How to Apply for a Spouse's Visa for the United Kingdom

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Obtaining a UK visa is easier if you are already married to a British citizen.
Obtaining a UK visa is easier if you are already married to a British citizen. (Image: united kingdom image by TEMISTOCLE LUCARELLI from Fotolia.com)

When your spouse is already a British citizen and you want to move to the U.K., you'll need to obtain the right visa to live there. If you're going to move to the United Kingdom you will need a settlement visa. This will be easier for you to obtain than it is for most because you're married to a British citizen, but it's still no walk in the park.

Things You'll Need

  • Current passport
  • Marriage certificate
  • Any previous marriage and divorce certificates
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of employment or ability to be employed
  • Proof of accommodations once you arrive in the UK
  • Letter of intent from your spouse
  • Your spouse's UK passport
  • Two passport sized photos of yourself
  • Visa fee

Make sure you have a current passport. Check the expiration date. If you're passport will expire soon, get a new one. You can do this online or through the mail these days. Renewing an expired passport is easier than applying for a new one.

Go to the British visas website and read all of the information about getting a spousal visa to live in the United Kingdom. Before you start the application process, make sure you have all of the required paperwork. You will need to prove that you have enough money in the bank to support yourself. They don't tell you how much money is required. You must also prove that you're married. They may ask to see evidence besides your marriage certificate such as letters and photos. You will need the lease agreement or mortgage of the place you'll be staying at in the UK. If you don't have a place to live, you'll need to provide the mortgage papers or lease agreement of the friend or family member who has agreed to let you stay with them until you get your own place. You'll also need a letter of invitation from them saying it's OK for you to stay with them, a list of the names and ages of all the people who live in their home and the number of rooms in the home. You need proof of employment in the U.K. or at least proof that you're looking for employment for you and your spouse. If you're self-employed you need to write a statement of self-employment. Your spouse must write a letter saying that he/she intends to live with you in the U.K. You'll also need to estimate your monthly income and monthly expenditures.

Now that you have all the information you need, you can start the application process online. If you are unable to do it online you can get a paper application from the British Consulate. The online application is pretty straight forward. You can save the information so you don't have to do it all at once.

Once you're finished filling out the application and paying the very high fee online--as of 2008 it costs $1,050--you are ready to make your biometrics appointment. Starting in January 2008, everyone who applies for a British visa must be digitally photographed and fingerprinted. At the end of the online application you'll choose your nearest biometrics center and set up an appointment. Once the appointment is set up, you can print out your application and your appointment confirmation.

Bring your passport and your appointment confirmation to your biometrics appointment. After they've photographed and fingerprinted you, they'll stamp your confirmation paper. You need to include that paper with your visa application.

Check one last time to make sure you have all the documents you need before putting the application in the mail.

Tips & Warnings

  • It may seem overwhelming at first but the process is pretty straightforward. The longer you've been married, the easier it is. Once you've mailed you're application in, the British Consulate will email you and let you know its status. It could take as little as a week to receive it. It could take longer. Allow plenty of time in case anything goes wrong with your application.

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