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based in Manchester

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Here to Help With Joining Family in the UK

We at Gowing Law Solicitors believe in reuniting families together. We understand that being separated from your love ones is difficult and stressful. Our friendly immigration team are experienced in dealing with all types of family visas and can assist you in securing the family visa that you need.

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  • Expert Immigration Team
  • Fixed Costs
  • Free Initial Discussion
  • Multilingual Teams

Our dedicated solicitors will provide you with an exceptional service, in order to secure one of the below visas:

1. Spouse Visa

The Spouse visa is often referred to as the marriage visa. Such visa gives you permission to live in the UK for a period of 2.5 years. This visa also allows you to work in the UK without restrictions. This visa can be extended after the initial 2.5 years.

After having lived in the UK for a period of 5 years on a spouse visa, you can apply for Indefinite leave to Remain and ultimately British citizenship. Homosexual couples who meet the requirements can also apply.

Main requirements
  • The applicant and the sponsor must be aged 18 or over.
  • The applicant and the sponsor must have previously met one another.
  • The applicant and the sponsor must be married or in a civil partnership, recognised by UK law.
  • The sponsor must be a person who is ordinarily resident of the UK and has no immigration restrictions on how long they can stay. Generally speaking the sponsor will be one of the following: A British citizen, Settled in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain, or have a Refugee Status or Humanitarian Protection.
  • The sponsor and the applicant would need to prove that they are in a genuine relationship
  • The applicant and the sponsor will have to demonstrate that they have the intention of living together if the visa is granted.
  • You would need to prove that your sponsor meets the income threshold and earns a minimum of £18,600 per year (this threshold will be higher if there are dependants involved) to enable you both to show that you can financially support yourselves without having recourse to public funds
  • The applicant and the sponsor will need to demonstrate that suitable accommodation is available for them and any dependants.
  • Every kind of partner applying to enter or remain in the UK with Family (partners, spouses, civil partners and fiancés) must be able to prove that they can speak and understand the English language.  Therefore as part of the application, evidence will need to be provided  to demonstrate that the applicant has passed an English language test from an approved test provider
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How long does the application take: The average processing time for a spouse visa application is 6 – 12 weeks from the date Gowing Law Solicitors submit your application to the Home Office. Please note that processing times vary depending on the country where the application is made.
  2. How long will my visa be for: If the application was made as Entry Clearance (from overseas), a spouse visa is initially issued for 33 months. If the application was made from within the UK a spouse visa is issued for a period of 30 months.
  3. Can I extend my spouse visa: You can apply for an extension for an additional 30 months which can take your total time in the UK on this visa up to five years.

After this, you will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) provided that you continue to meet the requirements namely that you are still married and that you are still living in the UK with your spouse and that you continue to meet the maintenance requirements. After you have been granted ILR you may be eligible to apply for naturalisation as British citizen.

  • What costs are involved in applying for a Spouse visa? If the applicant is outside of the UK the Home Office cost of a Spouse visa is £1,523. If you applying in the UK online or by post, the fee is £1,033. If you are applying in the UK, in person, by a priority service, then the charge is higher. Please note that the Immigration Health Surcharge fee is additional fee to consider. It is not payable by fiancé/fiancées who correspondingly don’t have free access to NHS services.
  • What should I do if my application is refused? You can appeal against the decision if your spouse visa is refused by the Home Office. There is a deadline as it must be done within 28 days of the refusal if outside the UK and 14 if within the UK. Contact us at Gowing Law Solicitors as soon as possible so that we can take care of the rest for you.
  • What if your relationship ends? If your relationship ends while the Leave to remain is still valid, you can contact us at Gowing Law Solicitors and we will assist you in getting the outcome you would like. The first step would be to notify the Home office of the change in circumstances and that could lead to existing leave being curtailed. This process is when the Home Office cancels your leave to remain because your circumstances have changed. We can also assist you in switching to a different category in order to apply for further leave. You may be able to apply for a work visa, leave to remain as a parent of a British child or a settled child, or leave to remain on the basis of your private life within the UK.

2. Fiancé Visa

This visa is also known as the ‘prospective marriage visa’. This visa grants you entry to the UK for a period of 6 months. During that period you are required to marry your Fiancé in the UK. Once you are married you can apply for a spouse visa as an in country application.

Please note that you are not permitted to work in the UK on a fiancé Visa, however once granted a spouse visa you will be allowed to work.

With this visa there is no requirement to prove that partners have been living together prior to the application. This means that if you are a UK citizen returning to live in the UK you can apply for your partner to return with you at the same time.

Main Requirements
  • The future spouse must be 18 years old or over
  • The applicant and the sponsor must have met each other in person
  • The applicant and the sponsor must intend to live together in the UK on a permanent basis once they have married on another.
  • The applicant and the sponsor will have to show that any previous relationship has ceased. This include any married on unmarried relationship.
  • You would need to prove that your sponsor meets the income threshold and earns a minimum of £18,600 per year (this threshold will be higher if there are dependants involved) to enable you both to show that you can financially support yourselves without having recourse to public funds
  • The sponsor and the applicant will need to have suitable accommodation available for them and any dependants.
  • Every kind of partner applying to come in the UK to join Family (partners, spouses, civil partners and fiancés) must be able to prove that they can speak and understand the English language.  Therefore as part of the application, evidence will need to be provided  to demonstrate that the applicant has passed an English language test from an approved test provider
  • Dependants: When the sponsor and the applicant have children together under the age of 18, they can be allowed to come into the UK as dependants. Our solicitors will be able to advise you on the merits of your case and whether you should apply now or wait until you are married.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How long can I stay in the UK? Your Fiancé visa is valid for the period of 6 months. Within that time the applicant and the sponsor are required to marry. Once they are married, the applicant can switch to a spouse visa where if successful they will be grated leave to remain for 30 months.
  2. What is the UK fiancé processing time? On average this type of visas are processed around 6-12 weeks. Please note that it is common that there are delays when applications are not done correctly thus missing vital information. It is therefore paramount to obtain the assistance of an immigration expert in order maximise the chances of your application being accepted. Please contact us at Gowing Law in order to get the ball rolling.
  3. What are the Home office fees for a UK fiancé visa? When the application is made from outside the UK the Home Office fees are £1523. It is important to account for the additional costs which could be official document translation, housing report or the need for using a priority service. 

3. Unmarried Partner Visa

This visa is also known as the ‘UK defacto visa’.

The purpose of this visa is to grant leave to remain or to enter to the unmarried partner of a person who is settled in the UK provided that the couple have been living together for a minimum period of 2 years at the time of the application. Settled in the UK means that you are ordinarily resident of the UK with no Immigration restrictions.

Both Heterosexual and Homosexual unmarried partners are eligible under this category as long as they are able to prove the relationship is subsisting and has been going on for a minimum of two years.

This visa allows you to work within the UK without restrictions

Main Requirements

The applicant and the sponsor must both be aged 18 years or over.

The applicant and the sponsor must intend to live together on a permanent basis.

The applicant and the sponsor will need to demonstrate that any previous relationship have ceased.

The applicant and the sponsor will need to demonstrate that they have been cohabiting for a minimum period of two years, in a relationship that is similar to marriage.

The sponsor will need to meet the financial requirement for the income threshold with either income of 18,600 per annum or cash savings to be able to sponsor the applicant financially without recourse to public funds. Please note that if  a child dependant is also coming to the UK with the applicant, then the income threshold will be higher.

The applicant and the sponsor will need to demonstrate that suitable accommodation is available for them and any dependants.

Every kind of partner applying to enter or remain in the UK with Family (partners, spouses, civil partners and fiancés) must be able to prove that they can speak and understand the English language.  

Therefore as part of the application process, evidence will need to be provided to demonstrate that the applicant has passed an English language test from an approved test provider.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How long will my visa be for: If the application was made as Entry Clearance (from overseas), an unmarried partner visa is initially issued for 33 months. If the application was made from within the UK the same spouse is issued for a period of 30 months. After the initial grant, if you continue to meet the requirements, you will be eligible to apply for an extension which should take you up to 5 years of leave under that category. Once you have completed 5 years under this category, you will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to remain in the UK provided that you continue to meet the eligibility and maintenance requirements.
  2. Can I bring dependants with me? If you have any children under the age of 18, they can enter the UK as your dependents. Such application must be made at the same time as the unmarried partner visa application is made. Please note that the applicant and the sponsor will need to demonstrate a particular income depending on the number of child dependant in order to be able to sponsor.

Dependency Route

If you are a British national or a person settled in the UK, any children and adult who depend on you may be able to come to the UK to live with you. The rules around this type of applications are very complex and daunting not to mention ever changing.

The most common reasons for refusal include misunderstanding the rules, failing to include the correct supporting documents in the form required and obtaining inaccurate advice leading to rejection.

Main Requirements for Adult Dependant
  • The applicant must be aged 18 and over
  • The applicant must be a parent, grandparent, sibling, son, or daughter of a British national or of someone settled in the UK
  • The applicant must require long term help performing everyday tasks – such as washing, cooking, and generally looking after themselves
  • The applicant must have physical and/or mental health disabilities
  • The support the applicant requires is either not available in their country of residence or not affordable.
  • The UK based relative on who the applicant depends on must be able to support the applicant without relying on public fund.

Contact our friendly team and rest reassured that our experienced solicitors will ensure that your application is thoroughly prepared in accordance with the latest rules, with the correct supporting documents and vetted carefully before final submission to the Home Office. If you think your family might be eligible for this visa, contact a member of our Immigration Team for further advice or to start the visa application process today on

Main Requirements for Child Dependant
  • Applicant  child must be under the age of 18,
  • Applicant must be unmarried and not in a civil partnership
  • Applicant must be coming to the UK to join their parents one of which must be British citizen or settled.
  • Adopted children may be considered under this route if you are able to demonstrate that you have full and genuine parental responsibility.

Under Tier 1, 2, 4, 5 of the UK points based system, visa holders are allowed to bring in their representative with them or to join them in the UK.

Dependants are usually given leave to enter or remain based on the length of leave their parent has. The dependant would then be allowed to apply for extensions in line with their parent.

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