Unmarried Partner Visa

Unmarried Partner Visa UK

If you wish to apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa, our immigration lawyers can help you and your beloved one settle in the UK.

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Unmarried Partner Visa

Also, commonly known as the UK de facto visa, the unmarried partner route applies the same requirements and benefits to couples in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships – provided that you can demonstrate with evidence that you have been in a committed and serious relationship for two years or longer.

The UK unmarried partner visa technically falls under the family visa category, which applies to unmarried couples but also children, parents, and a spouse or civil partner. Under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals have the right to legally seek to travel to the UK with the intention of staying and living with their partner.

With We Manage Your Visas, your chances of a successful application for an Unmarried Partner Visa will be maximised. Get in touch with the team today or use our online contact form to discuss your application.

What Is The UK Unmarried Partner Visa?

The Unmarried Partner Visa allows foreign non-EEA nationals to enter or remain in the UK in order to live with their British partner. This is allowed on the basis that they are in a provably genuine, committed and long-term relationship with a British national – or a person who is currently present and settled in the UK, possibly with Indefinite Leave to Remain. In any case, it’s crucial that the UK-based partner is living and remaining in the UK without immigration restrictions. This can include:

  • Full British citizens.
  • Someone who is present and settled in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain.
  • A person currently staying in the UK under humanitarian protection or with refugee status.

The unmarried partner visa comes with a few requirements that you’ll have to meet in order to successfully apply and be approved. Alongside the fact that you must prove that you have been in a genuine relationship for at least two years at the time of applying for the unmarried partner visa, it’s also necessary that both the non-EEA applicant and the UK-based sponsoring partner are both 18 years old or older. You must also both fully intend on living together in the UK on a permanent and long-term basis. To this end, you’ll need to prove that you both have sufficient and appropriate accommodation plans and living arrangements for when the non-EEA applicant reaches the UK.

The length of the unmarried partner visa validity changes depending on where exactly you have applied from. For example, if foreign national unmarried partners are already in the UK and is applying for the visa in order to earn the right to stay in the country, the visa is issued for a period of 30 months. If the non-EEA applicant is submitting their application while abroad, however, whether in their home country or anywhere else, then upon success they will receive an unmarried partner visa valid for a period of 33 months.

For couples who don’t intend to get married or simply want to get married later in life after spending time living in the UK together, the unmarried partner route is the most suitable and appropriate visa available.

Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we always recommend that anyone intending to submit an unmarried partner visa application seeks professional legal advice on the matter. The Home Office will expect comprehensive and thorough evidence of your life and relationship together being genuine and honest – a lot of unmarried partner visa applications are rejected because they simply don’t include enough evidence of the relationship in question.

Our experienced and qualified immigration lawyers can help to provide the advice and assistance you need to make the right decision and submit an application with the best chances for success. Just get in touch with the helpful and expert team here at We Manage Your Visas today to discover more about how we can help you achieve success through the unmarried partner visa route.

Unmarried Partner Visa Requirements

In order to be considered an eligible and appropriate candidate for the unmarried partner visa category of family visas, you’ll need to not only meet but also prove that you satisfy all the requirements set in place by the Home Office and UKVI (UK visas and immigration). These eligibility requirements include meeting the following criteria:

  • You must be able to demonstrate and prove that any previous relationships have ended. This includes any relationship that either the non-EEA applicant or the UK-based sponsor were involved in, whether previous marriages or unmarried, have ended. The Home Office will not grant an unmarried partner visa to a couple still engaged in previous marital or other relations.
  • Both the applicant and the sponsor must both be over the age of 18 at the time of applying for the unmarried partner visa.
  • The UK-based sponsor must be able to show that they have either full British citizenship, Indefinite Leave to Remain, or humanitarian protection in the UK. Unmarried partner visas cannot be awarded to the partners of people subject to UK immigration restrictions.
  • You need to be able to show that you have not only met physically and been in a relationship for the last two years but that you have also been living together for at least two years at the time of applying. This demonstrates that you have been in a genuine and subsisting relationship akin to marriage or a civil partnership. This cohabitation requirement is absolutely mandatory for every unmarried partner visa applicant. You’ll need to be able to provide documentary evidence of this.
  • You’ll need to convince the Home Office and UK visas and immigration that your relationship is entirely genuine and that both the non-EEA applicant and the UK-based sponsor intend to live together in the UK on a permanent basis. This part of the application requires comprehensive and substantial evidence.
  • There must be suitable and adequate accommodation available for the couple and any necessary dependents. It’s important for you to be able to prove to the Home Office and UKVI that the UK-based sponsor, the non-EEA applicant, and any dependents also coming to the UK have the suitable accommodation necessary to support an acceptable quality of life.
  • As part of the unmarried partner visa applications, the adult non-EEA applicant will need to demonstrate that they are able to speak and understand English to the required level. These English language requirements could mean presenting evidence of your ability to understand English or submitting proof requested by the Home Office, such as completing an English language test. You may be considered exempt from this if you have proficiency in another British language, such as Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.
  • You and your partner must be able to fully support yourselves in the UK without needing to claim public funds. To this end, the unmarried partner UK visa type comes with certain financial requirements for gross annual incomethat you must be able to prove before being eligible for the visa. The financial requirements fall upon the UK-based settled person, not the non-European nationals coming to the UK.

Get in touch with our lawyers to find out how we can help with your Unmarried Partner Visa application.

What Are The Financial Requirements For An Unmarried UK Partner Visa?

When applying for the unmarried partner visa, it’s important to prove that you will be able to fully support yourselves while living in the UK without needing to access public funds, as per UK immigration rules.

To do this, the person living in the UK with settled status needs to be able to meet the specific financial requirement of a minimum income threshold before their partner can join them in the UK (unless the partner is already living and earning in the UK).

You won’t need to meet this minimum financial requirement if you are in the UK with humanitarian protection or have refugee status.

However, if you do need to meet the financial requirement, you’ll need to prove your gross annual income (before tax) meets the amount necessary, depending on who you’re applying for:

  • £18,600 – This is the minimum threshold you must meet when applying for an unmarried partner to join you in the UK. If you are planning on bringing a partner with no dependent children to the UK, this is the necessary amount you must meet.

Plus, you also need to prove that you have additional funds for every dependent child coming to live with you in the UK if this child is not British, a European national, or possessing settled status:

  • £3,800 – This is the additional amount you need to prove that you have for the first dependent child coming to settle in the UK with you.
  • £2,400 – This is the amount necessary for every additional dependent child after the first.

How To Meet The Visa Financial Requirements?

You can meet the Unmarried Partner visa financial income requirement through both salaried and non-salaried income in a variety of different ways. You can reach the threshold using income from a combination of different sources, such as:

  • Cash savings – It’s possible to count personal cash savings of £16,000 or higher towards the minimum income threshold for the foreign national unmarried partners visa. If your income fails to meet the £18,600 minimum financial requirement, then you can instead use your savings. Your savings not only have to be at least £16,000 at least but also have to include an additional £2.50 for every £1 that your income is below the minimum given threshold. You need to have had these savings for at least six months, and it is possible to use the savings of the non-EEA applicant towards this amount.
  • Property rental income – Non-work income is also viable, such as if you own properties and have a regular source of income via rental of these properties. While you can’t use the sale value of any property towards meeting the financial requirement, earnings made through rent can be considered viable income.
  • Employed or self-employed income – Any income you make from employed or self-employed work can be used towards your income requirement – as long as you currently have settled status in the UK and are earning the money in the country. You can use your income before National Insurance and tax. You can also use self-employed income, such as if you are a director of a UK-based company. It’s worth noting that you need to have been earning the given wage for at least six months or longer.
  • Trust funds – If you are in the possession of a trust fund, then you can use this amount in order to help reach the minimum financial requirement for the unmarried partner UK visa. This counts as a non-salaried income but is viable to be counted towards your annual gross income when applying for the visa.
  • Maternity, paternity, adoptions, or sick pay – If you have had your annual earnings altered out of necessity, such as going on maternity or paternity leave, taking sick pay, or anything else, then you will be able to use these payments towards meeting the minimum financial requirement for the unmarried partner visa.
  • Pension – If the settled person in the UK is currently on their pension, then this income can be counted towards the financial requirement for the unmarried visa UK instead. This counts as non-employment earnings and is most often counted instead of employed or self-employed income.

How Long Does The Unmarried Visa Last For?

As is often the case, an unmarried partner of a UK citizen might reach their visa expiration date but wish to remain in the UK with their long-term partner. Fortunately, it’s possible to apply for a further extension of an additional 30 months while in the UK, on top of the initial 30 or 33 months of the visa’s validity.

Before your initial grant of leave expires, you can apply to UKVI (UK visas and immigration) to extend your stay. You’ll need to meet all the same maintenance and financial requirements as before, and you must still be living with the settled partners you came to the UK to live with.

For a lot of couples, the unmarried partner visa is the first step in the immigration route towards Indefinite Leave to Remain and permanently settling in the UK together. With an extension of 30 months on top of the initial 30 or 33 months granted, you will eventually reach the five-year mark, after which you will be eligible to apply for (Indefinite Leave to Remain).

Can The Unmarried Partner Visa UK Be Extended?

The duration that the unmarried UK partner visa is valid depends on where you are applying from. For instance, if applying from overseas, the visa will be issued for a period of 33 months. However, if you are making the application from within the UK itself, then the visa will be issued for a period of 30 months instead.

For a lot of people coming to the UK with the intention of remaining and living with their British national long-term partner, the unmarried visa is the first step in an immigration route that often results in the non-EEA foreign national applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, successfully applying for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) requires that non-European nationals stay within the UK as the unmarried partner of a UK citizen for at least five years. The 30 or 33 months of the initial visa’s validity do not cover this. However, a visa extension of an additional 30 months before reaching the visa expiration date can take you to the five-year mark.

How Do I Apply For An Unmarried Partner Visa?

When you’re putting together an application for the unmarried partner visa, you’ll need to fill in an online form through the Home Office application website. Here, you’ll also be able to submit your various supporting documents at the same time.

To complete the Unmarried Partner visa application process, you will also need to attend a physical appointment at which your biometric information will be taken, such as fingerprints and a photo. If your non-EEA national partner is applying from outside the UK, you can expect a decision within around 12 weeks – this is reduced to around 8 weeks for applications made within the UK.

If your application for the unmarried UK partner visa is approved, you’ll be granted a visa with permission to visit and stay in the UK for two and a half years. You can then apply to extend this period or have your status changed to a different visa category.

Once your partner has spent five years or longer in the UK, they’ll be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This will likely also require passing an English language test and a test about their understanding of UK tradition, customs, culture and law.

How Long Is The Visa Processing Time?

UKVI (UK visas and immigration) boasts the impressive claim of processing around 95% of all UK unmarried partner visa applications within 12 weeks of them being submitted. As such, you can generally expect for your own application to be processed and to receive a decision in that kind of timeframe.

If, however, you are in need of having your Unmarried Partner visa be processed in less time, then you might need to use a settlement priority visa service. Most visa application centres outside the UK offer this service, which ensures that your visa application will go straight to the front of the queue along every stage of the visa processing and decision-making. Generally speaking, visa applicants using the settlement priority visa service can expect their application to be processed within 30 working days.

If you are applying from within the UK and you would like to either change your immigration status by switching to the unmarried partner visa or you would like to extend your stay under the visa, then there are a couple of potential avenues for you to take. Applying via the standard service will often result in a decision within 8 weeks. However, making use of the UK’s super priority service often means that you’ll receive a decision within a day of submitting your biometric information for the visa.

How Much Does The Unmarried Partner Visa Cost?

The Home Office application fee for the unmarried partner visa depends on how you apply and where you apply from. For example, the Home Office processing fee for applications made from outside the UK is currently £1,538, while the Home Office application fee for unmarried visa applications made within the UK is currently £1,048 – this applies for applications made to switch into the unmarried partner category of visa, as well as to apply for an extension to an existing visa ahead of the expiration date.

The fee to add dependents to your application is the same as the visa fee to apply in the first place. So, for example, applying from outside the UK to bring a dependent with you is an additional £1,538, and to apply from within the UK to bring a dependent with you is an additional £1,048.

Can I Bring Dependents With Me On An Unmarried Partner Visa?

Yes, anyone applying for the UK unmarried partner visa can also apply to bring dependents with them when they travel.

However, there are a few things that you need to be aware of when it comes to the fees and the financial requirements for bringing dependents with you.

If you have any children under the age of 18, you can apply for them to enter the UK with you as your dependents.

This application for your dependents should always be made at the same time as you make your initial application for your own unmarried UK partner visa.

Unmarried partner visa refusal and appeals

You may have the right to appeal the decision not to grant you an Unmarried Partner Visa. However, going through the Unmarried Partner Visa appeals process can be complex and confusing.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to appeal an Unmarried Partner Visa refusal:

  1. Identify the time limit for submitting your request for an appeal or review (14 days if you applied in the UK, or 28 days if you applied outside the UK)
  2. Apply for an appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal within the specific deadline
  3. Work with an immigration solicitor to prepare your case, any relevant supporting documents, and the reason(s) why your application should be accepted
  4. Attend the hearing
  5. Await the decision
  6. If you receive an unsuccessful decision at this point, you may be eligible to apply to the Upper Tribunal (within 14 days)

The best way to avoid the Unmarried Partner Visa appeals process is to submit the strongest possible application the first time.

Give yourself the best chance of a successful application by working with a firm of experienced immigration solicitors.

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Frequently Asked Questions