Having applied for your first partner visa (or, 'Family visa', in Home Office terminology), whether as a spouse, civil-partner, fiance / fiancee or as an unmarried partner, you will need to extend your leave before it expires, by making an application for Further Leave to Remain (FLR-M).
This extension application will be very similar to the first application you made, but with several key differences.
If your first family visa was made from outside the UK, then you would only have been permitted to rely on the UK sponsor’s income (unless you applied via the savings route, which can be savings from the UK sponsor or the applicant).
However, for your further leave to remain application (FLR-M), you can rely on either the UK sponsor’s income, or the applicant’s income, or both incomes combined. You can also rely on savings held by either of you. You can find more details about the savings route here: How to use cash savings in UK family visa applications - spouse, civil-partner, fiance or fiancee, unmarried partner visa routes.
For your further leave to remain application (FLR-M) you will need to show that you have reached a minimum level of CEFR A2 in English language.
As with your first family visa route application, you only need to take a 2-facet test for FLR-M. This means you will be tested on speaking and listening. You will not be tested on reading and writing.
You must take a test which is approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), and you can find details of which tests to take, here: UKVI approved English language tests.
You do not need to take an A2 level English language test if you are switching from a fiancé / fiancée visa into your first spouse or civil-partner visa. In this case, you can reuse the A1 level certificate you already have, provided it’s not more than 2-years old.
Other exceptions to the English language requirement are the same exceptions that were in place when you applied for your first family visa, i.e. you are a national of a country which UKVI designates as a majority English speaking country, or, if you have a UK degree, masters or PhD, or, if you have a non-UK degree, masters or PhD which was taught in English medium, and you have the relevant verification documents from ECCTIS (formerly UK NARIC).
Further exceptions to the English language requirement will apply if you are aged over 65 years, have a disability (physical or mental condition) which prevents you from meeting the requirement, or, if there are exceptional circumstances which prevent you from meeting the requirement.
In your first partner visa or family visa application you may have provided photographs of yourselves together, evidence of messages between you, flight itineraries, etc.
But for the further leave to remain application (FLR-M), you only need to provide cohabitation evidence for the period since your last visa was granted. Evidence that you have lived together is required in the form of shared utility bills, and other official correspondence from third parties. You can find more detailed information about what kind of cohabitation evidence is expected in this article: UK Family visas - How to prove a genuine relationship.
If you are switching from an initial fiancé / fiancée visa to FLR-M, then you would not really be expected to provide much, if any cohabitation evidence. Because the foreign partner will have been in the UK a relatively short time, and they often face difficulty opening accounts in their name whilst on fiancé /fiancée visas as they are regarded only as temporary residents.
But if you can provide cohabitation evidence from your period as a fiancé / fiancée, then you should do so, as it will strengthen the application.
Owl and Snake Immigration is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Registration no: F201900008.
Private limited company registered in England and Wales: 13111468. Registered with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO): ZB418255.
Registered with the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA): 9034