Spouse visa age change: Age requirement lowered again from 21 to 18years

On Nov 7 2011, the Government announced that the spouse visa age will be lowered again from 21 to 18, following a ruling of the Supreme Court.  It will clearly come as a relief to many young couples involving a non-British national who were kept apart by the higher age requirement.

(CC) Image: TriciaWang/Flickr

This change will take effect on 28 Nov 2011.

In a ministerial announcement, Damian Green, the Minister for Immigration, said:

The changes in the Immigration Rules being laid before the House today are as a result of the Supreme Court judgement in R (on the application of Quila and another) (FC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and R (on the application of Bibi and another) (FC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] UKSC 45.

On 12 October 2011, the Supreme Court found that whilst they recognised that the Secretary of State was pursuing a legitimate and rational aim of seeking to address forced marriage, a rule (increasing the minimum marriage visa age from 18 to 21) disproportionately interfered with the Article 8 rights of those who were in genuine marriages. Accordingly, the Secretary of State has decided to revert to a minimum age of 18.

The changes will take effect on 28 November and will reduce the minimum age at which a person may be granted entry clearance or leave as the spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a sponsor, and the minimum age at which a person may sponsor such an application, from 21 to 18 years. It will also delete references to a minimum age of 18 for entry clearance or leave as the spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a HM Forces sponsor, and the minimum age at which a member of HM Forces may sponsor such an application. Guidance for those affected by the judgment will be published on the UK Border Agency website.

Find out more:

Read the full ministerial statement here, and the announcement on the UKBA website can be found here.

Next to formally lowering the spouse visa age back to 18 (through this formal change to Immigration Rules on 28 Nov), the UKBA is allowing review of cases where applications have been refused solely on the basis of not meeting the age requirement of 21.

You can find a good summary of the review application process on the freemovement blog.