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Unmarried Partner Visa UK

The UK Unmarried Partner Visa (also called the UK de facto visa) allows a person with a partner who is a British citizen or settled in the UK to reside in the country for up to 33 months initially.

Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss your Unmarried Partner Visa application.

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What is the UK Unmarried Partner Visa?

The UK Unmarried Partner Visa (or UK de facto visa) allows an unmarried person with a partner who is a British citizen or settled in the UK to reside in the country for up to 33 months initially. To qualify, those in a de facto relationship must have been in a genuine relationship with their UK-based partner for at least 2 years. You will also need to meet the full set of eligibility requirements for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa that is listed in the article below. Applicants can be in an opposite or same-sex relationship to qualify for an Unmarried Partner Visa.

Unmarried Partner Visa holders can extend their visa for an additional 30 months before their visa expires (assuming they are still eligible). After 5 years of living in the UK on a UK de facto visa, it is then possible to apply for permanent settlement (indefinite leave to remain or ILR).

Who can apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa UK?

Overseas nationals can apply for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa if they have been in a genuine relationship for at least 2 years (and remain so) with a partner who:

  • Is a British or Irish citizen
  • Has ILR, EU Settled Status, or proof of permanent residence
  • From the EU or the EEA (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein) and have Pre-settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and they started living in the UK prior to 1st January 2021
  • A Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa holder
  • A person with UK refugee status or humanitarian protection

The immigration unmarried partner rules also state that if an applicant does not meet the above requirements, they may still be able to apply:

  • if it can be shown that there would be significant difficulties for the applicant and their partner if they have to reside as a couple outside the UK, and these cannot be overcome
  • if it would breach the applicant’s human rights if they are unable to live in the UK or they would be required to leave.

Unmarried Partner Visa UK requirements

In order to apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa UK, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Both partners must be at least 18 years of age
  • Relationship requirement: both partners must have been living together in a genuine relationship for at least 2 years and must still be together.
  • Both partners must intend to live together in the UK
  • English language requirement: speak English to the required standard
  • Financial requirement: have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependants

Relationship requirement

Partners looking to apply under this route must be able to show they have been living together for the past 2 years in a relationship that is like marriage or civil partnership. The 2-year rule for an Unmarried Partner Visa is necessary to satisfy the genuine relationship requirement. To prove you meet the relationship requirement, you will need to provide suitable Unmarried Partner Visa UK evidence that you have been living together (see the documents required below).

Financial requirement

When assessing your application, the Home Office will check that you have sufficient money to live for the period of time you are in the UK. The Home Office specifies a minimum gross income (i.e. before tax and national insurance is deducted) requirement of:

  • £18,600 for applicants with no children
  • An extra £3,800 for those with one child, and
  • An extra £2,400 for each subsequent child

The financial requirement does not apply to any child who is a British citizen, an EEA national, is settled in the UK, or qualifies for ILR.

When working out how much annual income you have, bear in mind that this does not only relate to paid employment; other sources of income can be used, including:

  • the income you earn from self-employment or as a director of a limited company in the UK
  • cash savings above £16,000
  • money from a pension
  • non-work income, for example, from property rentals or dividends

To calculate how much your cash savings over £16,000 can reduce the income requirement, you simply need to:

Step 1: Work out your average amount of savings over the past six months

Step 2: Take £16,000 from the amount of average savings

Step 3: Divide the figure remaining by 2.5 (2.5 is the number of years a partner visa will be issued for, hence this ensures you have enough money for the full period of the visa).

If you have £21,000 you can reduce your annual income requirement by £2,000. An amount of £62,500 would cancel out the £18,600 minimum income requirement completely.

If an applicant’s UK-based partner receives one of the benefits listed below or allowances on behalf of their child, they may meet the financial requirement through “adequate maintenance” rather than the minimum income requirement. These benefits include:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement, or War Disablement Pension
  • under the War Pensions Scheme
  • Police Injury Pension

English language requirement

Applicants who are over 18 and under 65 will need to meet the English language requirement. This can be met in one of 3 ways:

  1. Come from an English speaking country – these include Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.
  2. Have a degree or other academic qualification that was taught in English.
  3. Pass an English language test of least level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

UK Unmarried Partner Visa required documents

When applying for an Unmarried Partner Visa, you will be asked to provide a number of documents to prove your eligibility. These may include:

  • your current passport
  • a copy of your biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • proof of your relationship including:
    • your partner’s details, including their name, date of birth, nationality, passport, right to live in the UK
    • evidence of your relationship with your partner showing when and how you met and how often you see each other – any evidence provided should be less than 4 years old
    • evidence of how long you have lived together – e.g. shared bills, mortgages, rental agreements, and other things you pay for together
    • whether you provide care to your partner
    • details of anyone your partner was previously in a civil partnership with or married to, or they had children with, including divorce certificates
    • details of anyone your partner provides financial support to
  • proof you meet the financial requirements, e.g.:
    • bank statements showing you and your partner’s income and any cash savings
    • 6 months of payslips
    • a letter from the applicant’s or partner’s employer detailing the length of employment, role, pay, and confirmation that the payslips provided are genuine.
    • evidence of income from other sources, e.g. pension, rental property
    • P60s
  • details of any previous immigration applications you have made
  • details of any criminal convictions
  • national insurance number
  • tuberculosis (TB) test results (only if required)

How to apply for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa?

To apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the online Unmarried Partner Visa UK application form. The form you need to use differs for applications made inside1 the UK from applications made outside2 the UK.
  2. Pay the required application fee and healthcare surcharge.
  3. Make and attend an appointment with a UKVCAS or a local Visa Application Centre to have your biometrics processed (fingerprints and photo).
  4. Upload any documents required to support your application.
  5. Attend an interview with the Home Office if required.

Unmarried Partner Visa UK cost

The Unmarried Visa application fees are £1,048 per person if applications are made in the UK and £1,538 per person if application are made outside the UK.

Other costs include healthcare surcharge £624 per person per year or £470 for children. This will provide you access to the NHS in the UK.

Unmarried Partner Visa to ILR

Once you have resided in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years as an unmarried partner, you may be eligible to apply for ILR. As an unmarried partner applying for ILR, you must:

  • Still be in a subsisting relationship with your UK based partner
  • Still meet the financial requirements
  • Have suitable accommodation in the UK
  • Meet the knowledge of English language requirement (to level B1)
  • Pass the Life in the UK test
  • Meet the suitability requirements, including no criminal convictions

Unmarried Partner Visa extension

If you plan to remain in the UK, you will need to apply for an extension of your Unmarried Partner Visa before the expiry date. If your extension is granted, you can remain in the UK for a further 2.5 years, at which point you can apply for ILR.

To gain an extension, you must still meet the same criteria you met when you were granted your Unmarried Partner Visa. This means you must still be in the same genuine relationship with your UK-based partner and continue to meet the financial requirements. The only difference is that if you passed an approved English language exam at CEFR level A1, you will now need to meet level A2.

For more information, see our article on how to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

UK Unmarried Partner Visa refused

UK Unmarried Partner Visas can be refused for a number of reasons, including:

  • Not meeting the genuine and subsisting relationship requirement
  • Not meeting the financial requirement
  • The Home Office considers you are not of good character
  • Not providing all information with the application
  • Providing false or misleading information
  • Not paying the correct application fee

If your application is refused, depending on your circumstances, you may have a number of options available to you, including:

  • Applying for an administrative review (AR) if a mistake was made by the Home Office when issuing a refusal
  • Applying for a judicial review (JR) to challenge the legal basis for the decision
  • Preparing and submitting a fresh application
  • Preparing and submitting an application for a different type of visa
  • Appealing if your application was made on the basis of your human rights

References:

1 GOV.UK: Applications made in the UK

2 GOV.UK: Applications made outside the UK

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If you do not meet the 2 year requirement, you may still be able to apply for a family visa if you could prove there would be significant difficulties for you and your partner if you have to reside as a couple outside the UK, and these cannot be overcome or it would breach your human rights if you are unable to live in the UK or you would be required to leave. We highly recommend to consult our immigration lawyers to discuss your individual circumstances. Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form
  • It is possible for a person living outside the UK in a long-distance relationship to apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa to join their partner in the UK. They must have lived together for 2 years at some point, however. We highly recommend to consult our immigration lawyers to discuss your individual circumstances. Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form
  • Unmarried Partner Visa applicants do not need to be currently living together. The key requirement is that you must have lived together for 2 years at some point. As such, you can apply from outside the UK to join your partner in the UK.

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