What is a Spouse Visa extension?
The Spouse Visa is a type of Family Visa that is also known as a Partner Visa. It allows the partner of a British citizen or settled person to join them in the UK and is valid for up to 30 months. If you’ve moved from South Africa to the UK with this visa, but would like to continue living in the UK, then you’ll need to apply to extend your Spouse Visa.
This visa extension will be valid for another 30 months. If you still don’t want to return to South Africa after this time, then you could settle in the UK with your partner by applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
The eligibility requirements to extend a Partner Visa are the same as the original visa and you’ll need to prove that you are still able to meet these.
Spouse Visa extension requirements
To be eligible for the Spouse Visa extension, you will need to meet all the requirements that you originally met in your visa application, these include:
- Being married to or in a civil partnership with a person who is a British Citizen or has been granted settled status in the UK
- Meeting the financial requirements
- Passing the Genuine Relationship test
- Demonstrating your knowledge of the English language
- Evidence of suitable accommodation whilst you stay in the UK
You will not automatically be granted an extension for already having a Spousal Visa so you’ll need to gather the documents to show that you still meet these requirements currently.
How to apply for a Spouse Visa extension
You should apply to extend your visa prior to your current visas expiration date and you can do this by using the online form on GOV.uk. You cannot apply for the Partner Visa extension if you are currently in South Africa as you must be living in the UK. If the Partner Visa you have runs out before you hear back about the application, you don’t need to return to South Africa and you are allowed to stay in the United Kingdom whilst you wait for a decision from the Home Office.
To make an application, you’ll need to fill in the online form and submit any supporting documents that you may have as well as the required documents. You’ll also need to pay an application fee, which is currently £1,033.
Once you’ve done these things, you’ll just need to wait for your decision from the Home Office. This usually takes around 6 weeks but may take longer if they require any additional information from you after you’ve made the initial application.
How can IAS help?
Here at the Immigration Advice Service, our attorneys have helped thousands of people to be successful with their immigration applications and this includes applications for visa extensions. Our attorneys offer an Application Package that will ensure you’ re guided through every step of the process for your extension application.
If you hire one of our immigration attorneys to help you, they will:
- Assist you with filling in an application form for a Partner Visa extension
- Explain the requirements you need to meet and help you to gather all of the documents you need to prove you’re able to do this
- Checking your application and the supporting documents to ensure they are accurate and completed to a high standard
- Monitoring the application and communicating with the Home Office to keep you updated on the progress of your application
- Writing you a letter of representation that will support your application
Our attorneys will be there throughout the process to answer any questions you may have. They also offer a fast-track application service so, if your visa is due to run out soon, they will work hard to make sure that your application is submitted as quickly as possible.
For help with your Partner Visa extension application, or any other immigration application, contact us today on 0333 305 3612.
To be able to meet the requirements for to extend your Spouse Visa, you need to submit several types of documents as evidence that you’re able to meet these criteria.
The documents you need to submit include:
- Proof your relationship with your partner is genuine – photos, shared bank statements, media, tickets
- Evidence that you and your partner have been living together and you have suitable accommodation – shared tenancy agreement or mortgage
- Proof you can meet the financial requirements – bank statements, payslips, etc.
As well as your supporting documents, you’ll also need to provide some other documents, these include:
- Your passport or another valid form of ID
- Copies of the photo page on your passport as well as any visas or entry stamps on previous passports
- Your Biometric Residence Permit if you have one
- Your Tuberculosis test results
It is important to note that if any of your documents are not in English or Welsh then you will have to get them professionally translated, our attorneys can help you to do this.
Switching from a Spouse Visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain
If you wish to make the UK your permanent residence, then you could do so by applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
If you’ve already extended your Spouse Visa and have lived in the UK for 5 years, then you will be able to apply for permanent residency in the UK. Indefinite Leave to Remain will give you the freedom to live, work, and study in the United Kingdom permanently and without immigration restrictions.
As well as living in the United Kingdom under your visa for 5 years, there are other requirements you’ll have to meet to be granted ILR , these include:
- You do not have a criminal record and you can not be in breach of British immigration laws
- You have to pass the Life in the UK Test
- You must be able to meet the continuous residence requirements; this means you can’t have moved back to South Africa. You are allowed to have visited but you must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in 12 months during the qualifying period.
Once you’ve held ILR for 12 months, you’ll be eligible to apply for British Citizenship.
If you’ve already renewed your visa once but would like to remain in the United Kingdom without applying for ILR, then you can renew your visa for a second time instead.
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Once you’ve made the application, you will usually receive a decision from the Home Office within 8 weeks. However, the time it takes to hear back can increase in some circumstances such as if you’re required to submit more documents.
If the visa you have runs out whilst you’re waiting for your decision, then you can remain in the UK until you receive this.
The current Spouse Visa extension cost is £1033, as well as this fee you should also consider other costs.
You will might be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which will give you access to the NHS. You will also have to pay to get your biometric information taken, this is your fingerprints and photo, it costs £19.20 to get this done.
If your application to extend your Spouse Visa is refused, then our attorneys can help you to appeal this decision. It is important that you submit an appeal as soon as possible.
With our appeals package, one of our attorneys will use their immigration law expertise to create an appeal application and will submit this for you. They will guide you through the appeal process and do their best to give the extension application a second chance.
If your appeal is also refused, then you will either have to return to South Africa or you could remain in the United Kingdom using a different immigration route, such as a UK work visa. Our attorneys can speak to you about your circumstances and advise you on your eligibility for other visas and immigration options.
For more information about appealing a decision by the Home Office, contact us on 0333 305 3612 we are happy to help with any questions you may have