A UK spouse visa is a mandatory document for those who want to join their partner in the UK to get married and exercise their legal rights there. Of course, the procedure is quite long and requires dedication and patience, but in the end, it is all worth the effort.
Generally speaking, you need to apply with your valid passport and proof of your relationship with the person who has a certain UK resident status. Of course, there are other conditions that you need to meet in order for your application to be considered. To keep up to date with the current requirements, follow the information at https://imperiallegal.com/uk-spouse-and-fiance-fiancee-visas-family-visas.
Of course, we are also here to help you with certain directions. In this article, we will explore the processing times for spouse visas in the year 2023 and discuss strategies to expedite the visa application process.
First, let’s start with the most obvious:
Required documents for UK spouse visa application
As we said, proof of relationship with the person and a valid passport are mandatory documents without which you cannot apply. This includes joint bank accounts, tenancy agreements, proof of marriage or partnership, or proof of cohabitation. At some point, you may need proof of your financial stability, including pay slips or other financial assets.
If your partner is sponsoring your application, they need to provide their employment contract, pay slips, and bank statements. Additionally, a clear criminal record and English language proficiency tests can be of benefit, as well as proof that you have a place to live. And, of course, do not forget to fill out the application form because, without it, your documents will not be considered.
Financial requirements for UK spouse visa
This part is also very important because if you meet all the conditions, the application will not be returned but will be considered within the prescribed period.
For example, you need to show proof that you are receiving a salary or any kind of assistance as an unemployed person. Additionally, you may be asked to show your current savings or cash balance. We recommend that you inquire carefully or review the terms of financial obligations to the UK before proceeding with your spouse’s visa application.
The financial conditions also include care for children who are dependent on you, as well as for those who are already of legal age. For that, of course, you need appropriate documentation. In fact, in general, everything you’ve had as financial income is relevant for this visa, and it’s up to you to collect all the documents you need and attach them with the application.
And what you need to know is that if you have proof of savings sufficient for you and your spouse, then that is enough proof that you are financially eligible for the visa, even if you do not currently have an active work contract and steady income.
Standard spouse visa processing time in 2023
The standard visa review process generally takes about three months, although sometimes, the process can be much shorter. Please note that this time frame applies if you are applying from another country, depending on where the nearest embassy is and how long it would take to provide all the necessary documents. This means that you should plan to start the bureaucratic procedures much earlier than you originally planned because not every state works the same. For example, you may need two weeks for the certificate of no conviction or for the passport renewal.
The three-month period runs from the time the Home Office receives your application until the final decision. Of course, if you are already in the UK under one type of visa and need to switch to a spouse visa, then the process is much shorter because you have already completed most of the formalities beforehand, such as proof of work or accommodation. In such a case, the procedure would not last longer than eight weeks.
Spouse visa extensions or applications to switch route
If both persons are already in the UK and apply for the extension or conversion of existing visas, the processing time is no longer than three months. This duration provides an estimate of the time it takes for the UK authorities to review and decide on these applications.
We have to emphasize that all this happens with high priority and that sometimes the answer can arrive already in the first month or even shorter. Of course, it all depends on how many applications you have before your process because certain parts of the year are quite busy, especially when visas are renewed.
Expediting the spouse visa process
Like any other process, this one can be accelerated if you pay for it or if there is a serious reason why you need a quick decision.
Obtaining a spouse visa in the UK is a significant milestone for individuals looking to reunite with their partners, and this is clear to all of us. As we said, the procedure can take about three months if you apply outside the country or about six weeks if you are already under some visa regime within the UK.
Understanding the desire for a swift decision on spouse visa applications, the UK offers options to speed up the process. The authorities give you the option to choose a fast priority service. By selecting the ‘priority service’ at the time of application, eligible applicants can receive a decision within five working days. Of course, this service is not free, and it is not cheap at all, as you have to pay both the standard cost and an additional £500 to get to the top of the priority list.
Now you know it all. Pay attention to the requirements so you can get a response in a timely manner. Every missed document means returning the application and re-submitting it for an additional review, which can be pretty time-consuming. In order to skip that, make sure you collect all the documents on time and submit the application properly. That way, you can get an early response, especially when everything is fine with your file.