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Spouse Visa Vs Brit Cit

Jun 17, 2024

No other nation imposes higher fees for allowing a partner from overseas to settle within its borders. The UK visa application fees and immigration health surcharge can often amount to thousands of pounds. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom remains appealing, with its attractions potentially outweighing the financial costs involved.

For partners of British citizens, it is advisable to explore various immigration pathways, as routes such as sponsored employment or the Global Talent route may be more cost-effective alternatives to the UK spouse visa.

Under the partner route, multiple visa applications are required to achieve permanent settlement in the UK and obtain British citizenship. Below is a breakdown of the visa costs from the initial application to settlement and citizenship.

If you are residing overseas, the initial cost of applying for a UK spouse visa is approximately £4951, comprising the £1846 visa fee and £3105 Immigration Health Surcharge. Due to currency conversion, you may end up paying slightly more than the total of these fees, as payments must be made in the local currency. Additionally, the UKVI site charges 5% above the standard exchange rate.

Currently, applications may take up to 24 weeks to process, prompting some applicants to opt for expedited services to receive a quicker decision. The priority service comes at an additional cost of £500, but it is only available for straightforward applications that adhere to immigration rules.

If you meet the standard requirements outlined in the immigration rules, you will be granted a partner visa under the 5-year route, which signifies a pathway to settlement within five years. Alternatively, there is the 10-year route, which naturally takes a decade to achieve settlement.

Whether you choose the 5-year route or the 10-year route, if your application is successful, you will be granted permission to enter the UK and live there for 33 months. This translates to two and a half years, with an additional three months given to help you settle in.

Once this initial period is over, you will need to apply for permission to remain in the UK for another 2.5 years, or 30 months. The requirements for this extension will be like the initial entry clearance, although you will need to demonstrate a slightly higher level of English proficiency.

The cost of applying for a partner visa extension is slightly lower than the entry clearance application. It includes a £1048 visa fee and £2587.50 for the Immigration Health Surcharge.

It is important to note that the application for an extension must be made from within the UK, and you cannot leave the country until a decision has been made. The processing time for this extension is shorter compared to the entry clearance application, with a standard service time of up to 8 weeks. However, if you have travel plans, it may be worth considering the priority service, which can expedite the process within approximately one week. The priority service comes with an additional cost of £1000, making the total cost of the extension application approximately £3635, or £4635 if priority service is required.

Even without the priority service, the total cost remains under £10,000, or slightly over if priority is deemed essential.

After residing in the UK for five years, you will become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain. The application fee for indefinite leave to remain is currently £2885 in 2024, but it is likely to increase in the next five years, even if the exact amount is uncertain.

Like the extension application, the priority service for indefinite leave to remain costs £1000 and can result in a settlement decision within a week of applying. However, it is important to note that the standard processing time for indefinite leave to remain applications is up to 6 months, which may cause some concern regarding the timeframe and potentially lead to considering the priority service.

In conclusion, under the five-year route, the total expenses for the spouse visa and settlement should not exceed £12,000 to £15,000.

The cost of application for British citizenship is minute in comparison to the visa fees above – a one-off fee of £1580.

The laws concerning both are extremely complex so using a firm such as UK Visas to manage your case is worthwhile. We have in-house specialist consultants authorised by the OISC to provide advice on ILR and British Citizenship.

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