What Happens to A Spouse Visa After a Divorce?

Feb 25, 2022 | Article

What Happens to A Spouse Visa After a Divorce?

Are you a foreign national with a UK spouse visa whose relationship has recently ended? Do you worry about your immigration status and wonder what options are available for you and your children? If so, then the following information should help, and for more detailed guidance about your specific circumstances, you can consult with an immigration solicitor.

What happens to a spouse visa following a divorce?

As made clear by the Home Office, an individual residing in the UK on a spouse visa, may only remain in the country legitimately, if they’re in a genuine, ongoing relationship with their partner. For anyone holding a spouse visa who has recently got divorced or have separated from their partner, they must inform the Home Office immediately.

In fact, both parties are required by law to inform the Home Office of their separation, and once this has been done, they will reduce the duration of the spouse’s visa.

Curtailing a spouse visa

Your spouse visa will be curtailed (or shortened) to 60 days once you’ve informed the Home Office, and unless you take any other action (such as apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, or leave the country), you’ll be required to leave the UK within 60 days.

Should your spouse’s visa have less than 60 days remaining at the time of informing the Home Office of the separation, you’ll have to abide by the existing expiry date.

Are you allowed to remain in the UK after divorce, dissolution or separation?

Provided you apply for new immigration status (that you’re eligible for), you’ll be able to stay in the UK following a divorce, dissolution, or separation, and these are your main options:

  • Work visa (e.g., a Skilled Worker Visa)
  • Family visa – as a parent of a child who is British or has been living in the UK for at least 7 years
  • On the basis of your private life – if you’re between 18 and 24 and have lived in the UK for more than half of your life, would have genuine problems returning to your country of birth, or if you’re over the age of 25 and have been living here for 20 years, continuously.
  • Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) – this is only applicable if you have ‘Retained Right of Residence’.
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain – applicable if you’ve been residing here on a spouse visa for 5 years continuously.

 What is Retained Right of Residence?

Otherwise known as the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, if you get divorced (or separate from) from a UK based partner who is from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Lichtenstein, you might be eligible to apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit based upon your Retained Rights of Residence.

What if you have a child (or children) of British nationality?

If this is the case for you, you may be eligible to apply for a Family Visa under the parent route, but there are a number of factors that must be applicable, and it’s best to discuss these with an immigration solicitor to make sure you take the right action for your circumstances.

Getting divorced or separating from a partner can be stressful enough, without the added worry of not knowing whether you will be allowed to remain in the country, or fully understanding what your options are. Working with an immigration solicitor from the outset, however, can help ease your worries and make the entire process simpler and a lot less stressful for you and your family.


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