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Personal Immigration

Unmarried Partner Visa

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Unmarried Partner Visa

The Unmarried Partner or Same sex partner visa category is for long term partners of British citizens or those settled in the UK to either apply to join them or extend the stay to remain together. This category can be applied from within the UK or abroad. This route is normally taken by couples including same sex who are not yet married, but have been living together for at least 2 years and leads to settlement after 5 years under normal circumstances.

Unmarried Partner visa requirements

In order to qualify for an Unmarried Partner visa, both the applicant and their partner would need to be above 18 years old and satisfy the below requirements.

  • Sponsoring Partner must be British or Settled in the UK
  • Both have met in person, lived together in a relationship akin to marriage for at least 2 years
  • The relationship is ongoing, genuine and subsisting
  • Meets the Financial requirement and will be able to maintain themselves adequately in the UK without recourse to public funds
  • Intend to live together permanently and have suitable accommodation available
  • Meet the English language requirement of CEFR level A1 for Initial applications and A2 for extensions
  • Any previous relationships must have been broken down permanently

The financial requirement that needs to be met differs on the basis of the number of financial dependants applying together. The minimum requirement is an annual income of £18,600 for just a partner application and there will be an additional £3800 for the first child and £2400 for each child afterwards. Only those children, who are not British or settled in the UK will be counted for the additional income requirement.

The financial requirements can be met in a number of different ways including salaried or non-salaried income, salary or dividends from the company, income from self-employment, rental income, pension or income from any investments etc to name a few. It is also possible to use cash savings that has been held for more than 6 months, if above £16,000 to be used in part or full to meet the financial requirement. The applicants can also combine some selective type of income and/or savings to meet the financial requirement. This is an area where applicants must take extra caution, as not providing the right specified documents to evidence income remains one of the most common reasons for refusal under this route.

The applicants may rely on Human Rights grounds if they otherwise do not meet all requirements and can demonstrate that there would be very significant difficulties in continuing the relationship outside the UK. The Home Office may also consider in specific circumstances, any third-party funding or support when examining whether the minimum income threshold has been met.

Extension & Settlement

The applicants are normally granted an initial leave of 30 months if applied from within the UK and 33 months if applied from abroad. They will be able to extend this leave if they continue to meet the requirements and can apply for settlement further to the completion of 5 years under this category. It is also worth noting that if the leave is granted further to relying on human rights or otherwise not meeting the requirements, the applicants will only be able to settle in the UK after 10 years. The applicants, if not married to a British citizen, can apply for British citizenship further to the completion of 12 months after obtaining settlement, if they meet all other requirements.

Unmarried Partner visa holders have a full right to work, study and carry out business activities in the UK.

How can we assist?

Our Immigration lawyers at City Legal have immense experience in assisting our clients on family and private life visa applications. Our Immigration team carefully assess each of our client’s financial scenarios before advising on the right income route. We can also advise clients whose circumstances are not straightforward and do not meet the income criteria from one single source, by mixing various income categories permissible and/or evidencing with any third party support. We have also assisted unmarried partners successfully, when they have not lived together for 2 years, but can provide other evidence to exhibit the strength of the relationship. We are a multi award winning law firm and pride ourselves in being approachable, innovative and always going that extra mile to make sure our clients receive the individual attention they deserve. Our Immigration team maintains a high reputation and is committed to provide clear, transparent and reliable advice to our clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the approximate processing time for an Unmarried partner visa?

According to the Home Office, 95% of the Entry Clearance applications are processed within 12 weeks. Applicants who wish to obtain a quicker decision may apply for Settlement priority service under which the processing time is no more than 30 days. The leave to remain applications are normally processed within 8 weeks and there is also a super priority service available at additional cost under which a decision is normally given within 1 working day.

What can I provide to evidence cohabitation for 2 years?

The evidence may include correspondence addressed to both the applicant and sponsor individually or jointly and spread out evenly over the 2 years. The documents should be from at least 3 different sources and may include bank statements, utility bills,mortgage statements, council tax bills etc. The Home Office suggests that applicants may provide 6 items of correspondence if in joint names or 12 items (6 each) if in sole name only.

Can I apply for this visa whilst waiting for my divorce?

There is a requirement that all previous relationships must end permanently before applying under this route and as such applicants must await for the completion of divorce.

Are there any exemptions from the financial requirement?

There are only very limited exemptions from financial requirements for a UK spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner visa, for example if there is a disability or you are a carer.

What happens to my UK visa if my relationship ends?

UK spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner visa is issued on the basis of the applicant’s relationship with their sponsor. If the relationship ends, the Home Office will curtail the visa giving a short period of time to make a new application under a new route or leave the country.
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