When one receives the initial spouse visa, the relief is often very big, and thoughts of the extension seem far away.It is, however, a good idea to keep in mind that the extension application and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application, are in the near future. It is thus best to be prepared from day one, in order to ensure smooth subsequent applications.
Tips to keep in mind
- Your initial spouse visa application, once collected in the UK, will be valid for a period of 2 years and 9 months. You will become eligible to lodge your application to extend your visa once you have been residing in the UK holding that visa for 2.5 years.
- It is essential that you lodge your application to extend your visa prior to your current visa expiring, so please get in touch with your Breytenbachs consultant well in advance!
- When you apply to extend your visa, you will be required to meet the financial requirement attached to the application again. You will also need to meet the financial requirement once more when you apply for ILR in 5 years’ time.
- Please do bear in mind that the documentation that must be provided to evidence that the financial requirement has been met can be fairly extensive, and that Home Office guidance on what must be provided, and how the financial requirement should be calculated can vary from time to time, so we advise our clients arrange a “check-up” consultation with us 9 – 12 months before their extensions are to be lodged, to ensure that they are on track and will be able to meet and evidence the financial requirement without issue.
- The Home Office will also wish to see evidence that you and your partner have been continuously residing together in the UK. This evidence is required at both the extension stage and the ILR stage.
- There are various documents you need to provide to proof the cohabitation requirement. Please get in touch with your Breytenbachs consultant, in order to ensure that you keep a record of these during the period up to the extension and ILR stages.
- Finally, the Home Office does not set any particular restrictions as to how long you can spend outside of the UK whilst you are resident on your spouse visa, but it is important to note that, when you lodge your extension and subsequent ILR applications, there is a general requirement that you be able to satisfy the Home Office that you and your partner intend to permanently reside together in the UK. Therefore, please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant about the time periods they recommend you spend inside the UK.