A Guide to UK Visas for Unmarried Partners

A Guide to UK Visas for Unmarried Partners

by Johnny S

If you are the unmarried partner of someone who is settled or has residence in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a visa on the basis of your relationship in order to join them. This can be either temporarily or permanently. In order to successfully be granted a UK unmarried partner visa, there are certain requirements you must fulfil.

What is a UK visa?

A visa into the UK is an endorsement on your passport which shows that you are allowed to enter and stay for a specific period of time. If you are from outside the European Economic Area you may need a visa to come to the UK. Where you come from, why you want to come to the UK, how long you would like to stay for and your circumstances and skills, will determine what visa you should and can apply for. You can check what visa you would need online or with the help of a specialist immigration solicitor.

It is possible to enter and stay in the UK on an individual basis, but it is also possible to enter and stay on the basis of your relationship with a British resident or citizen, even if you are not married. Like with all other UK visas, there are certain requirements you have to meet in order to be successfully granted a visa on the basis of your relationship.

Unmarried partners legal rights

Many people think that because they are not married to their partner they do not have the same legal rights as married couples when it comes to UK immigration, however this is not true. In fact, most unmarried partners have the exact same legal rights as married couples.

If you are not married, the only requirement you must fulfil is that you can prove that you have been living with your partner for at least two years. If you can do so, then under UK law you have a ‘relationship akin to marriage’ and so have the same legal rights as a married couple. Because of this, you should apply for a UK spouse visa if you are from outside the European Economic Area and want to join your partner in the UK.

Visa requirements

In order to apply and be accepted for a UK spouse visa there are certain requirements which you must meet. For example, you can only apply for the visa on the basis of your relationship if your partner is present and settled in the UK or has limited leave to remain in the UK, excluding if they are in the UK on a student or other short-term visa.

The other requirements you and your partner must meet are as follows:

  • You must both be over 18
  • You must intend to live together permanently
  • You will have to prove that you have arranged appropriate accommodation for your arrival in the UK
  • You personally must meet the English language requirements

You must also meet the financial requirements set out by the Home Office. This either means you have to earn the minimum amount per year, or your partner will have to act as your ‘sponsor’. The minimum earnings for a UK spouse visa are £18,600 per year. If you are bringing your child with you, this raises to £22,400. Any additional child you bring adds £2,400 onto the minimum earning threshold.

You will need to prove that either you or your partner meets these requirements by submitting a range of documents alongside your visa application, such as proof of income in the form of payslips, proof of pension payments, proof of non-employment income such as rental payments from a property you own.

As well as these financial requirements you will have to prove that your relationship is genuine. This means you will have to give the Home Office evidence such as text messages, emails, photographs, social media posts which show that your relationship has been real and ongoing for at least two years. You will also have to prove that you have been living together, so will have to submit copies of tenancy agreements or joint deeds to your home.

If you meet all of the requirements set out by the Home Office and submit all the evidence necessary to prove this, you will be accepted for a spouse visa as an unmarried partner of a British citizen, resident or settled person. You will be able to stay in the UK for 33 months, after which you can apply to extend your visa if you want to stay for longer.

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