How to Bring your partner to the UK

Whether you are a British citizen, you have settled permanently in the UK, or you hold a UK visa, you can bring your overseas partner here to join you. In this article, we will explain how to bring your partner to the UK under the spouse visa and dependant visa immigration routes and which to choose based on your immigration status.

Bringing your partner to the UK on a spouse visa

The UK partner or spouse visa is part of the family immigration scheme and enables an overseas partner to join a British national or a person who has settled permanently in the UK. The spouse visa is open to married partners, civil partners, and unmarried partners. In the case of unmarried partners, to meet the relationship requirements, applicants must have been living with their partner for at least 2 years. In addition, partners must:

  • Meet the English language requirements – i.e. by passing an English language test
  • Have sufficient income – i.e. a combined income of £18,600 or greater per year.

Successful spouse/partner visa applicants can remain in the UK for 2 years and 9 months, after which they can extend their stay for a further 2 years and 6 months. After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK on a spouse visa, it is then possible for a partner to settle permanently by applying for indefinite leave to remain.

If you have not been living with your overseas partner for 2 or more years, but you plan to get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK before settling down here, the fiancé visa may suit your needs. Overseas partners applying through the fiancé visa route must meet the same income and English language requirements as for the spouse / partner visa. In addition, they must be able to show they genuinely intend to get married or have a civil ceremony within 6 months of arrival in the country and then live with their partner in the UK.

Bringing your partner to the UK on a dependant visa

Whereas spouse and partner visa enables overseas partners to join loved ones who are permanently settled here or citizens of the UK, dependant visas are for partners of UK visa holders with limited leave to remain. Most, but not all, visas allow holders to bring their dependant family members to the UK; those that do include work visas, business visas, and student visas.

Your overseas partner may be eligible for a dependant visa as long as you are both married, in a civil partnership, or you have been living together for a minimum of 2 years. They must also have sufficient savings to support themselves in the UK (£1,270 or more held for at least 28 days).

If your partner’s dependant visa application is successful, their length of stay will normally be the same as for your visa. For example, if you are granted a 5-year Skilled Worker visa which expires on 1st January 2027, your partner’s dependant visa will have the same expiry date. They will also be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain after living in the UK for a qualifying period (5 years in most cases).

Final words

If you plan to settle down with your overseas spouse in the UK in 2022 or beyond, there are several immigration routes available to your partner. Both of the principal visa routes outlined above provide considerable flexibility in that holders can live, work, study, and travel with ease during their time in the UK. And crucially, both visa schemes enable partners to further extend their stay and provide a route to permanent settlement in the UK. No matter which immigration pathway your partner chooses, we wish you both the greatest of happiness in the UK.

Garth Coates is a leading niche immigration firm based in the heart of London, specialising in all forms of personal and business immigration, including visas, global mobility, sponsorship and compliance, settlement, and citizenship. To discuss your partner’s visa application, please contact one of our friendly and knowledgeable immigration Solicitors on Tel: +44 (0)20 7799 1600 or by completing our online contact form

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