If you’re already in the UK, your spouse (husband, wife or civil partner) or fiancé will need a visa to join you to live for over 6 months. Then you need to apply for Spouse Visa or Partner Visa.
A family member who joins you in the UK based on your right to stay in the UK is called a ‘dependant’, and you are known as the ‘sponsor’.
They’ll need to make an application from outside the UK.
If your spouse or partner wants to visit the UK for less than 6 months, you need to apply for a visit visa instead.
If the application gets rejected, appealing will take between 6 and 9 months.
Spouse Visa or Partner Visa for UK
How long the Spouse Visa or Partner Visa for UK lasts
|Who the visa is for||How long the visa lasts|
|Spouse, for example, your husband, wife or civil partner||33 months – your spouse can then renew their visa from the UK for another 2 years and 6 months.|
|They can apply to settle in the UK after 5 years.|
|Your fiancé||6 months – your partner can apply for further leave as a spouse after this time.|
|They can apply to settle in the UK after 5 years as a spouse.|
Check what visa they need
While they’re often thought of as being a ‘spouse visa’, the actual visa your spouse or fiancé needs will depend on your circumstances.
|Your circumstances||The visa your family member or partner needs|
|You’re a British citizen or naturalised||‘Family of a settled person’ visa|
|You’re a ‘settled person’ in the UK (ie you have ‘indefinite leave to remain’)||‘Family of a settled person’ visa|
|You’re an EEA national living in the UK and your is taken is not from the EEA||‘EEA family permit’|
|You’re getting married in the UK and both intend to live in the UK||‘Family of a settled person’ visa|
|You have refugee status or humanitarian protection||Family reunion|
|You have a Tier 2 (General) visa||Apply as a dependant of a Tier 2 (General) visa holder|
|You have a Tier 4 student visa||Apply as a dependant of a Tier 4 visa holder|
How to Apply as a partner or spouse
To apply as a partner, you and your partner both need to be 18 or over.
Your partner must also either:
- be a British citizen
- have settled in the UK (they have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ or proof of permanent residence)
- have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
You and your partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK after you apply.
What you’ll need to prove
You must be able to prove one of the following:
- you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
- you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply
- you are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving
You also need to prove you:
If you do not meet these requirements you may still be able to apply for a visa or extend your permission to stay if:
- you have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK
- there would be very significant difficulties for you and your partner if you lived together as a couple outside the UK that could not be overcome
- it would breach your human rights to stop you coming to the UK or make you leave
If you’re applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
You must prove that:
- any previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended
- you plan to marry or become civil partners within 6 months of arriving in the UK
You will not be able to work during your engagement.
How long you can stay with Spouse Visa or Partner Visa for UK
You’ll get permission to stay for 2.5 years, or for 6 months if you’re applying as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner.
After this, you’ll need to apply to extend your stay.
How to apply Spouse Visa or Partner Visa for UK
You’ll need to prepare information and send documents with your application.
How you apply depends on whether you’re outside or in the UK.
Outside the UK
There’s a different way to apply in North Korea.
In the UK – apply online
In the UK – apply by post or in person
You can also apply by post or in person at a premium service centre.
To apply in person either:
- fill in the form and book an appointment
- make an online application and book an appointment
If you cannot pay the fee
You must apply by post and fill in appendix 1 FLR(FP) FLR(O) if you cannot pay the fee because you:
- do not have a place to live and you cannot afford one
- have a place to live but cannot afford your essential living costs like food or heating
- have a very low income and paying the fee would harm your child’s wellbeing
Applying with your children
You can add children to your application as dependants if they are under 18, or were under 18 when you first applied and do not live an independent life.
Your child is living an independent life if, for example, they’ve left home, got married and had children.
When you can settle permanently
The earliest you can apply to settle in the UK (called ‘indefinite leave to remain’) is after you’ve lived in the country for 5 years continuously with permission to stay (‘leave to remain’) as a partner. You cannot count any permission to stay in the UK as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner.