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UK Unmarried Partner Visa

The UK Unmarried Partner Visa, also known as the UK de facto visa, grants individuals the opportunity to live in the UK alongside their partner, who is either a British citizen or has settled status, for an initial period of up to 33 months. For a complimentary telephone consultation with our immigration experts, please reach out to us at +44 (0) 1293 522 275, or you can fill out our contact form to initiate a discussion about your Unmarried Partner Visa application.

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November 8, 2023

Table of Contents

What Is the UK Unmarried Partner Visa?

The UK Unmarried Partner Visa, also known as the UK de facto visa, offers the opportunity for individuals who are not married but are in a committed relationship with a British citizen or someone settled in the UK to live in the country for an initial period of up to 33 months. To be eligible, individuals in a de facto relationship must demonstrate a genuine commitment, having been in a relationship with their UK-based partner for a minimum of 2 years. It is important to meet all the eligibility criteria for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa, which can be found in the detailed article below. This visa is open to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Unmarried Partner Visa holders have the option to extend their visa for an additional 30 months, provided they continue to meet the necessary requirements. After residing in the UK on a UK de facto visa for 5 years, individuals may be eligible to apply for permanent settlement, commonly referred to as “indefinite leave to remain” or ILR.

Who is eligible to apply for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa?

Foreign nationals are eligible to apply for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa if they have maintained a genuine relationship for a minimum of 2 years (and continue to do so) with a partner who falls into one of the following categories:

  • A British or Irish citizen.
  • Possesses Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), EU Settled Status, or can provide evidence of permanent residence.
  • Is from the EU or the EEA (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein) and holds Pre-settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), provided they commenced their residence in the UK prior to January 1, 2021.
  • Holds a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa.
  • Has been granted UK refugee status or humanitarian protection.

Furthermore, the immigration rules for unmarried partners stipulate that even if an applicant does not meet the aforementioned criteria, they may still be eligible to apply under the following circumstances:

  • If it can be demonstrated that significant hardships would arise for the applicant and their partner if they were compelled to live as a couple outside the UK, and these challenges cannot be resolved.
  • If the applicant’s human rights would be violated if they were unable to reside in the UK or if they were mandated to depart the country.

Unmarried Partner Visa UK Requirements

To be eligible for an Unmarried Partner Visa UK, applicants must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Age Requirement: Both partners must be at least 18 years old.
  • Relationship Requirement: The couple must have cohabited in a genuine relationship for a minimum of 2 years and must continue to be in a relationship.
  • Intent to Reside Together: Both partners must have the intention to live together in the UK.
  • English Language Requirement: Applicants must be proficient in English to the required standard.
  • Financial Requirement: Applicants should have adequate funds to support themselves and any dependents.

Relationship Requirement

For applicants seeking an Unmarried Partner Visa, it’s essential to demonstrate that they have lived together for at least 2 years in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership. This 2-year rule is crucial to satisfy the genuine relationship requirement. To prove compliance with this relationship requirement, suitable Unmarried Partner Visa UK evidence demonstrating the period of cohabitation should be provided (refer to the required documents below).

Financial Requirement

Throughout the application evaluation, the Home Office will scrutinise the applicant’s financial capacity to sustain themselves while in the UK. The Home Office has established a minimum gross income requirement structured as follows:

  • £29,000 for applicants with no children

It’s important to note that this financial requirement doesn’t apply to children who are British citizens, EEA nationals, settled in the UK, or eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

When computing annual income, consider various sources such as:

  • Income from self-employment or as a director of a UK-based limited company
  • Cash savings exceeding £16,000
  • Pension income
  • Non-work income, like earnings from property rentals or dividends

To calculate how cash savings over £16,000 can reduce the income requirement, follow these steps:

  • Calculate the average savings over the past six months.
  • Subtract £16,000 from the average savings.
  • Divide the remaining figure by 2.5 (ensuring adequate funds for the entire 2.5-year validity of the visa).

For instance, if you have £21,000 in savings, you can reduce your annual income requirement by £2,000. An amount of £62,500 would completely fulfil the £29,000 minimum income requirement.

If the UK-based partner of an applicant receives specific benefits or allowances on behalf of their child, they may satisfy the financial requirement through “adequate maintenance,” rather than meeting the minimum income requirement. These benefits include:

  • Carer’s Allowance: Financial support for individuals who provide regular care for someone with a disability or illness.
  • Disability Living Allowance: A benefit to assist those under 16 with care and mobility needs due to a disability.
  • Severe Disablement Allowance: Financial support for individuals unable to work due to severe disability.
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit: Compensation for individuals who sustain injuries or diseases related to their employment.
  • Attendance Allowance: Financial assistance for elderly individuals who require help with personal care due to a disability.
  • Personal Independence Payment: A benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance for individuals aged 16 to 64 with care and mobility requirements due to a disability.
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme: Financial support for military personnel who have sustained injuries or illnesses during service.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement, or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme: Benefits for veterans who suffer from disabilities or illnesses resulting from their military service.
  • Police Injury Pension: Financial support for police officers who have sustained injuries or illnesses while performing their duties.

English Language Requirement:

Applicants aged over 18 and under 65 are required to meet the English language requirement, which can be satisfied in one of the following three ways:

  • Originating from an English-speaking country, including 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.
  • Holding a degree or academic qualification taught in English.
  • Achieving a minimum level of A1 in an English language test on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

Documents Required for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa Application

When applying for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa, you will be requested to provide various documents to substantiate your eligibility. These documents may encompass:

  • Your Current Passport: Your valid passport.
  • A Copy of Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): If applicable, include a copy of your BRP.
  • Proof of Your Relationship:
    • Partner’s Details: Include your partner’s comprehensive information, including their full name, date of birth, nationality, passport details, and confirmation of their right to reside in the UK.
    • Evidence of Relationship: Present documentation that substantiates the nature of your relationship with your partner. Include details about how and when you met and the frequency of your interactions. Ensure that any evidence provided is recent, typically no older than 4 years.
    • Duration of Cohabitation: Provide documents that demonstrate the period of cohabitation. This might include shared bills, mortgages, rental agreements, or any jointly held financial commitments.
    • Care Commitment: If applicable, provide information about the care you offer to your partner.
    • Partner’s Previous Relationships: Include particulars about any prior civil partnerships, marriages, or children from past relationships. Attach any divorce certificates where relevant.
    • Financial Support to Others: If your partner provides financial support to other individuals, outline the details.
  • Evidence of Meeting Financial Requirements:
    • Bank Statements: Submit bank statements reflecting both your and your partner’s income, as well as any cash savings.
    • Payslips: Include payslips from the past six months.
    • Employer Letter: Provide a letter from either the applicant’s or partner’s employer. This should specify employment duration, job role, remuneration, and confirm the authenticity of the payslips provided.
    • Other Income Sources: Include documentation verifying income from other sources, such as pensions or rental properties.
    • P60 Tax Documents: Attach P60 tax documents.

Additional Information:

  • Previous Immigration Applications: Keep a record of prior immigration applications you have submitted.
  • Criminal Convictions: Provide information about any past criminal convictions, if applicable.
  • National Insurance Number: Include your National Insurance Number.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) Test Results: If required, provide Tuberculosis test results.

Applying for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa: Step-by-Step Guide

Obtaining a UK Unmarried Partner Visa involves a series of steps:

  • Fill out the Unmarried Partner Visa UK application form online. The specific form you should use depends on whether you are applying from within the UK or from abroad.
  • Submit the necessary application fee and healthcare surcharge payment.
  • Schedule and attend an appointment with either the UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services) or a local Visa Application Centre to complete the biometric process, including the capture of fingerprints and a photograph.
  • Upload the essential supporting documents required to substantiate your application.
  • If deemed necessary, participate in an interview with the Home Office.

Unmarried Partner Visa UK Fees

The fees for the Unmarried Partner Visa application are £1,048 per person when applying within the UK, and £1,538 per person for applications made from outside the UK.

Additional expenses comprise the healthcare surcharge, which amounts to £624 per person per year, or £470 for children. This grants you access to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

Unmarried Partner Visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

After maintaining continuous residence in the UK for a period of 5 years as an unmarried partner, you may qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). As an unmarried partner seeking ILR, you are required to:

  • Continue to be in a valid and ongoing relationship with your partner residing in the UK.
  • Satisfy the financial requirements.
  • Ensure you have suitable accommodation in the UK.
  • Meet the English language proficiency requirement (at least to level B1).
  • Successfully pass the Life in the UK test.
  • Fulfil the suitability criteria, which includes having no criminal convictions.

Extending Your Unmarried Partner Visa in the UK

If you intend to stay in the UK, it’s essential to apply for an extension of your Unmarried Partner Visa before its expiration. Upon approval, this extension grants you an additional 2.5 years in the UK, after which you can proceed to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

To secure an extension, you must continue to satisfy the same eligibility criteria that were met when you initially obtained your Unmarried Partner Visa. This entails maintaining a genuine relationship with your partner based in the UK and fulfilling the financial requirements. The sole difference is that if you previously passed an accredited English language examination at CEFR level A1, you are now required to meet the level A2 proficiency.

Refusal of a UK Unmarried Partner Visa

UK Unmarried Partner Visa applications can face refusal on various grounds, which may include:

  • Failure to meet the requirement of a genuine and subsisting relationship.
  • Inability to fulfil the financial criteria.
  • Consideration by the Home Office that the applicant does not possess good character.
  • Incomplete submission of all necessary information with the application.
  • Provision of false or misleading information.
  • Non-payment of the correct application fee.

In the event of a visa refusal, you have several potential courses of action, depending on your particular circumstances. These options include:

  • Administrative Review (AR): If the Home Office made an error during the refusal process, you can apply for an Administrative Review.
  • Judicial Review (JR): To challenge the legal basis of the decision, you can opt for a Judicial Review.
  • Submitting a Fresh Visa Application: You can prepare and submit a new visa application with enhanced documentation and compliance.
  • Applying for a Different Category of Visa: Pursue an application for a different type of visa that may better align with your situation.
  • Appeal on Human Rights Grounds: If your visa application was grounded on human rights considerations, you may have the option to file an appeal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a UK Unmarried Partner Visa if my relationship is less than 2 years old?

If you fall short of the 2-year requirement, there is still a potential avenue available to you: applying for a family visa. This option can be pursued if you can substantiate that there would be substantial challenges for you and your partner if compelled to live separately outside the UK, and these obstacles are insurmountable. Alternatively, it might infringe upon your human rights if you were to be deprived of the opportunity to reside in the UK or if you were mandated to leave.

We strongly advise seeking guidance from our immigration lawyers to navigate your unique circumstances. You can get in touch with our immigration lawyers at +44 (0) 1293 522 275 or complete our contact form.

Can I get a UK Unmarried Partner Visa if my partner and I are in a long-distance relationship?

Individuals engaged in long-distance relationships while residing outside the UK have the opportunity to submit an application for an Unmarried Partner Visa to unite with their partner in the UK. A key condition is that they must have lived together for a cumulative period of 2 years at some point.

For personalised guidance on your specific situation, we strongly encourage you to engage with our immigration lawyers. Feel free to reach out to our immigration lawyers at +44 (0) 1293 522 275, or alternatively, you can complete our contact form.

Is it possible to obtain a UK Unmarried Partner Visa if my partner and I are not currently living together?

Unmarried Partner Visa applicants are not required to be presently living together. The primary condition is the necessity to have lived together for a total of 2 years at some point in the past. This means you can apply for the visa from another country to join your partner in the UK.

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