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How to Switch from a Fiance Visa to Spouse Visa UK

If you’re currently on a UK Fiance visa, you will likely want to switch to a UK Spouse visa to allow you to stay longer in the UK with your spouse or partner.

For more information about Fiance visas, Spouse visas, or any other UK visa or immigration issue you might have, get in touch with us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online today.

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UK Fiance Visa Vs UK Spouse Visa

Although they are both types of Family visas, there are some important differences that separate Fiancé visas and Spouse visas.

The fiancé visa (also sometimes known as the Marriage visa or Proposed Civil Partner visa) is a short-term visa that allows foreign nationals to enter into a marriage or civil partnership with their British fiancés, fiancées or proposed civil partners. It is usually only valid for 6 months at a time.

Foreign nationals with fiancé visas cannot work in the UK. Additionally, any time spent in the UK as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner will not count towards the residency requirement for indefinite leave to remain.

The Spouse visa, meanwhile, is a long-term visa that allows foreign nationals to live, work and study with their British spouses or partners in the UK. If you switch to a Spouse visa from a Fiancé visa, they are initially valid for 2 years and 6 months, after which they can be extended.

After spending years in the UK on a Spouse visa, you may then become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Unlike the Marriage Visitor visa, it is perfectly possible to switch from a Fiancé visa to a Spouse visa. However, there are a variety of eligibility criteria you must fulfil in order to do so.

What Are the Requirements When Switching From a Fiancé Visa to a Spouse Visa UK?

In order to switch to a Spouse visa from a Fiancé visa, you and your partner or spouse must be over 18.

Your spouse or partner must also be a British or Irish citizen or have settled or pre-settled status in the UK. You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply.

To successfully switch to a Spouse visa, you must:

  • Hold a valid Fiancé visa and not have breached any of the conditions associated with your entry clearance
  • Satisfy the good character requirement
  • Satisfy the genuine relationship requirements
  • Be in a civil partnership with or married (not just engaged) to a British citizen or settled person
    • You are still be engaged and apply to switch but must get married within 6 months of being in the UK on your Fiance visa

You must also meet the minimum language and income requirements to be eligible for the UK Spouse visa.

However, these are largely the same as the Fiancé visa, so you may not have to make any additional preparations to demonstrate you meet these requirements if you already demonstrated your eligibility with your UK fiance visa application.

How Can I Prove My Relationship is Genuine?

Overview of the Genuine Relationship Requirement

When switching from a Fiancé visa to a Spouse visa, one of the things the Home Office will consider is if your relationship with your partner or spouse is genuine.

Firstly, you will have to prove that you got married or that you entered into a civil partnership while you were in the UK on your Fiancé visa. You can prove this by providing a valid marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate.

In addition to this, you will have to satisfy the Home Office that your marriage is ‘genuine and subsisting’. In other words, you will need to prove that your marriage isn’t a sham marriage that was entered into for fraudulent or deceitful purposes, such as avoiding UK immigration control.

Knowing what to submit to prove your relationship is genuine can be tricky. According to the Gov.uk website, things such as “greetings cards, travel tickets, receipts, photographs and text or social media messages are not considered strong evidence of your relationship and are unlikely to help your application.”

This is still very much left up to interpretation, however, as Spouse visa decisions are often made at the discretion of individual caseworkers.

It’s therefore recommended that you provide strong, substantial evidence that your relationship is, and has been, genuine and legitimate, in addition to the evidence above.

How You Could Prove Your Relationship with your Fiancé (Fiancée) or Spouse is Genuine

Some possible pieces of evidence you may be able to provide to satisfy this requirement include the following:

  • Evidence that you have, or currently live together, such as a tenancy agreement, council tax bills or utility bills
  • Evidence of shared financial responsibilities, such as joint bank accounts, a joint mortgage or tenancy agreement, or bills in both names
  • Evidence that you have children together and have shared responsibility of them and their upbringing
  • Evidence that you have visited your partner or spouse’s home country
  • A proof of relationship letter, written by you and/or a close family member or friend, with information such as:
    • How you met, and when
    • The development of your relationship
    • Your future plans in the UK with your partner or spouse

However, it’s important to note that every relationship is different, and the portfolio of evidence that you’re able to provide may be different from other couples.

In addition, it’s important to remember that the burden of proof will be on your shoulders and not the immigration caseworker. They are unlikely to carry out any additional investigative work to help turn the visa decision in your favour.

If you’re still unsure about how to satisfy this part of the Spouse visa requirement when switching to it or need to seek expert legal advice for your visa application case, get in touch with us today. Call us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.

Contact us today if you require assistance with your switch to a Spouse visa.

How Do I Switch to a Spouse Visa?

You may apply for a Spouse visa either from outside or inside the UK. Either way, you must apply online through the UK Government website.

Understand that you must switch to a Spouse visa before your Fiancé visa expires. You cannot stay in the UK past its expiry date; else, you will breach the UK’s immigration laws. Also, you will not be able to switch to a Spouse visa in the UK once your Fiance visa expires. Instead, you must leave the UK and apply for a fresh Spouse visa from another country.

As part of the application process, you will have to fully complete the application form and upload all of your supporting documents online. Take care to fill in all of your details correctly and accurately, as not doing so may result in your application being delayed or even refused.

You may also have to attend a visa application centre in order to give your biometrics information in the form of your fingerprints and photograph.

Note also that the Home Office may ask you and your partner or spouse to attend an interview if they feel like they need more information about your application and your relationship.

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

Spouse visas cost £1,846 if you’re applying from outside the UK, and £1,048 if you’re applying from inside the UK.

As of April 2024, you no longer have to show proof of additional funds if you wish to bring dependent children with you to the UK on a Fiance or Spouse visa.

You may also have to pay the annual immigration health surcharge, which is £1,035. This is a recurring fee paid for every year you’ll be in the UK.

The processing times vary. If you’re applying from inside the UK, you will also have the option of paying extra for the super priority service if you need a decision on your visa application quickly. This costs £800.

If you apply for a Spouse visa from outside the UK, your application will usually be processed within 24 weeks.

If you apply for a Spouse visa from inside the UK, your application will usually be processed within 8 weeks.

If you use the super priority service, a decision will usually be made:

  • By the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information (if your appointment is on a weekday)
  • 2 working days after providing your biometric information (if your appointment is at the weekend)

Can I Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain After Switching to a Spouse Visa?

Yes, you will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) with a Spouse visa.

As mentioned previously, Fiancé visas are short-term visas that are only valid for 6 months. However, Spouse visas are long-term visas that provide a viable pathway to permanent settlement in the UK.

Unlike most other routes to ILR, you can become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years in the UK on a Spouse visa. Note that the time spent in the UK on your Fiancé visa will not count towards this 5-year requirement.

In addition to this 5 year requirement, you will also have to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 month period in the past 5 years
  • Still meet the minimum financial requirements that were in place when you first applied for your visa
  • Pass the Life in the UK Test
  • Meet the minimum language requirements
  • Demonstrate that you have been living with your spouse or partner and that you intend to continue your relationship after applying

Successfully gaining ILR status will mean that you can stay in the UK indefinitely without being subject to immigration control. You will also become eligible to apply to become a British citizen after being in the UK with indefinite leave to remain after 12 months.

How Can IAS Help?

The route from a UK Fiancé visa to a Spouse visa is one of the most popular and sought-after immigration routes in the UK.

However, it is also one of the most difficult, with the Home Office routinely placing couples and their relationships under close scrutiny as part of the application process.

If you’re looking to emigrate to the UK under a Spouse visa, or you would like to help your spouse or partner obtain a Spouse visa to help them come to the UK, IAS can help.

We are expert, professional immigration lawyers who can help you or your spouse or partner successfully obtain a Spouse visa so you can both settle in the UK. We can provide assistance throughout the Spouse visa application process, ensuring that your application package is as substantial and compelling as possible in order to minimise the chances of it being rejected.

We can also help assemble your supporting documents, including those that will help to prove that your relationship is genuine and substantive. Our team of legal experts and advisers will work with you to ensure that your application fulfils all the requirements and meets all the UK immigration rules in order to be approved.

We also offer a special fast-track application package if you need us to urgently submit your Spouse visa application on your behalf.

For more information about the services we offer, and what we can do for you, reach out to us today on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.

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