UK Marriage Visas, Spouse Visas & Partner Visas

Moving to the UK

If you have a partner, spouse or fiancé(e) who is living in the UK, or about to move to the UK, you may qualify to settle (live) in the UK as their dependant.

There are various scenarios:

…you are planning to marry or to have a Civil Partnership ceremony in the UK and wish to stay on in the UK to live

…you are already married to your spouse, or are a Civil Partner of a British Citizen (or someone who has permission to live permanently in the UK)

…you are a long-term unmarried partner of a British Citizen (or someone who has permission to live permanently in the UK).

Financial requirement

There is a minimum income requirement to sponsor a partner (fiancé(e), spouse, unmarried partner) for settlement in the UK, of £29k as of 11/4/24 (due to increase to £34,500 later in 2024, and £38,700 early 2025 – these increases will only apply to new applicants to the family visa route, not to those currently holding family visas who need to extend).

The British Citizen/permanent resident is called the ‘sponsor’.  The partner applying is called the ‘applicant’.

Income can come from:

  • Salaried employment of the sponsor (or applicant, where the applicant is already working legally in the UK on another visa)
  • Self-employment of the sponsor (or applicant, where the applicant is already working legally in the UK on another visa)
  • Cash savings – the equation to calculate savings required is (the duration of the visa in years x the annual income amount) + £16,000
  • State or private pension of either the sponsor or applicant
  • Maternity Allowance and bereavement benefits received in the UK by either the sponsor or the applicant
  • Property rental income for property in the UK or overseas, in the sponsor and/or applicant’s name, where the property is not their main residence
  • Dividends or other income from investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds in the sponsor and/or applicant’s name
  • Interest from savings in the sponsor and/or applicant’s name
  • Maintenance payments from the applicant’s former partner in relation to the applicant and former partner’s children that are cared for by the applicant
  • Maintenance grants for UK students.

Certain combinations of the above are allowed, feel free to contact us if you wish to know whether a particular combination can be used.

With most of the above, the evidence of this income must cover the 6 or 12 months prior to the application.  In some cases this will mean that the sponsor needs to be present and earning in the UK for 6 months prior to their partner applying. The requirements are slightly different for each income form, however, so if you want to know what your options are please contact us with your circumstances and we’ll clarify those for you!


Sponsors in receipt of one of the following benefits will exempt their partner from the income requirement, as long as they can demonstrate they have sufficient income to maintain both people:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carers Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme.

Additional requirements

There are other requirements to be met in order to qualify for a settlement visa as a partner. These include:

  • both parties being over 18
  • evidence that one party has permission to reside permanently in the UK and is already settled there or will become settled at the same time as his/her partner
  • for fiancé(e)s/civil partnerships and spouses: providing evidence of the pending marriage/civil partnership (such as ceremony arrangements) or existing marriage/civil partnership (such as a certificate)
  • for unmarried partners: providing evidence of having lived together in a relationship ‘akin to marriage’ for two years or more
  • providing evidence of the history of the relationship
  • providing evidence that the parties have met in person
  • providing evidence that the applicant’s level of English speaking and listening is at least A1 standard of the Common European Framework (which increases to A2 at extension stage)
  • providing evidence of accommodation arrangements.

Length of the visa

The initial visa will be granted for 2.5 years (or 2 years 9 months where applying from outside the UK).

After the first 2.5 years (from the date of landing in the UK) you must then apply for an extension which will be granted for another 2.5 years.  After 5 years of residency with your British/resident spouse in the UK, you can apply for permanent residency (‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’).  Note: this Indefinite Leave to Remain is only indefinite while you are living in the UK!  If you live outside the UK for more than 2 years once you have obtained this, you will lose it.

There is also a requirement to pass a test on ‘Life in the UK’, and a higher level of English test (B1 in speaking and listening) before Indefinite Leave to Remain is granted.

How de Prey Consulting can help

This is the visa type on which Nikki de Prey spends the majority of her time!  As some of the longest, most elaborate and expensive of UK visa applications, Nikki will guide you as to which type of settlement visa to apply for, prepare it with you, or direct you to prepare your own. In either case she will walk you through it step by step.

About Nikki de Prey

de Prey Consulting is an immigration consultancy based in Edinburgh, UK. Nikki advises clients on the variety of visa applications for entering or remaining in the UK. For more information read about her background in About dPC.