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UK Spouse Visa Guide - Applying for a UK Spouse Visa

Written by Coops Law, 12 May 2017

Being separated by borders from your partner, fiancé or spouse can be a heart-rending experience. Circumstances such as work, the need to care for relatives, being a fleeing refugee or possibly being a student can mean that fate brings you to the UK by yourself. It may be that you are a British citizen and can easily return home, under your British passport, after living abroad, but your spouse is a Non-EEA foreign citizen and together, you need to meet the government's criteria to live in the UK as a couple.


Research work from the Migration Observatory in February 2016 found that 89,000 people came to the UK for family reasons in 2014. Statistically, there is very little variation from one year to the next and the number fluctuates just above or below this figure. In the same year, 45,941 entry visas were actually granted for family reasons. Of these, 21,700 were submitted by non-EU nationals. Asia has been the most common region of origin for family migrants since 2004 and accounted for 58% of the incoming family migrants in 2014.

You might be interested to also know that in 2014, 75 percent of spouse and fiancé migrants that applied for a spouse visa were female. It's quite common for men to settle or return here and then arrange for their wife to join them. Or at least try to. Many have encountered difficulties which have defied common sense.


There are many rules, criteria and procedures to deal with on the road to bringing a spouse into the UK. The financial cost changed in March 2016 with an increase to the fees for all visa applications. The visa to settle with a spouse who is already legally living in England rose from £956 to £1,195, an increase of £239. The fee for indefinite leave to remain increased from £1,500 to £1,875, a rise of £375.

A rule has been in place since 2012 which states that British residents who earn over £18,600 per year can sponsor a visa to help their wife or husband to enter the UK and join them. One of the problems with this is that more than half of all British women do not earn this amount or more and so would have difficulty meeting the criteria.

The alternative is that the person should have at least £62,500 in savings for a period of six months as a minimum. Either figure can be difficult to meet if you are not in a well-paid job, although a greater amount of earnings can balance out against a lower paid employment. London residents have a greater chance of meeting the threshold due to higher average salaries.

The spouse visa earnings threshold also rises if you have young ones. You must earn £22,400 if you have a child, with this rising by another £2,400 per additional child.

Why has the government placed such high financial limits as a requirement? The theory is that they have done this as a measure to try and reduce net migration in to the UK. It is one of the highest salary requirements thresholds for family visas in the world and the government have even been considered proposals to raise this limit. The government's argument is that the salary requirement ensures that a couple can live together in the UK with their own financial independence, and aren't likely to be reliant on state help. These financial rules that the government have put in place affect almost 18,000 families each year.

These Are The Steps That You Need To Take To Obtain A Spouse Visa

✔ You must be a British citizen

✔ Or, you must have settled in the UK

✔ Or, you must have been granted asylum or humanitarian protection by the UK

✔ You must complete the relevant government application forms

✔ Provide the correct documents

✔ Pay the application fees

✔ You may have to pay the NHS healthcare surcharge


To read the rest of this spouse visa guide, please download your free copy from on the Coops Law website.

About the author: Coops Law is based in Bolton and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Any views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of EIN