The Unmarried Partner Visa (also known as a Defacto Visa) allows non-EEA nationals whose partner is a British citizen or settled in the UK to either join them in the UK or apply for leave to remain in the UK on the basis of that relationship. Unmarried Partner Visa UK Applicants must demonstrate that they intend to make the UK their home with their partner, and meet all of the mandatory requirements under the relevant Immigration Rules for Family Members.
Our immigration solicitors are regularly instructed to assist in the preparation and submission of an Unmarried Partner Visa application, either in the UK or abroad. Our team are ready to meet with you in person or via Skype to consider whether you meet the eligibility requirements and once instructed will liaise with you in preparing your visa application with the requisite supporting documentation.
What is Unmarried Partner Visa UK?
An Unmarried Partner Visa allows the non-EEA national partners of British citizens or those who are settled in the UK to live together in the UK. The Unmarried Partner Visa is made in accordance with Appendix FM and Appendix FM-SE to the Immigration Rules and successful Applicants will be granted a visa initially valid for 30 months. If they wish to continue living in the UK after that 30 month period then they will have to apply for an extension for a further 30 months within 28 days of the expiry of the initial unmarried partner visa.
Eligibility Requirements for an Unmarried Partner Visa
The UK Immigration Rules set out strict criteria that must be met by those applying for an Unmarried Partner Visa which includes:
- You must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with a British citizen or a person present and settled in the UK and have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage for 2 years or more;
- You must have suitable accommodation for yourself, your partner and any dependants;
- You must meet the minimum financial requirement (i.e. have enough money to support yourself, your partner and any dependants without recourse to public funds); and
- You must satisfy the English Language requirement.
Can I switch to an Unmarried Partner Visa in the UK?
The Unmarried Partner Visa can be made from both outside the UK (entry clearance) or from within the UK by switching from another visa category. The most popular visa categories which allowing switching to the Unmarried Partner Visa are:
Applicants cannot switch from a standard visitor visa as switching requires individuals to have valid leave in the UK for a period of more than 6 months.
Can you work on an Unmarried Partner Visa UK?
Yes. Successful Applicants can work and study in the UK on the Unmarried Partner Visa without any restrictions. However, Unmarried Partner Visa UK holders cannot claim benefits or public funds whilst on the visa.
How long does it take to get an Unmarried Partner Visa UK?
According to up to date Home Office guidance (at the time of writing), Unmarried Partner Visa UK applications made from outside the UK will be decided within 12 weeks of the Applicant providing their biometrics. For applications made from within the UK the standard processing time is 8 weeks from providing their biometrics.
There is also a super-priority visa service available at additional costs which will place an Applicants application ahead of the queue and get a quicker decision. Super priority service applications are usually considered within 24 hours (or the next working day) from when the Applicant has provided their biometrics.
Applications will take longer to be considered if there are complexities to the case or if not all of the requirements can be met. It is therefore important that all applications for an Unmarried Partner Visa are prepared to the highest standard and our family visa immigration team are happy to assist with the preparation of successful applications.
Can I apply for a British passport if my partner is British?
A successful Unmarried Partner Visa application does not mean Applicants will be automatically issued with a British passport. However, the Unmarried Partner Visa does have settlement routes (5 years or 10 years depending on circumstances), after which can lead to naturalisation as a British citizen. Therefore, the quickest that an unmarried partner can apply for a British passport is 6 years (i.e. two 30 month visas, settlement (aka Indefinite Leave to Remain) for 12 months then citizenship). This is dependent on all of the relevant requirements being met.
Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for an Unmarried Partner Visa
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced by the Home Office on 6 April 2015 and applies to temporary, non-EEA migrants who are coming to the UK for more than 6 months. Payment for IHS is collected by the Home Office and goes directly to the National Health Service (NHS).
If instructed, our team of expert lawyers can consider whether you will need to pay the IHS. If you wish to consider your options, please contact our team today and arrange a meeting with a qualified immigration solicitor who can advise you of your options.
Expert Unmarried Partner Visa Solicitors
Our expert immigration team understand that many applications are refused due to applicants’ lack of understanding of the supporting documents required to satisfy the Home Office. The UK Immigration Rules coupled with the Home Office’s supplementary guidance are complex and failure to submit the correct documentation could lead to a visa refusal which can cause much emotional stress for the applicants and their families.
Our expert immigration team are regularly instructed to assist in the preparation of unmarried partner visa applications and in some cases are instructed to attend same day visa appointments at one of the Premium Centre’s in the UK. Our team offer some of the following services:
- Consultation with an experienced immigration solicitor who can advise on whether you meet the eligibility requirements;
- Tailored legal advice which will assist you in collating the documents required for an application; and
- Preparation of online/paper visa application forms and legal representations.
If you wish to have your documents checked by an expert immigration solicitor, please contact us so we can explore your options.
We are a UK law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our professional personal immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02071830570.