How To Switch From a Student Visa To Spouse Visa UK ?
One of the most common questions our immigration lawyers is asked whether it is possible to switch from a student visa to spouse visa UK. In this post, we will explain whether those currently living in the UK with a student visa can switch to a spouse visa, as well as explaining the requirements and the process of switching from a Tier 4 student visa to a spouse visa, student visa to spouse visa uk
If you currently have a valid Tier 4 Student visa in UK and you have entered into a marriage or civil partnership with a British citizen, a person with indefinite leave to remain, Pre-settled status, refugee status or humanitarian leave, you are permitted to switch to a UK Spouse Visa.
If you are planning to switch from a Tier 4 Student visa to a Spouse visa, you will need to make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements of a spouse visa application.
If you wish to apply for a Student Visa Or Spouse Visa, then speak to one of our specialised immigration lawyers for expert advice by completing our “Enquiry Form”.
What are the eligibility requirements of a Spouse Visa application?
T0 qualify for a UK spouse visa, you will need to satisfy the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that:
- Your spouse or civil partner is a British citizen, or has indefinite leave to remain, Pre-settled status, Refugee status or humanitarian protection leave;
- You are aged 18 or above;
- You have met your partner in person;
- You have entered into a valid marriage or civil partnership with your partner;
- Your relationship with your partner is genuine and subsisting;
- Any previous relationship has broken down permanently;
- You and your spouse or civil partner intend to live together permanently in the UK;
- You satisfy the financial requirements of a Spouse Visa application under Appendix FM;
- You and your partner have adequate accommodation in the UK:
- You are able to understand and speak English at the required level;
- You have valid leave at the time of your application for a UK spouse visa (if you are applying from inside the UK).
In addition to the eligibility criteria above, you will also need to satisfy the UKVI that you meet the suitability requirements of a Spouse Visa application. When deciding an application for a UK Spouse Visa, the UKVI will check whether the applicant meets the suitability requirements and carries out checks to make sure that the applicant is a person pf good character and does not have any criminal convictions.
What are the financial requirements of Spouse Visa application?
As part of your Spouse Visa application, you are required to show that you can be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds. To satisfy the maintenance requirement, you will need to meet the financial requirements of Appendix FM, which states that your spouse (or both you and your spouse jointly if you live in the UK with a valid visa) has a gross annual income of at least £18,600.
If you have dependent children who are not British and are applying for UK visas as your dependents, your spouse (or both you and your spouse jointly if you live in the UK with a valid visa) needs to show an additional income of £3,800 (on top of the £18,600) for the first child and an additional income of £2,400 for each additional child.
If your spouse or civil partner is receiving benefits or other state entitlements, they can satisfy the financial requirements of a UK spouse visa by demonstrating that they are able to ‘maintain and accommodate’ you and your dependents.
It is important to remember that you will need to meet the financial requirements of a UK Spouse Visa at the time of your first application, and subsequently at the time of your application for an extension of your Spouse Visa after 2.5 years, and finally at the time of applying for indefinite leave to remain.
The Immigration Rules relating to the financial requirements of UK Spouse Visa Applications are quite complex and require specified evidence to be provided in support of your application. The Immigration Rules not only require a mandatory set of documents to be provided in support of your Spouse Visa application, but also specifies the format in which the required documents must be presented. The onus is on you, as the applicant, to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted to show that you meet the financial requirements of your spouse visa application. Failure to provide the documentary evidenced specified by the Immigration Rules is the most common reasons spouse visa application are refused.
What are the benefits of a Spouse Visa over a Tier 4 Student Visa?
The UK Spouse Visa category is one of the most generous immigration routes in terms of the options and freedoms it offers. Tier 4 Student Visas are subject to many conditions such as the Student Migrant only being permitted to work limited number of hours each months and having to ensure that they have a high level of attendance at the educational institution where they are registered to study. Failure to comply with these conditions will result in your Tier 4 Student Visa being curtailed.
By comparison, there are very few restrictions, if any, on the rights of Spouse Visa holders. For example, UK Spouse Visa holders can work as many hours as they wish, start their own business, or study as many hours as they want. Additionally, if you have a UK Spouse Visa, you will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after 5 years, which is an enormous advantage as you will not be subject to any immigration control once you have acquired indefinite leave to remain. Lastly, once you acquire indefinite leave to remain following completion of 5 years of residence in the UK under the Spouse Visa category, you will be able to apply for British citizenship straight away. This is another significant advantage that is only offered to those who acquire ILR under the Spouse Visa category as all other applicants usually have to reside in the UK for an extra period of 12 months following grant of ILR before they can apply for British citizenship.
Because of all the above reasons, the UK Spouse Visa category is one of the most attractive routes to Settlement and British citizenship. It is also for these reasons that the UKVI carry out vigorous checks when considering UK Spouse Visa applications, which is why it is fundamentally important to make sure that your Spouse Vis application has been prepared well and that it has been supported by the necessary documents to avoid refusal of your application.
Timescale for switching student visa to spouse visa UK
Currently the UK Visas and Immigration take up to 6 months to decide UK Spouse Visa applications if the application is submitted via the standard service. Although in some cases the UKVI may decide Spouse Visa applications sooner than 6 months, it is best to prepare yourself for around 6 months of waiting time.
You also have the option of submitting your Spouse Visa application via the Super Priority Service which will guarantee a decision within 24 hours of enrolling your biometrics. This option, however, comes with an additional cost of £800 (at present) on top of the usual Spouse Visa application fee that you have today.
How long is a spouse visa valid?
If your application for a Spouse Visa is successful, you will be granted 30 months of leave to remain. This can be extended for another 30 months and after completing 60 months of residence in the UK under the Spouse Visa category, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. It is very important to remember that you must apply to extend your spouse visa before your initial spouse visa expired as failure to do so may result in your extension application being refused on the grounds that you applied as an overstayer.
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