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What is a Spouse Visa?

The Spouse Visa is granted by UK Visas and Immigration to a non-UK resident in order for them to live together with their partner in the UK.

This visa applies to individuals who are married to, or in a civil partnership with, a British citizen or a person with indefinite leave to remain in the UK or settled status and no time limit on their stay in the UK.

You can read more about how to get a spouse visa in our separate blog here

What happens when the sponsoring spouse dies?

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has left many wondering what would happen upon the death of their British or Settled spouse. Many are unaware of the implications that this can have on their immigration status particularly if their visa is dependent on their relationship.

Your immigration status as a partner is based on there being a genuine and subsisting relationship. In the event of your spouse’s death, you may be liable to have your leave in the UK cancelled if the relationship no longer exists.

However, under the Immigration Rules there is a route for indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved partner. This route applies if your partner dies before you acquire settlement (ILR).

Therefore you must have family visa as a partner prior to your spouse’s death. Those in the UK as fiancé(e)s or proposed civil partners are not eligible to apply. There are different rules for those who are partners of EEA nationals.

In this section we will consider the requirements for Indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved partner under the Appendix FM.

Note that the process can be cumbersome.  If you are looking to apply or appeal for a Visa, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Citizenship contact us here. We offer consultations in person from our offices in Dundee, Brechin and Cupar as well as via phone or video call. You can also email us here.


When can I apply?

You can apply any time after your partner’s death. However it is prudent to apply as soon as is reasonably practicable. You must be in the UK when you apply.

If your leave was granted outside the Immigration Rules you may be able to apply if leave was granted as a partner. 

The cost of applying is significant (in excess of £2,000 at the time of writing) and applications for ILR are not covered by the Home Office fee waiver policy.  

What are the eligibility requirements?

You may be eligible to apply for Independent Leave to Remain (ILR) as a bereaved partner if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Unlike a typical application for ILR, you do not need to take the Life in the UK Test or prove your English language skills to apply for ILR as a bereaved partner.

The requirements to be met for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a bereaved partner are that-

(a) you must be in the UK;

(b) you must have made a valid application for indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved partner;

(c) you must not fall for refusal under any of the suitability grounds; and(d) you must meet all of the eligibility requirements which our Immigration Solicitors will be able to go through with you.


If you meet all of the requirements for ILR as a bereaved partner you will be granted ILR.

If you have previously committed an offence in law, you may still be granted limited leave to remain for a period not exceeding 30 months, and subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds.  Check with our Immigration team

It’s important to note that, in this case, your application fee initially paid for ILR will not be refunded. Instead you will be required by the Home Office required to pay an additional amount to cover your Immigration Health Surcharge.

If you were previously granted 30 months further leave to remain as a bereaved partner, you will be eligible to apply for ILR as a bereaved partner providing that you meet the requirements when you apply.

If you do not meet the requirements for ILR as a bereaved partner, or limited leave to remain as a bereaved partner, the application will be refused. You may be required to leave the country unless you are eligible to apply under a different route.

See how the Chamber Practice can help you with this process.  Check our Services here