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Visa Requirements to Bring Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend to the UK

If you wish to bring your girlfriend or boyfriend to the UK to live with you, there are several visa options to consider, including the fiancé visa, spouse visa, and unmarried partner visa.

If you hold a limited leave to remain visa (e.g., Skilled Worker visa), you may be able to sponsor your significant other for a dependant visa. Alternatively, if you would like to bring your girlfriend or boyfriend to the UK for a short period of time (i.e., up to 6 months), they can also consider a visitor visa. Depending on the country they are coming from, they may not require any form of visa to come to the UK for a short stay.

In this article, we explain how to secure a UK visa for your girlfriend (UK girlfriend visa) or boyfriend (UK boyfriend visa) and the main visa immigration routes available.

Fiancé visa

The fiancé visa, part of the family visa scheme, will allow you to bring your girlfriend or boyfriend to the UK to get married or enter into a civil partnership within 6 months of arrival and then live here with you.

Fiancé visa applicants must be 18 years or over and:

  • Have a partner who is a British or Irish citizen or has settled in the UK
  • Have formally ended any previous marriages or civil partnerships
  • Intend to live with their partner in the UK once married
  • Meet a minimum income level
  • Have suitable accommodation in the UK
  • Meet the English language requirements

Once you have married or entered into a civil partnership, your partner will then be eligible for a Spouse visa (see below).

Spouse visa

The spouse visa, also part of the family visa scheme, will allow you to bring your husband, wife, or civil partner to live in the UK with you if you are a British or Irish citizen or you are settled in the UK.

Spouse visa applicants must be 18 years or over and:

  • Have a partner who is a British or Irish citizen or has settled in the UK
  • Be married or in a civil partnership
  • Meet a minimum income level
  • Have suitable accommodation in the UK
  • Meet the English language requirements

The Spouse visa is normally granted for an initial period of 2 years and 9 months. This can be extended for a further 2 years and 6 months. After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, spouse visa holders can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Unmarried partner visa

The unmarried partner visa will allow you to bring your partner to live with you in the UK if you are a British or Irish citizen or you are settled in the UK.

Unmarried partner visa applicants must be 18 years or over and:

  • Have been living with their UK-based partner for 2 or more years
  • Meet a minimum income level
  • Have suitable accommodation in the UK
  • Meet the English language requirements

The unmarried partner visa is typically valid for 2 years and 9 months. This can then be further extended up to 2 years and 6 months. After 5 continuous years of residence in the UK, it is then possible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Dependant visa

You can sponsor your girlfriend to come to the UK and live with you on a dependant visa if you have a limited-to-remain visa such as a UK Skilled worker visa.

A partner will meet the requirements for a dependant visa if:

  • They have a UK-based partner who holds a valid and eligible limited-to-remain visa (e.g., a Skilled Worker visa)
  • They are married, in a civil partnership, or have been living with their UK-based partner for 2 or more years (if unmarried)
  • Have sufficient funds to support themselves
  • Intend to live together

Dependant visas are typically granted for the same length of time as that of the main visa holder and can be further extended. After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, dependant visa holders can apply for indefinite leave to remain to settle permanently here.

UK girlfriend or boyfriend visa for a short-term visit

If your girlfriend or boyfriend is coming to the UK to visit you for a short period of up to 6 months, they can apply for a Standard Visitor visa. It is important to check if they need a visitor visa1 before applying, as they may be exempt from this requirement. Your girlfriend or boyfriend will meet the requirements for a Standard Visitor visa if they:

  • Intend to come to the UK to visit you (it is advisable to provide a UK visa invitation letter for your girlfriend or boyfriend)
  • Intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit
  • Have sufficient funds to support themselves without recourse to public funds
  • Can pay for their return or onward journey from the UK

Standard visitor visas are normally only granted for a maximum of 6 months. They can be extended in exceptional circumstances – e.g., if the holder is receiving medical treatment.

If your girlfriend is pregnant, it is important to be aware of the condition attached to the Standard Visitor visa. Under the visitor visa, applicants must not come to the UK for medical reasons unless their partner plans to receive private medical treatment.

If an entry clearance officer believes your partner is coming to the UK to give birth and settle in the UK, they may refuse entry. We recommend speaking to an immigration solicitor before applying for a UK visa for a pregnant girlfriend and before they travel to the UK to ensure they are permitted entry.


References

1 GOV.UK: Check if you need a UK visa

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