UK Unmarried Partner Visas
The UK Unmarried Partner Visa is for applicants who have been in a common-law relationship with a British Citizen or Permanent Resident for a minimum of two years and who have amalgamated their financial affairs to a significant degree.
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UK Unmarried Partner Visa
The Unmarried Partner Visa allows foreign nationals in a long-term relationship with a British citizen or permanent resident to live permanently in the UK. Whether you’re in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship, this visa allows you to join your partner in the UK, even if you’re not technically married.
At Sterling Immigration, we offer a wide range of services and resources designed to help you navigate the visa application process. With our extensive knowledge and in-depth understanding of UK immigration laws and regulations, we aim to improve your chances of a successful application.
How Can Sterling Immigration Help With Your Unmarried Partner Visa?
Navigating immigration law can be daunting, especially when it comes to something as critical as an Unmarried Partner Visa. Engaging an immigration lawyer like those at Sterling Immigration can significantly enhance your chances of a successful application.
Here are some ways Sterling Immigration can assist with your Unmarried Partner Visa application:
- Expert Guidance: Sterling Immigration lawyers are experts in UK immigration law. We are familiar with the latest rules and regulations and can provide comprehensive advice tailored to your individual circumstances.
- Document Review: You need to submit the correct documentation to evidence your relationship and meet the various legal requirements. Sterling Immigration can review your documents to ensure they are sufficient and appropriately presented.
- Application Completion: The application requires detailed information, and mistakes or omissions could lead to delays or even refusal. We can help you complete your application and avoid common pitfalls.
- Representation: If there are any complications or challenges with your application, your lawyer can correspond with UK Visas and Immigration on your behalf and represent you in any appeals if necessary.
- Application Tracking: Sterling Immigration can monitor the progress of your application and keep you informed, alleviating some of the stress and uncertainty of the process.
- Future Planning: Sterling Immigration can advise on longer-term considerations, such as visa extensions and applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
By leveraging our experience and expertise, you can navigate the Unmarried Partner Visa application process with greater confidence and peace of mind. Our goal is to enhance your chances of a successful outcome.
The Unmarried Partner Visa - an Overview
The Unmarried Partner Visa, also known as the De Facto Visa (or, for same-sex couples, the Same-Sex Partner Visa), permits the partner of a UK citizen or settled person to join them in the UK.
The primary criterion for this visa is that the unmarried couple must have lived together in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years before the application. The process also requires demonstrating proof of a genuine relationship, appropriate financial means, and suitable accommodation, among other things.
When granted, an Unmarried Partner Visa is usually valid for 33 months if applying from overseas or 30 months if applying from within the UK. After the initial period, you can extend your stay for another 30 months, taking your total time to five years. After five years, you can seek Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), provided you still meet the key requirements.
Applying for an Unmarried Partner Visa can be complicated, as the Home Office frequently updates its rules. Any inaccuracies or omissions in the application could lead to its rejection, which is why legal advice is always recommended.
If successful, this visa will be valid for 6 months. Even if you are from a visa-exempt country you would still require this visa in order to get married in the UK. You must intend to marry during your visit to the UK and must demonstrate that you intend to leave the UK before the expiry of your visa.
Unmarried Partner Visa Requirements
Unmarried Partner Visas are subject to strict relationship requirements set by the Home Office. The criteria include:
- Both parties must be over the age of 18
- They must have met each other in person
- They must have no other ongoing relationships
- The relationship must be akin to a marriage
- Neither person may be related to the other in a prohibited way
Other requirements include:
- Genuine and Subsisting Relationship: You must provide comprehensive evidence that your relationship is genuine and continuing. This may include shared financial responsibilities (e.g., joint bank accounts), correspondence addressed to both parties at the same address, joint ownership or rental of property, etc.
- Living Together: The cohabitation requirement states that you must have been living together ‘akin to a marriage or civil partnership’ for a qualifying period of at least two years before the visa application. You’ll need to provide joint leases, utility bills, bank statements, and similar documentation as evidence of cohabitation.
- English Language Proficiency: The partner seeking to live in the UK must be proficient in English. If you are from an English-speaking country like Canada, Australia, or the United States, you are exempt from this English language requirement, as your fluency will be assumed. However, additional information may be required if English is not your first language.
- Suitable Accommodation: You must have suitable accommodation available in the UK. It may not be overcrowded and must meet the standard of living set out in the Housing Act. (You will be required to submit a Housing Evaluation Report in support of your application.)
- Adequate Maintenance Funds: The British partner must have a certain income threshold to show they can support the applicant without recourse to public funds. As of 2023, the financial requirement is a minimum gross annual income of £18,600. However, this figure can increase if you have dependent children on the application.
The Application Process Explained
The application process for the Unmarried Partner Visa involves several steps:
- Preparation: Start by gathering all necessary documents and evidence. This may include birth certificates, valid passports or travel documents, and/or evidence of settled status. You will also need proof of your genuine relationship, financial circumstances, and suitable accommodation.
- Application Form: Complete the online visa application form, which will ask for personal details, relationship information, and your immigration history.
- Fees: Pay the application fee and the healthcare surcharge (also known as the Immigration Health Surcharge or IHS). The amount may vary depending on your individual circumstances, so check the current rates.
- Biometric Information: You must provide biometric information, including fingerprints and a digital photo. This may require an appointment at a Visa Application Center.
- Submission: Once the application is complete, submit it online. If you are applying from outside the UK, you must also send your passport and any original documents to the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) office. (Note: processing times will vary.)
If successful, you’ll be granted a visa valid for either 33 months (if applying from outside the UK) or 30 months (if applying from inside the UK). Before this initial visa expires, you’ll need to apply for an extension, which is typically granted for another 30 months. After you’ve lived in the UK for five years, you may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, or permanent residence.
UK Legal Advice
UK Immigration Frequently Asked Questions
Our team of UK immigration lawyers will handle your case promptly and diligently until you achieve the desired outcome. Your dedicated UK immigration attorney will provide you with an estimated processing period for your case and keep you informed through each stage of the UK visa process. To expedite the processing of your application, we will ensure that your forms are meticulously completed and that you provide sufficient supporting documentation.
However, please note that the UKVI processing time depends on several factors including the volume of cases the UKVI is receiving and whether there are any priority programs where UKVI gives precedence to applicants from war torn countries or countries affected by natural disasters.
We can offer a fast-track service if your application is time sensitive. Please schedule a consultation to learn more about this package and all the services provided by our immigration lawyers.
Hiring one of our qualified UK immigration attorneys can offer several benefits when applying for a visa. Here are some of the advantages:
- Expertise and Knowledge: Our UK immigration attorneys specialize in all aspects of UK immigration law and are well-versed in the complexities of the UK visa application process. They stay updated with the latest changes in immigration laws and regulations, ensuring that your application is accurate and compliant.
- Personalized Advice: Our immigration attorneys can assess your specific circumstances, understand your immigration goals, and provide tailored advice based on your situation. They can determine the most suitable visa category for you, explain the requirements, and help you gather the necessary supporting documents.
- Application Preparation: Immigration lawyers can assist you in completing and organizing your visa application. They have experience in preparing the necessary paperwork, filling out forms correctly, and ensuring that all required documentation is included. This can help reduce the chances of errors or omissions that could lead to delays or a rejected application.
- Increased Approval Chances: With their expertise, our qualified UK immigration lawyers can identify any potential weaknesses or issues in your application and address them proactively. They can highlight your qualifications, skills, and experiences effectively to demonstrate your eligibility for the visa. This can increase your chances of a successful application.
- Legal Representation: If your visa application is complex or encounters challenges, having one of our skilled immigration lawyers on your side can be invaluable. They can communicate with the UK Home Office or immigration authorities on your behalf, prepare detailed and persuasive legal submissions and provide guidance throughout the process.
Time and Stress Management: Navigating the UK visa application process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the requirements. By hiring one of our immigration lawyers, you can offload the paperwork, legal aspects, and administrative tasks to them, allowing you to focus on other important matters.
Our experienced UK immigration attorneys provide specialist legal advice and representation on all aspects of UK immigration law, to individuals and businesses. Our services can be classified as:
- Initial Immigration Consultations
- Immigration Application Preparation and Submission (Full Representation)
- Immigration Application Checking Service
- Sponsor License Applications and Corporate Immigration Services
Regardless of the service you require, you can be assured that you will have direct access to a specialist UK immigration lawyer who has an in-depth understanding of UK immigration law and procedure. Our flexible services are delivered professionally and are tailored to your individual situation. Please schedule a consultation to learn more about our cost-effective UK immigration solutions and the services provided by our immigration lawyers.
The UK-based partner must demonstrate that they have a certain minimum income to support the applicant without recourse to public funds. This could include:
- Employment income
- Self-employment income
- Income as a director of a limited company in the UK
- Rental income
- Dividends from shares
- Benefits (e.g., Disablement Allowance)
- Certain other sources of income
As of 2023, the financial requirement is a minimum gross annual income of £18,600. However, this figure can change based on the applicant’s specific circumstances, such as the inclusion of dependents.
For example, if the UK sponsor has children, the financial requirement increases by £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 for each additional child. If the applicant is already in the UK with permission to work, their income can also contribute to meeting this requirement.
The accommodation requirements for an Unmarried Partner Visa state that the couple must have suitable accommodation available in the UK. ‘Suitable’ means that it has to meet certain conditions:
- Adequate Size: The property must have enough space for the couple and any dependents. The British Government refers to the ‘rooms standard’ and ‘space standard’ outlined in the Housing Act 1985 to assess this criterion.
- Free from Public Health Hazards: The property must be free from any health hazards, such as pests or mould.
- Permission to Reside: The couple must have permission to reside on the property. This might mean owning the property or having a lease if renting.
You will need to provide evidence of your adequate accommodation arrangements. Examples include a letter from a landlord, mortgage statements, a deed of ownership, or a rental agreement.
Yes, you can include dependents in your application for an Unmarried Partner Visa. Dependents usually refer to children under the age of 18. However, including them in your application will increase the financial requirement that you must meet.
- Each dependent must have adequate accommodation in the UK and be adequately maintained without recourse to public funds.
- The dependent child may not be leading an independent life, be married or in a civil partnership, and/or have formed an independent family unit.
If you intend to bring dependents from a previous relationship with you, you should consult with an immigration lawyer to ensure you meet these and other requirements.
If your initial application is refused, you do have options:
- Administrative Review: If your application is refused and you believe a caseworker error was the issue, you may be able to apply for an administrative review, which is a review of the decision by a different official at the Home Office. The request for administrative review must be made within 14 days (or seven days if you are detained) of receiving the decision.
- Appeal: Depending on your circumstances, you might have the right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). There are strict timelines and procedures for appealing, so you should act quickly if you wish to take this route.
- Reapplication: If you accept the grounds on which your initial application was refused, you can address these issues in a fresh application. For example, if you were denied because of insufficient documentation or not meeting the financial requirement, you could rectify these issues before reapplying.
At Sterling Immigration, we can help you understand why your application was refused and what the best course of action might be.
The legal and evidential requirements for entering the UK as an unmarried partner are becoming much tougher. With unmarried partner appeal waiting times increasing to over a year, your application needs to be well-prepared at the outset to help ensure a successful outcome.
At Sterling Immigration, we are committed to helping you start this exciting new chapter in your family life as quickly and smoothly as possible. We’re here to answer your questions, guide you through any challenges, and help unite your family in the UK. For more information, please schedule a consultation today.