What is the UK Unmarried Partner Visa?
The Unmarried Partner Visa is part of the UK’s family visa category. This visa allows people who are in a serious relationship with a British citizen or someone who is present and settled in the UK to join them in the country. The Unmarried Partner Visa is open to both same sex and heterosexual couples.
You can stay in the UK for 2 years and 9 months on the Unmarried Partner Visa, it can also be extended if you wish to remain in the UK after this time. After living in the UK for five years with an Unmarried Partner Visa you may also be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, this will allow you to live permanently in the UK.
The genuine and subsisting relationship requirement
The aim of the Unmarried Partner Visa is to provide an opportunity for couples who are in a committed and long-term relationship akin to marriage to remain in the UK together. One of the main requirements that you must meet to be eligible for this visa is to be able to prove that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship with a British citizen or someone who is settled in the UK.
For your relationship to qualify as genuine and subsisting the Home Office states that you must have been with your partner for at least 2 years if they are a British citizen. If your partner is someone who has settled in the UK, such as someone with Indefinite Leave to Remain status, you must have been in a relationship for at least 4 years.
Unfortunately, if you have not been in a relationship with a British citizen or settled person then you cannot qualify for the UK Unmarried Partner Visa.
Evidence to prove your relationship is genuine
The genuine and subsisting requirement can be difficult to meet and the evidence that you provide to prove that you can meet this requirement is one of the most important parts of an Unmarried Partner Visa application.
The Home Office will expect to see evidence that proves how long you have been together, how long you have lived together and other things that would signify genuine relationships such as joint financial responsibilities.
Some of the documentary evidence that you can submit to meet this requirement includes:
- Tenancy agreements
- Joint bank account statements
- Photographs together
- Statements from friends and family
- Utility bills
- Travel itinerates or hotel bookings from any trips you have taken together
- If applicable, proof that any previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended
Do I need to have lived with my partner for 2 years to qualify?
The Home Office states that to qualify for this visa you must “have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership which has subsisted for two years or more”. However, this two year period does not have to be in the time directly preceding your application and does not have to be a continuous period. The cohabitation could have taken place in the UK, overseas or a mixture of both.
You will also need to prove to the Home Office that you are coming to the UK with the intention of remaining with you partner and that you intend to live together whilst in the country. The Home Office also requires you to provide proof that you will have suitable accommodation whilst here and that you have the financial means to live in the UK without requiring access to public funds.
What happens if I can’t meet the Unmarried Partner Visa requirements?
If you are unable to satisfy the Home Office’s requirements for an Unmarried Partner Visa, you may still be eligible to join your partner in the UK under human rights grounds.
Article 8 of the UK Immigration Rules state that you may be granted leave to remain in the UK for the purpose of protecting your right to family life. This could be applicable to you if you are in a genuine relationship with someone who is settled in the UK and there would be significant difficulties to family life continuing outside the UK.
You could also be eligible for entry clearance under a different UK visa. There are many different types of UK visas available to students, family members of British nationals or settled persons, business persons or investors and those with job offers in the UK. Our lawyers can help you to find an immigration route that works for you.
What are the other requirements for an Unmarried Partner Visa?
As well as being in a genuine relationship with a British citizen or settled person for at least two years, there are several other requirements that you must meet to be eligible for the UK Unmarried Partner Visa. The requirements include:
- Both unmarried partners being over the age of 18
- Demonstrating a knowledge of the English language, you may need to take an English language test
- Proving that you can meet the financial requirements, you will need an annual income of at least £18,600 if you have a right to work in the UK your income may be counted towards this sum, you can also use cash savings to meet this requirement
- Proving that you have suitable and adequate accommodation for living together in the UK
- Demonstrate that any previous relationships have ended
You’ll need to continue to be able to meet these requirements if you apply to extend your Unmarried Partner Visa at a later date.
How can IAS help?
Applying for an Unmarried Partner Visa is a complex and lengthy process. This type of visa has strict requirements that can be some of the most difficult to meet. Our immigration lawyers are highly knowledgeable of the UK immigration rules and will make sure that your Unmarried Partner Visa application has the highest chance of success.
If you choose to hire one of our lawyers to assist you with your UK Unmarried Partner Visa application you will be assigned a caseworker who will be there for you every step of the way. Your lawyer will assess your eligibility for the Unmarried Partner Visa, help you to fill in the application form, assist you with gathering all the supporting documents to prove your relationship and will be there to answer any questions that you may have about the application process.
For more information about how our immigration lawyers can help you, get in touch today on 020 4502 8582.
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