- Overview of the UK Spouse visa
- Eligibility requirements for the UK Spouse visa
- Genuine Relationship test
- Proof of Genuine Relationship
- Financial requirements for the Spouse visa UK for Canadian citizens & residents
- Exceptions to the financial requirements
- Application process for the spouse visa UK
- Required documents
- How Total Law can help
- Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of the UK Spouse Visa
The UK Spouse visa is a UK family visa that allows British citizens, settled residents, EU/EEA nationals, and other qualified residents to bring their spouse or civil partner to the UK to live with them.
The UK spouse visa is also called the partner visa or marriage visa. This immigration visa permits Canadian citizens to travel to the UK to seek entry clearance so they can join their partners in the UK for up to 30 months, which can be further extended.
This visa is not intended for a short stay or visit. If you intend to visa your partner, you can apply for the UK visit visa. The UK Spouse visa is best for those who wish to join their partner in the long term and live and work in the UK without needing a work visa.
After having a spouse visa or civil partner visa in the UK for a consecutive period of 5 years, applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). With ILR, the Canadian partner can later apply to become a British citizen if they so wish.
There are specific requirements you and your UK-based partner must meet to qualify for this route and we have explored them below. For immediate assistance with obtaining this visa type or advice, please call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online via our live chat.
What are the eligibility requirements for the UK spouse visa?
In order to meet the strict eligibility criteria for the spouse visa, both partners must be at least 18-year-olds and the partner of the Canadian citizen must:
- Be a British national or Irish citizen
- Pass the genuine relationship test
- Hold settled status in the UK through the European Union settlement scheme, with either indefinite leave to remain, settled status or permanent residency in the UK
- Be a citizen from the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and hold pre-settled status. If this is your partner’s situation, they must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021
- Have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
- Hold refugee status or humanitarian protection from the UK
- Meet the spouse visa financial requirement, which requires applicants to prove that they and their partner have a combined yearly income of a minimum of £18,600, which is about $31,899.89 Canadian Dollars, or provide evidence for cash savings of at least £62,500 which is about 107,185.94 Canadian Dollar through bank statements
- Able to demonstrate they have an appropriate place for the Canadian partner to come and live with them in the UK. “Appropriate” means it should be owned by either the UK partner or applicant or it is occupied/rented exclusively by them
- Pass a medical exam to prove good health without Tuberculosis
- Must prove to the UK government you intend to fully make Canada your home permanently and long term
As a Canadian citizen, it is not required to do the approved English language test unless the English language is not your first spoken language.
What is the genuine relationship test for the UK spouse visa?
Couples that wish to apply for a UK spouse visa will have to prove the following about the nature of your relationship:
- That you and your partner have met in person
- That you and your partner have a genuine, lasting relationship
- That you and your partner do not have blood relations or relations through marriage
- That you and your partners are legally married or civil partnership is valid via a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
- That you and your partner intend to live together in the UK permanently
- Any previous relationships and/or marriage have ended permanently
Proof of Genuine Relationship
Per UK immigration rules, as part of the spouse visa application, you have to prove you have a genuine relationship with your wife, partner, husband, or civil partner by providing the following supporting documents as evidence to the Home Office:
- Marriage certificate/civil partnership certificate (if applicable)
- Tenancy Agreement
- Letters of support from family members and friends that confirm you and your partner’s relationship are genuine
- Official documents such as from the government, bank, council utility provider, medical professional, etc
- Photographs showing relationships throughout the years of the relationship
- Voter registration
- Financial requirements are met
- Travel tickets, receipts, cards, texts, and/or social media posts are not considered
- Call logs
What are the UK Spouse Visa financial requirements?
For the purpose of applying for UK spouse visas, the British national or legal UK resident are known as the sponsor to the Canadian citizen and they are required to meet specific financial requirements.
These requirements before spring 2024 are:
- That you, the sponsor, and your partner meet the financial requirement and have enough money to support yourselves without needing public funds.
- The UK spouse needs an income of at least £18,600 before tax
- If you add one dependent child, you will need an income of £22,400 before tax to meet the financial requirement. For any additional children, the sponsor will need an extra £2,400 for each child.
This requirement can be quite challenging for this visa application. As such, the following sources of income and money can count towards the UK spouse visa application:
- Savings over £16,000
- Earnings from your work or from self-employment
- Maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay
- Other income from rent or shares
It is permitted to use a combination of savings and earnings to help you meet the minimum income threshold. However, you will need to prove you have enough financial support for the entire length of the permit.
Your Canadian partner can contribute their savings towards the total income amount, not their earnings.
Changes Happening In 2024
Starting in spring 2024, the adjusted income requirement initiates at £29,000, progressing to £34,500 and eventually £38,700. Apply well before these changes take place!
Importantly, from spring 2024 onward, the child element is no longer considered in the minimum income requirement, eliminating the need for additional funds per child.
Current visa holders or those applying before the minimum income threshold rises will be evaluated based on the existing requirement. This applies to individuals with a fiance visa, even if they plan to later apply for a spouse visa.
However, those transitioning to this route from another (post-changes) will undergo assessment using the updated criteria.
Exceptions to the financial requirements
There are very specific situations whereby you won’t need to meet the financial criteria. This is if you are claiming any one of the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
- Police Injury Pension
If you are claiming these benefits, however, you require sufficient finances for any dependents, and this will be decided on a case-by-case decision, but it is typically about £120 per week after you have paid for housing.
What is the application process for the UK spouse visa?
For this visa category, the applicants can apply online from their home country. So, the application can be made from either Canada or the UK if they happen to already be legally residing there.
All supporting documents required to prove the genuine relationship need to be submitted along with the required fees and biometrics.
You will also have to pay the fees. For spouse visa applications made outside the UK, including Canada, the cost is £1,523. This cost goes down to £1,033 if you submit your application from within the UK. There are additional costs if you wish to opt for the premium service fees to expedite your application.
The average processing time for a UK Partner visa is anywhere between 2 – 12 weeks from the date of submission.
What are the required documents for the UK spouse visa?
The UK spouse visa requires the following documents that must be submitted in English or Welsh:
- Your original marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Proof that you and your partner have been living together for at least the past two years, such as a tenancy agreement
- A valid passport to get leave to remain in the UK
- Proof of accommodation, including a floor plan to show there is enough space in the home, where everyone will be sleeping and who owns the property if you do not.
- Proof that the relationship is genuine
- Proof that you meet the income threshold and the financial requirement
- Proof that you are married to a British citizen or settled person (for example, UK citizens can submit a copy of their passport)
At Total Law, we are immigration lawyers with expertise in UK and Canadian immigration. When you reach out to us, we immediately get on with ensuring you are on the best path to success.
From checking to ensure you are eligible to submit a high-standard application, we will do all that is necessary to make sure you have a higher chance of visa approval.
You can contact us seven days a week, either on the phone (+1 844 290 6312) or by using the online chat function to speak with one of our client care agents.
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No, there are other UK visas that you can explore to join your partner. If the UK resident is your fiance or proposed civil partner, you can use the Fiance visa. There is also the unmarried partner visa for those who want to join their de facto partner.
For legally married couples or those in a civil partnership, the Partner visa will last for 33 months if they apply from Canada or elsewhere outside the UK and for 30 months if they apply from inside the UK. However, the UK spouse visa extension is available that permits another 2 years and 6 months. It’s possible to renew multiple times.
Once you get your visa and start living in the UK with your spouse or partner, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, which lets you settle in the UK permanently without immigration issues. This is available to apply for, in normal circumstances, after five years.
If you get a divorce, you must inform the Home Office as soon as you can. Since your permission in the UK is based on a marriage visa, the Home Office will issue a Spouse Visa curtailment, which permits enough time to make a new application under a new route to stay in the UK, or you will have to leave the country, and return to Canada.
In the disappointing chance you get a refusal letter, you will usually still have the right to appeal against the decision but your individual letter of refusal will inform you if you are eligible to appeal. You will be able to submit new evidence if it proves that you were eligible at the time of your initial request.