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Complete Guide to the
UK Spouse Settlement Visa Process

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 took to get accepted.

The application process for the UK spouse settlement visa is a daunting one that’s fraught with a nearly total lack of information, stressful high requirements, and constant frustration. The only way someone can seemingly get through this with all of their fingernails and a full night’s sleep is by hiring an (undoubtedly expensive) immigration lawyer. However, many of us are already struggling to meet the financial requirement of £62,500 in savings or £18,600/year in salary (an estimated 48% of Brits don’t meet this), so any extra expenses that aren’t completely necessary must be forgone. Nevertheless, there is still hope for you as due to having known this struggle personally, I have written this complete guide to the UK spouse settlement visa (and my visa was accepted without any other information required).

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1. Meet the Financial Requirements Plus Some

Solo Applicants

If you do not meet the UK spouse settlement visa financial requirements then that is grounds for automatic refusal regardless of how short you are. This is not up to discussion to or sympathy by the UK immigration officer so make sure that you’re not under by even one pound. The financial requirements for a solo applicant with no children are as follows:

  • Sponsor salary of £18,600 before tax held for at least six months or
  • Sponsor cash savings of a total of £62,500 held for at least six months or
  • Sponsor salary below £18,600, but with savings of [£16,000 + 2.5(difference)] held for at least six months or
  • Sponsor is receiving certain disability-related benefits or is a carer that makes him/her exempt from the financial requirement of the UK spouse settlement visa
In some cases, cash savings cannot be combined with income, so for a complete guide to the financial requirements of the UK spouse settlement visa, download this government appendix.

Applicants With Children

For the first child that is not a UK citizen, you must have an extra £3800 in salary before tax, and another £2400/year for any child after that. If you are relying on savings either solely or in addition to a salary, you will need to add this to the original amount that must be multiplied.

Base Financial Requirements Equation

[(£18,600 – salary) x 2.5] + £16,000 = required amount in cash savings

Cash Savings Examples if Below £18,600/Year:

1. £18,500 salary:

[(£18,600 - £18,500) x 2.5] + £16,000 =
(£100 * 2.5) + £16,000 =
£250 + £16,000 =


2. £15,080 salary:

[(£18,600 - £15,080) x 2.5] + £16,000 =
(£3520 * 2.5) + £16,000 =
£8800 + £16,000 =


3. £0 salary:

[(£18,600 - £0) x 2.5] + £16,000 =
(£18,600 * 2.5) + £16,000 =
£46,500 + £16,000 =


Financial Requirements You Actually Need

It’s all good having the financial requirements found above sitting in your sponser’s bank account for the last six months, but in reality you need much more than that. First, your spendings for that whole six months cannot dip even a poundunder the required amount. Second, there are numerous fees that are all really expensive (obviously).

The UK spouse settlement visa fees for a solo applicant from the USA are:

  • application fee: £1464 (plus exchange fee)
  • NHS surcharge fee: £600 (plus exchange fee)
  • mail charge fee: $227 (you have to use their service, plus exchange fee)
  • printing supporting documents and any notaries if need be
  • bank fees for official statements and letter of authentication
  • UK passport photo
  • plane tickets when the time comes: and given you'll be left in the dark, you can't even research any flights after your application has been decided because despite requiring every personal detail about you, it's not safe for them to say over the phone or electronically. This means you must wait for up to another 10 days after the decision to know what that decision is.
There is talk of a change coming to the financial requirements where certain applicants can use money from a third party to show to meet the financial requirements. However, no one yet knows what exactly this means so when I find out, I will update this section with more information.

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2. Fill Out the Online Application

First things first though, join either of both of these Facebook groups: UK Spouse Settlement Visa, UK Spouse visa for USA Citizens. They are a literal godsend full of wonderful members and support throughout the UK spouse visa process. I am on both of these and will continue to stay on them, but there are also so many other amazing and knowledgeable people to help you throughout. I really wish I had found these groups before I started my UK spouse settlement visa process.

Now on to the application. The application for the UK spouse settlement visa can be completed online. However, please note that you CANNOT make corrections to it after it has been submitted so triple check everything very thoroughly. I have personally included a signed and dated correction note in my application, but I would not use this method unless absolutely necessary as the first thing immigration officers check when they deny visas is whether or not they’ve been given a properly completed application form. So make sure EVERYTHING is correct and there aren’t any clerical errors before submitting your online application for the UK spouse settlement visa.

Other Things to Know:

  • Do NOT go further than simply filling in the UK spouse settlement visa application form online. Do NOT make an appointment with biometrics until you reach Step 6!!!! Otherwise you will give yourself an unwanted (and sometimes impossible) deadline!!!!
  • The date of travel you claim on the application is the entry start date they will use so choose this wisely. I would advise claiming its a month away as I have an assumption that they go based on that date. Though even if they don't, if they take longer to make your decision then they'll simply give you a new date to travel so no harm done. Plus if you get a decision sooner then you can leave sooner. I got my acceptance on 01 September 2017, but had to wait until the 19th until I am allowed to enter the UK. This date will be claimed on the visa.
If you cannot apply online then you need to print off and fill out the VAF4A form.

This a guide on how to fill out the UK spouse settlement visa form.

3. Print Off and Fill Out the Appendix 2 Form

If you’re wondering why they don’t give you a link to this on their online application platform, we’re in the same boat. Neverthless, they require it so you have to print it off and fill it out in all capital letters and with a blue or black pen. If you do not fill it out in this specific way, then they will just chuck it (or so I’ve heard, though no point in testing it). The last five pages of this Appendix 2 Form download is a ‘how to fill in’ guide. I would recommend using it even for the obvious questions just to be sure you know what it’s truly asking.

Pages: 1, 2, 3

Further pages of information on the UK Spouse Visa Guide:

Complete Guide to the UK Spouse Settlement Visa comments: