On a daily basis Move Up receives the call from fellow South Africans saying that they want to apply for the “spousal visa”. After further evaluation, we find that applicants are referred to claiming marriage dependency to “sponsors” that have different forms of rights to be in the UK.

We have found that it is common practice that the public uses this informal term to identify the fact that they are in a married like relationship with someone that has permission to live in the UK.

From an immigration perspective, each type of family dependency has different visa qualifying requirements, costs and processing times.

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This page caters for South Africans that are in married like relationships with partners that have working or settlement rights in the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales). We have put together content to also help address other family dependents that can join the sponsor.

Further to this, we have put together separate content to address cases where applicants are not sure of their relationship status’s legal recognition. Please take a look at our married like relationships page for further information in this regard.

Hopefully this page helps to address a common misunderstanding. The term “spousal visa” is an informal term casually used by travelers when trying to describe how one qualifies to live in the UK. Unfortunately it does not accurately address the visa required.

In visa terms, the British government themselves deliberately do not use this informal term (which one can see on their gov.uk site). The reason why the British government does not use this term is because it inaccurately describes how applicants actually qualify for their visas.

Three common cases of “spousal visas” are:

Each of the above three visas have different costs, qualifying requirements, processing times and supporting documents needed to qualify.

For a more detailed list of married like dependent visas available, take a look at the 17 different types of cases that make provision for married dependents list below:


We have put together a quick and easy online visa assessment page to help identify and clarify visa options available.

We have also put together more information to explain family dependency, which also helps explain what happens to cases where applicants are not yet married as well as what happens to minors and what is their eligibility.

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If you have any further questions, we encourage applicants to contact us.