Settled Family Members Visa

Non-European nationals can apply to enter or remain in the UK as either the partner of a British citizen or a person with settled status, refugee leave or humanitarian protection under a partner visa, spouse visa or unmarried partner visa. Settled status, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), means having been given permission to settle here permanently. If you are outside the UK you must obtain your visa before traveling.

SPOUSE VISAS, CIVIL PARTNER VISAS, & UNMARRIED PARTNER VISAS – as the non-European spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a British citizen or a person with settled status, subject to satisfying the criteria under the Immigration Rules (including suitability, relationship, financial and English language requirements), you will be given permission to stay in the UK for 30 months. If you continue to meet all the requirements you can apply to stay for a further 30 months.

After a 5-year period, you can apply for settlement (ILR) in the UK. Alternatively, you may be eligible to apply under the less stringent 10-year route which overlooks the financial and English language requirement, although you will need to show insurmountable obstacles to family life with your partner continuing overseas.

If you do not meet the requirements for either route you may be given permission to remain here on the basis of your private life, subject to evidence that you have resided continuously in the UK for a required period of time. Both the private life and 10-year settlement route can only be made via applications from within the UK.

If you are already in the UK you may apply to switch to a partner visa from a different immigration category. You will not be allowed to switch if you are here as a visitor, on temporary admission, permission to stay was given for a period of fewer than 6 months (unless that leave was as a fiancée or proposed civil partner), or you are in breach of the Immigration Rules (a period of overstaying of less than 28 days will not be taken into account).

FIANCÉE VISAS & PROPOSED CIVIL PARTNER VISAS – as the non-European fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK, you must obtain a fiancée visa before travelling to the UK to get married or undergo a civil partnership ceremony (you cannot apply from inside the UK). You must also marry or register your civil partnership within 6 months of your arrival. You can then apply to switch to the category of spouse visa or civil partner visa if you intend to stay.

You must satisfy the criteria under the Immigration Rules, including suitability, relationship, financial and English language requirements. If you do not intend to marry or undergo a civil partnership ceremony or to do so within 6 months, then you must apply for an unmarried partner visa. If you want to get married here but do not intend to stay for more than 6 months then you should apply as a visitor for marriage or civil partnership.

UK Spouse Visa

A person who is married to a British Citizen or to a person who is present and settled in the UK can apply for UK spouse visa. If the applicant is outside the UK, an entry clearance application as a spouse should be submitted to the British High Commission/Embassy/Consulate in the country of nationality or country of origin of the applicant. If you are already in the UK with a visa issued for longer than six months except for visit visa, you can switch into spouse visa from inside the UK by making FLR (M) application to the Home Office. We provide Same Day Visa Service for an application for switching into spouse visa.

If you are already in the UK on spouse visa as a spouse of a settled person, we can provide Same Day Visa Service for your application for extension of your spouse visa from inside the UK. An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a spouse of a person present and settled in the UK can be made to the Home Office, UKBA on the completion of  two years probationary spouse visa which was granted under the Immigration Rules in place before 9 July 2012 on the basis of marriage to a person present and settled in the UK. A person who was granted initial entry clearance or leave to remain as a spouse under the Immigration Rules in place from 9 July 2012 will have to complete 5 years residence in the UK under spouse visa before an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a spouse can be made to the Home Office.

Followings are the various applications which can be submitted to the Home Office, UKBA as a spouse of a British Citizen or a person present present and settled in the UK:

Entry Clearance As A Spouse

Switching Into Spouse Visa UK

Extension Of Stay As A Spouse

ILR Spouse Visa

Fiance (e) Visa

If you are a fiance(e) of a British Citizen or a person present and settled in the UK, you can submit your application to British Embassy/High Commission/Consulate in your country of nationality or origin. The fiance(e) visa will be issued for six months and whilst on fiance(e) visa in the UK, you can register your marriage in the UK with your fiance(e). Following registration of your marriage, an application for switching into spouse can be made from inside the UK. We provide Same Day Service for switching from fiance(e) visa to spouse visa. 

Proposed Civil Partner

If you are a proposed civil partner of a British Citizen or a person present and settled in the UK, you can submit your application in your country of nationality or origin. The proposed civil partner visa will be issued for six months and whilst on proposed civil partner visa in the UK, you can register your civil partnership in the UK with your civil partner. Following registration of your civil partnership, an application for switching into Civil Partner Visa can be made from inside the UK. We provide same day service for switching into civil partner visa from proposed civil partner to civil partner visa.

Civil Partner Visa

A person who is civil partner of a British Citizen or of a person who is present and settled in the UK can apply for UK civil partner visa. If the applicant is outside the UK, an application for entry clearance application as a civil partner should be submitted to the British High Commission/Embassy/Consulate in the country of nationality or country of origin of the applicant. If you are already in the UK with a visa issued for longer than six months, you can switch into civil partner visa from inside the UK by making FLR (M) application to the Home Office, UKBA. We provide same day service in any premium service centre for an application for switching into civil partner visa from inside the UK.

If you are already in the UK on civil partner visa as a civil partner of a settled person, we can provide same day service for your application for extending your civil partner visa from inside the UK. An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a civil partner of a person present and settled in the UK can be made to the Home Office, UKBA on the completion of  two years probationary civil partner visa which was granted under the Immigration Rules in place before 9 July 2012 on the basis of civil partnership with a person present and settled in the UK. A person who was granted initial entry clearance or leave to remain as a civil partner under the Immigration Rules in place from 9 July 2012 will have to complete 5 years residence in the UK under civil partner visa before an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a civil partner  can be made to the Home Office, UKBA.

Unmarried Partner Visa

A person who is an unmarried partner of a British Citizen or of a person who is present and settled in the UK can apply for UK unmarried partner visa. If the applicant is outside the UK, an entry clearance application as an unmarried partner should be submitted to the British High Commission/Embassy/Consulate in the country of nationality or country of origin of the applicant. If you are already in the UK with a visa issued for longer than six months, you can switch into unmarried partner category from inside the UK by making FLR (M) application to the Home Office, UKBA. We provide same day service for an application for switching into unmarried partner visa from inside the UK.

If you are already in the UK on unmarried partner visa as an unmarried partner of a British Citizen or a settled person, we can provide same day service at a premium service centre for your application for extending your unmarried partner visa from inside the UK. An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain as an unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK can be made to the Home Office, UKBA on the completion of  two years probationary unmarried partner visa which was granted under the Immigration Rules in place before 9 July 2012 as an unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK. A person who was granted initial entry clearance or leave to remain as an unmarried partner under the Immigration Rules in place from 9 July 2012 will have to complete 5 years residence in the UK under unmarried partner visa before an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain as an unmarried partner  can be made to the Home Office, UKBA.

Same Sex Partner Visa

A person who is same sex partner of a British Citizen or of a person who is present and settled in the UK can apply for UK same sex partner visa. If the applicant is outside the UK, an an entry clearance application as same sex partner should be submitted to the British High Commission/Embassy/Consulate in the country of nationality or country of origin of the applicant. If you are already in the UK with a visa issued for longer than six months, you can switch into same sex partner visa from inside the UK by making FLR (M) application to the Home Office, UKBA. We provide same day service for an application for switching into same sex partner visa from inside the UK.

If you are already in the UK on same sex partner visa as a same sex partner of a British Citizen or a settled person, we can provide same day service for your application for extension of your same sex partner visa from inside the UK. An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made to the Home Office, UKBA on the completion of  two years probationary same sex partner visa which was granted under the Immigration Rules in place before 9 July 2012 as a same sex partner of a person present and settled in the UK. A person who was granted initial entry clearance or leave to remain as a same sex partner under the Immigration Rules in place from 9 July 2012 will have to complete 5 years residence in the UK under same sex partner visa before an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made to the Home Office, UKBA.

 

Spouse/Partner Visa – after 9 July 2012

This page is for those who are applying or already have a Spouse, Partner or a Fiance(e) visa on or after 9 July 2012.

This visa is issued to spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners and same-sex partners of British Citizens and of UK permanent residents (those who have an Indefinite Leave to Remain).

You can apply for this visa either from the UK or from abroad depending on your circumstances. You can switch from Post-Study Work, Tier 4 Student and Tier 5 visa such as Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme as well as from a Tier 2 or Tier 1 or Ancestral visa. Also, this is the next step if you have a Fiance / Fiancee visa and are now married.

If you already have a 2 year Spouse/Partner visa issued before 9 July 2012 you  can apply for Settlement under the old Rules.

Examples of situations when this visa is applicable, remember your partner has to be either British or have a permanent residency in the UK:

Spouses and Civil Partners:

  • You are in the UK on a visa other than a visitor visa, then you can switch to a Spouse/Partner visa from a Tier 1 visa, Tier 2 work visa or Tier 4 student visa, ancestral, working holiday and most other non-visitor visas.
  • Your partner has just obtained an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK on the basis of Long Residence 10 years in the UK but you could not join him in that application.
  • You came to the UK on a Fiancee visa, got married and now need to extend your stay.
  • You were married abroad and are coming to the UK to join your partner and settle.
  • You were married and lived abroad for a while and now moving to the UK together.
  • You were ‘scared’ of applying for a Fiancee visa and decided to get married in your partner’s country and then come to the UK to settle.

Unmarried and Same-sex Partners:

  • You and your partner lived together in the UK for 2 years.
  • You and your partner lived together abroad for 2 years.
  • You and your partner lived together abroad and then in the UK for total of 2 years.

‘pre- and post–  9 July 2012:

 

 

Pre-9 July 2012  9 July 2012 onward
Immigration Rules to be used:Part 8 Family Members Appendix FM
Spouse/Partner visa for 2 years, then permanent residency.
Spouses/partners who have been together for 4 years outside the UK were given a Permanent Visa straight away.
Spouse/Partner visa for 2.5 years, then extension for another 2.5 years, only then permanent residency after 5 years.This has been stopped, eveyone now gets a 2.5 year visa, the extension for another 2.5 years and only after 5 years – a permanent visa.
Finances (income, savings) were required to be ‘adequate’. It was assumed that income should be high enough for the couple not to be eligible for the state welfare support (benefits).Support from the 3rd party (such as parents) was allowed. Minimum income threshold of £18,600per annum gross before tax; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child being brought to the UK.It can be from work, self-employment, rental income, pension or disability-related benefits. Savings can also be counted in addition or instead of earnings but only savings over £16,000 would qualify.

Support from the 3rd parties (such as parents) is no longer allowed.

This income test applies to all stages: 1st visa, extension, settlement.

Examples of supporting documents were provided but it was possible to submit other documents instead and generally,there was some flexibility and ‘common sense’.For example, if you had no payslips you could have provided bank statements showing salary.

 

This is a major change, it may be only noticeable to the immigration professionals but will affect many applicants:For the 1st time there are requirements for Spouses/Partners to provide specified documents only, in a specified format only and in most cases there will be no chance to provide alternative documents.

For example, if payslips and matching bank statements (showing payments corresponding payslips) are required then if you provide payslips only your application would be refused. And vice versa.

 

Missing documents or missing information: in some cases UK Border Agency would ask for the missing documents or to add missing info on the documents, such as a new work letter. People were given a chance to put the things right without a visa being refused and without losing a fee. Follows from the above:Now UK Border Agency would only give a chance to provide missing documents if they were a part of sequence. For example, if bank statements are provided for 12 months and a month ‘number 3’ is missing. Or if a letter from work provided but it’s not at the right format. Or if a photocopy of the documents is provided but no original.

However, UK Border Agency would not ask for a document which was not submitted at all meaning such applications may be refused without giving a chance to put the things right.

We predict there will be much more refusals of visas because there can be no more ‘If they ask I will send this document’. They won’t ask!

Discretionary visas:If the couple could not meet all the rules, a visa ‘outside the Rules’ was issued for 3 years, called Discretionary Leave to Remain. A spouse/partner would need an extension for further 3 years and then could apply for an ILR. Family Life:If the couple do not meet all the rules (such as overstaying or not being able to meet the Financial Requirements) but have compassionate circumstances or insurmountable circumstances preventing from living abroad, or often if they have a British child.

It is very similar to a discretionary visa but now it has been written in the Rules. If successful, it will be a Family Life visa for 2.5 years, then 3 extensions for 2.5 years at a time and after 10 years permanent residency (ie 10 years instead of 6 under the old rules).

It is also possible to switch from this Family Life visa to a ‘normal’ Spouse visa, even on same-day service, which was not possible before (the point of switching is reducing the waiting time for an ILR).

 

APPLICATIONS INSIDE THE UK (switching from another category or extending a current visa in this category):

This visa can be done using fast Premium Service. We could arrange an appointment for Premium service at Home Office in Glasgow or where ever near to your place of residence in other premium service centre.

We would also check your documents, help with the form, answer your questions. On the day of appointment you would have to accompany us to a Premium Service Centre because you need to provide biometrics (fingerprints). A decision would be made on same day with your passport returned, accompanied by a letter granting a visa. An actual visa card (Biometric Residence Permit) would arrive to us a few days later.

Alternatively, a postal service is also available but may take approx. up to 6 months dependent on the category of application.

 

APPLICATIONS OUTSIDE THE UK (Entry Clearance):

We could help with an online form, check your documents (original or scanned copies), answer your questions, advise on the documents, write a cover letter and prepare you for submission of your application to British Embassy in your country. It is not difficult to submit an application, the real challenge lies in the preparation of the documents. We would help and assist you through out the process until the outcome on your application.