UK: Switching from a Fiance Visa to a Spouse Visa

October 07, 2023
UK: Switching from a Fiance Visa to a Spouse Visa The UK Fiancé Visa does not directly lead to settlement in the UK. However, once married in the UK, you will be able to apply for and switch to a UK spouse visa before your current stay in the UK expires. UK Spouse visas are for the spouses of British or Irish citizens, those settled in the UK, those with pre-settled status, those on Turkish business or worker visas Turkey and people with refugee or humanitarian protection status who want to participate. or stay with your spouse in the UK. Applications for a UK partner visa can be made from the UK when applying for a partner visa. A UK Spouse Visa can lead to indefinite residence or settlement in the UK after a period of five years. In this article, we look at how to switch from a UK fiancé visa to a UK spouse visa.

When Should I Switch from a Fiance Visa to a Spouse Visa?

The application to switch to a UK spouse visa must be made before your stay in the UK expires because your spouse has expired. If your leave is about to expire and you are not married, you can request an extension of your stay for another 6 months to hold the ceremony. However, there must be a good reason why the wedding has not yet taken place and the proof is that the wedding will take place within the next 6 months. An application to switch to a UK spouse visa can be made at any time after you have married and received your marriage certificate (and provided you meet all the other conditions mentioned). access below). If your application to switch to a UK spouse visa is made on or before your spousal leave expires, your leave will be protected under section 3C of the Migration Act 1971 until a decision is made on your UK spouse visa application. Any late requests will result in you overstaying your stay.

Differences between the Fiance Visa and the Spouse Visa

One difference is that the application for a fiance visa is made from outside the UK. Applications for leave to maintain spousal status can be made from the UK, provided the immigration status requirements are met. The processing time when converting to a spouse visa in the UK will also be shorter than when applying for a fiance visa in the UK. This will be discussed in more detail below. Another difference is that as an engaged couple, you will be entitled to 6 months leave in the UK. If your application to switch to a UK partner visa is successful, you will initially be allowed to stay for a period of 30 months. Before your initial spousal leave expires, you will need to request an extension of your stay. If your request for an additional residence permit as a spouse is accepted, you will benefit from an additional residence permit for a period of 30 months. After 5 years (60 months) in the UK as a spouse, you will be able to apply to remain indefinitely. Time spent in the UK on a fiancé visa does not count towards settlement. Finally, with a fiance visa, you do not have the legal right to work or study in the UK. Once you have successfully converted to a UK spouse visa, you will have the legal right to work and study in the UK. Additionally, with a spouse visa you can access the NHS for free after paying the Immigration Health Allowance. Meanwhile, with a fiance visa, you have limited access to the NHS and will have to pay for secondary treatment.

Similarities between the Fiance Visa and the Spouse Visa

Many of the requirements that you had to satisfy to be eligible for a UK Fiance Visa are similar to that of a UK Spouse Visa. The key difference from the previous UK Fiance Visa is that you are now married. UK Spouse Visa Requirements In order to qualify for a UK Spouse Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you meet the following requirements:
  • Your partner is British or Irish, is settled in the UK, has been granted pre-settled status, holds a Turkish Businessperson or Turkish Worker visa or has refugee status or humanitarian protection;
  • You and your partner are both over the age of 18;
  • You and your partner are not within a prohibited degree of relationship;
  • You and your partner have met in person;
  • You and your partner are legally married in a marriage that is recognised in the UK;
  • Your relationship is genuine and subsisting;
  • You and your partner intend to live together permanently in the UK;
  • Any previous relationship has broken down permanently;
  • You satisfy a financial requirement;
  • There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents;
  • You speak and understand English to a required level.

Requirement for Marriage to Be Recognised in the UK

To be eligible for a UK spouse visa, you and your partner need to be legally married in a marriage recognized in the UK. To be recognized as valid, all marriages solemnized in the UK must be monogamous and must be solemnized in accordance with the requirements of the Marriage Act 1949 (as amended). , the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 or the Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. This means that any required notice of intention to marry must be given, you must get married at a licensed wedding venue and your marriage must be solemnized by or witnessed by the person licensed to register the marriage. You and your spouse must also be at least 18 years old (in England and Wales) or 16 years old (in Scotland and Northern Ireland) on the date of your marriage for your marriage to be recognized as valid. In the UK, marriage must be certified by a marriage certificate.

What if I Cannot Satisfy the Requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?

If you are not able to satisfy the requirements for a UK Spouse Visa you may still be able to remain in the UK on human rights grounds if there are exceptional circumstances.

What if my Spouse Visa application is Refused?

The most common reason a spouse visa application is refused is because the applicant does not provide sufficient documentary evidence to support their application. Each case is different and the supporting documents required for a spouse visa application will vary from case to case. You may want to speak with an immigration attorney for expert advice. If your UK spouse visa application is refused, you have the right to appeal. Indeed, a spouse's claim will automatically be considered a human rights claim.

Processing Times

Applications to switch into or extend as a spouse submitted from within the UK should be decided within 8 weeks. The Home Office has reopened the Super Priority Visa which should give a decision by the next working day.

Application Fees and Immigration Health Surcharge

The Home Office application fee to switch to spouse status from the UK or extend your stay as a spouse is currently £1,048. The Home Office also announced that the health surcharge for immigrants will increase. An article to learn more can be found here. The Immigration Health Allowance for a spouse to remain is currently £624 per year. This means that if you take 30 months of spousal leave, you will have to pay £1,560.