2020 has been the year that didn’t go to plan. If you’re planning to submit a spousal visa application or renew to the Home Office, here are a few situations that you may have come across.
I’m in the UK on a spousal visa. In the middle of the spousal visa extension process, my spouse died of Covid. What can I do?
You may be eligible to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain in the UK) if your partner has died. Before your partner died, you must have had a visa as their partner (but not as their fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner). The cost is just over £2,300 unless your partner worked for the NHS. Then ILR is free. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-bereavement-scheme-for-family-members-of-nhs-and-health-and-social-care-workers
I’m a British Citizen and I want to bring my non-EEA spouse to the UK. I was laid off during the middle of the pandemic now I can’t meet the financial requirement of £18,600 per year.
The Home Office has recently updated its guidance on the minimum financial requirement for spousal visas. The guidance states:
If you’ve experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus up to 1 January 2021, we will consider employment income for the period immediately before the loss of income, provided the minimum income requirement was met for at least 6 months immediately before the date the income was lost.
If your salary has reduced because you’re furloughed, we will take account of your income as though you’re earning 100% of your salary.
If you’re self-employed, a loss of annual income due to coronavirus between 1 March 2020 and 1 January 2021 will usually be disregarded, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications.
I’m here in the UK on a Fiance visa. Due to Covid we can’t marry within the 6 month time period.
According to the Home Office, “If you’re here with 6 months’ leave as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner and your wedding or civil ceremony has been delayed due to coronavirus you may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance’, by emailing [email protected]homeoffice.gov.uk and providing evidence of when your wedding will take place.”
I am a non-EEA national sponsored by my spouse on a spousal visa. I travelled out of the UK to my home country and ended up staying more than 6 months. Will my spousal visa be invalidated.
Probably not. It depends.
Guidance for other UK visas suggests that a Covid-related absence between six and 12 months will be accepted as an important reason to remain out of the country. If you have FLR-M status and spend, for example, nine months of the pandemic outside the UK — are you able to argue that the situation was so critical that the extended absence didn’t break your “continuous qualifying period”?
There is a narrow band of what is considered acceptable by Home Office as an “important reason. Sadly, situations that are not covered is when an individual made a conscious decision to remain in his home country for economic reasons or because he wanted to be closer to his family members. A denial can even arise from an individual not returning to the UK or because he considered the risk to his health to be greater in the United Kingdom than his home country.
I can’t get ahold of certain documents I need for my spousal visa application.
Applicants may have more difficulty obtaining documents that they need for their spousal application, as many businesses in the UK and abroad are closed or only providing essential services.
Generally, the biggest problem is likely to be for those who need to take English Language or Life in the UK test prior to making their applications.
The English language requirement doesn’t apply to US passport holders.
As part of the evidence required for your application, there may be other third parties (banks, employers, landlords) who are required to provide documents for you.
If this is the case you should consult an immigration specialist for help on figuring out which documents can be relied upon for your case and where ‘evidential flexibility’ is likely to occur for you.
I need to contact the Home Office about a specific situation with my visa that has arisen out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you have immigration queries related to coronavirus, please email the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.
Email: [email protected]. Your email must be in English.
You will usually get a reply within 5 working days. Do not send follow up emails – they may delay you getting a reply.
You can also call the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. If you’ve emailed the help centre already, please do not contact them by phone. Telephone: 0800 678 1767