A visa for a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner may be granted either from outside the UK or within the UK, and it is granted for two and a half years. At the end of that time – and if, very importantly, the relevant requirements of the rules continue to be met – the migrant can apply to extend their leave. The extension visa is also granted for a period of two and a half years.
It is extremely important that the migrant applies to extend their leave before their current leave expires; if they apply late the application might not be accepted by the Home Office. This is likely to be a very serious situation which could ultimately result in the migrant having to leave the UK and thus potentially break up the family life, so it is really not a good idea.
The application can be made within the 28 days before the date of expiry of the current visa. So, for example, if the visa expires on 5 November the application can be submitted from 8 October onwards.
The application must be submitted on the basis that the partner relationship is still genuine and continuing and – in the majority of cases – that the financial and accommodation requirements continue to be met. There is also in most cases an English language requirement to be met, which can be satisfied by holding an English language test, holding a degree qualification taught in English, or by being national of a majority English-speaking country.
The total Government fees for the application are £2,612.20 (no, this is not a typo). Processing times vary, but the decision should emerge within two or three months. Sometimes – and particularly with difficult or complex applications – it takes longer. But however long it takes for the application to be processed the migrant’s immigration status is protected and they keep the rights conferred by their previous visa, including the right to work.
If you are intending to submit a partner extension application we at GSN Immigration have extensive experience in this area and we will be able to help you.
OISC Level 3 Immigration Adviser