Fiance Visa UK Guidance for 2021

Want the latest COVID-19 updates as they relate to UK partner visas?

We discuss this in detail in our Partner & Spouse visa Coronavirus (COVID-19) update article.

You want to sort out your fiancé(e) visa as quickly and cheaply as possible, right?.

This is why our experienced immigration lawyers have created this free & easy to follow STEP-BY-STEP guide.

So let’s start!


Immigration Rules

Lets first quickly talk about….

 What is a UK Fiancé(e) visa?

A UK fiancé(e) visa will allow you to enter the UK to marry your UK partner who is British or is ‘present and settled’. It can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and is valid for 6 months.

Despite it being valid for only 6 months, this visa can easily be extended by submitting a FLR(M) visa application before the fiancé(e) visa’s expiration.

“What is the typical UK immigration route under this visa?”

The following is a typical route where fiancé(e) visa applicants obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship in the UK:

Visa application 1: UK fiancé(e) visa (6 month duration)

Visa application 2: FLR(M) visa (30 month duration)

Visa application 3: FLR(M) visa (30 month duration)

Visa application 4: Indefinite Leave to remain

Visa application 5: British citizenship

Not sure which visa is best for you? Check out our post “Which Settlement or UK Partner Visa is best for me?”.

uk spouse visa full legal representationThe next question to ask is….

What are the Fiance visa UK requirements in 2021?

The fiance visa uk requirements in 2021 are as follows: 

  • You (the “applicant”) and your partner (the “sponsor”)  must be in a permitted relationship that is ‘genuine’ and ‘subsisting’
  • You must satisfy the English language requirement
  • You must show that you are free from tuberculosis (TB)
  • You must satisfy the financial requirements
  • You must show that there will be adequate accommodation for when you arrive in the UK, as well as for any dependants that you may have

Let’s discuss each of these requirements in more detail below. 

step 1

Fiance visa Relationship Requirements

#1 You must intend to marry your UK partner in the UK.

You will be expected to marry in the UK before your 6-month fiancé(e) visa expires.

Since it takes some time to prepare for your FLR M extension, it is generally advised to marry no later than your fifth month in the UK.


#2 Your UK partner must be one of the following:

  1. A British Citizen in the UK; or
  2. ‘Present’ and ‘Settled’ in the UK; or
  3. Someone who has been granted Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme; or
  4. In the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection.

If the UK partner has indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and resides in the UK, or if he/she is an EEA national or non-EEA family member with a permanent right of residence in the UK (or has been granted Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme), the UK partner will be considered as being ‘Present’ and ‘settled’.


#3 Your UK partner must be present in the UK

‘Present’ here means two things:

i) The UK partner is in the UK when the online application is submitted; or

ii) The UK partner, in the application, indicates that they will return to the UK with the applicant if the application is successful.


#4 Both you and your UK partner must be aged 18 or over.

This passport must be current and valid (it cannot be expired).

It should also have at least one page that does not have any stamps or vignettes on both sides of the paper.


#5 You must have met your UK partner in person.


#6 Your partner must not be related to you in a way that is not permitted by the Home Office.

If you and your partner are not in any way related, this is not something that will apply to you.

However, if you and your partner are related, you should note the following relationships that are strictly prohibited by the Home Office:

The Marriage Act 1949 prohibits marriages between the follow relationships:

Prohibited degrees for a woman

  • Father;
  • Son;
  • Mother father;
  • Father’s father;
  • Daughter’s son;
  • Son’s son;
  • Brother;
  • Mother’s brother;
  • Father’s brother;
  • Sister’s son;
  • Brother’s son.

Prohibited degrees for a man

  • Daughter,
  • Mother;
  • Mother’s mother;
  • Father’s mother;
  • Daughter’s daughter;
  • Son’s daughter;
  • Sister;
  • Mother’s sister;
  • Father’s sister;
  • Sister’s daughter; and
  • Brother’s daughter.

The Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act 1986

This prohibits a marriage between the following:

  • Mother of former wife, until the death of both the former wife and the father of the former wife;
  • Father of former husband, until after the death of both the former husband and the mother of the former husband;
  • Former wife of son, until after the death of both his son and the mother of his son;
  • Former husband of daughter, until after the death of both her daughter and the father of her daughter.

This law also prohibits the following relationships:

Up until both parties are aged 12 are over, and provided that the younger party has not at any time, before attaining the age of 18, been a child of the family in relation to the other party:

  • Daughter of former wife;
  • Son of former husband;
  • Former wife of father;
  • Former husband of mother;
  • Former wife of father’s father;
  • Former husband of father’s mother;
  • Former wife of mother’s father;
  • Former husband of mother’s mother;
  • Daughter of son of former wife;
  • Son of son of former husband;
  • Daughter of daughter of former wife; and
  • Son of daughter of former husband.

#7 You must intend to live with your UK partner permanently in the UK.

This is what one of the two main things that differentiates a UK fiancé visa with a UK marriage visitor visa.

The first difference is that, unlike a UK fiancé visa, it is perfectly fine for a partner who is applying for a marriage visitor visa to not want to settle in the UK.

The second difference is that a UK fiancé(e) visa will allow you to extend the application from inside the UK by submitting a FLR(M) visa application (once you and your partner have married).

If you intend to apply for an FLR(M) application after having been issued a UK fiancé(e) visa, the FLR(M) application must be submitted prior to the 6 month fiancé(e) visa expiring.


#8 You must persuade the Home Office that your relationship with your UK partner is ‘genuine’ and ‘subsisting’.  

Whether a relationship is genuine and subsisting, at first thought, is something that is difficult to prove.

After all, unlike many of the other fiance visa UK requirements in 2021, this will involve the Home Office caseworker to make a subjective assessment on two people who they have never met and who will most likely never meet.

In any event, in order to persuade the Home Office caseworker that your relationship is genuine and subsisting, you should do two things.

  1. In your supporting letters, you should discuss the development of your relationship in detail.
  2. You should submit various pieces of relationship evidence.

Although this may seem like an invasion of privacy, in light of the significance of the visa for both you and your partner, this requirement should not be overlooked.

step 2

Fiance visa English language requirement

The second fiancé visa requirement is that the applicant must prove that they have the required A1 level of English.

There are four ways that you can do this.

#1 The most common way to satisfy the English language requirement is submit an A1 English language test certificate.

First of all, the English language test that you rely on (which is not the only way of satisfying the English language requirement, as we will discuss below), must be on the List of Home Office Approved Secure English language tests (SELT) in 2021.

The vast majority of those who rely on an English language test will sit an IELTS Life Skills A1 test.

“If I pass the IELTS Life Skills A1 test, how long will this be valid for?”

The IELTS Life Skills A1 test will be valid for 2 years.

You will be also be able to rely on the same English language test certificate when you extend the fiancé visa by submitting a FLR(M) visa application prior to the 6-month fiancé visa’s expiry date.

However, if the applicant’s English language ability is at ‘intermediatelevel or above, it will be open for the applicant to sit an English language test at A2 or B1 level.


“What are the advantages of sitting a A2 English language test for a fiancé visa?

If the applicant sits the A2 English language test (as opposed to the A1 test), they will be able to re-use this when the second FLR(M) application is submitted.

To remind you, the following is the fiancé(e) visa route to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

UK fiancé visa (6 months) -> FLR(M) visa (30 months) -> FLR(M) visa (30 months)  -> Indefinite Leave to Remain Application.


“What are the advantages of sitting a B1 English language test for a fiancé visa?

If the applicant sites the B1 English language test, they will normally be able to re-use this same test certificate when they apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).



#2 If you have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or a PhD that is taught in English, you may not have to take the A1 English language test.

If your English-taught degree was taught inside the UK, this can be submitted to satisfy the English language requirement.

If, however, your degree was taught outside the UK, you should include the degree certificate and certification from UK NARIC that confirms that the qualification meets or exceeds the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK. 

If the qualification was not awarded from a majority English speaking country (not including Canada), then you will also have to obtain documentation from UK NARIC that the qualification was taught or researched in English to CEFR level A1.


#3 If you (the “applicant”) are a national of one of the following countries, you do not have to pass the A1 English language test:

  • Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Australia;
  • the Bahamas;
  • Barbados;
  • Belize;
  • Canada;
  • Dominica;
  • Grenada;
  • Guyana;
  • Jamaica;
  • Malta;
  • New Zealand;
  • St Kitts and Nevis;
  • St Lucia;
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines;
  • Trinidad and Tobago; or
  • the United States of America.

This is not only because the test will be far too easy for you, but because you will be classed as a “majority English-speaking national”.

In this case, in order to satisfy the English language requirement, the only document that you will be required to submit regarding the English language requirement is the applicant’s passport that shows that they are a majority English speaking national.


#4 Finally, you may be exempt from having to take the test if one of these apply:

  • You’re aged 65 or over when you submit the application;
  • You’re unable to take the test because of a physical or mental condition that stops you from being able to sit the test; OR
  • You have ‘exceptional circumstances’ that prevent you from meeting the English language requirement.

If you have a physical or mental condition that stops you from taking the test, you must submit evidence from a medical professional that proves this.

Please note that, like other areas of UK immigration law, ‘exceptional circumstances’ is a rather high threshold – simple inconvenience will not suffice.

step 3

Is a Tuberculosis (TB) required for a Fiance visa?

Depending on the country in which the applicant is applying, a tuberculosis (TB) test may be required. If the applicant is resident of one of the following countries, then a Tuberculosis test will generally be required:

  • Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan,
  • Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi,
  • Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, China, Congo, Congo Democratic Republic, Côte d’Ivoire,
  • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic,
  • Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
  • Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana,
  • Haiti, Hong Kong or Macau,
  • India, Indonesia, Iraq,
  • Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Kyrgyzstan,
  • Laos, Lesotho, Liberia,
  • Madagascar, Malawi, Malysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique,
  • Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria,
  • Pakistan, Palau, Papu New Guinea, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines,
  • Russian Federation, Rwanda,
  • Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland,
  • Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu,
  • Uganda, Ukraine, Uzkekistan,
  • Vanuatu, Vietnam,
  • Zambia, Zimbabwe

More information on this can be found here.

If you are required to take a Tuberculosis (TB) test, then this test must be taken at a Home Office approved clinic.

Click this link to find the an approved Tuberculosis (TB) test centre near you.

If you are not resident of one of the above countries, then lucky you, as getting a tuberculosis certificate can be a hassle for some.

A tuberculosis (TB) certificate, once issued, will be valid for 6 months.

fiance visa diy application pack

 

step 4

Accommodation requirement

You will be expected to show that there will be adequate accommodation for both you and your partner once you arrive in the UK.

Unlike that of a UK spouse visa, the accommodation for when you arrive in the UK does not have to be permanent but can be temporary.

Therefore, it is fine if you want to live separately until the wedding.

In such a case, staying at a family or friend’s accommodation or at a hotel will be perfectly OK.

However, it is important to understand you will need to show that there will be adequate permanent accommodation for when the marriage or civil partnership has taken place.

This accommodation must be ‘owned or occupied exclusively’ by your family and must be what the Home Office deems as ‘adequate’.

Accommodation will not be adequate if it is either overcrowded or if it contravenes health and safety regulations.

step 5

Fiance visa financial requirement in 2021

The fiance visa UK financial requirements in 2021 are identical to those applying as a married spouse from outside the UK.

Our detailed and comprehensive fiance visa UK financial requirements in 2021 guidance discusses this in great detail – check it out!

Please note

If the sponsor is in receipt of a permitted benefit, the adequate maintenance test will apply in place of the standard minimum income threshold of £18,600.

For a detailed account of the adequate maintenance test, check out our adequate maintenance test guidance for 2021 article.

step 6

Applicant & UK partner supporting letters

Both you and the UK partner should write a supporting letter.

Honestly, it is one of the best things you can do when preparing the application.

Why?

Because writing a cover letter makes it clear to the Home Office worker how you meet the requirements.

You should write about the following things in your supporting letter:

  • How the UK partner meets the financial requirement;
  • The accommodation that will be available to you and your UK partner for when you arrive in the UK;
  • Information about your relationship, including your intention to marry & wedding plans; and
  • That the UK partner promises to provide you with financial support & with adequate accommodation.

step 7

Check that you meet the suitability requirements

We decided to leave these requirements later on in the guide because these do not apply to the majority of people.

They are also pretty boring to read – sorry!

However, before we get to the exciting stuff, it is important to check that you do not fall foul of these requirements.

Why is this important? Well, because if you do not meet one of these requirements, then it’s likely that your application will be refused.

You WILL be refused if any of the following apply:

#1 You have been informed by the UK’s government that you are NOT allowed in the UK.


#2 Your previous behaviour has made it undesirable to grant you a fiancé(e) visa.


#3 You failed to comply with one of the following requirements without a reasonable excuse:

  • Attend an interview
  • Provide physical data
  • Provide information
  • Take a medical examination or provide a medical report.

#4 You have been notified of a deportation order in your name.


#5 You have been sentenced to jail for a significant amount of time because of an offence you committed. 

See S-EC.1.4. of Appendix FM for more information on this.


#6 You have a medical reason which makes it undesirable to grant you a fiance visa.


#7 You are considered to be a risk to your partner or parent.


#8 You left or were removed from the UK as a condition of a caution that was given to you under section 22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 less than 5 years ago.


You MAY be refused if any of the following apply:

#1 You have previously included false information, representations or documents, or did not include important facts in a previous UK visa application. 


#2 You have not paid NHS charges that are owed that are greater than £500.


#3 You have a bad criminal history.


#4 You have failed to pay litigation costs that have been awarded to the Home Office.


#5 A maintenance and accommodation undertaking has not been provided when requested.

step 8

Should you complete the Appendix 2 VAF4A Form?

Whilst we used to recommend that partners complete the Appendix 2 VAF4A form, this is something that we no longer recommend.

This is the case despite the fact that the Appendix 2 VAF4A form is still listed on the VFS uploading portal and the fact that the Home Office, in 2019, used to issue letters such as the following to partners who did not include an Appendix 2 VAF4A form:

appendix 2 vaf4a required fiance visa

I do know, however, that some partners still insist on submitting the Appendix 2 VAF4A form despite the above, so the following are some instructions that you may wish to follow should you choose to complete this rather pointless Appendix:

All applicants will have to complete Part 1 and Part 2 of the form.

Part 3 is where things get slightly more complicated (only slightly!).

Everyone will have to complete 3.1 and 3.2.

Since 3.3 of Appendix is where some people get confused, so we will now provide some clarification on that.

appendix 2 vaf4a form 2018

Two boxes in 3.3 should be ticked.

Firstly, a box to indicate the main method of meeting the financial requirement.

Secondly, you must tick a category that you will be relying on.

Here is a brief summary of what these categories mean for you.

Category A

  • This is for those who are mainly relying on the past 6 month’s employment income from their current employer (whether or not that employment was in or outside the UK).
  • The employment income here cannot be from a limited company where shares are held by you, your partner, or you or your partner’s family (where the remaining shares are held by fewer than five other persons).

Category B

  • This is for those who are currently employed and are mainly relying on employment income in the past 12 months (whether or not that employment was in or outside the UK).
  • The employment income here cannot be from a limited company where shares are held by you, your partner, or you or your partner’s family (where the remaining shares are held by fewer than five other persons).

Category C

  • This is for those whose main source of income is from any of the following:
    • Ongoing insurance payments, payments from a structured legal settlement or royalty payments.
    • Dividend income
    • Income from investments, trust funds, bonds or stocks and shares
    • Maintenance payments
    • Property rental
    • Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement payment, UK Marketnity Allowance and Widoweed Parent’s allowance.
    • Maintenance grants or stipens associated with undergraduate study or postgraduate study or research (not a loan)
    • Payments under the War Pensions Scheme, the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the Armed Forces Attributabble BEneifts Scheme

For more information on this category, check out the Home Office guidance (download link here) at page 39.


Category D

  • This is for those who are relying on cash savings.

Category E

  • This is for those relying on a pension.

Category F

  • This is for self-employed people or for directors or employees of a ‘specified limited company’ who want to base their income in the most recent full financial year.
  • A ‘specified limited company’ is essentially:
    • i) a company where shares are held by the employed applicant, UK partner, or a family member of either the applicant or UK partner; and
    • any remaining shares are held buy fewer than five other persons.
  • For more information on this see paragraph 9 of Appendix FM-SE

Category G

  • This is for self-employed people or for directors or employees of a ‘specified limited company’ who want to base their income on the average of the most recent two full financial years.

Please make sure that you know what Category you are relying on

It is absolutely important to know what Category you are relying on as not only are the requirements different, but the supporting documentation that you will need to submit will be different.

Our Category A or B, F or G? [UK Visa Financial Requirements Guide] should help!

step 9

Fiance Visa Document Checklist 2021 

As we will discuss below, when you complete the fiance visa UK application form in 2021, you will be provided with a fiancé(e) visa document checklist that the website will automatically generate.

With this being said, the most common mistake that partners make is relying on this checklist without sufficiently reading two important documents, Appendix FM 1.7. and Appendix FM-SE.

“Why should I take the time to read Appendix FM 1.7. and Appendix FM-SE?”

There are two main reasons.

Reason #1 – The basic document checklist given to you by the online application website does not point out the strict rules regarding certain documentation


Reason #2 – The basic document checklist given to you by the online application website does not always tell you what documents you have to (or should) submit

The document checklist given by the online application website is misleading as some partners think that the documents listed are the only documents that are required.

This is wrong as the document checklist you will be given is not an exhaustive list (meaning, in many cases, there will be other documents that you should submit).

This visa is incredibly important for you and your partner and you want to make sure that you submit the strongest application possible, right?

However, the most common mistake that partners make is assume that simply including these documents guarantees a successful fiancé(e) visa application.

“How are Migrate’s document checklists better than the one that I will get from the ACCESS UK website?”

Our document checklists (which are part of our DIY Application pack service) helps you with both of these issues as it:

  • Identifies common mistakes that fiancé(e) visa applicants make
  • Discusses the Immigration Rules regarding specific documents
  • Discusses the general Immigration Rules regarding all fiancé(e) visa documents
  • Identifies documents that would strengthen your application that are not listed on the automatically generated ACCESS UK document checklist; and
  • Points out the particular sections of the Immigration Rules that are relevant to your application.

“What are the benefits of Migrate’s DIY application pack service?”

  • Save time – it will provide you with the relevant Immigration Rules more centred in one place
  • Save money – At £285, this is a fraction of the price if you were to pay for full legal representation
  • Give you peace of mind – Our application pack will help you ensure that you do not miss out any documentation or overlook important requirements
  • 100% money-back guarantee – We are that confident based on our customer’s success

fiance visa diy application pack

 

step 10

Familiarise yourself with the fiancé(e) visa application process

We know that the fiancé(e) visa application process can be incredibly stressful for partners.

Familiarising yourself with the process (rather than dealing with it as it arises) will make the application process much smoother for you and your partner.

Unfortunately, the application process varies from country-to-country and in some cases, from visa-centre to visa-centre.

Let’s discuss two things that you can do that will give you and your partner a better idea how your application is likely to progress.

Step 1 – Have a look at the gov.uk website

I’m not talking about the standard partner visa page here that you probably will have seen, but instead this page that will allow you to search the gov.uk website.

In the search bar, type “[country] apply” (for example, “New Zealand apply”).

It may be the case that the Home Office feels kind enough to provide a helpful overview.

I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much, though, as there are many countries that the Home Office do not cover.

Step 2 – Browse the VFS or TLS website

Fortunately, all countries will be covered either on the VFS website or on the TLS website.

The VFS website

This website looks like this:

vfs website fiance 2019

The VFS website covers more countries than the TLS website. If your country is not listed here, then the next step would be to check the TLS website.

The VFS website useful for two reasons.

Firstly, it provides partners with an idea of the added value services that are available (such as the priority service).

Secondly, it provides partners with an overview of the application submitting procedure.

The TLS website

The TLS website will look like this:

tis website fiance

Just like the TLS website, the VFS website is helpful for two reasons.

Firstly, it provides partners with an overview of the different added value services that you may decide to take advantage of.

By the way, other than the priority service, most of the added value services are pretty useless so I wouldn’t personally pay too much attention to them.

It is important to note that, even though it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the application submitting procedure early on in your preparations, what matters is what you are told as you progress through the online website.

The reason for this is the VFS and TLS websites are not always up-to-date.

step 11

Familiarise yourself with the different options that are available to you regarding the submission of documents

It is worth repeating that, whilst it is a good idea to get a good idea beforehand, what matters is what you are told as you progress through the online website.

Nevertheless, not all application submitting procedures are equal.

Here are our preferred document submitting options, in order of preference.

Option #1 – The walk in service at one of the UK centres

The walk in service, from our experience, tends to allow partners to submit documents in a relatively convenient manner.

If you were to take advantage of this option, this would cost you an additional £75 (which can be paid via cash or a credit & debit card). We think that it is completely worth it in light of how much stress some of the other methods can cause.

There are several visa centres in the UK where this can be done, the locations of which is normally disclosed to you once you have submitted the online application.

This service will require the sponsor (or agent of the applicant and sponsor) to attend the visa centre in person to submit the documents. The documents, via this method, cannot be posted in the mail.

No appointment will be required – you can simply walk in at your convenience.

The following documents should be brought with the sponsor, if this method is used:

  • If you applied using the old visa4uk application website, he first page of your visa application;
  • If you applied using the new Access UK website (as we discuss below), the document checklist automatically generated by the Access UK website; and
  • All supporting documents, including copies of the applicant and sponsor’s passports.

The above documentation will be scanned at the visa centre during your visit.

Fortunately, all documents will be handed back to you. Therefore, the Home Office will not need to keep any original documentation.

Whilst it is normally OK to provide copies of original documents to be scanned (as long as they are clearly legible copies, preferably colour), it is important to make sure that you read the official instructions given to you regarding whether original documents must be brought.

“Which documents cannot be scanned?”

Laminated documents cannot be scanned – please do not bring any.

If you are relying on documents that have deteriorated in condition (i.e. are heavily creased, crumped or torn), these should be photocopied before you attend the appointment as these documents normally are not able to be scanned.

“When do I have to attend one of these centres?”

You should attend one of these centres after you have submitted and paid for the online application.

Although there are no strict timelines regarding the date between the time the online application is submitted and paid for, I’d recommend not leaving this too long and aim to attend the UK visa centre within a week of submitting the online application.

If, from the official instructions given as you progress through the online application, it doesn’t appear that this option is available to you, I would then consider posting the documents to a specified UK address (which we will discuss next), if it is open to you.

Option #2 – Sending the documents by courier to a specified UK address

It is normally made clear as you near the end of the gov.uk website (after you have paid the Home Office fees) whether this option is available to you.

It is important that, if you take advantage of this service, you should only post your documents to the address that you are specifically told of.

Like many aspects of fiancé(e) visas, the application process is something that is continually changing as the Home Office try to refine the new online application website.

Partners are normally given the option of two different levels of services for this application submitting method.

Like the walk-in-service at one of the UK visa centres, the standard service will cost £75 plus VAT for each application.

This standard service normally states that documents will be scanned within 5 working days of receiving the documents.

For £25 extra, you can pay for the priority service (the total cost being £100 plus VAT for each application).

The priority service states that documents will normally be scanned within 24 hours of receiving the documents.

Option #3 – Getting the documents scanned at the overseas visa application centre

This is normally labelled the ‘Document Scanning Assistance Service‘ and simply involves the applicant taking the supporting documents with them to their visa appointment, where the documents will be scanned.

Generally speaking, overseas visa centres will offer two options.

First, you can pay a small fee for a member of staff to scan the documents at the overseas visa centre.

Second, there are sometimes self-service machines where the applicant can scan and upload the documents themselves.

Regarding the second option, the feedback has been generally positive – the self service machines are relatively intuitive.

Option #4 – Uploading the documents on the website

Whilst we used to outright recommend against this in the past, the VFS and TLS uploading portals have both improved significantly in the previous year. 

With this being said, this method still has its downsides – most notably documents taking a long time to upload & documents not being viewable once they’ve been uploaded.

Furthermore, it’s somewhat difficult to keep track of the documents that are uploaded, as the website does not list uploaded documents in a clear and intuitive way.

uk spouse visa full legal representation 

step 12

Start completing the fiancé(e) visa online application form

#1 Make sure that you select the correct online application.

We discuss the UK fiancé(e) visa application form in 2021 here.


#2 Choose ‘Appendix FM Partner”.

Appendix FM Partner” is for fiancé(e)s who are applying for a UK fiancé(e) visa.


#3 Choose the country where biometrics will be provided.

In the vast majority of cases, this will be the applicant’s country of residence.


#4 Complete ‘Application’ (section 2) and ‘Finances’ (section 3).

Where you find the questions asked in the online form ambiguous or unclear, answer it to the best of your ability and then provide clarification in your letter of supports.


#5 Section 4 will then give you an automatically generated document checklist.

As we discussed in the fiancé(e) visa document checklist section, the document checklist that is provided by the official ACCESS UK website is a good starting point.

It does not, however, eliminate the need to familiarise yourself with Appendix FM-SE and Appendix FM 1.7.

#6 Declare that the contents of your fiancé(e) visa application form are correct in ‘section 5’ of the online application.


#7 Choose whether you would like to have the ‘standard’ or ‘priority’ service.

The difference between the ‘standard‘ service and the ‘priority‘ service is the time it will take for the Home Office to decide your fiancé(e) visa application.

As we discussed in our fiance visa UK processing time in 2021 article, the average processing time for the standard service is 2-3 months whilst the priority service is 6 weeks, on average.

Depending on the country that you are applying from, you may be given the option to select the ‘settlement premium service package‘.

In most cases, this should be ignored completely as the services offered are completely unnecessary – it should not be confused with the ‘super priority’ next day service, which is only available in a few countries (such as the US).


#8 Select your appointment at the visa application centre.

 “Is it a problem that my financial documents will be more than 28 days old when I attend the visa appointment?”

Not necessarily.

What matters here is that your documents meet the Immigration Rules when you submit and pay for the online application.

Example

Susan knows that her bank statements must be no older than 28 days when she submits the application.

Since her bank has to post her statements to her in order to meet the Immigration Rules, she is wondering whether she will have to request another set of statements because her bank statements are 25 days old.

As long as Susan submits and pay for the online application before the bank statements are older than 28 days old, it does not matter if her bank statements are 40 days old by the time her fiancé(e) attends the appointment.


#9 Pay the Home Office fee.

As discussed in our fiancé(e) visa UK fees and costs in 2021 article, the Home Office fee for the fiancé(e) visa will cost £1,523 (this may vary according to the exchange rate).

You will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your fiancé(e) visa application.

You will, however, have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge within 6 months of being in the UK when you submit the FLR(M) visa application.

During your time in the UK under the fiancé visa, you will be expected to pay for NHS treatment at the point of use.

It’s absolutely fine for the UK partner to pay using their credit or debit card, although in some cases the bank will suspect that this is a fraudulent payment (in which case all that is normally required is phoning the bank to confirm that the payment is not fraudulent).

The date that the £1,523 Home Office fee is paid is known as the ‘date of application‘.


#10 You will then be sent to the VFS or TLS website, depending on the country in which you are making the application.

Shortly after the Home Office fee is paid, you will be issued a GWF number.

Make a note of this number as you will need it when you register for the VFS or TLS website.

step 13

Submit the supporting documents for your fiancé(e) visa application

It is once you have made payment for the Home Office fee that you will have a better idea how you can submit your supporting documentation.

There is no strict time limit regarding when you have to do this.

Remember, the relevant date that you must meet the fiancé(e) visa requirements is the ‘date of application’, which is the date that you pay the Home Office fee on the online website.

With this being said, it is best not to delay submitting the documents too much – submitting them within one week is ideal.

step 14

The visa application centre appointment

“What will happen when I attend the appointment at the visa application centre?”

First of all, please try not to worry too much about this appointment.

Easy for me to say, I know, as I sit here behind my laptop, but most partners over-estimate how stressful the appointment is.

To help give you a better understanding what to expect, I would suggest checking the VFS or TLS website (after selecting the country where you are making the application), as they normally will provide you with an overview of what happens at the appointment.

Click here to see an example of the VFS page for fiancé(e)s who are making their application in China.

The following will generally take place at your appointment:

1 – The submission of your documents (if you choose to submit your documents this way)

We discussed the several possible ways that documents can be submitted earlier in this guide.

You (the applicant) should bring your passport (that is valid & has at least one page that is blank on both sides) or travel document with you, regardless of whether you choose to submit your supporting documents at the overseas visa centre or not.

Another document that you will likely be instructed to bring is the document checklist that was provided to you on the new Access UK website. If, on the other hand, you made the application via the old visa4uk website, you should bring the first page of your application form instead.

2 – Your fingerprints and photograph will be taken

This is known as ‘recording your biometric data’.

Your fingerprints will normally be taken using a digital finger scanner.

Fortunately, since the finger scanner is digital, it will not mark your skin with any chemicals, liquids or inks.

Standard rules regarding the taking of the photograph apply. Don’t worry about this as these will be made clear to you at your appointment.

“Will I be interviewed about my relationship with my fiancé(e)?”

No.

The staff at the VFS/TLS visa centre should have no involvement in the decision making process.

Their job is solely to do assist with the taking of the biometrics where required and to help submit the supporting documents (if you opt for their assisted document scanning service).

step 15

What will happen after the appointment at the visa application centre?

After submitting the supporting documentation, all you really can do is wait.

The wait is going to be agonising, I know, but there are no two ways about it.

“How will I know when the Home Office have decided on my application?”

It is normally the case that you will be emailed, simply stating that a decision has been made about your application (and not whether your fiancé(e) visa has been granted or refused).


“How will the applicant’s passport be returned?”

This depends on the visa application centre but there are three ways that this is normally done.

More information on this can sometimes be found on the relevant VFS or TLS page.

Firstly, you are sometimes provided with the option of collecting your documents in person.

Secondly, your passport may be returned to you by courier.

Thirdly, in some cases, you are able to send a representative to pick up the applicant’s passport on the applicant’s behalf.

step 16

Fiancé(e) visa Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which fiancé visa UK requirement normally causes the most difficulties?

The fiancé visa UK financial requirement is by far the biggest cause of fiancé visa refusals. Because of this, you absolutely need to ensure that you are aware of all of the relevant financial requirements depending on the sources of income that you want to include.

Is original documentation required for fiancé visas?

No. The fiancé visa process has changed recently and other than the applicant’s passport, copies of supporting documentation is perfectly fine.

Is an immigration lawyer required?

No. As long as you read the relevant fiancé visa requirements, you will be able to submit your own fiancé visa applicants just like thousands of other partners who process their own visa. Be warned – there is quite a lot that you need to know!

How can I submit the supporting documents?

This is something that varies depending on the visa centre that you submit your application from. Normally, you are provided the option of uploading the documents or submitting the documents at either the overseas visa centre or a visa centre in the UK.

Will I be able to work?

You will not be allowed to work whilst in the UK on a fiancé(e) visa.

If you are caught working, this may have a very serious impact on your current and any future visas.

You may also be convicted in a criminal court.

You can, however, work when you extend your visa using the FLR M form.


Will I be able to claim Public funds?

You will not be allowed to claim public funds (most UK benefits) during your time in the UK.

Just like being caught working when not allowed, getting caught claiming public funds is a criminal offence and things will not look good for your stay in the UK or any future UK visa applications.


What if we create little humans?

Children born in the UK to a mother or father who are British or have Indefinite Leave to Remain will be born British.

They will not have to apply with you on any future FLR M and settlement applications.

Instead, all you have to do is apply for a British passport on your child’s behalf.


What if my partner and I split up?

Your relationship permanently breaking down will mean that you no longer satisfy the partner visa requirements.

This means that you will fail to meet the requirements for extending your visa using a FLR M form with your current partner.

It also means that the Home Office can cut short your current visa and you may be asked to return to your home country sooner than expected. 

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 Want help?

As an OISC registered UK immigration law firm, we help partners with their fiancé(e) visa application every day of the week.

Other than our free online guides, we help partners in two ways.

Firstly, we offer a full legal representation service for £1,850.

Our full legal representation is offered by Ed Lowe who has worked at the very heart of the Home Office for 20+ years. 

Secondly, we offer what we call a ‘DIY Application Pack Service‘ where, after taking down your information, we will:

  • Provide you with a detailed tailored document checklist;
  • Provide you with a set of tailored letter templates;
  • Provide general email support for you and your partner’s fiancé(e) visa application.

Since the feedback has been so incredibly positive, we are so confident in our service that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee.

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