A family visa in the UK can be applied for if you want to live with a certain family member for over six months in the UK. This applies to a spouse or civil partner, unmarried partner, fiancé or proposed civil partner, a child, a dependant parent or a relative who will be providing long term care to you. You will apply for the visa type depending on the relationship e.g. a spouse visa or a child visa.

If your visit to the UK is for less than six months, then you may need a Standard Visitor visa instead. The rules vary depending on which country you are coming from and also which country your family member comes from. The length of time that your family member has been in the UK is also an important factor in the type of visa that you require.


EU Citizens

The EU freedom of movement regulations are in place to allow citizens of EU countries to move to the UK, along with their family and partners. Citizens from EU countries have the right to live and work in the UK under current immigration laws.  Please note that freedom of movement ends on 31 December 2020 and you may be required to obtain a visa to travel after this date. 


Applying for a Spouse Visa

To apply for a spouse visa, the person you are joining in the UK must be a British citizen or have indefinite leave to remain and your marriage or civil partnership must be legally recognised in the UK.  If you are not married or in a civil partnership, you must have been living together for at least 2 years. If you are due to marry or enter a civil partnership, you must provide proof that this is taking place within the next six months.


What documents do you need when you apply?

  • A valid passport and any previous passports
  • 2 x passport photos
  • Proof of financial means
  • Evidence of relationship history e.g. historical photos
  • Proof of English language
  • Proof of address in the UK

You will also be required to provide biometric information when you attend your appointment, which will include taking a digital photo and your fingerprints. You will need to have paid the spouse visa fee and take the receipt to your appointment.

The government will also look at your income and/or savings and any criminal convictions or health issues as part of the application assessment.


How long does the visa last?

If you are married, in a civil partnership or have lived with your partner at least two years, then the visa will be for 33 months when applying from outside the UK, or 30 months if applying from inside the UK.

It is possible to renew the visa when it runs out for an additional 2 years and six months. After 5 years, you can then apply to settle.

If you are not yet married, your visa will only be issued for six months and in this time, you should have married or entered a civil partnership. Once this has happened, you can apply for leave to remain, which will last for 2 years and six months. At the end of this period, you are able to apply to extend for a further 2 years and six months. After five years, you are able to apply to settle in the UK.


Can children join you?

If you want to bring children to live with you in the UK, you will need to be able to evidence the income level required in the government’s rules.

Applying for spouse visas can be a complicated process, with lots of different factors that will impact on whether the visa will be approved. If you would like some support with understanding the spouse visa application and getting the right documentation in place, contact our experienced team of immigration lawyers.

If you would like advice or assistance with any of the other family visa applications listed above, please do get in touch.