UK Family visas: apply as Partner, Spouse, Parent

Entry visa, switching from another category, settlement Indefinite Leave to Remain. #1 Experts in the Financial Requirement.   

How is Financial Requirement changing?

From 11 April 2024 the income threshold is £29,000 per year or savings of £88,500. It is expected to rise further to £34,500 later in 2024, and eventually to £38,700 in early 2025. If you had a Spouse, Partner or Fiancée visa, issued under the Rules before 11 April 2024, you can continue under the old £18,600 threshold for your next application and settlement (Indefinite Leave), assuming your visas remain continuous.

Visa options: Spouse, Partner, Fiancée


Visa is for 6 months with no right to work. Allows to get married and switch to a Spouse visa.

Spouse or Civil Partner

For married couples, also for civil partners who registered their partnership with the authorities. You can get married outside the UK and apply as spouse. You can also switch from most other visas, Student, Graduate, Youth Mobility. A visa is for 30 months inside the UK or 33 months when applying outside the UK.

Unmarried Partner

Similar to Spouse visa in terms of length and path to settlement. However, the qualifying condition is having been in a relationship akin to marriage for at least 2 years. Alternatively, you can get married and get a Spouse visa. Or you can get a Fiancée visa, followed by a Spouse visa.

Difference between 5 and 10-year routes

5-year route is a standard route to settlement, meaning you can qualify for permanent residency after 5 years in the UK. It is made up of 2 visas x 2.5 years.

10-year route is used when you have serious, exceptional circumstances why you cannot meet the requirements of the standard route. Usually financial or being in the UK without a valid visa. It takes twice longer to settlement, 4 visas x 2.5 years. You can also switch from 10 to 5-year route to qualify for it sooner

Can a tourist switch to a Spouse visa?

No, if you are on a Visitor visa or visa-free status, you have to return to your country and apply from there.

Bring your husband, wife or partner to the UK

If you are living in Britain, but your partner is living in another country, the visa options are Spouse or Fiancée. Waiting time approximately 3 months; or 6 weeks on fast-track service. Financial Requirement from 11 April 2024: income of £29,000 or savings of £88,500. Often met with UK employment or self-employment, savings, pension or combinations, such as pension + savings.

Move to the UK together after living abroad

If you are both living abroad and decide to come and live in the UK together, your options are Spouse if you are married; or Unmarried Partner if you have lived together for 2 years. If not, you can apply for a Fiancée visa. Waiting times as above. Financial Requirement from 11 April 2024: income £29,000 or savings £88,500. Commonly met with savings; non-UK employment with a UK job offer; property rental income; pension or combinations.

Switch from another visa: Student, Graduate, Youth Mobility etc

If you are both already in the UK and your partner has a non-Visitor status, such as Student, Graduate, Youth Mobility etc.  Your visa options are Spouse or Unmarried Partner. Waiting time inside the UK is 8 weeks; or next working day on Priority service. Financial Requirement from 11 April 2024: income £29,000 or savings £88,500. Can be met using UK employment, self-employment or scholarship of one or both partners, savings and combination of income sources.

Extension after initial 2.5 years

If you already have a Spouse or Partner visa issued under the Rules before 11 April 2024, you can continue under the old £18,600 income threshold. Waiting times as above.  The income threshold remains £18,600 for the partner (more if children are also applying) or savings of £62,500, or a permitted combination of income sources.

Settlement - Indefinite Leave to Remain - 5 years

After an initial visa and extension, it would normally add up to 5 years in this category. You could now apply for permanent residency, called Indefinite Leave to Remain. You cannot count time spent on a Fiancée visa and cannot combine with other categories, like Student or Work. Financial Requirement: income of £18,600 or savings of £34,600. Waiting time is within 6 months; or next working day on fast-track service. The outcome: Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, plus the ability to qualify for a British passport.

Settlement - 10 years

If you are in the 10-year route, you need 10 years (not 5). You can, however, switch to the 5-year route as soon as you can meet the requirements, financial or otherwise, so you could qualify sooner for settlement. You may also qualify sooner on the basis of 10 years in the UK on various visas, under a different category of 10 years Long Residence.

#1 for UK visa advice

We started this company 15 years ago after our own experience through a Fiancée and Spouse route. We are accredited by The OISC at the highest Level 3. From our London office, we serve customers of all nationalities to join a partner or family in the UK, to remain and settle here.


Children of parents British by descent: a British partner cannot pass their nationality to children born outside the UK, due to being British by descent. The whole family is coming to the UK, so the foreign partner applies for a visa as above, and the children can apply as dependants. 

Bring your Partner’s children to the UK: a British citizen is sponsoring a partner to come and live in the UK. The foreign partner can include his/her children as dependants, providing they have sole responsibility for them.

All children must be under 18 years of age at the time of their 1 st  application. After that they can carry on as dependants, even if they turn 18 later.

Apply as a Parent

If you are not in a relationship anymore but have a child together, this is a visa for 2.5 years. A child must be aged under 18, British or settled in the UK. Or has lived in the UK for 7 years and it would not be reasonable for them to leave. Parents also have 5 and 10-year routes.

Private Life visas

A child under 18 years of age, who was born in the UK and lived here for 7 years, can apply for Indefinite Leave.

A child under 18 years of age, who wasn’t born here but lived for 7 years, can apply for a Private Life visa, which is for 2.5 or 5 years. It leads to settlement after 5 years (independent of any parent).

A young person aged 18 – 24 years, who has lived in the UK at least half of their lives, can apply for a Private Life visa, which is for 2.5 or 5 years. It leads to settlement after 5 years.

A person aged 18 years or over (except the above), who has lived in the UK for 20 years, can apply for a Private Life visa. It is for 2.5 years at a time and leads to settlement after 10 years on it. Unless you are able to switch to another category, such as a Partner visa in the 5-year route.