There are many different visa routes to the UK, a common reason to apply for a UK visa is for family reunification. Applicants can apply to join their British or settled partner in the UK. Therefore, the Applicant’s right to be in the UK is on the basis of that relationship. In instances where the relationship breaks down before the Applicant can become a permanent resident of the UK (known as indefinite leave to remain) there are certain factors that the Applicant must be aware of, especially if they wish to remain in the UK. Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in partner-based UK visa applications and are happy to schedule a consultation meeting in order to discuss the particulars of any case, especially if matters are complex such as the breakdown of a relationship and the impact of immigration status.
What is a partner visa?
A partner visa under the Immigration Rules Appendix FM and FM-SE allows spouses and civil partners, unmarried partners and proposed spouses (fiancés) of British and settled nationals to join their partner in the UK. The applicable routes are the Spouse or Civil Partner visa, Unmarried Partner Visa and Fiancé visa. If successful in the spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner categories, Applicants are given a visa valid for 30 months (2 and a half years) and can apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 or 10 years depending on the settlement route. Migrants with leave as a fiancé are given a 6 month visa in which they must marry their partner in the UK and once married, apply for a spouse visa in order to remain in the UK with their partner thereafter.
What are the requirements for a UK partner visa?
There are several key requirements which need to be met before the Home Office will grant a partner visa.
Relationship requirement – The first requirement for all partner based visas is proving that the relationship is ‘genuine and subsisting’. Spouses will then need to provide their marriage certificate whilst unmarried partners will need to demonstrate 2 years cohabitation with each other either in the UK or abroad in order to demonstrate that their relationship is ‘akin to marriage’ and fiancés will need to provide evidence of their intention to get married in the UK;
Maintenance requirement – All Applicants will need to show that they (and any dependents) can be maintained and accommodated in the UK without recourse to public funds. The minimum income requirement of £18,600 will need to be met through the sponsor’s circumstances (if the application is for entry clearance) or through the Applicant and/or the sponsor’s circumstances (if the application is made from within the UK). There are different ways to meet the minimum income requirement which we have detailed in a previous post. Applicants will also need adequate accommodation in the UK with their partner;
English language requirement – Applicants need to prove sufficient language proficiency which can be done in one of 3 ways:
- By passing an approved English language test with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening; or
- By having an academic qualification taught in English; or
- By being the national of a majority English speaking country.
What happens if you break up on a partner visa?
Unfortunately, relationships can break down and an increasing number of relationships have come under pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions. Whilst break ups are never easy, there are added complications if one of the couple is in the UK on a partner based visa. There is a duty to the Home Office to inform them of any change of circumstances i.e. if the relationship ends. This is because the migrant is permitted to be in the UK solely on the basis of the relationship with their British or settled partner. Therefore, if that relationship no longer exists, the migrant no longer has the right to be in the UK. If a relationship does break down then the Home Office must be notified.
Reporting a break up to the Home Office
In order to report a change in relationship status to the Home Office, you must send an email to the Home Office notifying them of the relationship break down. The email must also include the Applicant’s personal information such as the Applicant’s name (and also the Sponsor’s name), date of birth, nationality, residential address, passport number and Home Office reference number. This is so the Home Office can identify the correct migrant.
If you are in the UK on a partner visa and your relationship has subsequently broken down, then please contact our immigration team for legal advice on your next steps to remain in the UK.
How to stay in the UK after a break up?
Migrants on a partner visa who subsequently break up with their sponsor must also take steps to either leave the UK or apply for a visa under a different route if they wish to remain. There are different visa routes they can switch into, depending on their individual circumstances. For example, if you enter into a new relationship with another British, EU national or settled person then you may be able to apply on the basis of that relationship if you can meet all of the requirements; however the Home Office may take a more sceptical look at this application as they may take the view that the relationship may not be genuine and only for immigration purposes. Therefore it is important to submit a well-prepared application with detailed legal representations from a solicitor. Alternatively, you could switch to a Tier 2 work visa if your employer is able to sponsor you or you could apply for a student visa, however you may not be able to switch from within the UK.
Applying as a victim of domestic violence
If the relationship with the sponsor has broken down due to domestic violence, then migrants may be able to remain in the UK on this basis. If it can be proved that domestic violence has taken place (which can include physical abuse, financial abuse and emotional abuse), then you can make an application to the Home Office under the Immigration Rules Appendix FM section DVILR. If you can meet all of the criteria under the immigration rules and your application is successful, you will be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. If not all of the requirements can be met then the Home Office may still grant discretionary limited leave to remain for a 30-month period.
Using our Immigration Solicitors in London to submit a partner visa application
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and on your partner visa application. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a partner visa application.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your partner visa application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your partner visa application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful partner visa applications with our Immigration Solicitors in London
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your UK partner visa application and the merit of your partner visa application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your UK Visas and Immigration application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to a successful partner visa application. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation for you to discuss a successful partner visa application.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.