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Guide to Applying for a Dependent Partner or Spouse Visa in the UK

The UK is a popular destination for individuals seeking to work, study, or settle. For those who have already made the move, bringing their dependent spouse to join them is often a top priority. The process of applying for a dependent spouse visa in the UK can be complex and requires careful preparation. This ultimate guide will walk you through the steps, requirements, and resources needed to successfully apply for a dependent spouse visa.


1. Understanding the Dependent Spouse Visa

A dependent spouse visa allows the spouse of a UK visa holder to join them in the UK. This visa is typically sought by spouses of individuals on Tier 2 (General) Visas, Student Visas, or other work-related visas. The dependent visa holder can live and work in the UK, although there are certain restrictions.


2. Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for a dependent spouse visa, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

-To apply as a partner, you and your partner both need to be 18 or over.

-The partner is either a British or Irish citizen or has obtained a Settlement Visa.

-You must be able to prove:

  • you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognized in the UK

  • you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply

  • you are a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and will marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of arriving.

-Need to prove financial requirements. The main visa holder must demonstrate they have enough funds to support their spouse without recourse to public funds.

- There must be adequate accommodation for the spouse in the UK.

- You must intend to live together in the UK.

-The applicant speaks and understands English to the required level



3. Required Documentation

The application process involves submitting several key documents:

  • Valid Passport: The applicant's passport must be valid.

  • Marriage Certificate: A legal document proving the marriage.

  • Evidence of Relationship: This can include photos, communication records, and travel history, communicate regularly with each other (love letters, message exchange trails), support each other financially (records of remittance), and care for any children you have together. 

  • Financial Evidence: Bank statements, employment letters, or evidence of self-employment. You’ll need to provide proof of income with your application. If you or your family member are employed, you could include: The employer’s letter should confirm:

-bank statements showing your or their income

-6 months of payslips, counting back from the day you apply

-a letter from an employer, dated and on headed paper

  • Accommodation Details: A tenancy agreement or proof of home ownership in the UK .

  • Tuberculosis Test Results: Required if you are coming from a country where TB is prevalent.

  • English Language Requirement

-Could be an IELTs score between 0-4 or basic user level is acceptable

-Possessing a Bachelor degree or other suitable academic qualification taught

in English. Such educational credentials serve as evidence of your English

language proficiency.

-You are over the age of 65 or having a physical or mental condition impedes

your ability to fulfil the language requirement


4. Financial Requirements

UK Partner visa application mandates that the applicant’s UK-based partner evidence a minimum gross annual income of £18,600. However, in the latest update outlined by the Home Office, this income requirement is set to undergo incremental increases. Specifically, it is expected to rise to £29,000 in Spring 2024, subsequently to £34,500 and eventually reaching £38,700 per year. 

For applicants with children, an additional financial commitment is necessary. At present, an extra £3,800 per year is required for the first child, and an additional £2,400 per year for each subsequent child.


5. Visa Fees

The spouse visa UK fee (cost) in 2024 is £1,846 if you are applying outside the UK and £1,048 if you are applying inside the UK. In addition to this, applicants must cover supplementary expenses, including the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge, amounting to £1,035 for each year of the visa’s duration. Furthermore, a biometric appointment attendance fee is applicable to all applicants.


6. The Application Process

The application process can be summarized in several steps:

Step 1: Gather Documentation Collect all necessary documents. Ensure they are translated into English if required.

Step 2: Complete the Online Application Fill out the online application form on the UK government's website. Be thorough and accurate to avoid delays.

Step 3: Pay the Fee The application fee varies depending on the type of visa your spouse holds. Fees can be checked on the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) website.

Step 4: Book an Appointment Book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) for biometric data collection (fingerprints and photographs).

Step 5: Attend the Appointment Attend the VAC appointment and submit your documents. Make sure to carry both originals and copies of all documents.

Step 6: Wait for a Decision After submission, you will receive a decision within a specified time frame, which can vary. You may need to provide additional information if requested.


7. Post-Visa Approval

Once the visa is approved:

  • Travel to the UK: The dependent spouse can now travel to the UK.

  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): Collect the BRP within 10 days of arrival in the UK.

  • Register with GP: Register with a General Practitioner (GP) for healthcare services.

  • Find Employment: The dependent spouse can seek employment in the UK without restrictions, except as a doctor or dentist in training.


8. Extension and Settlement

The dependent spouse visa is typically granted for the same duration as the main visa holder’s. As the visa nears expiration, you can apply for an extension. After spending a certain period (usually five years) in the UK, the dependent spouse may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).



Applying for a dependent spouse visa in the UK requires meticulous preparation and adherence to the set guidelines. By understanding the requirements, gathering the necessary documentation, and following the application steps carefully, you can navigate the process successfully. Utilize the resources provided, and seek professional advice if needed, to ensure a smooth application experience.

For further assistance, consider consulting an immigration lawyer or advisor who can offer personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances.



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