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Unmarried Partner Visa

Unmarried Partner Visa

If you want to join your partner in the UK and you are in a relationship which is akin to a marriage/civil partnership, you could be eligible for the Unmarried Partner Visa.

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What is the Unmarried Partner Visa?

The Unmarried Partner Visa, sometimes known as a de facto partner visa, falls under the Family Visa category. It is an immigration permission for non-EEA nationals who are in a long-term relationship with a UK citizen or person with settled status.

You must be able to prove that you have been in a committed relationship with your partner for at least two years.

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Unmarried Partner Visa Eligibility

In order to be eligible, you must be able to demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and long-term (at least two years) and is largely akin to a marriage/civil partnership. Also, you must intend to live together with your partner in the UK. You must provide sufficient documentary evidence to prove that you meet these requirements.

The applicant’s partner must be one of the following:

  • A British citizen
  • Someone who has settled status in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Remain)
  • A person who is in the UK under refugee status or humanitarian protection

If you apply for this visa from within the UK, you can stay in the UK for up to two and a half years. Those applying from outside of the UK will be able to stay in the UK for up to 33 months. You can also extend this immigration permission.

You will be free to work and study in the UK through the Unmarried Partner Visa immigration permission.

All time spent under the Unmarried Partner Visa is reckonable for residence. This means that it will count towards minimum residency requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship.

Unmarried Partner Visa Requirements

In order to be eligible for the Unmarried Partner Visa, you must fulfil a number of requirements.

Ultimately, through meeting these conditions, you will prove to the Home Office that you are eligible for the Unmarried Partner Visa.

The requirements are as follows:

  • Both you and your partner must be at least 18-years-old
  • Your partner must be resident in the UK and act as your sponsor
  • You must have been in a relationship with your partner for at least two years
  • You must have met your partner in-person
  • You must have lived with your partner for at least two years
  • Must be able to demonstrate that your relationship is genuine and that any previous relationships have broken down. If you have been married in the past, you will need to provide evidence that the marriage/civil partnership has ended
  • Your sponsor must meet certain financial requirements (more below)
  • You must have suitable accommodation which you intend to live in with your partner (and any dependents)
  • Need to demonstrate that you can speak English to a certain level if you are from a non-English-speaking country

What is the Genuine Relationship Test?

The genuine relationship test is the most fundamental requirement in Unmarried Partner Visa applications. The Home Office needs to see evidence of a relationship which is akin to a marriage/civil partnership.

To prove you meet the genuine relationship test you will need to provide certain information. However, there is no set document checklist for Unmarried Partner Visa applications. The documents and information which you need to provide will depend on the nature of your circumstances.

You may be asked to provide the following information:

  • Photographs of both of you together
  • Birth certificates of any children you have had together
  • Emails, text messages, letters and other outgoing correspondence
  • Receipts from gifts you have bought together and/or tickets from events you have attended together
  • Tenancy or property letters from previous accommodation which you lived in together such as utility bills, council tax bills etc
  • Written testimonies from family, friends or professional people

The Financial Requirement

As mentioned above, all Unmarried Partner Visa applicants will need to fulfil certain financial requirements. Bear in mind that you cannot access full welfare support as an Unmarried Partner Visa holder.

The main financial requirements are as follows:

  • Your partner must earn a minimum of £18,600 annually
  • If you have any dependents who will be joining you in the UK, you must show evidence of an additional £3,800 for the first dependent and an extra £2,400 for every other dependent

The minimum income requirement can be satisfied through employment, self-employment and through other means such as savings and stocks and shares.

It can also be satisfied through paternity, adoption, pension and sick pay or through property rented income.

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What Do I Need to Know About the English Language Test?

If you are from a non-English-speaking country, you may need to take a test to prove that you can understand and communicate in English to a certain level. This is a requirement for all long-term Family Visa applicants. The test must be taken at an approved SELT English language test centre.

If you have studied a degree or higher level qualification in English at an approved educational institution, you will not need to sit an English language test.

You will also be exempt from the English requirement if you are aged 65 or over or have a mental or physical condition which prevents you from sitting the test.

What Do I Need to Know About the Accommodation Requirement?

Unmarried Partner Visa applicants must be able to prove to the Home Office that they have suitable accommodation to live in in the UK. The accommodation must meet appropriate UK living standards.

It is not acceptable for large families to live in a small house without adequate room space. Your accommodation in the UK must have adequate room for you and your partner as well as any dependents. An additional bedroom is needed in your accommodation for each dependent who will be joining you.

Your sponsor might be required to provide photographs and other information which details the accommodation thoroughly.

Which Documents Will I Need to Provide?

As mentioned, you will need to provide certain information and documents to prove your eligibility to the Home Office. The specific documents which you need to provide is somewhat dependent on your individual circumstances.

Still, with all Unmarried Partner Visa applications, the following documents will always need to be provided:

  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of your partner’s passport and immigration status in the UK
  • Documents showing proof that you meet the genuine relationship requirement, as explained above
  • Proof that previous relationships have ended
  • Details of your accommodation requirements
  • English language test certificate, if applicable
  • Bank statements/payslips from your partner which prove that you meet the minimum income requirement
  • Details of where you have lived in the past
  • Information of any dependents who will be joining you

What is the Cost of an Unmarried Partner Visa?

The Unmarried Partner Visa costs £1,523 if it was submitted outside the UK. If you switch to the Unmarried Partner Visa from within the UK, the cost is £1,033.

However, there are other costs which you ought to bear in mind. For instance, you will need to pay for an English language test if you are not exempt. Translation fees are another cost to be aware of – if any of the information or documents which you provide are not in English or Welsh, they will need to be translated by an accredited translator.

As you will be applying to remain in the UK for a relatively long period, you will need to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) if you haven’t already, at a cost of £19.20.

What is the Processing Time for an Unmarried Partner Visa Application?

If you completed your application outside the UK, you will generally receive a decision within 12 weeks of the date the application was received. If you apply from inside the UK, you can expect a decision within eight weeks.

What Happens if my Unmarried Partner Visa Application is Accepted?

If your application is accepted, you can remain in the UK for up to 30 months if you applied from within the UK and for up to 33 months if you applied from outside the UK. You will be free to work and study in the UK through this immigration route.

You can extend your immigration permission when your current permission expires for the same time period.

After you have lived in the UK for five years, and provided you haven’t broken any immigration rules or conditions, you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, which is a form of permanent residence, meaning you can remain in the UK without any restrictions.

After you have lived in the UK for one year under Indefinite Leave to Remain, you will be eligible for British citizenship. As a British citizen, you can apply for a British passport and enjoy the full benefits of British citizenship.

What Can I Do if my Unmarried Visa Application is Rejected?

We understand that it can be extremely distressing to receive a rejection letter. Your rejection letter will indicate the reason/s for the rejection, as well as if you have the option to challenge the decision.

If there was a clear and obvious reason why your application was rejected, the best course of action is to submit another application with the mistakes rectified (if possible to do so). However, if you believe that your application was unfairly rejected, you are well within your rights to challenge the decision of the Home Office.

If you think a genuine mistake was made, such as a clear piece of evidence not being taken into consideration, you can usually opt for an administrative review. With an administrative review, your application will be reconsidered by a different UK immigration official.

Also, under certain circumstances, you might be able to lodge an official appeal against the Home Office’s decision. However, in most cases relating to an Unmarried Partner Visa, this will not be an option.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You will need to provide information which proves previous marriages/civil partnerships of both you and your partner have ended. You will be asked to specify how long ago the previous relationship was terminated, and whether by divorce/dissolved civil partnership or by death.

Some of the information you might need to provide includes:

  • Widowed person: A death certificate of the late spouse or deceased civil partner
  • Divorce: A legally recognised divorce certificate
  • Dissolved civil partnership: Evidence of the dissolution, such as a dissolution certificate

To find out more about the information you might need to provide, please call our Manchester immigration lawyers on 0161 826 9783.

If you want to marry or enter into a civil partnership with your UK partner, you will need to apply for a Fiance Visa. This visa lasts for six months and you must get married/enter into a civil partnership within this time period.

If you want to remain in the UK when your Fiance Visa expires, you will need to switch to another form of immigration permission. The most common transition is to a Spouse UK Visa.

We are a team of highly experienced Manchester immigration lawyers with a wealth of experience in the field of immigration law. We deal in all areas of immigration law and we have developed a reputation over many years of delivering outstanding results.

We can help you apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa. The requirements which need to be fulfilled for this visa are extensive but if you choose to hire one of our immigration experts, you needn’t worry. We will work with you through the entire application process to ensure that your application is completed to the very highest standard, maximising your chances of securing your Unmarried Partner Visa.

To find out more about how we can help you, please call us now on 0161 826 9783.