What is a Spouse Visa extension?
The Spouse Visa extension is designed for non-EEA residents who have been living in the UK under a Spouse Visa.
If you wish to stay in the UK when your Spouse Visa expires, you can apply for a Spouse Visa extension. The Spouse Visa extension, like the Spouse Visa, lasts for 30 months. When the extension expires, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status and this route can eventually lead to becoming a British citizen.
The requirements for the extension are similar to the original Spouse Visa and include being able to prove that you have been in a genuine relationship with your spouse/partner, and intend to carry on living together in the UK.
Also, in most cases, an applicant will need to be able to show that they have a combined income with their spouse/partner of at least £18.600.
What are the Spouse Visa extension UK requirements?
The Spouse Visa requirements you need to meet to be eligible for an extension vary depending on the individual’s personal circumstances, but a universal condition is proof of the relationship between you and your partner.
Your spouse/partner needs to be a British citizen or have settled status, such as Indefinite Leave to Remain, in order for you to be eligible for the extension. It is also possible to apply to extend your time in the UK if your partner has refugee or humanitarian protection status in the UK.
You must be able to prove that the relationship between you and your partner is genuine and recognised in the UK, whether it is a marriage or civil partnership. Alternatively, you need to show that you have been in a relationship which is akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years.
In addition to the genuine relationship requirement, the majority of applicants will need to fulfil these conditions:
- Have a combined income with your partner/spouse of at least £18,600
- Have not breached any law or immigration condition
- Ability to prove a certain level of English
- Meet character suitability conditions
What do I need to know about the relationship requirement?
When you apply to extend your Spouse Visa, you will need to prove that you are in a genuine relationship. As part of this requirement, an applicant will need to include a marriage/civil partnership certificate which is recognised in the UK with their application. If the applicant is not in a marriage/civil partnership with their partner, they will need to provide information which shows they have been in a long-term relationship with their partner.
In addition to this, an applicant will need to provide further evidence to prove that they have been living with their partner for the duration of their residency in the UK.
If you provide correspondence addressed to the spouse and the applicant at the same address, this can be used as evidence of the relationship.
The Home Office may wish to see information such as council tax bills, utility bills and bank statements. Any evidence which you provide needs to be in its original form, dated and on headed paper.
Ultimately, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have been living with your partner during your UK residency, and that you intend to carry on living with your partner in the UK throughout the period of the extension and, potentially, beyond.
What is the financial requirement for an extension?
In the vast majority of cases, an applicant will need to provide information on the financial situation of themselves and their partner.
The basic financial requirements for an extension are as follows:
- The applicant and their partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600
- If the applicant has a child, the minimum income threshold rises to £22,400
- The threshold increases by a further £2,400 for each additional child the applicant has
A child is defined as someone who is under the age of 18, not from an EEA country and is dependant on you or your partner.
The financial requirement can be met through different means, including:
- Income from employment or self-employment of yourself and your partner
- Cash savings over £16,000
- State and private sessions
- Maternity allowances
- Bereavement benefits
Do note that income from certain other sources might be accepted. It is prudent to seek the guidance of an immigration specialist, who can help you establish which forms of income will be accepted to go towards the financial requirement.
Call us on 0333 305 9375 to speak with an immigration specialist who can provide you with any help, support or guidance you may need.
Financial requirement exemptions
Whilst the financial requirements are a significant part of most applications, certain individuals will not need to meet them if they want to stay in the UK.
If your partner (sponsor) is in receipt of one of the following benefits, you will not need to fulfil the financial requirement:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit
- Police Injury Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under War Pensions Scheme
What are the character suitability requirements?
Spouse Visa extension applicants will need to meet character suitability conditions, otherwise known as the good character requirement. The Home Office will consider your immigration history as well as your conduct whilst you have been in the UK.
If you have broken the law or fallen foul of any conditions placed on your UK residency, you will not meet the character suitability requirement. The Home Office will also take into account whether you owe money to the NHS or owe a litigation debt of some kind.
If you have lived lawfully in the UK and have behaved responsibly, generally speaking, you should meet the character suitability requirement.
What is the Spouse Visa extension English test?
The Home Office made changes in 2017 relating to the English language test for all applicants.
These changes stipulate that a Spouse Visa applicant will usually need to provide evidence of an A2 level of English in speaking and listening as set out by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Some people who did not need to take the English language test when they applied for their original Spouse Visa, may need to when applying for an extension.
The test can be taken at a number of different centres throughout the UK. Bear in mind that you will need to take the test at an approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) Provider centre.
If you do not take the test at an accredited centre, your certificate will not be recognised and, consequently, your extension application will be rejected.
English language test exemptions
There are a number of applicants will not need to take the English language test.
- A national of an English-speaking country
- Someone who holds a degree or higher qualification from an institution recognised by UK NARIC which was taught /researched in English
- A person aged under 18 or over 65
- Someone with a long-term physical or mental condition
What is the Spouse Visa extension form?
When applying for a Spouse Visa extension, the form you need to complete is the FLR(M). It is an extensive application and requires you to provide a variety of information and documents. It is essential that you complete the FLR(M) form fully and correctly. Any mistake, however minor, will result in a refusal
If the Home Office deems you to have not provided sufficient evidence, they may request a face-to-face interview, which you are obligated to attend.
Which documents are required?
As alluded to, you will need to provide a number of documents which demonstrate that you are eligible for a Spouse Visa extension.
You need to provide the documents in their original form, though there is some leniency afforded with financial documentation.
Depending on your circumstances, some of the information which you will need to provide includes:
- Personal details. You will be required to provide your current passport or other valid travel ID. If you have any previous passports, you’ll be expected to provide a copy of the photo page together with copies of any pages that include a visa stamp. You will also need to provide documents relating to your partner and any children you are applying on behalf of
- Financial documents. Bank statements and payslips will need to be provided. It is acceptable to provide electronic financial documents if they come accompanied with a letter from the issuing authority
- Certified English language test certificate (unless exempt)
- Details and proof of relationship. A marriage or civil partnership certificate accepted under UK law You will need to be able to demonstrate that you are both in a genuine relationship and that you have been living together for the duration of your residency in the UK
Spouse Visa extension application advice
We will do everything we can to make sure that your chances of success in your Spouse Visa extension application are maximised. You will be assigned an experienced lawyer who will assess your situation and eligibility.
Call us on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to begin your application for a UK Spouse Visa extension.
Spouse visa extension assistance
The IAS offer a wide range of services, and our immigration specialists are committed to helping couples settle and stay in the UK. You will be assigned an experienced lawyer who will assess your situation. We will then complete and send your application.
Call us on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to find out more about our services.
What is the Spouse Visa extension fee?
The current standard fee for Spouse Visa extension applications is £1,033. However, there are other fees which may need to be taken into consideration.
If any of your documents or information are written in any language other than English or Welsh, they will need to be professionally translated. Also, if you are required to sit the English language test, this is another cost to take into consideration.
As part of the application, a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) will be taken, which costs an additional £19.20. The BRP collects your name, date and place of birth as well as fingerprints and a photo of your face.
What is the application process?
Once you have gathered all your evidence and documents together and completed the FLR (M) form, your application needs to be sent to the Home Office.
It is essential that you make the full payment once the application is complete and ready to send. If you fail to make the payment in full, your application will be automatically rejected,
Standard applications should take no longer than eight weeks to process. However, it is possible to receive a much quicker decision through the super priority service. This service will process the application within one working day and costs an additional £610.
What can I do if I receive a rejection?
If you receive a rejection, you will be informed on your rejection letter of the options available to you. If there was an obvious reason for the refusal, the best course of action is to complete and send another application which rectifies the problems.
If you believe that your application has been unfairly refused, you will usually be able to contend the Home Office’s decision. You might be able to do this through an official appeal or through an administrative review. Your rejection letter will state whether you can go down these routes.
The last option is to proceed with a Judicial Review, though do bear in mind that this is a lengthy and complicated process.
What are the next steps after a Spouse Visa extension?
If your application has been accepted, you will be permitted to stay in the UK for a further 30 months. This will mean that once the extension has expired, you will have lived in the UK for a total of five years.
If you intend to become permanently settled in the UK, the next step would be to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status. This is a form of permanent residence and enables a person to live and work in the UK without restrictions.
Once someone has been living in the UK under Indefinite Leave to Remain for 12 months, they will be eligible to apply for naturalisation and to become a British citizen. They will also become eligible to apply for a British passport.
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To be eligible for a UK Spouse Visa extension you must submit an FLR (M) form application. Also, you will usually need to meet the following conditions:
- A combined income with your partner of at least £18.600
- Ability to prove A2 level of English (unless exempt)
- In a genuine relationship and intend to continue living together
- Meet character suitability requirements, which relates to your character and conduct, and your previous immigration history
- Meet the immigration status requirement, which means you have to be in the UK lawfully
As part of your extension application, you need to provide proof of your genuine relationship with your partner. If your visa extension meets these conditions, you may stay in the UK until you are eligible to apply for ILR.
Changes to the Home Office Immigration Rules mean that some people who did not originally have to meet the English Language requirement when they applied for a Spouse Visa may now have to pass an A2 level of English test if they want to extend their time in the UK. This affects any applicants whose “leave to remain as a partner” expired on or after 1st May 2017.
If your renew Spouse Visa UK application is unsuccessful for any reason, you will have 14 days from the date you received your decision letter to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal.
If you submit an appeal after this deadline of 14 days, you will need to explain why your appeal was late.
It will then be down to the First Tier Tribunal to decide if they will hear your case.
We have a number of lawyers with specialist experience in appealing to the First Tier Tribunal. If you need help with your appeal, get in touch with us today.
If you are applying to extend your time in the UK and have any doubts about any part of the process, it is important to get expert advice. Our immigration lawyers are here to help guide and advise you.
Our services include:
- Checking your documents to ensure that they are sufficient for your application
- Preparing a Letter of Representation to accompany your application
- Liaising with the Home Office during your application process
- Completing each part of your application to the highest standard
Our immigration lawyers can also assist you if your UK Spouse Visa renewal is refused by the Home Office. We can guide you through the appeal process and, if you are taking your appeal to a First Tier Tribunal hearing, we can arrange for you to be represented by one of our expert immigration lawyers.
Call us on 0333 363 8577 or get in touch with us online.