A spousal visa is a specific kind of visa. It allows the spouse or civil partner of a country’s citizen or permanent resident to join them in that country. This visa serves as a bridge, uniting families across geographical borders. It provides a legal pathway for spouses to live together in a country. In such cases, one partner is already a citizen or a permanent resident of a country.
Countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia, and many others provide spousal visas. If a person has settled status and intends to live in these countries with their spouse or partner, they can apply. Dependant children are usually included in the application.
The process of applying for a spousal visa involves several steps. The applicant first fills out application forms provided by the immigration authorities.
Such forms are part of the visa application process. Certain spouse visa requirements must be met for a successful application.
Several crucial requirements must be met for a spousal visa. Firstly, the relationship requirement: the couple must be legally married or in a recognized civil partnership. They also need to intend to live together in the host country.
The English language requirement is another key criterion in many countries. Applicants need to demonstrate a certain level of English proficiency. Financial requirements are also critical.
Entry clearance is necessary before traveling to the host country. Once all the requirements are met, entry clearance is given. It usually happens when the spouse’s visa application is approved. It allows the spouse or partner to enter and live in the country.
Eventually, they may gain settled status, allowing them to live, work, and enjoy benefits similar to citizens. For couples of different nationalities, it starts with a spousal visa and can end in permanent residency. The spousal visa helps families to stay together.
A spousal visa is for those already married or in a recognized civil partnership with a citizen or permanent resident of the host country. In contrast, a partner or fiancé visa is for couples who are not yet married. However, they intend to marry within a specific period upon entering the country.
While a spousal visa offers a route to settled status, the partner or fiancé visa is generally a short-term visa. It is meant to be switched to a spousal visa once the marriage has taken place.
Obtaining a visa for a spouse involves several steps, starting with filling out the required application forms. These forms can typically be found on the official website of the host country’s immigration services.
Documentation proving the legitimacy of the marriage or partnership, the financial ability of the sponsor, and meeting the English language requirement (if applicable) must be provided. Additionally, any dependant children included in the application need their documents.
In a spousal visa application, the person who is already a citizen or permanent resident of the host country acts as the sponsor. The sponsor needs to prove that they can support their spouse financially without needing to rely on public funds. This typically involves meeting a certain income threshold or having enough savings.
Spousal visas are often granted for a fixed period. Before the visa expires, it can be extended, following a similar process to the initial application. A key requirement for extension is that the couple is still married or in a civil partnership and intends to continue living together.
As for switching, holders of partner or fiancé visas can switch to a spousal visa once they are married. Other visa holders may also switch to a spousal visa if they meet the requirements and their current visa doesn’t have a ’no recourse to public funds’ restriction.
While the exact names and types of spousal visas differ by country, there are typically two types. The temporary spousal visa is for a fixed period, while the permanent spousal visa, or ’indefinite leave to remain,’ grants settled status.
Securing a spousal visa can be challenging. Meeting the financial requirement can be difficult for some couples. The application process itself can be complex and time-consuming. Moreover, the cost of the application and legal fees can also be prohibitive for some.
Certain factors can disqualify a person from obtaining a spousal visa. These include:
Here are some tips to improve the chances of acceptance:
Ensure Complete and Accurate Information: Applicants need to make sure all the information provided in the application is accurate to avoid delays or rejection.
Meet All Visa Requirements: Ensure they meet all the visa requirements.
Provide Sufficient Evidence: When proving the legitimacy of the marriage, provide sufficient evidence such as marriage certificates, photos, joint bills, etc.
Seek Professional Advice: Consider seeking advice from a legal professional experienced in immigration matters to ensure they understand the visa process.
The following are some examples of the process of obtaining spousal visas in the following countries:
The UK spouse visa is often referred to as a ’Family of a Settled Person’ visa. It allows non-EU individuals to stay with a spouse who is a British citizen. The processing time is 24 weeks. The couple must intend to live together permanently in the UK.
The application involves submitting documents proving the couple’s relationship. As the UK is an English-speaking country, applicants will have to pass an English language test. The sponsor must also meet an income requirement of at least £18,600 per year.
In the United States, spousal visas are categorized into IR1 and CR1 visas. The U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse submits an immigrant visa petition, Form I-130, to USCIS.
Upon approval, it moves to the National Visa Center (NVC), where the foreign spouse completes the visa application. The application involves interviews and medical examinations. Successful applicants become permanent residents upon entry into the U.S.
In France, a foreign spouse of a French citizen can apply for a "vie privée et familiale" (private and family life) residence card.
The application involves submitting various documents, including marriage certificates and proof of the French citizen’s nationality. Additionally, evidence of a stable and sufficient income must be provided.
In Australia, the Partner Visa (subclasses 820 and 801) allows the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia. The application process involves two stages: a temporary and a permanent visa application.
In the beginning, the temporary Partner Visa is granted, allowing the spouse to live, work, and study in Australia. After two years, they can apply for the permanent Partner Visa if they’re still in a relationship with their partner.
In New Zealand, the Partnership Resident Visa is designed for the partners of New Zealand citizens or residents. The application involves proving the genuineness of the relationship and the sponsor’s eligibility.
Moreover, the visa allows the spouse to live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely. The processing time for a spousal visa is 14 months.
In Germany, the Family Reunion visa allows the non-EU/EEA spouse of a German citizen or resident to join them in Germany. The couple must be married, and the German spouse must have adequate living space and sufficient and secured finances.
The application involves submitting various documents. It can be submitted to the German embassy or consulate in the foreign spouse’s home country. If granted, the spouse is eligible to apply for a residence permit in Germany.
While the journey to getting a spousal visa can be challenging, it is often worth the effort. Being well-informed and prepared can make the process smoother. The process, while meticulous and often complex, is a testament to global policies that value familial unity.
Each country offers its own version of a visa for spouses tailored to its immigration laws and societal norms. Despite the challenges associated with applying for a spousal visa, there are many benefits. This includes the ability to live and enjoy the privileges of being a resident in a new country.