Implications of Coronavirus for UK Spouse Visas

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We all know the world has been blanketed under the pandemic of covid-19, in the UK and worldwide, restricting our movement and causing concern and worry to those who live away from their family. 

However, with the ongoing trouble and continued travel restrictions the UK government has come with a concessional plan to offer applications applying for a UK spouse visa.

Flexible considerations introduced  by the Home Office

The Home Office Family Policy stated that an officer or caseworker could exercise prudence to allow a person to: 

‘start, stay on or complete a route to the settlement despite them being in the UK as a visitor or with leave of six months or less, in-country or overseas for a short period without leave, where it is shown that they were not able to travel or apply due to COVID-19 between March and 31 August 2020’

The current Home Office policy allows people in the UK with valid leave to remain due to expire after 31 October 2020 who wish to remain in the UK, to make an application for leave to remain from within the UK even when it was: ‘[they] would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country’. However, it would require applicants to show that the application is ‘urgent’. 

The policy has grown stricter it will not suffice anymore to merely prove that Covid-19 has affected an applicant’s ability to travel or apply from outside the UK, but applicants must also show that their application fulfils the ‘urgent’ criteria. 

The Home Office clarifies that those whose applications are not urgent should apply for exceptional assurance ‘as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired.’ If their application is not urgent, they should then leave the UK when they are able to, and apply for entry clearance from outside the UK in the normal way. 

Coronavirus implications on a spouse visa application

#1: Timing of the spouse visa application under covid-19

Many spouse visa and spouse visa extension applications have been delayed due to the ongoing implications of the coronavirus pandemic. The applicants must ensure to submit their application well before time. 

However, some applicants have delayed their application due to travel restrictions or coronavirus affecting their health.

#2: Financial requirements

Due to the economic downturn, the coronavirus has largely affected their financial conditions which has directly affecting spouse visa applications.

Earlier in 2020, the Home office had introduced the following flexible considerations

“If you have experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus, we will consider employment income for the period immediately before the loss of income due to coronavirus, provided the requirement was met for at least 6 months up to March 2020.

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 31 July 2020 will generally be disregarded, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications.”

#3: Documentation process

Spouse visa applicants may have been finding themselves in great difficulty in obtaining documents that they need, as many businesses in the UK and abroad have been under a lockdown or only providing essential services. The major problem is faced by those who need to take English Language or Life in the UK test prior to complete their applications

#4: A delayed marriage ceremony 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many marriage ceremonies have been put to hold in the UK due to rising cases of infections. The Home office’s flexible consideration includes,

‘E-LTRP.1.11. If the applicant is in the UK with leave as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner and the marriage or civil partnership did not take place during that period of leave, there must be a good reason why and evidence that it will take place within the next 6 months.’

Take expert advice

It would be beneficial to seek support from immigration experts to help you guide the best during the difficult times of the coronavirus pandemic.  A Y & J Solicitors have successfully helped over 4000 clients with their bespoke immigration and visa advice from planning the applications to visa approvals.

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