At DJF Solicitors, we’re dedicated to providing tailored and comprehensive immigration services, with a deep understanding of UK immigration law. Our goal is to help you successfully navigate the complex process of obtaining a UK Unmarried Partner Visa. In this article, we’ll guide you through the requirements, application process, and key details of this visa category, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your journey to bring your unmarried partner to the UK.
Can I Bring My Partner To The UK?
Yes, you can bring your partner to the UK if they meet the eligibility criteria for the Unmarried Partner Visa. This visa is designed for individuals in committed, long-term relationships with someone who is already settled in the UK. To qualify, your partner must meet specific conditions, including being a British or Irish citizen, having settled status, or holding certain visas. See below for detailed categories of a settled person.
To qualify as a partner, both you and your partner must meet the following criteria:
- Both individuals must be aged 18 or older.
- Your partner should fall into one of the following categories:
- They are a British or Irish citizen.
- They have established settled status in the UK, which could include having indefinite leave to remain, settled status, or providing evidence of permanent residence.
- They are a national of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, and they hold pre-settled status, with the condition that they began residing in the UK before January 1, 2021.
- They possess a valid Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa.
- They have protection status, such as leave to remain as a refugee, permission to stay as a refugee, or humanitarian protection.
- Both you and your partner must have the intention to establish permanent residence together in the UK following the submission of your application.
It’s important to note that the Unmarried Partner visa is inclusive of both heterosexual and same-sex relationships, provided you and your partner can provide evidence of the enduring nature of your relationship, which should have been in existence for a minimum of two years.
This visa category is most suitable where you and your partner do not intend to marry or prefer to postpone marriage until after you have both lived together in the UK for some time. This visa route can eventually lead to the possibility of you obtaining indefinite leave to remain or achieving settlement status in the UK where you have maintained a continuous period of residence of five years.
Eligibility Requirements for UK Unmarried Partner Visa
To be eligible for the Unmarried Partner Visa, you typically need to demonstrate that:
- You are in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your partner.
- You have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for at least two years.
- You must be able to demonstrate and prove that any previous relationships have ended.
- You can prove that you meet the financial requirements to support yourselves without relying on public funds.
- You must be able to demonstrate suitable and adequate accommodation available for you, your partner and any necessary dependents.
- You meet the English language requirements (typically by passing an English language test).
The application process for the Unmarried Partner Visa can be complex, and it’s essential to ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and provide the required documentation. Additionally, the specific requirements and application process may be subject to change, so it’s advisable to seek legal advice from a reputable firm such as DJF Solicitors for the most up-to-date information and guidance.
Genuine Relationship Requirements
To be eligible for the Unmarried Partner Visa, you and your partner must have resided together in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership for a minimum of two years before filing a visa application. The Home Office will require you to provide documentation verifying that you both have shared the same address for this specified duration.
Importantly, the two-year cohabitation period does not necessarily have to immediately precede your Unmarried Partner Visa application date. Therefore, even if you are not currently living together with your partner, you could still meet the Unmarried Partner Visa requirements if you have previously lived together for at least two years. However, you must demonstrate to the Home Office that your relationship remains genuine and ongoing at the time of your Unmarried Partner Visa application.
In cases where you and your partner have resided together for less than two years, you might still qualify to join or accompany your partner based on exceptional circumstances. Contact DJF Solicitors for further information on whether you fall under this exception and the documentation which must be provided in order to prove this requirement.
When making an application under the Unmarried Partner Visa route, it is essential to demonstrate your ability to provide for yourselves financially during your stay in the UK without relying on public funds, as stipulated by UK immigration regulations.
In order to achieve this, the individual residing in the UK with settled status must meet a specific financial requirement, which serves as a minimum income threshold, before you can join them in the UK (unless the partner is already residing and earning income in the UK). You must provide evidence of your gross annual income (before tax), which must meet the following criteria, depending on the category of applicant. Where you are relying on income to meet this requirement, you must show £18,600 gross annual income. This is the minimum threshold you must satisfy when applying for an unmarried partner to accompany you in the UK. If you intend to bring a partner with no dependent children to the UK, this is the mandatory income requirement. Where there are dependants, you must also demonstrate that you have supplementary funds available for each dependent child who will be joining you in the UK if they are not British citizens, European nationals, or individuals with settled status.
Exemptions from meeting this minimum financial requirement is if you are in the UK with humanitarian protection or have been granted refugee status.
This requirement can be fulfilled through various means, including both salaried and non-salaried income, offering flexibility in meeting this criterion. Our dedicated team at DJF Solicitors can assess your financial circumstances and advise on the category you meet and the various sources you can use to demonstrate you fulfil this requirement.
English Language Requirements
You can satisfy the English language requirement for the Unmarried Partner Visa in several ways:
- Being a national of a predominantly English-speaking country.
- Successfully passing an approved English language test at or above the required CEFR level, administered by an accredited provider listed on Approved Secure English Language Tests and Test Centres.
- Holding an academic qualification such as a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD degree. If the degree was awarded in the UK, it automatically meets the requirement. If awarded outside the UK, it must be recognized by Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) as equivalent to or surpassing the UK’s recognized standard for such degrees, and Ecctis must confirm that the degree was taught or researched in English at or above the required CEFR level.
To be exempt from this requirement, you typically need to provide evidence for one of the following conditions:
- You are over the age of 65 at the time of application.
- You have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from meeting the English language requirement.
- There are exceptional circumstances that justify your inability to meet the English language requirement before entering the UK.
To find out more on whether you meet the English language requirements, contact DJF Solicitors who will assess your case and advise you on the correct documentation in order to establish this requirement.
Unmarried Partner Visa Fees And Processing Times
Where you are applying from within the UK, the Home Office fees for a visa under this category is £1,048. When applying from outside of the UK, the fees are £1,846.
In specific circumstances, you might qualify for a fee waiver if you are unable to cover the fee, such as when you lack the financial means to secure housing or meet your essential living expenses.
You may also be required to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your visa application.
For each adult (18 or older) it costs:
- £1,560 if you’re staying for 2 years and 6 months.
- £1,872 if you’re staying for 2 years and 9 months.
- £3,120 if you’re staying for 5 years.
Contact DJF Solicitors to find out more on our professional fees for a visa application under this category.
If you submit your application from outside the UK, you can generally expect a decision within approximately 24 weeks. If you apply within the UK using the standard service, a decision is typically reached within 8 weeks from the date of your application.
The processing time for your application may be extended if it involves complexities such as:
- Failing to meet the minimum income requirement.
- Inability to substantiate your English language proficiency.
- Requirement for attending an interview.
- Incomplete submission of all the necessary evidence requested by the Home Office.
- Possession of a criminal conviction or other personal circumstances necessitating further review.
In some cases, you may be eligible for the super priority service. If so, you will be provided an option to select this when submitting your visa application. By using this service, you can expect to receive a decision:
- By the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday, or;
- 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend.
Where granted, the unmarried partner visa will be initially issued for a period of 33 months (if applying from overseas) or 30 months if applying from within the UK. A further extension must be sought for an additional 30 months to take you to five years.
Indefinite Leave to Remain As An Unmarried Partner
Upon completing a 5-year (60-month) stay in the UK under the Unmarried Partner Visa route, you may become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) in the UK.
To qualify for indefinite leave to remain as an unmarried partner, you must demonstrate the following:
- During your time in the unmarried partner category, you have either cohabited with your unmarried partner in the UK or provide a compelling reason, aligning with a continued intention to permanently reside together in the UK, for any periods when cohabitation did not occur.
- You meet the more stringent CEFR Level B1 English Language requirement that applies to settlement applications.
- You have successfully passed the Life in the UK test, unless you qualify for an exemption.
You may find further information on indefinite leave to remain and citizenship on our dedicated page here.
Why Instruct Our Specialist Immigration Solicitors?
At DJF Solicitors, our team of specialist immigration lawyers will always 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 prospects of submitting a spouse visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a spouse visa application and are able to advise you in respect of your prospects and to ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. 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 to discuss your visa application.