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Unmarried Partner Visa UK

The UK immigration rules recognise that, in reality, couples who may be in genuine and subsisting relationship may not yet be married, even if they acy as if they are. The 'Unmarried Partner' visa route is geared specifically towards these couples.

The Home Office' immigration rules specify that "unmarried partners" refers to persons who in a genuine and subsisting relationship for minimum of two years.

To be eligible for the Unmarried Partner Visa, you must have resided in the UK for a period of at least 2 years. If you are thinking of making an Unmarried Partner Visa application, you must be able to show the following:-

  • That you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship.
  • That you can take care of yourself financially in the UK (Financial requirements - Appendix FM)
  • That you and your partner have adequate accommodation in the UK
  • That you meet the English language requirements
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Financial Requirement

The sponsor (referring to the person present and settled in the UK) must be earning a gross income of at least £18,600. If a child is part of the application, the applicant would need to show an additional £3,800 per child. Please contact our immigration advisers if you need help with determining your financial requirement. This is especially important if you are applying with dependants.

Two Years Cohabitation / Genuine and Subsisting Relationship

Partners looking to apply under this route must be able to show they have been living together for the past 2 years. This is important towards satisfying the genuine relationship requirement. possessing 2 years worth of the following documents will normally suffice as proof of cohabitation as per the immigration rules:

  • Utility bills
  • Bank statement
  • Utility bills
  • TV licences
  • Pictures
  • Tenancy agreements

Entry Clearance as an Unmarried Partner

If you are looking to enter the UK as an unmarried partner of a British national or person present and settled in the UK, you will need to meet the following requirements:-

  • The applicant must be outside the UK
  • A valid entry clearance application must have been lodged with the home office for entry clearance as an unmarried partner.
  • You must not fall for refusal under general grounds for refusal
  • All the requirements outlined in Section E-ECP: Eligibility for entry clearance as a Partner must have been met by the applicant.

Unmarried Partner Visa Refusal

An entry clearance applicant as an unmarried partner may be refused on the grounds listed below:-

  • The Secretary of State has sufficient and reasonable grounds to believe that denying the applicant entry as an unmarried partner is conducive to public good.
  • The applicant is the subject of a deportation order at the date of the application.
  • Convictions or imprisonment for at least twelve months will serve to act as reasonable grounds to exclude the applicant from the UK; on the basis that it is conducive to public good.
  • There are reasonable grounds to believe, as a result of the applicant's conduct; including but not limited to character, associations, etc, that it would be conducive for the public good to refuse the applicant entry clearance into the UK.
  • There has been inaccurate information provided by the applicant or he/she has failed to attend a compulsory interview which has direct implications on the application.
  • As a result of medical reasons, entry clearance is deemed undesieable.
  • The applicant failed to make mandatory payments in respect of his/her application. Such mandatory payments include the IHS surcharge.for example.
  • The applicant has not met adequate maintenance and/or accommodation requirements.

Eligibility for Entry Clearance as an Unmarried Partner

  • The sponsor must be either a British citizen or a person with indefinite leave or permanent residence status in the UK. Where the sponsor is neither of the application will go forward as a PBS Dependent Unmarried Partner.
  • As of the date of application, both parties must be 18 years or over.
  • The relationship between both parties must not be such that is prohibited within the definitions of a subsisting relationship
  • Every previous marriage must have ended permanently. The applicant must not be in any other active relationship or marriage, except where the marriage is a polygamous one. Please note that UK law does not recognise polygamy, meaning only one wife (in the case of a polygamous union) will be recognised in the UK.
  • There must be demonstrable evidence that both partners intend to live together permanently in the UK.

Entry Clearance Length of Stay as an Unmarried Partner

A successful entry clearance under an unmarried partner application will result in an initial leave for 33 months without recourse to public funds.

Switching into the Unmarried Partner Visa

You may be able to switch into an Unmarried Partner Visa if you are currently in the UK with a valid leave for a period exceeding six months. It is pertinent that you meet the requirements for the Unmarried Partner Visa route.

In order to switch, you will need to submit your application using the FLR(M) application form.

Switching to an Unmarried Partner Visa Under the Old Rules

For prior applications having fulfilled all other requirements, your grant of leave will be in line with chapter 8 of the Immigration Rules. A key attribute of applications submitted under the old rules is that they will not need to meet the financial requirement of £18, 600.

It is also important to note that certain persons are still able to apply under the old rules even if they are applying after 09-07-2012. These are as follows,

  • An individual who has applied under chapter 7 of the immigration rules prior to July 09; having a valid leave for the purpose of exercising rights of access to a child.
  • An individual who was granted leave to enter or remain as an unmarried partner of a person present and settled in the UK, or a refugee with humanitarian protection.
  • An individual with leave to enter as a proposed civil partner which was granted in line with immigration rules prior to 09-07-2012
  • An individual who prior to 09-07-2012 had been granted an unmarried partner visa.
  • A person who, prior to 09-072012, had been granted a Civil Partner Visa.
  • An individual, who prior to 09-07-2012, had been granted Same Sex Partner Visa.
  • An individual, who prior to 09-07-2012, had been granted a Dependant Child Visa.
  • An individual, who prior to 09-07-2012, had been granted an Adult Relative Visa.
  • Post-flight family member of individuals granted refugee leave or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom based on the rules in force prior to 09-07-2012.
  • A person who was previously granted 2 years stay under 14 years long residence.

Switching into the Unmarried Partner Visa Under Appendix FM

For persons who are eligible to switch under the old rules, they may be eligible to switch into the Unmarried Partner Visa route under Part 8 of the Immigration rules. They will be able to apply under the Appendix FM of the Immigration rules.

Under Appendix FM, applicants would still have to meet the £18,600 per annum gross income financial requirement unless they fall under the exemptions allowed under Appendix FM.

Extension / Renewal of Unmarried Partner Visa

If you are currently in the UK as an unmarried partner of a British citizen or a person present and settled in the UK, or a PBS dependant unmarried partner you will be able extend you visa in the UK.

Applications to extend leave as an unmarried partner would normally be considered under Appendix FM. It is important to note, you will still have to show that you continue to meet the financial requirements.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as an Unmarried Partner Visa

If you have continuously resided in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years as an unmarried partner, you may be eligible to apply for settlement / Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

Applications for ILR will have to be lodged under the Appendix FM of the Immigration rules. You will need to apply with the SET (M) application form.

If you have continuously resided in the UK for continuous period of 5 years as an unmarried partner, you may be eligible to apply for settlement / ILR.

Applications for ILR will have to be lodged under the Appendix FM of the Immigration rules. You will need to apply with the SET (M) application form.

You must show that you have remained in a subsisting relationship with your unmarried partner. The "sponsor" of the application is usually the holder of either British nationality or ILR.

The general requirements for ILR are that the applicant must;

  • Be in a subsisting relationship with the sponsor;
  • Earn at least £18,600, which may be more if there are non-British or European children applying too;
  • Have suitable accommodation in the UK;
  • Meet the knowledge of English language and life in the UK requirement;
  • Meet the suitability requirements which include no criminal convictions

This application can be submitted either by post or throuh a same day service. The Home Office will issue ILR on a biometrics residence card, which will have an expiry date so that the picture can be renewed later.

Depending on the nationality of the sponsor, the applicant can apply to naturalise as British in 12 months. In some instances, these 12 months may be reduced to a single day if the sponsor is British. If you need more information on the Unmarried Partner Visa, or any other immigration-related query (such as naturalisation) then do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of immigration lawyers on 02037442797.

Unmarried Partner Visa UK Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  • You may submit an application for an unmarried partner visa to the UK using the same day service. Where this is the case, it will normally take 24 hours for a decision to be made on your application.
  • However normal in-country applications submitted by post will normally be decided in line with the standard UKVI processing times.
  • For out-of-country applications, processing times will also be in accordance with the standard UKBA processing times as published by UKBA.
You will need to have successfully completed and passed the English language test in order to be granted leave on this category. In order to meet this requirement, you will need to show you are either a citizen of a majority English language speaking country, or you have successfully completed a degree from a UK Higher education institution. Please note that the institution must have been authorized and is recognized by the Home Office to give such awards.

A few exceptions exists however: -
  • As at the time of the application, the applicant is at least 65 years old.;
  • As a result of the applicant's physical or mental condition, he/she is unable to meet the English language requirements;
  • The applicant is not able to meet the English language requirements as a result of exceptional circumstance(s)
In order to apply for entry clearance under this route, you can either submit your application online using the Visa4UK website submit the application by post using the VAF4A application form. It is important to attach all supporting documents as well as other appendixes?
If you are in the United Kingdom and are seeking to apply for the unmarried partner visa, you will need to use the FLR (M) application form. Please note that the unmarried partner visa can be applied for using same day service.
In order to show a genuine and subsisting relationship, the Home Office:-
  • Proof of cohabitation;
  • Equal responsibility for the children.
  • Share of financial responsibilities
  • You must have physically seen and visited each other
  • There is an intention to live permanently in the UK
In order to qualify for the unmarried partner visa, you will need to be earning a gross salary of at least £18,600 per annum. Please note that the minimum requirement goes up to £22,400 if you are applying with an additional child dependant. Note also, that you will need to earn an additional £2,400 on the £22,400 to be eligible for every additional child dependent.

Note however, that if the sponsor in the application is currently receiving disability or caregivers allowance, they will be exempt from meeting the English language requirement. Please note that in this case, you still need to show that you are able to cater for yourself financially and have adequate accommodation in place and would have no recourse to public funds.
The grant of leave for entry clearance applications are usually 33 months. For extensions, an additional 30 months will be granted.

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