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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 UK Unmarried Partner visa.

Call us on 0161 826 9783 if you would like to speak with an immigration advisor. Our OISC-certified team of immigration solicitors in Manchester are here to help over the phone, in person or via Skype.

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    What is the Unmarried Partner visa?

    The UK Unmarried Partner visa, sometimes known as a de facto partner visa, falls under the family visas category.

    The Unmarried Partner Visa allows an unmarried partner (a non-EEA national) of a British citizen or a settled person in the UK to live and work in the UK for an extended period. This visa category is designed for couples who are in a genuine and lasting relationship but are not married or in a civil partnership. Initially, the Unmarried Partner Visa is granted for a probationary period of 30 months. After this period, applicants can apply for an extension for an additional 30 months.

    In order to obtain an Unmarried Partner visa, you must be able to prove that you have been in a committed relationship with your partner for at least two years. The applicant must provide evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship with their British or settled partner. This often includes proof of cohabitation, financial interdependence, and a committed relationship.

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    Unmarried Partner visa eligibility

    In order to be eligible for the UK Unmarried Partner visa, you must be able to demonstrate certain things. These are:

    • That your relationship is genuine and long-term (at least two years) and is largely akin to a marriage/civil partnership.
    • You must intend to live together with your partner in the UK, and be able to prove you will have sufficient accommodation in the UK prior to entering the country.
    • You must provide sufficient documentary evidence to prove that you meet these requirements.
    • In some cases, you must meet English language proficiency requirements.
    • You must meet the financial requirements.
    • You must provide your immigration history.
    • You must both be over the age of 18.
    • You must both be in a genuine and subsiding relationship, that is, not in a prohibited relationship (such as not being related by blood or familial links).

    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 the Unmarried Partner 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 UK 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)
    • You 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 that 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.

    How do I prove my relationship is real?

    To apply for an Unmarried Partner visa, you can submit documents such as the following:

    • 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 tenancy agreements, mortgage statements, council tax bills, letters from the landlord or letting agent proving cohabitation etc (proof of shared living)
    • Written testimonies from family, friends or professional people (affidavits)
    • Joint bank accounts or other joint financial statements
    • Joint insurance and named beneficiaries in policies
    • Joint utility bills
    • Social media posts
    • Children’s birth certificates where both parents are named
    • Letters from a school or a doctor indicating that both parents have shared responsibility for children

    The Financial requirement

    As mentioned, 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 for a UK Unmarried Partner visa 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 rental income.

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      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.

      Accommodation requirements

      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 rooms 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.

      Required documents

      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 are somewhat dependent on your individual circumstances.

      Still, with all UK 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

      Unmarried Partner visa fees

      The UK Unmarried Partner visa costs £1,538 if it is submitted outside the UK. If you switch to the Unmarried Partner visa from within the UK, the cost is £1,048.

      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.

      Prohibited Relationships

      Prohibited relationships, in the context of the Unmarried Partner Visa in the UK, refer to relationships that are not eligible for this visa category. These relationships involve individuals who are closely related by blood or adoption, making them ineligible for a partner visa. Examples of prohibited relationships include:

      Parent and Child (including adoptive)

      This type of relationship typically falls under other family visa categories, such as the Parent of a British Citizen or Settled Person visa.

      Sibling or Half-Sibling

      Siblings (brothers and sisters) or half-siblings (sharing one biological parent) cannot apply for the Unmarried Partner Visa to join each other in the UK.

      Grandparent and Grandchild

      A grandparent cannot apply for the Unmarried Partner Visa to join their grandchild in the UK, and vice versa.

      Aunt or Uncle and Niece or Nephew

      Aunts and uncles cannot apply for the Unmarried Partner Visa to join their niece or nephew in the UK, and vice versa.

      These prohibited relationships are subject to UK immigration rules, which aim to prevent misuse of immigration categories and maintain the integrity of the immigration system. If individuals in these prohibited relationships wish to join their family members in the UK, they may need to explore other family visa categories or routes that are applicable to their specific situation, such as the Family Reunion Visa or the Parent of a British Citizen or Settled Person visa.

      What happens if my Unmarried Partner visa application is accepted?

      If your Uk Unmarried Partner visa 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 Unmarried Partner visa’s 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 Unmarried Partner visa cases, this will not be an option.

      Contact our immigration solicitors in Manchester if you would like help with an Unmarried Partner visa application rejection.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                You will need to provide information that 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 immigration solicitors in Manchester 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 visa.

                We are a team of highly experienced OISC-accredited immigration solicitors in Manchester as well as throughout the UK, 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 a UK Unmarried Partner visa or any of the other UK visas.

                The requirements which need to be fulfilled for the Unmarried Partner 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 visa application process to ensure that your application is completed to the very highest standard, maximising your chances of securing your UK Unmarried Partner visa.

                To find out more about how we can help you, please call us now on 0161 826 9783. Our offices are in Manchester as well as throughout the UK. Find your local office by entering your postcode in our Office Finder.

                Please visit our family visas page where you can find out about all the other UK family visas available, including Spouse visa, Fiance visa / civil partner visa, and child and adult dependent visas.