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.
The fiance visa UK requirements in 2021 are as follows:
- The application must be submitted from outside the UK
- There must be an intention for the applicant and sponsor to marry in the UK
- There must be an intention to settle in the UK
- The fiance visa UK relationship requirements must be met
- The fiance visa UK financial requirement must be met
- The fiance visa UK adequate accommodation must be met
- The fiance visa UK English language requirement must be met
- The fiance visa UK tuberculosis requirement must be met
- A ‘valid application’ must be submitted
- The fiance visa UK suitability requirements must be met
You must submit the application from outside the UK
In the vast majority of cases, the application must be made from outside the UK.
“What is the exception to this rule?”
The exception to this is found in E-LTRP.1.11 of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules which states that if an applicant already entered the UK on a fiancé(e) visa and the proposed marriage or civil partnership did not take place due to valid reasons, then the applicant is eligible to re-apply for a fiancé(e) visa.
In such a case, you will need to provide evidence that clearly demonstrates that the marriage or proposed civil partnership will take place within six months from the date of application.
It is also worth pointing out that in the above situation, if a visa extension is successful, the extension will only be valid for a maximum of 6 months and the applicant will continue to not be permitted to work or have recourse to public funds.
“I am in the UK as a non-visa national. Can I apply from inside the UK?”
Those who are in the UK due to their non-visa national status can only apply from outside the UK.
This means that a non-visa national must return to their home country (or country of residence) and submit an application as a fiancé(e).
There must be an intention to contract a marriage or civil partnership in the UK
Under GEN.1.2. of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, in order to fall under the definition of a fiancé(e), you must persuade the Home Office caseworker that it is your intention to enter the UK in order for your marriage to take place with a view to settlement in the UK.
The intention must be to get married within the duration of the 6 month fiance visa UK.
On the other hand, those who are intending on entering a civil partnership in the UK will be applying for what is known as a ‘proposed civil partnership visa‘.
The requirements for this are pretty much identical to that of a fiancé(e) visa, other than the fact that the intention will be to enter a civil partnership as opposed to a marriage.
There must be an intention to settle in the UK
Those who apply for a UK marriage visitor visa have to return to their home country prior to the expiration of the UK marriage visitor visa – they cannot extend that visa application.
On the other hand, since fiancé(e) visa applicants should have an intention to stay and settle in the UK. The Home Office allows the fiancé(e) visa application to be extended by applying for a FLR(M) visa once the marriage has taken place.
You must meet the UK Fiancé(e) visa relationship requirement
The fiancé(e) visa relationship requirement can be found under “Section E-ECP: Eligibility for entry clearance as a partner – Relationship requirements’ in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.
To be eligible to submit an application under this category, you must be aged 18 years old or over and have met your fiancé(e) in person.
The other relationship requirements are as follows:
#1 Your fiancé(e) (the ‘sponsor‘) in the UK must be:
- A British Citizen;
- Present and settled in the UK;
- Granted Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
- Granted Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme; or
- In the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection.
#2 Your relationship to your fiancé(e) must:
- Be genuine and subsisting
- Not fall within the prohibited degree of relationships (more information on this is in our detailed fiancé(e) visa UK guide here.
- Be free from relationships to any other people (in other words, any previous marriages or civil partnerships must have broken down permanently).
You must meet the fiance visa UK financial requirement
The financial requirements can primarily be found in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.
For a more detailed and understandable account of the financial requirement, read our fiance visa UK financial requirements in 2021 article.
Firstly, it is important to highlight that for fiancé(e) visa applications, the applicant’s employment income and self-employment income can rarely be included.
This is because only applicants who are in the UK legally, on a visa which permits employment, can include evidence of their employment and self-employment income.
The necessary level of funds to meet the financial requirement for the majority of couples is usually £18,600.
This £18,600 figure is known as the ‘minimum income threshold‘.
This figure can vary depending on:
- Whether there are any dependent children (under 18 years of age) also applying;
- Whether you elect to include cash savings; and
- Whether your fiancé(e) in the UK is in receipt of a permitted benefit.
Let us discuss below how each of these affect the level of required funds.
Applying with dependent children under 18 years of age
In order to calculate the increase minimum income threshold, you must:
- Add £3,800 for the first applying child; and
- An additional £2,400 for each additional applying child.
Therefore, if you are applying with two dependent children, the level of funds you must show is £18,600 (for yourself ) and £3,800 ( for the first child ) and £2,800 (for the second child) = £24,800 minimum income threshold.
As we discuss in our fiance visa UK financial requirement in 2021 article, British or European children do not increase the minimum income threshold of £18,600.
You may evidence the level of income applicable to your circumstances from cash savings available to you, your fiancé(e), or jointly.
If you wish to show that you meet the financial requirement only from cash funds, then you must evidence at least £62,500 in cash savings (this figure will be higher if there are dependant children applying) in accordance with the document specifications listed in Appendix FM-SE of the Immigration Rules.
If you have cash savings of £16,000 but less than £62,000, then you may use these funds to lower the necessary level of funds applicable to your circumstances (i.e. £18,600) and combine these cash funds with another source of income (assuming that the other source of income is a type which is permitted to be combined with cash savings).
More information regarding including cash savings towards the financial requirement can be found in our cash savings guidance for spouse visas in 2021 (since the financial requirement for spouse visas and fiancé(e) visas are identical, the contents in this article also apply).
If your fiancé(e) in the UK is in receipt of one or more of benefits listed below, then your application is exempt from the minimum income threshold of £18,600+.
However, your application will not be exempt from the adequate maintenance requirement. For more information on the adequate maintenance requirement, read our adequate maintenance test guidance for UK visas.
Permitted benefits are listed as:
- Carer’s allowance;
- Personal independence payment;
- Disability living allowance;
- Police Injury Pension;
- Industrial injury disablement benefit;
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme;
- Severe disablement allowance;
- Attendance allowance; and
- Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme.
If one of the permitted benefits above are received by the sponsor (UK partner), then the adequate maintenance test will apply.
You must meet the fiance visa UK accommodation requirement
The fiancé(e) visa accommodation requirement can be found at E-ECP.3.4 of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.
It states that adequate accommodation must be available to all of the persons living in the household, independent of whether all of these persons are submitting a visa application.
This accommodation must be owned or occupied exclusively by you, your fiancé(e) and any other members of the household
It must also not be overcrowded or contravene public health regulations.
For fiancé(e) visa applications (and prospective civil partnership visa applications only), the Immigration Rules allow for there to be prospective accommodation arrangements until the marriage or civil partnership has taken place.
However, you must still satisfy the decision maker that any temporary accommodation arrangements are adequate for your occupancy.
Furthermore, you must also demonstrate that long term accommodation arrangements have been made once you are married or entered into a civil partnership and that the accommodation falls within the specifications of adequate accommodation above.
You must satisfy the English language requirement
The English language requirement can be found under the heading Section E-ECP: Eligibility for entry clearance as a partner – English language requirement” in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.
You must provide evidence that you meet the English language requirement in one of these ways:
- By being a national of a majority English speaking country;
- By passing an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with an approved provider;
- By holding an English taught Bachelors, Masters degree or PhD awarded by an educational establishment in the UK;
- By holding a Bachelors, Masters degree or PhD taught in English, awarded by an educational establishment outside of the UK, and confirmed by UK NARIC to meet the same UK degree standard;
- By being aged 65 or over when the application is submitted;
- By having a disability (physical or mental condition) that prevents you from meeting the English language requirement; and
- By having ‘exceptional circumstances‘ that prevents you from meeting the English language requirement (this one is generally difficult to rely on).
“What English language test is required when I extend the fiancé(e) visa?“
You must demonstrate that you have passed at least level A1 of the English language test.
You are therefore able to submit the same English language test certificate you provided when you applied for your fiancé(e) visa, as long as you apply for your FLR (M) visa prior to the expiration of your fiancé(e) visa.
It is a common misconception that the A2 level requirement applies when it comes to the fiancé(e) visa extension – it does not.
Rather, the A2 level is only a requirement for those who are extending their partner visa after their first 33 or 30 month partner visa.
“Should I sit a higher level English test than A1?”
If your level of English is ‘intermediate‘ or ‘advanced‘, then you can consider taking an English language test at A2 or B1 level.
The reason for this is that in most cases, you will be able to re-use the same test certificate for subsequent visa applications (all the way up to British Citizenship for those who initially sit the B1 test).
“So what are the rules regarding expired test certificates?”
Paragraph 32D of Appendix FM-SE of the Immigration Rules states that, as long as you have had ‘continuous leave’ since your last partner visa application, your expired English test certificate will still be valid for application purposes in the following circumstances:
- If the English language test certificate is past its expiry date; or
- If the certificate is from a provider which is still approved but the particular test take is no longer approved; or
- If the certificate is from a provider or a test centre which is no longer on the approved list.
You will have ‘Continuous leave’ if the date of application for the FLR(M) visa was before the expiration of the fiancé(e) visa and there are no periods of uncertain or illegal immigration status in your record.
You must meet the tuberculosis (TB) requirement
The test generally takes the form of a chest X-ray which will be reviewed by a doctor.
If you do not have TB, you will be issued with a certificate which you must provide with your application.
This certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of issue.
In the event that the X-ray cannot sufficiently determine whether Tuberculosis is present, you may be asked to provide a sputum sample, which is essentially phlegm that has been coughed up from your lungs.
“What is the exception to this general rule?”
Even if you are a resident in one of the listed countries, you will not have to take a Tuberculosis test in the following circumstances:
- you are a returning UK resident and have not been away from the UK for more than 2 years;
- you have the special status of being a diplomat accredited to the UK;
- you have resided in a country where TB screening is not required by the UK for more than 6 months and you have not been away from that country for longer than 6 months.
“Do children have to take a Tuberculosis test?”
Children under the age of 11 will not usually require a Tuberculosis test, however ultimately this is down to the doctor at a Home Office approved clinic.
You must submit a valid application
A valid application means you have followed the guidelines for your application to be passed on to the decision making stage.
It does not mean your application has been successful and your visa has been granted.
For your visa application to be valid, you must:
- Complete all of the required sections on the fiance visa UK application form;
- Pay the fiance visa UK fees and costs in 2021;
- Provide Home Office approved proof of identity (this is usually satisfied by submitting a passport);
- Submit your biometric information, which is essentially your signature, photograph and fingerprints at the overseas visa application centre.
You must satisfy the suitability requirements
The relevant suitability requirements can be found under the subheading “Section S-EC: Suitability-entry clearance” of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.
This sets out the reasons for which your application will be automatically refused.
Your application will be refused if:
- If the Secretary of State has personally directed that your exclusion from the UK is conducive to the public good;
- You are currently subject to a deportation order;
- You have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment for at least 4 year of imprisonment following the conviction of an offence;
- You have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment for at least 12 months (but less than 4 years) following the conviction of an offence, unless more than 10 years have passed since the sentence end date;
- You have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment for at less than 12 months following the conviction of an offence, unless more than 5 years have passed since the sentence end date;
- It is undesirable to issue your fiance visa because of your previous conduct;
- Despite being asked to attend an interview, you failed to do so;
- Despite being asked to provide information (including physical data, a medical report or medical examination), you failed to do so;
- You have medical issues which result in it being undesirable to grant your partner visa application;
- A caution was issued to you under s22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 within the 5 year prior prior to the application end date which had a condition of you leaving or being removed from the UK.
If your application falls under any of the reasons below, it may be automatically refused. This will be assessed by a decision maker on a case-by-case basis.
Your application may be refused if:
- You have provided incorrect information, supporting documentation, or representations in your partner visa application (whether you knew you did or not is irrelevant);
- You did not submit important information that is relevant to the Home Office decision maker in deciding your application;
- You did not provide a maintenance and accommodation undertaking despite being asked to do so;
- You have been convicted or admitted an offence, caused serious harm or are a persistent offender who ‘shows a particular disregard for the law’;
- The Home Office have been told of NHS charges of more than £500 which you owe; or
- Legal costs have been awarded to the Home Office for which you have not yet paid.
Fiancé(e) visa requirement 2021 FAQs
#1 Which fiancé(e) visa requirement is the biggest cause of refusal?
Most applications are refused because the financial requirement is not properly evidenced.
There are very specific requirements with regards to:
- The supporting documents;
- The relevant financial time periods
- How income is calculated under the different ‘categories‘; and
- What income can or cannot be combined.
Our DIY application pack service addresses this by providing you with a tailored document checklist that not only provides a clear list of the required specified documents, but also makes clear the specific Immigration Rules and how they apply to certain documents.
#2 When do the requirements for the fiancé(e) visa have to be met?
The fiancé visa UK requirements have to be met at the ‘date of application’, which is the date that you pay the Home Office fees on the fiancé visa UK online application in 2021.
#3 If I am not sure that all of the fiancé(e) visa requirements are met, shall I submit the application anyway?
If you are unsure your application meets all of the requirements of the Immigration Rules, it is best to wait.
This is because, if your application is refused because you do not meet all of the fiancé(e) visa requirements, you will:
- lose all monies paid for Home Office processing fees; and
- have a visa refusal on your immigration record which could negatively affect subsequent UK visa applications.
#4 Does the online application website tell me the fiancé(e) visa requirements?
If you want to ensure that your application is successful, you are best to carefully read and follow all of the published guidance prior to submitting your application.
#5 Is there a requirement for the sponsor to be in the UK when the application is made?
The Immigration Rules do not require your fiancé(e) to be in the UK when the application is made.
Whilst there is a requirement for the sponsor (UK partner) to be ‘present’ in the UK, if the sponsor expresses the intention to return to the UK if the fiancé(e) visa application is approved, they will be treated as being present.
When do the fiancé(e) visa requirements have to be met?
The fiancé(e) visa requirements must be met on what is known as the ‘date of application’. This is the date that you pay the fiancé(e) visa Home Office fees.
Is there a requirement to continually satisfy the fiancé(e) requirements for the duration of the visa?
What matters is that the requirements are met on when the Home Office fees are paid on the online application. You will not have to continually meet all of the requirements for the duration of the fiancé(e) visa.
What is the most difficult fiancé(e) visa requirement?
It is without question that the most difficult fiancé(e) visa requirement is the fiancé(e) visa financial requirement. This is because the rules regarding submitting certain documents are often overlooked.
What happens if I do not meet all of the fiancé(e) visa UK requirements?
It is important to know all of the fiancé(e) visa requirements because if you do not meet all of them, your application will most likely be refused.
It is important to ensure that you are fully aware of the fiance visa UK requirement in 2021 – hopefully this article helped!
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