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UK Partner Visas: How to Bring Your Partner to the UK

Depending on your immigration status, you may be able to bring your partner to the UK to join you. To bring your partner to the UK, you will need to either hold a valid visa that will allow your partner to join you or be a UK citizen or a person who has settled in the UK (e.g. ILR).

To bring your partner to the UK, you must both be married, civil partners, unmarried partners, or intend to get married (or enter into a civil partnership) within 6 months of arrival and then live together here.

If you are unmarried, you and your partner must have lived together for at least 2 years prior to applying for a long-term partner visa.

Some of the most popular UK partner visa routes include:

UK Partner visas requirements

The UK partner visa requirements vary depending on the type of visa being applied for. However, in general, partners must be 18 years of age and above, be in a genuine relationship, have sufficient funds to support themselves, and be of good character.

Spouse visa / Civil partner visa

The Spouse visa / Civil partner visa enables married and civil partners to come to the UK to live with their British or settled partner. To qualify for a Spouse visa, applicants must meet the:

  • Relationship requirements – i.e. be the married or civil partner of a person who is British or who has indefinite leave to remain or another form of settled immigration status.
  • English language requirements – e.g. by passing an English language test of level A1 or above on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale
  • Financial requirements – you and your partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600 per year. This can be met in a number of ways, including by using your savings.

If granted a Spouse or Civil partner visa, your partner will be able to stay for an initial period of 33 months. A partner visa extension will allow your partner to stay for another 30 months. After 5 years in the UK, your partner may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Unmarried partner visa

The Unmarried Partner visa eligibility requirements are exactly the same as the Spouse visa / Civil partner visa outlined above. However, if you are not married or in a civil partnership, you must both have lived together for 2 years.

Like the Spouse visa, if granted an unmarried partner visa, your partner will be able to remain in the UK for 33 months. This long-term partner visa can be renewed for another 30 months. After 5 years in the UK, your partner may also be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Fiancé visa

The Fiancé visa (fiancée partner visa) eligibility requirements are the same as those for the Spouse visa / Civil partner visa outlined above, with the exception of the relationship requirement. Fiancé and fiancée visa applicants must intend to get married or enter into a civil partnership with their British or settled partner within 6 months of arrival.

Once you and your partner are married or have entered into a civil partnership in the UK, they can then apply for a spouse / civil partner visa.

Dependant visa

Dependant visas are for overseas partners of UK visa holders who wish to join their partner in the UK. Many visas allow partners to come to the UK on a dependant visa, including work visas (e.g. the UK Skilled Worker visa), business visas (e.g. start-up visa and innovator visa), and student visas.

To qualify for a dependant visa, applicants must meet the:

  • Relationship requirements – i.e. be the married partner, civil partner, or unmarried partner of a person with an eligible and valid UK visa. If unmarried, you and your partner must have been living together for at least 2 years.
  • Financial requirements – have at least £1,270 held for at least 28 days to support themselves while in the UK.

As a dependant visa holder, your partner will be able to stay with you in the UK for the same duration as your visa. In addition, after a certain amount of time in the UK (typically 5 years), your partner may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

How to apply for a UK Partner Visa

The process your partner will need to follow to apply for a UK partner visa will depend on the specific visa they are applying for. The general process involves the following key steps:

  1. Complete and submit the online application form for a UK partner visa.
  2. Pay the required application fees (including the immigration healthcare surcharge if required).
  3. Book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre (VAC) to have their photo taken and fingerprints scanned (biometrics).
  4. Upload all of the documents required by the Home Office to support the application.

In most cases, your partner can expect to receive a decision within 3 weeks, however, it may be possible to pay an additional fee to have a decision made within 1 or 5 working days.

If your partner’s visa application is refused

A partner visa application may be refused if the Home Office believes that your partner does not meet one or more of the eligibility criteria. They may also refuse an application if false or incorrect information has been provided. In general, there are 5 main options if a partner visa has been refused:

  • Submit a fresh application
  • Submit a different type of visa application
  • Request an administrative review – if you believe a mistake was made by the Home Office
  • Request a judicial review – to challenge the legal basis for the decision
  • Appealing the decision – this option is only available if the application was submitted on human rights grounds under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

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