If you want to apply for a visa or residence permit so that you can live in the UK with your spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner, then you need to understand three things:
- the rules that apply to your application
- the “specified documents” that you must provide
- the application process
For most applicants the most important requirements are:
- meeting the definition of a “partner”: this includes spouses, civil partners, fiancés/proposed civil partners, and unmarried partners who have lived together for at least 2 years.
- the financial requirement. With only a very few exceptions, you must have an annual income of at least £18,600 (or equivalent savings). The sources of income and the way that it is calculated are strictly defined.
- the English language requirement. New applicants must usually prove they meet a minimum of the A1 CEFR standard in speaking and listening. There are only very limited number of approved language tests and test providers. You may need to “upgrade” your language qualification each time you apply to extend your leave.
You must provide “specified documents” to prove some parts of your application (for example, if you meet the financial requirement through your income from employment, then you must provide the bank statements, wage slips, and a letter from your employer). You might run into difficulty if documents are missing or in the wrong format.
The process you need to follow to apply depends on where you are. The initial application is made online, and in most cases documents are now provided by electronically uploading them. You might be eligible to pay extra for a “priority” application, to get a decision sooner. I can advise you on the best options for your circumstances.
I can support you throughout the application process, including helping you to prepare your application form and supporting documents, providing a covering letter to summarise your case, and acting as a point of contact with the immigration authorities if any problems arise.
If you do not meet all the requirements, then you might still be granted leave to enter or remain in the UK if it would breach your rights or those of a family member to private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). If you believe that this might apply in your case, I can advise you on how to prepare and submit a suitable application.