The Marriage Visa is for people who are married to or in a civil partnership with a UK citizen or permanent resident. UK citizens and permanent residents are able to apply to sponsor their spouses or partners for a marriage visa.
British marriage visa
You can apply for this visa if you are married to a British citizen or a person who has settlement status in the UK (i.e. a person who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain [ILR] or right of abode).
The visa, which is initially issued for a two and a half year period, allows you to work without restriction in the UK. You may also exit and re-enter the country multiple times. At the end of the two and half years, you will need to extend your stay in the UK for a further two and a half years.
After being on the spousal visa for a total of five years, you must submit evidence to the Home Office that you have been living together for that time, after which you may be eligible to apply for ILR.
In order to apply for this visa, you and your spouse must:
- Have met
- Be lawfully married to one another
- Intend to live together permanently as man and wife
- Ensure that the British citizen meets the financial requirement set out by the UK Visas and Immigration office
You may also apply for a UK visa as a dependant in any of the following circumstances:
- You are married or in a long-term relationship with someone who holds an ancestry visa
- You are married or in a long-term relationship with someone who holds a student visa
- You are married or in a long-term relationship with someone who holds a work permit
- You are married or in a long-term relationship with someone who holds a Tier 1 visa
However, in all of these cases, you must apply for the visa outside of the UK, typically in your partner’s home country. For help in applying from South Africa or Australia, please contact our Cape Town or Melbourne offices.
UK visa for an unmarried partner
You may apply for this visa if you are in a long-term relationship with a British citizen or a person who has settlement status in the UK. You and your partner must be able to provide evidence that you have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage for two years or more. The relationship may be a heterosexual or a same-sex relationship.
The visa allows you to work freely in the UK. In order to apply for it you must:
- Be able to support yourselves, and any dependants, without recourse to public funds
- Intend to live with your partner permanently
As with the marriage visa, the unmarried partner visa is initially issued for a two and a half year probationary period (five years if your partner is a citizen of an EEA country other than the UK). At the end of this period, you may apply for ILR provided that you are able to submit evidence that your relationship is genuine and that it will continue.
Contact one of our consultants to find out how we can help you to remain in the UK based on your relationship.
General visa criteria:
- Married to, or are able to show that you have been cohabiting with, an eligible person for two years
- Meet the minimum income threshold of £18,600 per annum
- Intend to get married or become civil partners within six months