if one is in the UK on a tourist visa can it be changed while in country, to a family (spouse) visa?

The persons spouse is British and has lived in the UK for two years (they both lived abroad together before with their kids) .

The kids, who are British and carry UK passports, came to the UK with the spouse and have since started school.

Can this tourist visa be changed while she is still visiting in the UK? Tourist has been in the UK for only about 2 months into a 2 year Visa.

  • Do you mean to say that this person has overstayed? You should contact a UK immigration lawyer immediately. The Internet is unlikely to be able to help. Go to the linked website, choose 'Immigration and changing countries' and enter your postcode. Feb 2, 2019 at 15:12
  • No. The person has not overstayed.
    – dragnetx
    Feb 3, 2019 at 17:12
  • OK, it was not clear. Your question seemed to imply that the non-EU spouse had been in the UK for two years. Feb 3, 2019 at 17:47
  • When they lived abroad, was it in an EU or Schengen area country? If so, it should not be necessary to leave.
    – phoog
    Feb 4, 2019 at 16:19
  • You should also be aware that "two year visa" does not mean that she can remain for two years. She must comply with the conditions expressed in the passport stamp, which would normally show a grant of "leave to enter for six months."
    – phoog
    Feb 4, 2019 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


No, switching from a Standard Visit visa to a Family visa while in the UK is not allowed. See under ‘When you cannot get a family visa’ here https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa

  • This doesn't apply if they lived in an EU or Schengen country, in which case the wife enjoys freedom of movement under EU law and the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016, and does not need to leave the UK. Of course, in that case, she would not be switching to a "family visa," so the answer is just incomplete, not incorrect.
    – phoog
    Feb 4, 2019 at 16:22

In addition to @Traveller's answer, I can state that from personal experience you cannot do it. When my wife and I got married, she did enquire with the home office and it was confirmed that she had to leave the UK and apply for the spouse visa from her home country.

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