This is a question Citizens Advice is very frequently asked. If you’re already in the UK, a non-EU/EEA spouse (husband, wife or civil partner) will need a visa to join you to live for over 6 months. They’ll need to make the application from outside the UK.
Your spouse can initially stay 33 months and then renew their visa in the UK for another 2 years and 6 months. They can apply to settle in the UK after 5 years.
Check what visa they need
The visa your spouse needs will depend on your circumstances.
Family of a settled person visa if you’re a British citizen or have ‘indefinite leave to remain’
EEA family permit if you’re an EEA national living in the UK and your dependant is not from the EEA
Family reunion if you have refugee status or humanitarian protection
Dependant visa if you have a Tier 2 (General) or Tier 4 (Student) visa.
If you’re filling in the form for them
In the Gov.uk website visas and immigration section, there’s an option to “apply for someone else” on the online form. As part of the application process, they must have their biometrics taken (fingerprints and photograph). Check where their nearest visa application centre is before you apply, because it might be in a different country.
Check how much you need to be earning
Unless you have refugee status or humanitarian protection, you’ll need to prove that your income is at least £18,600 before tax (£22,400 for a spouse or partner plus one child, and £2,400 for each additional child).
This can be a combination of income from employment or self-employment; a pension; maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay; other income (such as from rent or shares); or cash savings (you’ll need at least £16,000, and the savings must have been in your name for 6 months or more).
You won’t need to meet this financial requirement if you are receiving certain disability or bereavement benefits – you’ll just need to show that you receive enough money to look after your dependent. Read full details about meeting the financial requirement on Gov.uk. You should get specialist advice if you’re not sure how to prove that you meet the financial requirement.
If your spouse or partner is from outside the EEA, they’ll have to pay £200 per year for healthcare in the UK, as part of their visa application.
Including the correct evidence
In general, you’ll need to provide evidence to support each thing you say in the application. You’ll need to provide evidence that you’re in a genuine relationship – this could include documents that show that you have lived together, have children together or have a shared bank account or savings.
Your partner will normally have to go to an interview as part of the application. Check the visa application centre where they live to get an idea of how long they’ll have to wait to get an appointment. At the interview, the applicant will be asked questions about your relationship and your families. If you’re already married or in a civil partnership, they should take evidence of this, eg, marriage certificate.
You should both go to the interview if you’re in the same country when the interview takes place.
This information is for guidance only and may be subject to change. Please check with our national website citizensadvice.org.uk and the Gov.uk visa and immigration section for the latest information before applying for a visa.