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Unmarried Partner Visa

Unmarried Partner Visa in the UK

The Unmarried Partner Visa lets you stay in the UK with your long-term partner. This partner can be a British or Irish citizen or someone with various types of legal status in the UK. The visa even works if your partner is currently abroad but plans to return to the UK with you. After 5 years, this visa could lead to permanent UK residence.

Key Requirements for an Unmarried Partner Visa. To get this visa, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old, as should your partner.
  • Have met your partner in person.
  • Have lived together for at least 2 years.
  • Prove your relationship is real and ongoing.
  • Plan to live together in the UK forever.
  • Show that any past relationships are permanently over.
  • Meet specific financial criteria.
  • Have suitable living arrangements.
  • Speak and understand English well.

Legal advice can vary based on your situation, so speaking to an immigration lawyer might be a good idea.

Partner's Eligibility

Your sponsoring partner must be:

  • A UK citizen, or
  • Have certain types of legal UK status, or
  • Coming to the UK with you.

Age Limit: Both you and your partner must be 18 or older when you apply.

Relationship Criteria

Your relationship must meet several conditions:

  • You’ve met in person.
  • You’ve lived together for 2 years or more.
  • The relationship is real and ongoing.
  • You plan to stay together in the UK permanently.

Document Requirements.

You must show evidence that you’ve been living at the same address for at least 2 years. This doesn’t have to be 2 years right before applying. If you’ve lived together for less, you might still qualify under special conditions. Our London immigration lawyers can advise you.

Proving a Genuine Relationship

You need to show the Home Office that your relationship is real and ongoing. Various factors like the longevity of the relationship, cohabitation, shared financial responsibilities, and visits to each other’s home countries will be considered.

Financial Requirements.

You have to show that you or your partner earns at least:

  • £18,600 per year, plus
  • £3,800 for the first child, plus
  • £2,400 for each additional child.

These amounts could change if your partner is on specific state benefits.

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How to Meet the Financial Requirements?

You can meet this criteria in various ways like employment income, non-employment income, cash savings over £16,000, or pensions.

Section 1: Unmarried Partner Visa Housing Requirements

When you apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa, whether it’s your first time or you’re extending your stay, it’s crucial to show that you have suitable housing available. This accommodation must be solely for you and your unmarried partner, and you shouldn’t rely on public assistance to afford it.

You’re required to show evidence of your exclusive rights to this housing. Whether you own or rent the place, it must be legally yours to occupy. Plus, it must comply with all public health standards and not be overcrowded.

Section 2: English Language Proficiency for Unmarried Partner Visa.

Unless you are exempt, you need to prove your English language skills as part of your Unmarried Partner Visa application.

For first-time applications or switching into the Unmarried Partner Visa category, you must show English competence of at least CEFR level A1. For extensions, you’ll need a minimum of CEFR level A2.

You can meet the English language criteria by:

  • Being a native speaker from an English-majority country.
  • Passing an approved English language test at the necessary CEFR level.
  • Having a UK-recognized Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD degree taught in English.

Exceptions include those over 65 years old, those with a disability that prevents them from taking the test, or other special circumstances.

Section 3: Duration of the Unmarried Partner Visa.

If your application is successful, you’ll get an initial 33-month visa. For extensions, you’ll receive a 30-month permit. Before this runs out, you’ll have to apply to extend your stay.

Section 4: Switching Visa Categories Within the UK.

If you are already in the UK, you can switch to an Unmarried Partner Visa unless you’re a visitor or your existing visa is less than 6 months.

Section 5: Employment Rights.

Holders of an Unmarried Partner Visa are fully entitled to work in the UK.

Section 6: Pathway to Permanent Residence.

After living in the UK for 5 years with an Unmarried Partner Visa, you may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain. Additional criteria will apply.

This information aims to provide you with a thorough understanding of the Unmarried Partner Visa process in the UK. If you fulfill these requirements, you’ll be well on your way to building a life together with your partner in the UK.

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Housing Criteria for Unmarried Partner Visa

If you’re seeking either initial entry or an extension under the Unmarried Partner Visa, it’s essential to show that both you and your partner will have a proper place to live. This housing must be privately funded and exclusively yours.

You’ll also need to furnish details that confirm your legal right to live in that property and ensure it meets public health standards.

Language Proficiency for Unmarried Partner Visa.

Applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency, except in specific cases. For initial entry, the language requirement is at CEFR level A1, while for extension, it is at level A2.

Ways to meet the language requirement include:

  • Having a nationality from an English-speaking country.
  • Passing a recognized English test.
  • Holding an academic degree taught in English.

Certain exceptions can be made if you’re over 65, have a disability, or face other exceptional circumstances.

Duration and Extension of Unmarried Partner Visa.

Initial grants last for 33 months. Extensions last 30 months. After five years in the UK, you can apply for indefinite stay.

Applying from Within the UK

If you’re already in the UK, you can apply for an extension as long as your initial stay was more than six months. Visitors must apply from outside the UK.

Working in the UK

Holders of this visa have full working rights in the UK.

Permanent Stay Eligibility

After five years, you may apply for permanent stay, also known as indefinite leave to remain.

How to Apply for the Visa?

Applications are made online and differ based on whether you’re inside or outside the UK. Always consult with an immigration lawyer to get the appropriate form and documentation.

Applying for British Citizenship

After obtaining indefinite leave to remain, you can apply for British citizenship. The usual path is a five-year route to permanent settlement, with some exceptions.

What If My Application is Denied?

If your application is refused, you generally have a right to appeal, which will be processed by a specialized immigration tribunal in the UK.

Alternatives If You Don't Meet the Requirements.

If you fail to meet the criteria, you might still qualify under human rights provisions, especially if you have a child who is a UK citizen, or if separating from your partner would cause significant hardship.

Please note that this content is meant to be a general guide. For specific advice, consult an immigration lawyer.

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