Spouses of UK citizens or permanent residents may come to the UK under the marriage visa category, and are able to study and work without restriction as soon as a visa is granted. The non-EU spouse must already be married to the UK spouse and the application can be made from inside or outside the UK.
- The applicant and the UK sponsor must have met before and both parties are willing to live together permanently
- There must have sufficient funds and accommodation arrangements without recourse to UK public funds
- Applicants must be at least 16 years old or above, their spouses living in the United Kingdom must be at least 18 years old or above
The initial visa is granted for 2.5 years. If the couple are still married and living together at the end of the 2.5 years, the applicant may apply for an extension for another 2.5 years. At the end of the 5-year period, the applicant may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain provided the couple still meet the conditions.
If a non-UK national has been living in the UK as an unmarried partner of a settled person (holder of ILR or British Citizenship or both) for 2 years, he or she may apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa. The initial visa will be granted for 2.5 years. If both parties are still cohabiting and their relationship is still subsisting at the end of the 2.5 years, the applicant may apply for an extension for a further 2.5 years. At the end of the 5-year period, the applicant may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain given the couple still meet the conditions.