Saturday, 20 March 2021

👫 UK Spouse/Partner visa - 1 year since Covid


Here we put a summary of what changed during the past 12 months in the Immigration rules and procedures for a UK Spouse and Partner visas.

#1 Application inside the UK if your current visa is about to expire.

You still have to submit a new application (online) before your current visa expires. However, you have more time to book an appointment for biometrics and provide your documents. And if you had to wait for a test centre to reopen to take English or Life on the U.K. test, you won’t be penalised for that and can submit it later. Generally, there are concessions on the documents that you cannot provide on time, so you could provide them later.  

#2 Absences from the UK due to Covid travel restrictions.

If you happened to stay abroad longer than intended because of Covid travel restrictions, it won’t affect your future U.K. visa applications or continuous residency, as long as it was for a reasonable time (consistent with the Governments’ policies). If your visa expired while abroad, you may be able to secure a new one to come back to the U.K. without breaking your continuous residency.

#3 Changes in your income including furlough payments.

The “Covid furlough” leave is considered as a normal period of your employment. If your employer paid you at least 80% of your normal salary, for that purpose of a U.K. visa it will be counted as 100%. There are other concessions for the employed and self-employed, for details please contact us. 

#4 English language.

If you had a U.K. visa in the past that required a certain level of English, you don’t need to prove that level again for a Spouse/Partner visa, be it initial visa or extension, or settlement (Indefinite Leave). For example, if you had a Tier 2 General visa, which required a B1 level of English, then switched to a Spouse/Partner visa, you don’t need to take another English test all the way to settlement and Citizenship. Prior to March 2021, you couldn’t use tests provided earlier for a non-Spouse visa category.  

#5 Priority services to get a faster decision. 

Here the situation differs whether you are applying inside or outside the UK. Outside the UK, the priority services resumed in most locations. Priority consideration for a settlement visas is expected to take 1.5 months, as opposed to the standard 3 months. 

If you are applying inside the UK, the priority services still haven't been resumed for Spouse/Partner visa applications. The standard processing times are in the region of 8 weeks (after the biometrics) and up to 6 months for settlement. In practice, it takes less but it also depends on the circumstances and documents. Priority services are available for many other visa categories, such as work and student visas , but still not for Spouse/Partner visas, so we are hoping it will become available sooner rather than later. To remind, once back, there are options to have a decision within 5 working days or within 24 hours. 

1st 4Immigration is one of the most experienced UK immigration law companies, OISC - accredited at the highest Level 3. We have been in business for over 10 years, our OISC reference is 200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year accreditation. Office: Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HN. 
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