The Unmarried Partner Visa is for an applicant whose partner is a British Citizen or settled person (for example, someone with Indefinite Leave to Remain). Under UK Immigration Law, an unmarried partner may become eligible to apply for a visa based on family life once the couple has lived together for at least 2 years, in a relationship "similar to marriage or a civil partnership". The relationship can be on a opposite-sex or a same-sex basis.
The central concern of a Unmarred Partner Visa application revolves around the need to demonstrate as part of the application that the relationship is indeed genuine, is similar to marriage or a civil partnership, and has subsisted for at least 2 years. While a marriage certificate may be all that's needed in the case of a Spouse Visa, much more evidence is needed to apply as a unmarried partner. Such evidence can include history of cohabitation (rent agreement, utility bill, electoral roll information showing both names etc.), communication between the partners such as regular texts, photos and more. In general, the more evidence the stronger the application will be. Sometimes the applicant might be thinking of getting married first and applying for the Spouse Visa, instead of applying for the Unmarried Partner Visa. This is possible, but attention must be paid if the marriage is to take place in the UK. Example:
Alex, a British Citizen, and Natalya, a Ukrainian Citizen, have been living together for 2 years overseas and now wish to come to the UK. They are not married. They have 3 options. 1. To get married in the UK, Natalya would need to apply for a Fiance Visa. She cannot apply for the Standard Visitor Visa, which does not allow for marriage as a permitted activity. She also cannot apply for the Visitor Visa for marriage purposes, as she intends to remain in the UK long-term. However, the Fiance Visa only lasts for 6 months, after which she will need to make another application for the Spouse Visa. Therefore, she will make 2 applications and incur 2 sets of £1,000+ fees.
2. Alex and Natalya can get married overseas, for example in Ukraine. Natalya can then apply for the Spouse Visa. 3. Natalya can apply for the Unmarried Partner Visa, before she and Alex get married. Besides the need to demonstrate the genuineness of the relationship, immigration laws applying to the Unmarried Partner Visa are generally equivalent to those applying to the Spouse Visa. However, if you are the partner of a UK visa migrant or a someone living in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme, then you should look to Dependent Visa or the EU Family Visa instead, as the rules will be different in those cases.
Requirements for the Unmarried Partner Visa
One of the partners should be British, or be settled in the UK (for example holding Indefinite Leave to Remain).
Both partners are over the age of 18.
The relationship must be genuine, and you intend to live together permanently once in the UK.
The couple must have been living together for at least 2 years, in a relationship similar to marriage or a civil partnership.
The financial requirement and the accommodation requirement are met.
English language requirement is met.
A valid application has been filed on the correct form, and the correct application fee has been paid.
The applicant meets general UK family visa requirements, such as having an adequate criminal record.
The British Citizen or settled person must be able to demonstrate that they meet the minimum income requirement. Many types of income can contribute towards meeting the minimum threshold, including employment income, self-employment income, investment income, savings, and others.
The annual threshold to be met is £18,600. If savings is used, then it will be calculated according to the following formula:
(Total amount of savings-16,000)/2.5
Alex receives an annual salary of £16,000 from his employment. He can also demonstrate savings totalling £23,500, to which we will apply the formula: (23500-16000)/2.5=£3000. Thus, Alex can demonstrate in total £19,000 (£16,000 + £3000) for the purposes of the Civil Partnership Visa. This is above the minimum amount of £18,600. The financial requirement is satisfied.
There are special rules which apply in the case of starting a new employment.
A limited range of UK state benefits, such as disability living allowance, can be relied on to meet the Income requirement. However, other state benefits, such as Universal Credit, cannot.
Specific evidence must be produced as part of the application in order to satisfy the financial requirement. The document requirements are very specific. For example, bank statements must cover a set period of months, they must be issued showing certain information, such as the bank’s mark, and so on.
Exception to the financial requirement can only be made if it can be shown that rejection of the application as a result of financial requirement will lead to “unjustifiably harsh” consequences for the family life of the couple.
After the application is submitted, the applicant will be required to attend a visa application centre to provide photograph and fingerprints. Once this is completed, a decision will be made within the following time-frames:
An application made outside the UK will usually be decided within 12 weeks. A priority service maybe be available, depending on the country the visa application centre is located in.
An application made inside the UK will usually be decided within 8 weeks. With the “priority service”, which costs £500 in addition to the application fee, a decision will be made within 5 working days of the visa centre appointment. With the “super priority service”, which costs £800 in addition to the application fee, a decision will be made by the end of the next working day after the visa centre appointment.
The fees for an application made outside the UK are: £1523 per applicant + Immigration Health Surcharge+ application centre fees. The fees for an application made inside the UK are: £1033 per applicant + Immigration Health Surcharge + application centre fees.
If applying outside the UK, The Unmarried Partner Visa will be granted for 2 years and 9 months. While inside the UK, it is possible to apply for extension of the Unmarried Partner Visa for a period of 2 years and 6 months. After a period of 5 years living in the UK, the applicant may become eligible to apply for Settlement.
While in the UK on the Unmarried Partner Visa, you will be allowed to work. However, you cannot access UK state benefits such as Universal Credit.
How we can help
At PaperPlane Visas, we represent a wide range of UK family visa applications. We can help you whatever your individual circumstances. Our adviser always aims to answer all your questions, and to eliminate any worry or stress you might have. You will get advice that is:
explained in plain language
patient and empathetic
expert and professional