If you have an unmarried partner who is a British Citizen or has Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’) in the United Kingdom (‘UK’), you would be entitled to join your unmarried partner or same-sex partner in the UK.
The intention for the unmarried partner visa category is to allow genuine long-term relationships to continue. Both opposite and same-sex couple relationships are covered under the unmarried partner visa.
Establishing an unmarried partner relationship
In order to establish an unmarried partner relationship, you would be required to provide evidence to establish that you and your unmarried partner have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage for a minimum period of at least two years.
You would also be required to satisfy the following key requirements:
- Your unmarried partner must be a British Citizen or have ILR in the UK;
- You and your unmarried partner must be over 18 years of age;
- You must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship;
- You must have an intention to live together permanently;
- You must have adequate accommodation available to you in the UK;
- Your unmarried partner must be able to satisfy the financial requirement by earning a minimum of £18,600 gross per annum or you must have sufficient cash savings;
- You must satisfy the English language requirement.
- You may also need to take a tuberculosis test depending on where you are applying from.
Must be a British Citizen or have ILR in the UK
Your unmarried partner must be a British Citizen or have ILR in the UK. Your unmarried partner will be required to provide confirmation of their status by either providing their British passport or their Biometric Residence Permit (‘BRP’).
Must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship and also have an intention to live together permanently
You can only qualify for an unmarried partner visa if you can provide evidence that you and your sponsor have lived together in a relationship akin to marriage for at least 2 consecutive years. You must also prove that you have a long-term intention to live together and effectively, the relationship must be similar to a marriage, i.e. long-term commitment.
You will need to provide photographs of you and your sponsor, and examples of correspondence between you or shared commitments.
If you’re not living together at this moment in time, then you would also be required to provide communication evidence to show that you are both in frequent contact with each other.
Adequate accommodation in the UK
You and your unmarried partner must have adequate accommodation to reside at in the UK without the need to rely on public funds. This may include choosing to reside at either privately owned property or a privately rented property.
Accommodation will be regarded as inadequate if:
- It is, or will be, overcrowded; or
- It contravenes public health regulations.
Should you and your unmarried partner wish to initially reside at a family or friend’s address, you would be required to provide confirmation from the family member or a friend that there will be sufficient accommodation for you and your unmarried partner to reside at their property.
Meeting the financial requirement
Your unmarried partner who is a British Citizen or has ILR in the UK will be required to show that he/she earns a gross annual income of £18,600, or you must evidence that you or your partner have an income of at least £18,600 per annum from non-employment sources or hold sufficient cash savings
There are 5 ways of meeting the financial requirement:
- Income from salaried or non-salaried employment
- Non-employment income, e.g. rental income or dividends from shares
- Cash savings above £16,000
- Income from a state or private pension
- Income from self-employment, e.g. as a sole trader or a director of a limited company
Financial requirement exemptions
You can be exempt from meeting the financial requirements of earning £18,600 if your unmarried partner is in receipt of the following:
- 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.
The applicant will be required to provide sufficient documents to show that he/she will be able to maintain themselves without recourse to public funds.
Meeting the English language requirement
Unless you are exempt from meeting the English language requirement, you will be required to pass a relevant English language test with at least a CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening or have a degree or academic qualification that was taught or researched in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher.
Exemptions to English language requirement:
You could be however be exempt from meeting the English Language requirement if you are:
- aged 65 years or over
- have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from meeting the requirement
- You are from a majority English speaking country e.g. USA.
Can I bring my children to the UK?
Children under the age of 18 are allowed to join you in the UK. For each child, a new online application will be required. However, your spouse will be required to earn an additional £3,800, e.g. £22,400 in total for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each other child.
Please refer to the table below.
||How much you need to earn per year before tax
|Your spouse only
|Your spouse and 1 child
|Each additional child
Length of visa
An unmarried partner visa is initially granted for 33 months, after which you would need to apply for Further Leave to Remain (FLR) from within the UK for a further 30 months. You are permitted to continue living in the UK whilst your application for FLR is being processed.
After 5 years of continuous residence in the UK, you would be eligible to apply for ILR. You may eventually be eligible to apply for British Citizenship and obtain a British passport.
Unmarried partner visa holders have a right to work and study in the UK.
What if the application is refused?
If your unmarried partner visa application is refused and you feel the decision by the Entry Clearance Officer (‘ECO’) is unfair and incorrect in law, you would be entitled to a right of appeal.
If your application for an unmarried partner visa was made out of the UK, you will have 28 days to submit the appeal.
However, if your application for an unmarried partner visa was made within the UK, you will only have 14 days to submit the appeal.
Should the need arise, we will be able to advise you of the appeal process and represent you in preparing for the appeal.
As part of our retainer service, we offer the following:
- Provide a comprehensive document checklist;
- Assess all supporting documentation;
- Complete any application as necessary on the applicant’s behalf;
- Book the applicant’s biometrics appointment; and
- Prepare a complete bundle to be sent to UKVI
If you require further information in relation to a UK unmarried partner visa, please contact us.