A Guide to the Spouse Visa Application 2016!

By | on 24th February 2016 | 10 Comments

Applying for the Spouse Visa for your Turkish Partner as you may know is a very stressful process. Not only do you need to earn £18,600 per year but you have to prove you are in a “real” relationship and a mountain of other paperwork. It is a process which we hope to soon go through and I will provide my insight further down the line.

spouse visa

A lovely lady called Shari messaged me last year for some advice and we have stayed in touch through her journey and have become friends over this time. Shari and her husband have just been through the Spouse Visa process and Burak arrived last week. For all of you who may be in the same boat, Shari has documented the entire process that she and Burak went through to get their UK Spouse Visa. I will pass you over to Shari for you to hear her story and how to go about applying for the Spouse Visa.

I thought I would scribble some notes together about the spouse visa process for Kerry to share on her blog in the hope that it may be of some help to some people who follow her who may be looking to apply for this visa.

Firstly I will tell you a little about myself, my name is Shari, I am 28 years old and I am married to my Turkish husband Burak. We met in Thailand a few years ago, whilst both out there travelling and just completely fell for eachother. And following our return from Thailand that’s when the trips back and forth to Turkey began and our relationship turned into something serious, even if it was a long distance relationship.

Myself and Burak got engaged and subsequently got married on the 10th of September 2015 in a beautiful seaside venue just outside Istanbul, it was a truly perfect day which was arranged by his side of the family which I will always be grateful for. My dad came from the UK, but unfortunately my mother was not well enough to attend or fly but nevertheless the day was magical and one I won’t ever forget.

After talking about our future we had decided that we would firstly like to try to settle in the UK and would be giving that avenue a shot as a first option, as a plan ‘B’ I was completely prepared to move to Turkey to be with Burak.

I had curiously looked into the spouse visa about a year prior when I and Burak started discussing our long-term plans and I must say how disheartened I was so discover how hard it is to meet the requirements now since the changes to the spouse visa took place in 2012. Someone planning to immigrate could check the new eligibility criteria on the website of a reputed visa service provider like swift immigration. The new changes left us startled though. Burak and me were reading in disbelief thinking ‘ hold on how is this in line with human rights and the right to a family life?’ ‘Where are my rights as a British citizen to start a family in the country I was born and grew up in?’

We soon realised we were powerless if we didn’t meet these tough requirements and learnt that there are now thousands of families living separately due to these rules. It’s heartbreaking, but rather than mope about it, we had to pipe down and just play the game.

Soon after marrying, I started thinking getting this visa application off the ground and about the documentation we would need to get together to support the application .. I honestly had no clue where to start!

I found the government websites really vague and confusing ( I’m sure they do this on purpose).. So luckily for me I managed to find a forum on the web which was a life saver.

The forum is www.expatforum.com and this was a great place to start with lots of tips on how to get started and tips going through the whole process in fact, I highly recommend people have a look and talk with others on this forum.. For me it was pretty key in getting us off the ground.

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10 Responses to “A Guide to the Spouse Visa Application 2016!”

  1. 24th February 2016

    Karen Özden Reply

    Hi Kerry, congratulations to you both! Your description of what you submitted is very similar to my own experience and will be a huge help to so many people. Happily, my husband arrived in the UK the week before Christmas after our second application was finally approved. We were married in May 2014 after being in a relationship 4 years. His first application was refused because he was just 1 point short on the listening part of the English test, (despite having significant additional points in reading and writing but they didn’t take these into account as they weren’t needed). They wouldn’t accept the overall score which far exceeded the minimum requirement. We appealed the decision on the ‘near miss’ principle but it was refused – the Judge stated in his findings he had considered Article 8 of The Human Rights Act and judged it wasn’t breached as “I earned enough money to travel to Turkey to visit my husband and I had transferable skills that I could choose to relocate to Turkey and get employment to maintain a family life”. That immediately shut down our right to further appeal so a whole new application had to be started with another full fee. He also stated as we had only been married a short time (6 months at the time of the first application) – we hadn’t been excessively disadvantaged!! We had been together 4 and a half years at that stage with me traveling to Turkey 20 times during those years and spending an absolute fortune in flights! In my view we were actually therefore discriminated against because I had a good salary and a professional qualification (I’m a nurse manager). As you highlight, any single item they can find is enough for a refusal. There is no flexibility.
    Like you, on the second application we submitted all the items you listed and handed them in at the UK Border Agency centre in Istanbul. I also submitted itemized phone records highlighting all text messages and calls from the day we met. My husband paid for his papers and passport to be couriered back to him as he lives in Antalya (£8). We got the outcome 8 weeks after the second application was submitted and were shocked it came through so quickly as the 1st application took 12 weeks before refused and the appeal outcome took about 4-5 months. I didn’t submit a house report, they accepted the original schedule I had for my house from when I bought it and photos of the house inside and out, along with my mortgage statement and missives so we saved a little money on that. Another thing they requested in our original appeal, in addition to stamped bank statements evidencing I had access to the money on my corresponding original pay slips, they wanted proof of length of time I had held the bank account my salary was paid into. The bank gave me a stamped print out with the account opening date. Your article will give a lot of people hope and very practical advice. If you provide the documentary evidence for every single answer you write to the questions they ask, it can be done! Wishing you both every happiness. Karen ?

    • 28th February 2016

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      I am so angry on your behalf that the judge seems to think its ok for you to just move to Turkey and work there. Just the fact is hard for any foreigner to get work in Turkey let alone any language barrier. But the terrible part is that he was violating your human right to live in your own country. I am please it ended well but it is terrible you had to go through that.

  2. 25th February 2016

    Fleur Fidan Reply

    Personally, I think it is appalling that the wives and husbands of British citizens should be subjected to this while letting in lots of people into the UK with no money, no English whatsoever and no connection to the UK. Shame on the British government.
    I was lucky, I married my husband (now deceased), many years ago and only had to show proof of income.
    For all those women and men enduring this expensive and stressful procedure I wish you all the very best of luck, but this in my opinion is totally unfair and should be contested at the European court.

    • 28th February 2016

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Thank you Fleur. Yes it is appalling. Those that are lucky get a visa first time but many have to go through battles in court and reapplying some up to 5 years before they get to live with their partner in the UK.

  3. […] Article: How to Apply for a Spouse Visa […]

  4. 3rd June 2016

    Sam Reply

    hi kerry, well done on your work and congrats..
    me and my wife will be going through this ordeal next month. My wife is Turkish. I visited lawyers in the UK and they are offering me their services to submit my papers from Uk from 750-1000 pounds. Im not sure if I need to use a lawyer, from what you mentioned you applied online (maybe I can save that fee). by the way which website did you use? (We are using the gov.uk website so far)

    • 22nd June 2016

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Hi Sam, it was in fact Shari that did the application, we don’t apply till October. We will just do the process ourselves and save some money regards lawyers fees. You need to use the gov website to apply and there is no avoiding the visa fee!

  5. 1st September 2016

    Caitlin Demir Reply

    This is a very helpful guide!
    I’m 18 and married to my turkish huband Alper and we are hoping to start his visa process in April 2017
    This guide say more of what you need than anywhere I have looked, didn’t even know about the accommodation stuff.
    Im working as a teaching assistant but that only gets me roughly £6,050 a year I’m currently looking for another job for after school times but £18,600 a year seems impossible for me!
    But I’m trying everything possible. And reading this has actually helped me know what I need to do next and how to start it.
    He’s going to start English lessons end of September (although he has good English he wants to make sure he passes) the only pitfall we have for the visa is the financial requirements! But thanks to this list I know everything else I need now!
    Thank you so much !
    And I hope your visa gets accepted!

  6. 10th September 2016

    Angela Reply

    Please can someone help me , i am not married but would like my Kurdish boyfriend to come here for a holiday on a visitors visa. I know what we need roughly but is there financial requirement too? I work but don’t earn over 10, 000 and I have a house but I private rent? Does any of this matter to get a visitors visa?

  7. 15th February 2017

    Hadiyyah El-hreich Reply

    Hi there..does anyone know if the 300 day rule also applies to a British national who is recently divorced and wants to marry a turkish national in turkey? Thanks

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