for your visa application to be prioritised by the government.
A crucial fee that you are required to pay in order to acquire this visa is the Immigration Health Surcharge. The cost of this fee is £1,872 for an out of country application, or £1,560 for an application made from inside in the UK. This is a huge expense and almost doubles the cost. However, the IHS allows those with leave to remain in the UK to access the NHS during their stay, without having to pay any money upfront for treatment.
What are the hidden costs of the application?
Unfortunately, there can be a number of hidden costs which can often be overlooked by those applying to live with their spouse in the UK.
For example, along with the Immigration Health Surcharge, potential lawyer fees and premium services fees, you may be required to pay for translating your documents into English, to pay for a tuberculosis test and to sit an English language test (if you are not from a majority English speaking country).
If your documents are not already English or Welsh, they must be translated or they will likely be refused by the Home Office. This includes your marriage certificate, potential divorce certificates, death certificates (if applicable), birth certificates and degree certificates. This will of course come with a cost – on average it costs around £60 to translate a one-page document.
Certain applicants will be required to take a tuberculosis test as part of their application. This can cost between £65 and £110 depending on the test centre. It may however cost more if you have to travel far to get to your nearest test centre – it is crucial to note that this must be a Home Office approved centre.
English language test
You will be required to sit an English language test at A1 level if you are not from a majority English speaking country. This typically costs around £150, however you will have to repeat the test if you fail meaning costs may be higher.
How do I apply?
To apply to live in the UK with your spouse/partner, you must first ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria.
For a more detailed overview, check out the requirements here.
When it comes to applying from inside the UK, you will have to complete form ‘FLR (M)’ – this is for those who already have a UK visa. If you do not already have a visa in the UK, you must apply from outside of the UK.
You must include the following documents within your application:
- Proof that the relationship with your partner is genuine and that your marriage is lawful (joint bank statements/marriage certificate etc.)
- Proof that you and your partner have been living together permanently for at least the past 2 years
- A copy of your passport
- Proof that you meet the English language requirement
- Evidence of accommodation (where you intend to live with your partner)
- Proof that you meet the financial requirement (the minimum annual income threshold)
You may apply online directly or recruit one of our OISC-accredited immigration lawyers to complete and submit this on your behalf.