Complete Guide to the UK Spouse Settlement Visa
15 June 2017 | Mri Grout - A Lifelong Vagabond
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer so do not take this guide as definite legal advice. I am simply someone who has struggled through the UK spouse settlement visa process and have written a guide about the steps I have taken to (hopefully) get accepted. Will update about my application. See the start of this guide at Complete Guide to the UK Spouse Settlement Visa Page 1.
4. Collect All of the Original Supporting Documents
These MUST be the original documents; copies will not be accepted as proof. The absolute mandatory supporting documents for the UK spouse visa is as follows:
- sponsor’s bank statements (these need to be official)
- proof of relationship (meeting in person is a must)
- proof of English efficiency (or proof of exemption)
- proof of maintenance (needed even with proof of funds)
- your passport (needs to have at least one blank page)
- evidence of your permission to be in the country you’re applying in (if home country, send in birth certificate)
- tuberculosis test (only if you’re from any of these countries)
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Sponsor’s Bank Statments:
The most time consuming supporting documents that you will need for the UK spouse settlement visa are the bank statements. These WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED if they are not official bank statements!!! Online copies will not be accepted as actual proof and your application will be denied if that is all you send in. You can, however, take your online copies to your bank and have them stamp EVERY page, as well as give you a letter of authenticity that mentions the number of pages they’re authenticating. The letter HAS to mention the number of pages and be on official paper that has their bank logo and a stamp on it. However, I would recommend just getting proper bank statements (or online ones printed on official bank paper – make a fuss if need be for even ones that ‘claim they can’t’ actually can), stamped, and sent with a letter of authenticity. This might technically be overkill, but when it’s your future at risk, why chance it?
Proof of Relationship
They pretty much just want to make sure that the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor is genuine. A marriage certificate is not mandatory since despite its name, you do not actually need to be married to apply for the UK spouse visa; you just have to prove you’ve been in a relationship akin to marriage for at least two years. I would recommend sending in things like:
- photos of you two together over a two year minimum time period
- travel documents (original flight tickets would be best)
- joint bank accounts (make sure they’re official statements)
- Facebook and email messages between you two or about you two
- Facebook friendship timeline (this can be found by going to the other’s FB page from your account, clicking on the three dots to the right of the Message button (found bottom right of their cover photo on a desktop), and then clicking ‘See Friendship’)
- joint bills
- joint rental agreements
- marriage certificate
- wedding photos (if, like us, you didn’t have many friends or family at your wedding then this is a point against you according to the immigration guide so include EVERYTHING that will prove you’re in a genuine marriage)
- letter of introduction, one from each party (basically saying how you met, why you’re applying, and future intentions)
Proof of English Efficiency
If you’re from an English speaking country, your original birth certificate will do. However, if not you will need to provide at least one original document of the following:
- a test of english efficiency from an approved source taken at an approved center
- a degree taught or researched in English (if taken in the UK, you just need your original degree certificate; if outside of the UK or don’t have a the original degree yet/anymore then click on this link).
Proof of Maintenance
This is anything to show that you will not be a burden on society and that the currrent finances you have will support you for the full 2.5 years that your UK spouse settlement visa is valid for upon acceptance. The equation for having adequate evidence of accommodation is as follows:
(Weekly income after all tax and deductions) - (all rent and housing costs) > (Income Support your family size could qualify for)
This means that if you are relying solely on cash savings then your £62,500 will be divided by 143 to get a weekly income of £437.06. If you have a rental contract agreeing to £150/week with no other costs (such as house tax), then you would do the maths of: £437.06 - £150 = £287.06. This sum is higher than the £113.70/week that a UK couple would receive if they were on Income Support. Thus, you have proved you have adequate evidence of accommodation. However, if your rent was above £323.36/week then you would NOT have funds to adequately accommodated you and may be refused your UK spouse settlement visa. To see what the adequate evidence of accommodation equation means in detail, see page eight of Annex F Adequate Maintenance & Accommodation. The only mandatory supporting document (as far as I can tell) for proof of maintenance is evidence of accommodation, which goes as follows:
- If you’re renting from someone, this is normally a signed rental agreement saying price and length of contract.
- If you’re staying in a relative’s/friend’s house, a signed and dated letter of accommodation is needed. This needs to say what the price of staying there is (if any) and include how many rooms are in the house, as well as who is living there. This information is to prove that the house you will be staying in is uncrowded and fit for you to live there. This letter of accommodation will also need to be supplied with either a notarized copy of the house deeds in their name or a government bill to show proof of ownership and a right to let you stay there.
- If you’re staying in your sponsor’s house, the above signed and dated letter of accommodation as well as all supporting documents of ownership is needed.
- sponsorship undertaking form (this will act as a letter of invitation, which is EXTREMELY advised by the immigration office)
- both applicant’s and sponsor’s resumés/CVs to show an ability to find work
- official UK job offers (if you have one)
5. Make Copies of Everything You Want Sent Back
They will NOT send back anything that is not accompanied with a copy. For instance, if you have not made a copy of your marriage certificate they will not send your original one back. I would advise splitting the original pile from the copy piles so they know what to send back and what to keep.
6. Finish Your Online Application Steps
If you applied for the UK spouse visa online, this is the time to go back and complete the remaining sections. The reason you did not do this earlier is because once you attend your biometric appointment, you will be given a deadline of five days to have everything mailed to England. This is not a good timeline given how long it might take to find/receive original documents (especially bank statements). Also, having bank statements closer to the date of mailing this application the better. If you did not apply for the UK spouse visa online, then these are the following steps you need to do:
- Pay your NHS surcharge
- Book a Biometric Appointment (your passport will be sent back here; process different in each country)
- Apply for your Biometric Residence Permit (attended in the UK 10 days or less after your arrival)
Travel Tip #4
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