UK spouse visa

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Main applicant can obtain permanent residence and British citizenship after 5 years

Children under 18 of can obtain British citizenship after three years residing in the UK

Compared with the latest Hong Kong BN(O) Visa issued by the United Kingdom, the main applicant who is granted a spouse visa will be eligible to become a Permanent Resident and British citizen after 5 years, which is 1 year earlier than the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa route.

Additionally, child dependant under 18 will be eligible to apply British citizenship after 3 years with their parents.  

Introduction to Spouse Visa

To apply for spouse visa, applicant has to be 18 years old or over and as the partner of a British Citizen or UK Permanent Resident. Children under 18 years old may also apply together with the main applicant.

Spouse Visa Requirements

Relationship Requirements:

The applicant and the sponsor have to prove the genuinity of their relationship and their intention of living in the UK on a permanent basis. The applicant has to provide evidence,  including marriage certificate, family photos, travel history and children’s birth certificates.

If the applicant lives separately from the partner abroad, evidence including history of phone calls and messages would be needed to prove that they keep in touch consistently.

If the applicant or the sponsor has any divorce record, it is necessary to provide the divorce certificate and relevant information, including the name, nationality and date of birth of former spouse, and also their date of marriage and divorce.

For unmarried partners, they have to prove that they have been cohabitating for at least two years and provide related residential proof.

Financial Requirement:

Under the current immigration rules, the sponsor of the applicant is required to demonstrate sufficient annual income or cash savings to support the applicant in the UK. The required amount is as follows:

Applicants may meet the financial requirement in the following 5 ways according to individual circumstances:


If the sponsor has been employed by a UK company for at least 6 months prior to the application date, only the annual salary of that company needs to be provided, together with relevant payslips, bank statements and contracts of employment.

If the sponsor has been employed in the UK for less than 6 months, the annual income of the sponsor over the past 12 months must be provided, together with relevant payslips, bank statements and contracts of employment.

If the sponsor has been employed outside of the UK prior to the application, it is necessary to provide proof of the annual income of the overseas employment. The sponsor must also obtain an offer of employment from a UK company and schedule to commence within 3 months.

Non-employment income of the applicant and the sponsor earned in 12 months prior to the application date would be accepted to fulfil the financial requirements.

This income maybe originated from the UK or overseas, such as rent income. The applicant has to submit related tenancy agreements and bank statements as evidence.

Cash saving is another option to fulfil the financial requirements. The deposit must be under the name(s) of the applicant, the spouse, or both parties. The minimum balance has to reach the requirement on a daily basis for no less than six months prior to the application date.

If the source of funds is related to selling of property, investment or MPF withdrawal, the period for reaching the minimum balance may be shortened depending on individual circumstances.

Pension income from either in the UK or overseas from a period of 12 months prior to the application date can be used to meet the financial requirement.

If the sponsor is self-employed or is a company owner in the UK prior to the application, it would be necessary to prove that the income of the sponsor over the past 1 or 2 years meets the relevant requirements.


Language Requirement:

If the applicant holds an undergraduate degree or above, for example Masters/PHD, from a UK University (note that Diploma or Associate Degree are not recognized), submission of a Degree Certificate would meet the requirement.

If the applicant holds a degree issued by a university outside the UK, they have to provide relevant transcripts and letters from the issuing University to prove that the medium of instruction was in English, and then apply to the UK NARIC to verify that the degree is equivalent to a British undergraduate degree or above .

If applicant does not meet the above academic qualifications, they must pass the IELTS Life Skills A1 exam and the certificate would be valid for 2 years.

Accommodation requirement:

Applicants and their spouse have to make accommodation arrangements prior to their application submission. They may purchase or lease their own property, or stay at relatives’ or friends’ place with proof of address provided as an evidence of such arrangement.

The applicant needs to prove that the property has sufficient space and bedrooms for the applicant, spouse and their children to reside in.

Residency Requirement:

  • If the applicant intends to acquire permanent residency, the applicant and their spouse must not absence from the UK for more than 180 days each year during the five-year period.
  • If the applicant intends to join the British citizenship, the applicant has to be a permanent resident first, and must not absence from the UK for more than 270 days during the three-year period prior to the application for the British Citizenship, which is, an average of not more than 90 days per year.

Visa Approval

The applicant will be first approved a period of 2 years and 9 months visa and the extension would be a further 2 years and 6 months for the applicant to meet the minimum 5-year requirement for obtaining the British Citizenship.

In this five-year period, the applicant and spouse need to regard the UK as their ordinary residence.

Visa application process

Provide free phone preliminary consultation, assess the applicant’s background and answer related questions
Arrange a face-to-face consultation to discuss the legal requirements in detailed 
Document preparation – checking of all the supporting documents to confirm eligibility and drafting of personal statement 
Once the preparation is completed, we can submit the application form and documents to the UK Immigration Department. Normal approval time is 60 working days, priority application is 30 working days
The initial visa is valid for 2 years and 9 months. Applicants must land in the UK within 90 days after visa approval

Application fee

  • Application Fee: £1,523 per applicant
  • NHS: £624 per year for each adult applicant; £470 per year for child applicant 

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the most common reasons for a refusal is fail of meeting the financial requirement. Applicants must ensure that they have sufficient income or cash savings and submit proper documents.

If the applicant holds a valid visa for a period of more than six months, it is possible to directly apply for a spouse visa from within the UK. However, if the applicant only lands in the country as a tourist, the applicant is not able to apply for a spouse visa within the UK and would need to return to their place of origin to apply.
In general, if the applicant meets the relevant requirements, the applicant could return to the place of origin and apply for a spouse visa afterwards.
The applicant can apply for a fiancée/fiancé visa and a period for 6 months would be granted if the application is approved. The applicant has to get married in the UK within 6 months of the visa being approved and is eligible to apply for a spouse visa afterwards.
Applicant has to continue to meet the requirements in terms of relationship, financial, language and accommodation, and to provide a minimum of 6 items of residential proof in the past two years.  In relation to language requirement, if the applicant does not have a bachelor degree or above, the applicant has to pass the IELTS Life Skills A2 exam for the extension, and to pass the IELTS Life Skills B1 exam for the permanent residence.

We can assist with your Spouse visa application and our service include:

  • Full guidance and support throughout the application
  • Provide you with a list of documents required for your application 
  • Drafting personal statement to explain your background and circumstances 
  • Checking all supporting documents to ensure eligibility  
  • Completion of application forms and upload of documents 
  • Liaising with the UK Visa and Immigration Department on your behalf
  • Referral service for property rental and purchase, education consultancy for independent schools, UK tax and accountancy advice, shipping and relocation, pet immigration services.