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UK Spouse Visa Extension - NEW 2021 Guidance

A spouse visa extension in UK includes proving that you and your spouse are in a genuine relationship and have a combined income that qualifies for an extended stay

A spouse visa extension is specifically meant for non-EEA residents who have been staying in the United Kingdom under a spouse visa. A spousal visa usually comes with a validity of 6 months and 2.5 years. In either case, you can apply for a spouse visa extension. Once the extension also expires, you can lodge an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain, which can eventually give you a British citizenship (provided you have stayed in the UK for a continued span of up to 5 years).

The requirements for an extension are almost identical to those of the spouse visa application. This includes proving that you and your spouse are in a genuine relationship and have a combined income that qualifies for an extended stay in the UK. In this article, we will give you a detailed outline of the spouse visa extension eligibility criteria, application process, and requirements.

When Should You Apply for a Spousal Visa Extension?

You are required to lodge an application for an extension prior to the expiry of your current spouse visa. You should ensure that you give enough time for the application to be processed. The processing time can vary between 2 to 3 months. You must also make sure that you have gathered all the documentation for the process. The requirements are extensive and any missing papers may lead to the rejection of your extension. You should factor in this processing time when considering when to make your application. The documents should also be valid at the time of application.

Spouse Visa Extension Eligibility

In order to be eligible for an extension, you will need to meet certain requirements, which can vary as per your personal circumstances. However, the generic eligibility criteria is to have a genuine relationship (marriage or civil partnership) with your partner -- who is a British citizen or has a ‘settled status’. A ‘settled status’ means that your other half possesses Indefinite Leave to Remain.

You are also eligible to apply for an extension when s/he is granted a refugee or humanitarian protection status in the UK. On the other hand, you are eligible for an extension when you have proof of being in a relationship which is akin to a marriage or civil partnership for a minimum of two years. Apart from the relationship criterion, other eligibility requirements include earning a combined income of at least £18,600, having no history of breaching law or immigration laws, ability to prove proficiency in English, and meeting the character suitability conditions.

However, as we already mentioned, the documentation required to prove the above criteria can vary. Read on to know the details of the documents needed for an extension, as per your individual circumstances.

UK Spouse Visa Extension Requirements & Documentation

Relationship Proof

Proof of relationship can be submitted in the form of official paperwork like utility bills and council tax bills, bank statements etc. You can additionally submit a marriage/civil partnership certificate which is recognised in the UK. You might also be asked to share evidence of your continued communication with your partner for the last 2.5 years -- which can be text messages, chats, or emails.

If you are a carer for your other half, you need to showcase the required proof. Again, other types of evidence include bills you pay together or how often you meet if you both do not stay under the same roof. But in most cases, you will be asked to demonstrate that you have been living with your partner in the same residency in the UK under the original spouse visa. If your relationship is genuine, it should be easy to collect the required documents.

Financial Proof

The financial evidence should prove the monetary stability of both you and your spouse. You must both earn a combined income of at least £18,600. If you have a child, this income limit rises to £22,400, and increases by an extra £2,400 for each additional child. A child should be a minor (under 18 years) and should not be from an EEA country. S/he must be dependent on you or your partner.

Financial proof can be submitted in the form of cash savings of more than £16,000, state and private sessions, allowances during maternity leave, or bereavement benefits. These documents may vary -- so you can seek the help of our immigration specialists if you need more assistance.

In certain cases, you may not be needed to present financial proof -- for instance, if your partner gets disability living, severe disablement, carer’s, or attendance allowance OR personal independence payment, industrial injuries disablement benefit, police injury pension, armed forces independence payment/ guaranteed income payment under Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, constant attendance allowance, mobility supplement or war disablement pension under War Pensions Scheme.

Documents to Prove Good Character

Character suitability conditions mean that you should not have breached any law during your stay in the UK. You must not owe money to the NHS or a litigation debt. Any responsible resident of the UK should not face any difficulty in proving himself or herself fit for a spouse visa extension.

English Knowledge Requirements

In order to be eligible for a spousal visa extension, you should be able to present evidence of having an A2 level of English in speaking and listening as outlined under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. If you did not require to appear for an English test during your original spouse visa application, you might need to take one when applying for an extension. Approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) Provider centres are present in many locations in the UK and you need to sit for one and get a recognized certificate.

Certain applicants need not prove their proficiency in English. These include nationals of an English-speaking country, holders of a degree or higher qualification from an institution recognised by UK NARIC, applicants under the age of 18 years and above 65 years, and individuals with a prolonged mental or physical illness.

Documents & Information Required While Filling the Application Form

When filling in the FLR(M) you will need to provide your personal details, inclusive of your current passport or other valid travel ID. You will also need to submit copies of previous passports, if any, and copies of previous visas. This should be accompanied by financial proof (bank statements and payslips, which can also be electronic documents, provided they are coupled with a letter from the issuing authority), relationship proof, a copy of your biometric residence permit, details of criminal convictions, national insurance number, and English test proof.

All documents which are not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation. Your passport needs to have a minimum of one blank page as well. While filling the form, you will be required to enter some generic details like your name, date of birth, address, email id, and divorce papers (if your marriage has ended).

You will be asked to enter the details of your partner, such as name, date of birth, nationality

Passport, right to be in the UK, any person s/he was married to earlier, had a civil contract, or had children with. If your partner supports anyone financially, the required information should be shared as well. You will need to enter details of your children as well, such as their name, nationality, date of birth, passport details, legal guardians, and with whom your child normally resides with.

Spouse Visa Extension: How to Apply?

Once you have collected all your evidence and documents together, you need to visit this link and complete an online application:

Apply to extend stay in the UK as a partner or dependent child: form FLR (M)

Once you click on ‘apply’, you will be asked this question: “Do you currently have an application with the Home Office for leave to remain for which you have not yet received a decision? If you have submitted any other applications to the Home Office which have not yet been decided then submitting this application varies those previous applications. This means that only this application, which you are now completing, will now be considered.”

Please read the statement thoroughly and choose the apt box:

Following this, you will be asked a couple of mandatory questions, which you need to answer based on your circumstance. Next, register with your email address and complete the application. Make the full payment once the application is finished.

The current standard fee for a spouse visa extension is £1,033. Additional fees may apply, as per the requirements. Once your application is approved, you should receive it within eight weeks.

The Steps Hereafter

When you receive your extension visa, you can stay in the UK for an additional period of up to 2.5 years. Once this extension period is over, you will have resided in the UK for 5 years and your next step would be to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status. You can use this status to live and work in the UK without any restriction. After having stayed in the UK under the Indefinite Leave to Remain permission for 12 months, you are eligible to apply for British citizenship, i.e a British passport!

In case, your application is rejected, you will get a rejection letter, stating your other available options. The best alternative is to lodge a fresh application, addressing your previous mistakes. You can also appeal to the Home Office if you think the decision was unfair.

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