Apply as a partner or spouse
Home > UK Visas > Applying for a Family Visa as a partner or spouse
A quick look
If you are applying from outside the UK, you should make an application for a Family Visa (as a partner or spouse) no more than 3 months before you plan to be in the country.
For applications made within the UK, you should make an application for a Family Visa (as a partner or spouse) no more than 3 months before your current visa expires.
- It takes between 8 to 12 weeks for the Home Office to make a decision on applications from outside the UK following submission. The timeline may currently be longer due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It takes up to 8 weeks for the Home Office to make a decision on applications from within the UK following submission. The timeline may currently be longer due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Priority service is available as an additional purchasing option for applications made within the UK with a decision made in either 5 days or 24-hours depending on the service chosen.
Extension periods differ, depending on particular circumstances.
If you apply for a Family Visa (as a partner or spouse) and are married or in a civil partnership with your UK-based partner, you will be granted an initial 2 years and 9 months. There is then an option for extension, beyond this period. After 5 years in the UK continuously, with the Family Visa, you will then be able to apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain).
If you apply for a Family Visa (as a partner or spouse) and are not married to your UK-based partner, you will be granted an initial 6 month period. This is under terms that you will marry or engage in a civil partnership with your partner within that 6 months, once in the UK. Once you have done so, you will then be able to apply for an extension for 2 years and 9 months. Note: you will not be allowed to work in the UK until you are married.
You should apply to extend your dependants’ visas at the same time as you extend your own visa. If you cannot apply at the same time, it must be submitted before their current visa expires.
Applying for a Family Visa as a partner or spouse
If you wish to move to the UK to be with a partner, spouse, or fiancé(e), you will need to apply for a Family Visa.
The Family Visa is the official name of what is often referred to as the ‘partner visa’, ‘spouse visa’, or ‘fiancé visa’.
To apply, you will need to provide information, particularly if you are not married or engaged in a civil partnership with the person you are intending to join in the UK.
Required supporting documentation may include:
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificates
- Passports (or other valid travel ID)
- Bank statements
- Details of any criminal convictions
Note that any document that is not in English or Welsh must have been translated by a certified translator, prior to submission.
The Family Visa is a broad route, allowing individuals to join a range of different family members in the UK. Each category of Family Visa has its own requirements.
This particular page is specific to Family Visas applications as a partner or spouse. Visit our Family Visas page for more information about other visa categories.
What are the requirements for the UK Family Visa as a partner?
To be eligible to apply for a Family Visa as a partner or spouse, both individuals must be 18 or over, and one of you must either:
- Be a British or Irish citizen
- Have settled in the UK
- Be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status
- Have a Turkish Businessperson Visa or Turkish Worker Visa
- Have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
To satisfy UK authorities that you have the means to support yourselves once you are in the UK, you may need to provide evidence of income and savings – particularly if you have children.
You must have a combined income of at least £18,600 – or evidence of sufficient savings.
If you have children, this figure will need to increase by an additional £3,800 per year for your first child and an additional £2,400 for each child thereafter.
You must also have accommodation arranged in the UK for all individuals connected with the visa.
How long can I stay in the UK with a Family Visa as a partner?
If you are married or engaged in a civil partnership, and your application is successful, you will be permitted to live with your partner in the UK for up to 2 years and 9 months.
After the original 2 years and 9 months are over, you are able to extend your visa for a longer period. After you have been in the UK for five years, you will be able to apply for ILR and then British Citizenship. This is provided you have lived in the UK continuously on your Family Visa.
If you are unmarried, you will need to provide evidence that you and your partner have been living together, outside of the UK, for at least two years; this may require documents such as bank statements and tenancy agreements, as well as personal supporting documents.
The duration you are allowed to stay in the UK also differs from married couples. If you are unmarried, you are permitted to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. This is granted under the proviso that you will marry or engage in a civil partnership within that 6 month period. Once you have done so, you will be able to extend the duration of your visa.
Note that you will not be legally allowed to work in the UK until you are married/engaged in a civil partnership.
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