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Guide to the UK Spouse visa from Pakistan and India

Citizens of Pakistan or India may apply for a UK Spouse visa in order to come to the UK to join their British spouses or partners.

For more information about applying for the UK Spouse visa from Pakistan or India, including help with your application and expert guidance and assistance, speak to one of our immigration advisers on 0333 4149244, or contact us online.

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Overview of UK Spouse Visa from Pakistan and India

A Spouse visa (also known as UK Marriage visa or UK Partner visa) is a type of UK Family visa that allows you to travel to the UK and settle with your British spouse or partner. Citizens and legal residents of both Pakistan and India are eligible to apply for this visa.

In order to be eligible for a Spouse visa, your spouse or partner must be either a British citizen or someone who has right of abode in the UK. You must also be in a marriage or a civil partnership with them that is legally recognised in the UK.

UK Partner visas and Spouse visas allow you to settle in the UK for an initial period of just under three years, although this period of time can be extended. After spending 5 years in the UK on a Spouse visa, you will be able to apply for permanent settlement in the UK, which is known as indefinite leave to remain.

After obtaining indefinite leave to remain, you will also then have the opportunity to apply for British citizenship.

For Pakistani and Indian applicants, there are a number of rules, restrictions and eligibility criteria that need to be met in order to be eligible for a UK Spouse visa.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for a Spouse Visa?

When applying for a Spouse visa from Pakistan or India, it’s essential that you meet the eligibility criteria for a Spouse visa. Failing to meet any of these requirements may result in your application being refused.

The requirements are as follows:

  • You must be in a marriage or civil partnership with a British or Irish citizen, or someone who has any of the following:
    • Settled status in the UK, such as indefinite leave to remain, right of abode, or settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme (they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021 for this to apply)
    • A Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
    • Refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
  • You and your spouse or partner must be over 18
  • You must meet the relationship requirements
  • You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK with adequate accommodation that doesn’t require access to public funds
  • You must meet the minimum financial requirements
  • You must meet the minimum language requirements

What Are the Relationship Requirements?

When applying for a Spouse visa from India or Pakistan, there are a number of requirements that your relationship with your spouse or partner must fulfil.

As a general overview, below is a list of the main requirements you will need to ensure that your relationship with your UK spouse or partner fulfils:

  • You must be in a marriage or civil partnership that is legally recognised in the UK
  • The relationship must be genuine and subsisting
  • Any previously legally recognised relationships must have permanently broken down
    • For example, if you or your spouse or partner were previously married, these must have legally been ended with a divorce or equivalent
  • You and your spouse or partner must have met in person

The most important of these is the requirement for your relationship to be genuine and subsisting. This generally means that your relationship must be real, truthful and lasting.

For example, two people who are in a relationship for the sole purpose of obtaining visas or surpassing the UK’s immigration rules would not count as a genuine and subsisting relationship.

The Home Office will carefully scrutinise you and your spouse or partner’s relationship to ensure that you meet this requirement. If they have any doubts at all that you don’t meet the requirements, your application for a Spouse visa may be refused.

Note that arranged marriages are eligible for Spouse visas under these rules, as long as the relationship is deemed to be genuine and subsisting

How Can I Prove That My Relationship is Genuine and Subsisting?

There are a number of ways that you can prove that your relationship meets this criteria. However, you must note that this is a difficult and complex part of the application, and final decisions will ultimately be up to the Home Office’s own discretion.

You may demonstrate the authenticity of your relationship with the following:

  • Evidence that currently live together or have lived together in the past, such as through tenancy or mortgage agreements, council tax bills or utility bills
  • Evidence that you share financial responsibilities together, such as joint bank accounts or bills in both names
  • If you have children together, evidence that you both play a part in the children’s care and upkeep
  • Evidence that you have visited each other’s home country
  • A personal letter addressed to the Home Office, verifying the details of your relationship such as:
    • How you met your spouse or partner, and when
    • How your relationship developed
    • Your future plans in the UK with your partner or spouse
  • Photographs, text messages, letters, travel taken together, time spent with family and friends, and other informal pieces of evidence or correspondence

As a general rule, you should exercise discretion with what you present as evidence to the Home Office. Your documents and evidence should be as compelling, persuasive and factual as possible in order to help build the case that your relationship with your spouse or partner is lasting and genuine

What Are the Financial Requirements?

All Spouse visa applicants from Pakistan or India must meet the minimum financial requirements to be able to come to the UK.

This is partly to ensure that you will not have to rely on benefits or public funds to help finance your stay in the UK.

To meet these requirements, you and your spouse or partner must have a shared minimum income of at least £18,600 between you. If you have any dependent children that you’d like to add to the application, you will also require another £3,800. Any more dependent children after the first one will require a further £2,400 each.

Any dependent children you have who are already British citizens or hold settled status in the UK will not need to be added to your Spouse visa and therefore will not require an extra fee.

Note that if your spouse or partner receives certain state benefits or entitlements, the only financial requirement for a Spouse visa would be that they would be able to ‘adequately maintain and accommodate you in the UK.

Eligible state benefits or entitlements include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Disability living allowance
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Carer’s allowance
  • Attendance allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

How Can I Prove that I Meet the Financial Requirements?

Pakistani or Indian nationals applying for a UK Spouse visa must provide evidence that they meet the minimum income threshold for the visa.

This income can come from a number of different sources, with the minimum threshold being able to be met by one or more of these sources. These include the following:

  • You or your spouse or partner’s income from salaried or non-salaried employment, including self-employment
  • Income from non-employment sources, such as stocks, shares, property or dividends
  • You or your spouse or partner’s cash savings amounting to £16,000 or over, held for at least 6 months and wholly under your or their control
  • You or your spouse or partner’s state, occupational or private pension

Acceptable forms of proof that you meet the financial requirement could come from the following:

  • Recent bank statements
  • Six months’ worth of payslips
  • A letter from an employer, dated and on headed paper, with details such as:
    • The job itself
    • How long you or your spouse or partner have worked there
    • What you or your spouse or partner earn
    • Confirmation that the payslips are genuine

Contact us today if you require assistance with your Spouse visa from India or Pakistan.

What Are the Accommodation Requirements?

When moving from Pakistan or India to the UK on a Spouse visa, you must meet the accommodation requirements, which means you must demonstrate to the Home Office that your accommodation in the UK will be adequate and meet the minimum guidelines.

For accommodation to be considered adequate, it must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be owned or occupied exclusively by you (the applicant) and your family
  • It must be obtained without recourse to public funds
  • It must not, or will, exceed the overcrowding guidelines
  • It must not breach public health regulations

To demonstrate that you and your spouse or partner will legally occupy the accommodation in question, you may provide proof in the form of a tenancy agreement, mortgage agreement, property deeds or a letter from the landlord stating that you are allowed to occupy the property and that rent payments are made on time.

To determine if accommodation would count as being overcrowded or not, the Home Office takes into account the sizes of rooms and the age of the occupants. Only living rooms and bedrooms are considered to be viable rooms fit for occupancy. Kitchens and bathrooms are not included in this definition.

As a general rule, adult couples may share a room together, and single adults should have an individual room to themselves. Two children under 10 may generally share a room together, depending on the size, but two people over 10 and of the opposite sex who are not a couple cannot share a room.

The only time when overcrowding would be allowed is if temporary arrangements are in place, such as if a new baby has just been born, or if there is permission from the local authority for licensed overcrowding.

What Are the Language Requirements?

Indian and Pakistani nationals applying for a Spouse visa must meet the minimum English language requirements.

The minimum language requirement when applying for an initial Spouse visa to the UK is level A1 for speaking and listening on the Common European Framework of Languages (CEFL) scale.

In order to demonstrate your language abilities, you will normally need to take an English language test from an authorised provider. This will have to be in either India or Pakistan before you travel to the UK.

Your test score will be valid for two years after the date of you passing.

Instead of taking a test, you may also demonstrate your language skills by proving that you have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that was mainly taught in English, or if it was taught in one of the approved countries.

Alternatively, you can prove that you are a citizen of a majority speaking English country. However, note that neither Pakistan or India are considered by the home office to be majority speaking English countries, so this will only apply to you if you have dual nationality with a country that is on the approved list.

You will be exempt from any language requirements for the Spouse visa if:

  • You’re under 18 or over 65 at the time of application
  • You have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from meeting the English language requirement

How Can I Apply for a UK Spouse Visa?

You will need to apply for a Spouse visa from outside the UK. This can be in either India or Pakistan. You must wait until you have your visa application approved before you travel to the UK.

All applications must be made online through the Gov.uk website.

On the website, you will be asked to fill in the Spouse visa application form and upload all of your supporting documents. You must take care to fill in the application form carefully and as truthfully as possible, as not doing so may result in your application being refused.

You may also have to attend a visa application centre in either India or Pakistan to give your biometrics information in the form of your fingerprints and your photograph. This will be in order to prepare your UK biometric residence permit.

If the Home Office has any reason to cast doubt over your application, you may also be invited to attend an interview with a government official. This will only occur if the Home Office suspects that there are parts of your application or relationship with your spouse or partner that are not legitimate.

What Documents Do I Need to Include With My UK Spouse Visa Application?

You will have to provide many different supporting documents and evidence with your Spouse visa application in order to come to the UK. These may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Completed application form and application fee
  • Valid passport or other travel document, along with previous passports or travel documents
  • Proof that your relationship is genuine and subsisting
  • Two colour passport-sized photos
  • Details of any previous immigration applications, if any
  • Details of any criminal convictions
  • Proof that any previous relationships have legally ended
  • Proof of adequate accommodation in the UK
  • Proof that you meet the minimum language requirements
  • Proof that you meet the financial requirements
  • Tuberculosis test results

Note that for any documents that are not in English, you will need to upload a certified translation of the documents as well as the originals.

What Are the Fees and Processing Times for the Spouse Visa?

UK Spouse visa applications from India or Pakistan cost £1,523.

You will also have to pay another £1,523 for each dependent child that you wish to add to your application.

In addition to this application fee, you will also have to pay the immigration health surcharge. This is an additional fee you will have to pay when you submit your visa application that will enable you to access NHS services while in the UK.

The immigration health surcharge costs £624 per year.

When applying from India or Pakistan, UK Spouse visas generally take around 24 weeks or less to be processed.

However, note that this may take slightly longer depending on how busy the service is and the volume of applications that the Home Office receives at any one time.

Where Are the UK Visa Application Centres Located?

There are a number of UK visa application centres throughout India and Pakistan. You will need to attend an appointment at one of these centres if you’re required to give your biometrics information or to attend an interview.

The location of these visa application centres are as follows:

India

AhmedabadGoaMumbai North
BengaluruGurgaonMumbai South
ChandigarhHyderabadNew Delhi
ChennaiJaipurPune
CochinJalandhar
CoimbatoreKolkata

Pakistan

IslamabadLahore
KarachiMirpur

Do I Need to Take a Tuberculosis Test?

It is a requirement set out by the UK government that residents of certain countries must take a tuberculosis test if they wish to come to the UK for more than 6 months.

Both India and Pakistan are on this list, which means that you will need to take a test before you travel to the UK.

A tuberculosis test will involve having a chest x-ray taken, or a sputum sample if the x-ray is not clear. If your test shows that you do not have tuberculosis, you’ll be given a certificate that is valid for 6 months from the date of your test. You will need to include this certificate with your Spouse visa application.

Note that the test needs to be taken from a Home Office-approved clinic. There are approved clinics you can take tuberculosis tests in throughout India and Pakistan.

How Long Are Spouse Visas Valid For?

UK Spouse visas are initially valid for 2 years and 9 months.

After this, you will be able to extend your visa for another 2 years and 6 months.

After you’ve been in the UK for a total of 5 years, you will then be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain, which is where you will be able to settle in the UK on a permanent basis.

Note that there are several separate eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain.

However, once you settle in the UK with indefinite leave to remain status, you will be able to stay in the UK permanently without having to apply for, or extend, visas.

After spending a year in the UK with indefinite leave to remain, you will then be eligible to apply to become a British citizen.

How Can IAS Help?

If you’re applying for a UK Spouse visa from Pakistan or India, you will want to ensure that you have done everything you can to maximise your chances of being approved to join your spouse or partner in the UK.

The Spouse visa is notorious for being one of the most difficult UK visas to obtain, which means that having the benefit of expert advice and assistance may make all the difference when submitting your application.

This is where IAS can help.

We are professional, experienced and friendly immigration advisers who have helped people from all over the world to obtain UK visas. Whether you’re in India or Pakistan or anywhere else, we have the tools and experience to help make your UK Spouse visa application a success.

Our team of immigration advisers can help you determine if you meet the UK Spouse visa requirements, assist with submitting your application form, assembling your supporting documents, and prepare for the Spouse visa interview, if you need to take one. We also offer packages such as our Fast Track Application package, if you need to submit your UK Spouse visa application as a matter of urgency, as well as support for your English language test if you’re required to take one.

We can also help you apply for other UK Family visas, such as a Fiance visa for you and your fiance or proposed civil partner, or a Visitor visa if you don’t meet the requirements for a Family visa.

For more information about the services we offer, and what we can do for you, reach out to us on 0333 4149244, or contact us online today.

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