Spouse Visas. Simplified.

We can help you apply for your spouse visa. Here we tell you how

  • What are the eligibility requirements to apply for a spouse visa?
    • What are the eligibility requirements to apply for a spouse visa?

      In order to apply for a spouse visa, your partner should be a British citizen or otherwise a person with Indefinite Leave to Remain/settled status in the UK. In addition, you will need to show that you meet the following requirements

      • Genuine and subsisting relationship

        You must show that you are your partner are in a genuine and subsisting relationship.

        Detailed guidance as to what this means – and what evidence applicants and their sponsors need to provide with their application – is covered in our detailed article Evidencing 'genuine and subsisting' relationships

      • English language

        Those applying to join a partner in the UK need to meet a minimum level of English language proficiency. There are a number of ways that Applicants can meet this requirement.

        The Home Office provides specific guidance for those attempting to meet this requirement here: English Language requirement: family members

      • Minimum Income Requirement

        Applicants must show that they meet the Minimum Income Requirement. The most common way of meeting the requirement is via employment, but it is also possible to meet the requirement by holding savings at a certain level for a specified length of time, or via other types of income.

        If you are concerned about your ability to meet the Minimum Income Requirement, see our FAQs (below).

      • Suitability/“good character” requirements

        An applicant must be ‘suitable’. This broadly means that they do not have any criminal convictions or character issues.

        If you are concerned about a suitability issue in your application, then we would recommend that you seek legal advice.

  • How do I apply for a spouse visa?

    In order to apply to enter the UK as a spouse, you will need to complete an online form, and pay the visa application fee. You will then need to upload your supporting documents, and then attend a biometric appointment.

  • How much does it cost to apply for a spouse visa?

    The fee for visa itself depends on where you are: those outside of the UK will pay £1523, whilst those inside the UK and switching into the route will pay £1048.

    Applicants will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, currently charged at £624 per year of the visa (so £1560 for a 2.5 year grant of leave).

    Depending on the place of application and availability, you may also have to pay for an appointment to provide biometrics (for example, it is not uncommon to pay £100-£200 for an appointment in London).

    If you want a quicker decision it is possible to pay for an expedited decision. The fees for these services again depend on where you are making the application, but range between £500-£800 per application.

  • What information do I need to provide in a partner visa application form?

    In the in-country partner visa application form, the information requested is set out below (at the time of writing). Note that online forms tend to change frequently, so this should be used as an approximate guide, only:

    • Your current address
    • Do you currently hold, or have you ever held, any other nationality or citizenship?
    • Your current visa details?
    • How long have you lived in the UK?
    • Have you been out of the UK since you started living here? If yes, provide details of the trips.
    • Have you previously lived in a country outside the UK including your country of birth?
    • When did you last travel to the country where you were born and/or any other country whose nationality you hold?
    • What family or friends do you have in the country where you were born and/or any other country whose nationality you hold?
    • If you were required to leave the UK, what country would you go to?
    • Are there any factors which would make it difficult or impossible for you to integrate and establish a private life in that country?
    • What is your current National Insurance number?
    • Do you have a degree that was taught in English?
    • Have you passed an approved English language test?
    • Did the test assess your speaking and listening skills at a level equivalent to CEFR A1 or higher?
    • When did you enter the UK?
    • Have you ever been refused a visa for any country, including the UK?
    • Provide your partner’s details
    • What is your partner's current National Insurance number?
    • How long have they had British citizenship?
    • Will your partner be in the UK on the date of your application?
    • Have you previously been married or in a civil partnership? If yes, provide the details.
    • Do you have any children of 18 years old or under?
    • Has your partner been previously married, or do they have children?
    • Is your partner financially responsible for supporting anyone you have not already given details for?
    • Have you met your partner?
    • When did you first meet your partner?
    • When did your relationship begin?
    • Where did you first meet your current partner?
    • What languages do you and your partner speak fluently?
    • What languages do you and your partner use to communicate with each other?
    • Do you and your partner have any shared financial responsibilities?
    • Do you or your partner have any physical or mental conditions which require at home personal care or medical assistance?
    • Do you or your partner have any learning disabilities?
    • Do you and your partner currently live together?
    • When did you start living together in a relationship?
    • Where did you live together?
    • Have you lived with your partner continuously for 2 years?
    • Have you lived or your partner anywhere other than your current address during the past 2 years that you have not already entered on this application?
    • Could you and your partner live together outside the UK if necessary?
    • Does your partner currently receive any benefits?
    • Is your partner currently sponsoring any additional children?
    • Will you be able to prove that the financial requirement is met?
    • Prove the relevant employment details, salary, length of employment, organisation you work for etc.
    • Do you own or rent your home?
    • Provide details about the home and who lives there.
    • Would family/children be affected if the visa is refused?

    Note that you may need to answer different/additional questions based on your circumstances. There is a different form, and therefore different questions, for the entry clearance application.

  • What supporting documents do I need to provide with my partner visa application?
    Genuine relationship evidence

    The Home Office guidance provides a table that gives examples of evidence that can be used in support of your spouse application. It outlines whether the particular evidence will be strong, acceptable, or weak.

    The Home Office recommends the following documents as “strong evidence”:

    • Genuine relationship evidence: Marriage certificate, certificate of civil partnership.
    • Genuine relationship when apart: Birth certificate for children, money transfers, employment contract showing work placement away from home.
    • Cohabitation: Tenancy agreement, mortgage agreement, letter from landlord, documents of ownership deeds. Utility Bills – for example council tax, electricity, gas, water, phone bill, TV licence, cable TV. Other official documents linking applicant and partner to the same address such as driving licences, GP/medical letters, payslips, DWP/HMRC letters.
    • Shared financial responsibilities: Bank statements
    Genuine relationship evidence for entry clearance

    Providing evidence of a genuine relationship when you are first applying for a spouse visa may be difficult, especially if you have never lived together. For this requirement, a marriage certificate alone is not enough to show that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship.

    In this case, you should provide additional evidence of your relationship such as statements from friends and family, photographs, travel tickets, and messages between you.

    You should also give evidence of future plans together such as where you will live in the UK and what arrangements you have made for your children for example.

    Evidence of children

    You can provide a birth certificate if both parents are named. If not, other documents may be accepted such as:

    • Letter from nursery/school confirming that both parents have dropped the children off.
    • Letter from GP confirming that both parents have attended appointments, or listed as Next of Kin in medical records.
    • Letters from organisations (e.g. local football club/institutions (e.g. church) which can confirm you have an active role in their lives).
    English evidence

    If you need to meet the English requirement, then you will need to provide proof of this. This could be with a degree taught in English or an approved English language test result at level A1 or A2 for a spouse visa extension.

    Financial requirement

    The documents you need to provide will depend on how you meet the financial requirement. For instance, if you are employed and have worked for your employer for more than 6 months, then you will need to provide 6 months of payslips, bank statements, a letter from your employer, and can also provide the employment contract, and last P60.

    It is worth checking with the Immigration Rules Appendix FM-SE: family members specified evidence which lays out exactly what is required for each way you can meet the financial requirement. The Home Office financial requirement guidance also helps to explain how people can use each income category to satisfy the rules.

  • Can you review my spouse visa application before it is submitted?

    We regularly review partner visa applications prior to their submission, and which we would usually do via our popular one-off consultation service. If you would be interested in this please do get in touch.

  • Do you need a lawyer to make a spouse visa application?

    We cover this question in a general way on our Do you actually need a lawyer? page.

    The key issues in any family visa application will usually be demonstrating that you meet the Minimum Income Requirement (which requires specified documents to be provided, in a particular format etc); and demonstrating that whatever relationship you are relying upon is a genuine one

    The average refusal rate for spousal visas going back to 2013 is 25%. This is probably not a good enough reason (by itself) to get a lawyer, but it is definitely something to think about

    ​ If you are in doubt about whether you think you need a lawyer give us a call for a chat​.


As a part of our one-off consultation service, we regularly review spouse visa application forms and supporting documents prior to their submission to the Home Office. This service is aimed at applicants who are

  • concerned about their eligibility to apply for a partner visa
  • unsure about the supporting documents required in their application, or
  • seeking reassurance from an experienced practitioner to make sure everything has been correctly completed

Your review will be undertaken by Nick Nason, principal at Edgewater Legal, and listed as an expert on the Lexis Nexis immigration experts Q&A panel, and regular commentator and contributor to Free Movement, the best read UK immigration law blog.

We charge a flat fee of £300 + VAT for this service. You can find further details on our one-off consultation page.

We regularly represent individuals making spouse visa applications to the Home Office. If you instruct us to assist with your application, we will manage the process from end to end, from completing the application form through to the decision. This includes the following

  • ​ Clear initial advice regarding eligibility with a detailed letter of advice and guidance on the route, and on the supporting evidence that is required
  • A very high level of client responsiveness including contact by email, phone or other means during the evidence gathering process
  • Detailed scrutiny of the online form and supporting documents prior to submission with collation and preparation of the application
  • Preparation of a covering letter to be filed with application (if required)
  • Collation of the supporting documents into PDF format and uploading them on the Home Office portal
  • ​Advice and guidance on rights and responsibilities once the visa has been obtained, and what you need to do whilst working towards the extension

We offer our citizenship service for a fixed fee of £2,500 + VAT​​.

This does not include the Home Office application or other fees. Our fee is fixed, and will not vary depending on the number of hours that need to be spent on the application, or if the application becomes more complex than originally envisaged (which often happens): it covers clients from instruction through to advice on the decision

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How do I meet the “genuine and subsisting relationship” requirement?

    Please see our detailed article on this subject Evidencing 'genuine and subsisting' relationships

  • I don’t meet the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR). Can I still apply?

    In certain circumstances, it is possible to make an application without meeting the Minimum Income Requirements.

    However, the circumstances in which applications can succeed are fairly narrow. Anyone considering an application where they do not meet the MIR should read the Family Policy Family life (as a partner or parent), private life and exceptional circumstances in detail, and seek legal advice if possible.

  • I have only just met my spouse. Will this be an issue in my application?

    If you are married/in a civil partnership, there is no minimum time that you need to have been in a relationship before then in order to make an application based on marriage/civil partnership.

    However, please see our detailed article on this subject Evidencing 'genuine and subsisting' relationships

  • My partner and I are not married. Can I still apply under the partner visa rules?

    The partner visa includes unmarried partner visa applications, and also fiancé(e) (or proposed civil partner) visa applications.

    The Home Office would normally expect to see individuals making an unmarried partner visa application to have lived together for 2 years or more. If you are considering an unmarried partner application without meeting this requirement, we would recommend that you seek legal advice.

    It is also possible to apply for visa to enable a partner to enter the UK and get married/enter into a proposed civil partnership, and then switch into the main partner route. Further details are available in our detailed post Making a UK fiancé(e) visa application, and extending as a spouse.

  • I am self-employed/director of my own limited company. Can I still apply?

    Yes. However, given the amount of evidence required in these applications for self-employed individuals/directors, we would normally suggest that anyone relying on income from these sources seeks legal advice before applying.

    We would normally suggest a review of your application via our popular one-off consultation service.

  • My spouse visa application has been refused. What can I do?

    If your application is refused, we would recommend that you seek legal advice before taking any next steps. Those next steps are likely to include the following

    • Apply again, correcting the deficiency identified as the basis of the refusal

      Pros: usually the quickest remedy

      Cons: not appropriate if you are not sure that the deficiency can be sufficiently rectified in the second application; required to pay additional fee

    • Appeal against the decision to a tribunal

      An appeal can be made to the First Tier Tribunal against most spouse visa application refusals (confirmation should be provided in the decision).

      Pros: other than relatively low court appeal fee (£140), no further fees to pay if successful

      Cons: appeal process can take several months/years; no certain outcome in litigation

    • Contacting the decision making post (in entry clearance applications) to request a review

      Where an application has been refused by an Entry Clearance Officer, it is sometimes possible to ask for this decision to be reviewed by the Entry Clearance Manager. It would usually be advisable to do this in conjunction with an appeal to protect your position and not lose your right of appeal

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