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UK Fiance Visa Guidelines: Everything South Africans Need to Know

The UK Fiance visa is your first step to joining your partner in the UK to marry or enter a civil partnership. A successful application is one that consistently meets all the visa guidelines. Read our blog post for a thorough walk through of how to do so.

For expert immigration advice and tailored guidance on the Fiance visa application, or any other visa route, contact our South Africa-based immigration lawyers on 0333 305 9375.

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    What is the UK Fiancé(e) visa? 

    The Fiancé(e) visa is intended for those who are engaged to be married to their partner who is either a British citizen or living with settled status in the UK. This is for people who are not yet married to their partner, but who intend to get married within six months of them entering the UK. A key condition of the Fiancé(e) visa is that you must get married to your British partner within this six month period.

    You must apply from outside the UK before you travel to the UK. A decision will usually take around 12 weeks. Applying outside the UK costs £1538 for you, and an additional £1538 per dependent (fees correct as of February 2023).

    As an applicant, you must first ensure that you meet the necessary requirements. The main Fiancé visa requirements include:

    • Your partner must either be a British citizen, or a settled person, meaning they have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain
    • They may also have pre-settled status if they are from an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein or refugee/humanitarian protection candidate
    • You and your partner must both be over the age of 18
    • You must intend to live in the UK permanently once married
    • Suitable accommodation for you and your partner must be evidenced
    • When you enter the UK, you must marry your partner within 6 months of entering
    • You must meet the English language requirement
    • You must provide proof that any previous relationships/marriages have ended
    • Your partner who is sponsoring you to join them must meet the minimum income requirement of £38,700 (this is the eventual threshold that will be set after the previous threshold raises in increments throughout 2024)
    • Proof of a “genuine and subsisting” relationship of at least two years


    Let’s take a more detailed look at the most important requirements in turn to see how you must meet them for your Fiancé(e) visa application to be successful.


    The genuine relationship test

    The Home Office will want to ensure you are in a real relationship with your partner and sponsor, before allowing you in to the UK to marry. This is to ensure there is no chance of a “sham marriage”, done purely for immigration purposes to allow a person to travel into the UK.

    Therefore, having documents and supporting evidence to show this will be an asset to your application. You could use, for example:

    • Logs of your communications – texts, emails, Whatsapp chats etc
    • Proof you have lived together
    • Finances you share
    • Documents that prove how long you have been in a relationship

    You’ll also be asked about your partners personal details and relationship history. If you and/or your partner have previously been in any marriages, you will need to provide proof they have ended, for example with divorce certificates.


    Financial requirement 

    As with any visa in the UK, under the Fiancé(e) visa you will have no access to state support or benefits. Therefore, your partner must prove they meet the minimum income requirement of £38,700 to support yourselves.

    This figure will be the eventual final threshold after it raises in increments throughout 2024.

    You will not have to show proof of any additional money if you decide to bring children to the UK.

    What counts as income

    You and your partner can use:

    • income from employment before tax
    • income you earn from self-employment or as a director of a limited company in the UK – check your Self Assessment tax return
    • cash savings above £16,000
    • money from a pension
    • non-work income, for example from property rentals or dividends

    If you’re using income from self-employment or employment, you’ll need to prove your partner received that income for 6 months or more.


    English language requirement 

    You can prove your English language level for the Fiancé(e) visa application by taking a test at a registered language centre. You can see a list of registered centres here. You will also need to prove your identity at the test centre via your passport or another residence card.

    Otherwise, you can prove your English language level by providing a degree certificate, if your degree with taught in English.

    For South African nationals that have studied outside of the UK, you will need to use Ecctis to apply for a “visa and nationality statement” to show that your degree studies are comparable and equivalent to a UK bachelors degree or higher. This costs an additional £140.


    What documents do I need for my UK fiancé(e) visa application?

    When filling out the application form for a Fiancé(e) visa online, the website will automatically generate a basic document checklist of some of the documentation you’ll need to supply in support of your application.

    However, please note that this checklist is meant to be used as a rough guide only. It is highly recommended you seek immigration advice and ensure you have checked the full guidance for any and all documents you may need to provide to the Home Office as part of your application.

    Although the exact documentation you’ll need to provide will depend on your circumstances, here’s what you may have to include:

    • Valid passport: this is a requirement for every application
    • Proof of earnings: the sponsor will need to provide evidence their income meets the minimum financial requirements. This will usually be with wage slips, bank statement etc.
    • English language test: a valid certificate from a registered Secure English Language Test centre at A1 level 
    • Other ways you can prove your English language level is through your degree certificate 
    • TB test: all South African applicants will need to provide a negative TB test result
    • Proof of accommodation: depending on whether the property is rented or owned, proof of where the applicant will live will be required. This will usually take the form of tenancy agreement, mortgage deeds etc
    • Supporting letter: while this is by no means mandatory, a supporting letter will help you set out to the Home Office how you meet the requirements, and it also gives you the chance to highlight the strengths of your case


    Immigration Advice Service guidance for applying for a UK Fiance visa 

    Do you need professional advice to apply for a Fiance visa, or another visa route from South Africa to the UK? Our team can help you apply from outside the country by providing advice remotely. To set up an appointment or find out more, contact our team on 0333 305 9375 to see how we can assist you.















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