What is the UK Unmarried Partner Visa?
The Unmarried Partner Visa is one of the UK family visas that grant entry clearance to the family member of a British citizen or UK resident. Whilst the Spouse Visa allows married and civil partners of British residents to enter the UK, the Unmarried Partner visa extends these rights to those who are not married or in a civil partnership with a British resident, but who have been in a serious relationship with their partner for at least two years.
The Unmarried Partner visa is valid for up to 2 years and 9 months and can be extended after this duration if you wish to stay in the UK with your partner. To be eligible your partner must either
- Be a British or Irish citizen
- Have settled in the UK – for example, they have indefinite leave to remain (ILR), settled status or proof of permanent residence
- Be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have pre-settled status
- have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
Both opposite and same-sex relationships are covered under the Unmarried Partner Visa.
The genuine and subsisting relationship requirement
To qualify for the Unmarried Partner Visa, you must have been in a serious relationship with your partner for at least 2 years and as part of your Unmarried Partner Visa application you will need to prove this, this is known as the genuine and subsisting relationship requirement.
This requirement has been put in place by the Home Office to avoid sham relationships for the purpose of obtaining a visa, the same requirement also applies to Spouse visas in order to avoid convenience or sham marriages.
If you fail to provide adequate proof that your relationship is genuine and subsisting, then your visa application could be refused. You will also need to prove that you have adequate accommodation in the UK and that you intend to live with your partner upon your arrival in the country.
How can I prove that my relationship is genuine?
The Home Office’s guidance when it comes to exactly what proves that a relationship is genuine and subsisting is vague, this is why it’s important that you provide as much evidence as you possibly can during your Unmarried Partner Visa application. Whilst the guidance is vague, there are some things that can be used to prove your status with your unmarried partner. These include:
- Having previously lived with your partner
- Having a child with your partner
- Having shared financial responsibilities with your partner
- Visits to each other’s countries
- Plans for your future together in the UK, such as plans to live together permanently
The Home Office expects Unmarried Partner Visa applicants to be able to show evidence for some of the above circumstances, but if you cannot prove your relationship this way, there are other ways that you can. Communication is likely to be one of the strongest forms of evidence that you can provide. Messages, emails and video calls can all act as proof to demonstrate regular contact and history with your partner.
Required documents to prove your relationship status
There is no set of specific documents that you must provide in order to meet this requirement, instead, there is a wide variety that you can choose from to act as your supporting evidence. When applying for an unmarried partner visa, you should try to provide as many supporting documents as possible. The documents that you can use as evidence of your relationship include:
- Tenancy agreements and letters from the landlord or letting agent to prove cohabitation
- Children’s birth certificates where both parents are named or letters from a school or GP stating the parents have shared responsibility for children
- Bank statements from joint bank accounts, mortgage or tenancy agreements or utility bills in both names to prove shared financial responsibility
- Flight bookings, statements from close family members and photographs of visits to each other’s countries
- Offer of employment for the applicant plans for any children’s education (school acceptance letter) or proof of intention to live together in the UK
It’s also useful for you and your partner to provide a statement as part of the Unmarried Partner Visa application. Whilst a statement isn’t a required document, it can be useful to support your application and can give you a chance to explain any criteria that you cannot meet, for example, if you have not lived together, perhaps for religious or other reasons, you can explain this in your statement.
What other requirements will I need to meet?
Whilst proving your relationship with your partner is usually the most complex requirement that you will need to meet, there are a number of other requirements that you will need to meet in order for your Unmarried Partner Visa application to be successful, these include financial requirements and an English language requirement.
You will need to prove to the Home office that you have a good knowledge of the English language, to do this you will need to provide evidence such as a pass certificate for an approved English language test.
The financial requirements include proving that you are able to support yourself whilst in the UK without needing to access public funds. You and your partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600 a year. Your income will need to be higher if you have any dependent children. You will need to provide evidence such as bank statements to prove that you can meet this requirement.
How can London Immigration Lawyers help?
The genuine and subsisting relationship requirement makes applying for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa very complex. If you are not in a marriage or civil partnership with your partner, it can be difficult to prove your relationship status. One of the most common reasons for refusal for Unmarried Partner Visa applicants is a failure to meet this requirement, and most often this isn’t due to the relationship not being genuine but is rather due to a lack of adequate evidence.
With vague criteria, it can be difficult to know what you will need, but our UK immigration lawyers have decades of experience when it comes to Unmarried Partner Visa applications and know exactly what it takes for an application to be successful. Our lawyers can be there for you throughout the entire visa application process. They can fill in the application form on your behalf, can inform you of all the documents required and can help you to gather evidence of your genuine relationship. They will ensure that you have a substantial portfolio of supporting documents before your application is submitted. As well as this, our immigration lawyers can write a letter of representation to support your visa application. They will also maintain contact with the Home Office for updates about your application.
To get started on your Unmarried Partner Visa application today, get in touch with our UK immigration solicitors on 020 4502 8582.