How Can My Gay Partner Join Me in the UK?
Equality has come a long way, and while there is still work to be done, it seems that finally the LGBT community is getting the recognition that it has worked so hard to achieve. Nowhere is this change more noticeable than in the UK's immigration routes: LGBT people in Britain have the same rights as heterosexual people do. However, if you are in an LGBT relationship, you may be wondering what your options are for bringing a partner to the UK. In this article we are going to look at available routes into the country for partners of those who already have British citizenship or settled status who are also part of the LGBT community.
How Can I Bring My Spouse to the UK?
The main route for bringing a spouse to the UK is by using the Spouse Visa. This visa allows partners of British citizens, or those with settled status, to move to the UK to join their partner. This is not affected by sexual orientation. The Spouse Visa applies to not only marriages, but also Civil Partnerships.
The Spouse Visa will give the eligible partner 2.5 years stay in the UK which can be extended. After spending 5 years in the UK, the spouse Visa holder will be entitled to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain which will free them from immigration control.
In order to apply for a Spouse Visa, eligibility criteria must be met. Below we have laid out the current eligibility criteria for a Spouse Visa:
- You are currently in a civil partnership or marriage that's recognised in the UK
- You have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply
- You have a good knowledge of English (will need to be proven depending on country of origin)
- You are able to support yourselves and any dependents
As long as this eligibility criteria can be met, you will be able to make an application for a Spouse Visa. Please note that the Spouse Visa requires significant amounts of proof when it comes to the relationship. Get in touch today and our team can help you to start to put together the evidence that you need to make your Spouse Visa application a successful one.
Can I Marry or Enter a Civil Partnership in the UK with my Partner from Abroad?
There are two visa options available for those who wish to get married in the UK: the Fiance Visa and the Marriage Visit Visa. The two different options are aimed at a variety of needs.
The Fiance Visa
The Fiance Visa is designed for those who wish to live in the UK once they are married. They will be able to travel to the UK in order to get married/enter a Civil Partnership. Once they have married or entered their Civil Partnership, an application can be made to switch to a Spouse Visa. The eligibility criteria for a Fiance Visa is laid out below:
- There must be an intention to get married within 6 months of entering the UK
- The couple must have met
- The couple must intend to live together permanently
- As there is no access to public funds, the couple will need to be able to support themselves
- There must be adequate accommodation for the couple to live in
Marriage Visit Visa
The Marriage Visit Visa is intended for those who wish to marry in the UK but not live there. You can enter the country for up to 6 months to get married, but you cannot settle in the country. You will also not be allowed to bring family members (if they want to attend the ceremony, they will need to have their own visas), or switch to an alternative visa route. The Marriage Visit Visa holders are not able to work in the UK (unless it is related to their business activities abroad i.e. attending meetings). The visa is purely designed for those who wish to enter the UK to give notice of their marriage and to carry out the ceremony.
My Partner and I Are Not Married, Can My Partner Still Come to the UK to Live?
The Spouse Visa route also makes allowances for those who are neither married nor in a Civil Partnership. As long as you have been living together for more than 2 years, you are able to apply under the Spouse Visa route. The requirement to prove that the relationship exists still needs to be met. You will need to have significant amounts of evidence to prove that you have lived together for a period of time. As long as you can prove the relationship, you will be able to make an application. If your visa is granted, you will receive leave to remain in the UK for upto 2.5 years. You can extend this visa at the end of the 2.5 year period. After 5 years in the UK, you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain which will allow you to remain in the UK free from immigration control indefinitely. Once you have had Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK for 12 months, you will, if you desire, be able to apply for British citizenship.
Where Can We Get More Help?
As you can see, the UK is an ideal location for those in an LGBT relationship looking to settle for the long-term. If you need help with this process, or would just like to get some advice, please call our immigration experts today and let us settle your concerns.
Our expert immigration solicitors can help with all facets of UK immigration. From applications to tribunals, our wraparound service can deliver the results that you need.
Get in touch with our team today and they'll be more than happy help you with your case.