8 July 2021

Residence Requirements for UK Spouse Visa

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Unlike most visa routes, partner visas have no specified residency restrictions or limitations on the number of days spent outside the UK.

Despite the lack of a residency requirement for spouses, there are several considerations to keep in mind in order to guarantee that applications for additional leave to remain and indefinite permission to remain is approved.

The applicant and their partner must intend to “habit together continuously in the United Kingdom” in order to submit a partner application.

Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules defines this as: ‘an intention to live together, evidenced by a clear commitment from both parties that they will live together permanently in the UK immediately following the outcome of the application in question or as soon as circumstances permit thereafter.’

Each application for subsequent leave to remain as a partner must include proof that the applicant has lived in the UK with their partner since the last award of right to remain as a couple. When applying for additional leave, both the applicant and the sponsor must be physically present in the United Kingdom.

Are absences allowed?

The applicant and their partner are both allowed to leave the UK for short periods of time.

These absences must be for “good reasons,” and they must be consistent with a desire to live together in the UK permanently.

What constitutes “good cause” for absences from the United Kingdom?

Holidays or time spent abroad for employment, training, or study, according to the Home Office guidance, are acceptable reasons for absences.

This is not a comprehensive list, and absences for other reasons should be justified.

How do I show that absences are consistent with the ‘intention to live together’ permanently in the UK?

Short vacations or travels taken as a couple are not incompatible with the desire to live together permanently in the United Kingdom.

Absences from the UK for long periods of time must be explained. Evidence should be produced to indicate the reason for the absence, how long it lasted, and that the couple’s permanent residence remained in the United Kingdom.

Long periods of separation between a couple may also call into question the relationship’s sincerity. As a result, evidence of regular communication and visits should be presented to illustrate how the relationship has been maintained despite periods of separation.

Is there a limit to the absences allowed?

In the partner route, there is no set limit for absences. “If the applicant, their partner, or both have spent the majority of the term overseas, there may be a reason to doubt that the couple intends to live together permanently in the UK,” the guidance says.

As a result, it is expected that the couple will spend the majority of their time together. This makes sense because the partner route’s goal is to allow non-EEA nationals to join their partner in the UK based on their shared family life.

The decision-maker is required to assess each application on its own merits, taking into account the reasons for travel, the length of absence, and whether the applicant and his or her partner travelled and lived together while outside the UK. If either person has spent most of the time away from home, this should be described in detail.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss that may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught Law.

About the Author

A talented and dedicated public relations professional, Riaz, has more than 14 years of experience helping organisations communicate more effectively. He has developed strategic communications plans garnered extensive media coverage, produced marketing materials coordinated special events, and hosted other communications activities.

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