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Unmarried Partner vs Spouse Visa

Want to apply for the Unmarried Partner or Spouse Visa in the UK? This visa allows you to reunite with your partner in the UK.

For more information about the Unmarried Partner Visa or Spouse Visa eligibility criteria, the application process, and personalised advice for your immigration needs, contact our knowledgeable legal advisers now. Call London Immigration Lawyers on 020 4502 8582 or reach out to us online.

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    Overview of UK Spouse and Unmarried Partner Visa

    The United Kingdom offers two pathways for a foreigner to join their UK-based partner who is living in the UK with settled status.

    For those who are not legally married but are in a committed relationship, the Unmarried Partner Visa route is suitable, whereas the Spouse Visa is intended for those who are already wed.

    Both pathways have the same goal of allowing couples to live together in the UK and they do have a similar application process although the required documentation may vary slightly.

    However, it is important to note that the two visas are valid for different time periods. The Unmarried Partner Visa, fiance or civil partnership is typically granted for an initial period of 33 months, while the Spouse Visa is initially granted for 30 months.

    If you are unsure which visa is most suitable for your circumstances then reach out to London Immigration Lawyers for support in ensuring you are applying for the correct immigration route.

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    Eligibility for the Unmarried Partner Visa and Spouse Visa

    To qualify for the Unmarried Partner Visa, also referred to as the De Facto Visa, you need to have lived with your partner for at least two years before applying and you must be able to evidence you are in a committed relationship with plans to continue living together.

    This evidence can include paperwork such as shared bills, co-tenancy agreement, photographs and personal correspondence – which demonstrate a genuine relationship.

    In contrast, the UK Spouse Visa does not have a minimum cohabitation criteria. However, couples must be legally married and have a legal document to demonstrate this status.

    Both visas recognise same-sex relationships, civil partnerships and marriage.

    Financial Requirements for Unmarried Partner Visa and Spouse Visa

    The financial requirements for the Unmarried Partner Visa are generally the same as those for the Spouse Visa and all applicants must be able to demonstrate they can meet the minimum income requirements.

    For a successful visa application, the sponsoring partner must have a minimum annual income of at least £18,600. If a partner’s dependents are also coming to the UK, then the income requirement increases by £3,800 for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child.

    If an applicant is unable to show they meet the income criteria, then UK immigration services will also consider other forms of financial income. For instance, rental income or third-part support from family members.

    Alternatively, sponsors can also use cash savings to make up the difference between the required income. However, total savings must amount to £16,000 or more, plus 2.5 times the income requirement shortfall.

    Satisfying the financial criteria can be one of the most difficult parts of applying for a visa. Therefore, if you are unsure if you have sufficient documentation then reach out to our immigration lawyers for the latest requirements and guidance before applying for your visa.

    Applying for a Spouse Visa or Unmarried Partner Visa

    The process of obtaining a Spouse or Unmarried Partner Visa is a crucial step in reuniting with your family member or loved one in the UK.

    To apply you must ensure you have included all documents and evidence. You will be asked to provide the following when applying:

    • Passports and photographs
    • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
    • Proof of relationship
    • Financial documents
    • Taking and passing an approved English language test to at least CEFR level A1
    • Have evidence of suitable accommodation in the UK and proof you will be living in this location
    • If applicable, evidence that any previous marriages have been dissolved

    If you fail to provide the correct paperwork then your application could be delayed or rejected. It is also important to ensure that all documents are in English or Welsh or are translated certified copies.

    After submitting your online application, the foreign partner/spouse will need to visit a biometrics centre to have their fingerprints and photographs taken.

    In some cases, applicants may be asked to attend an interview at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) center. The interview is typically a part of the application process to verify the authenticity of your relationship.

    Attending an interview can be a daunting experience but you should answer all questions honestly and concisely. If you are unsure what questions you may be asked then reach out to London Immigration Lawyers for advice on how to prepare for your interview.

    Cost of Applying for An Unmarried Partner or Spouse Visa

    The standard visa application fee for the Spouse and Unmarried Partner Visa is £1,523 if you are applying from outside the UK. If you are applying to extend or switch to this visa from within the UK, the fee is £1,033.

    In the majority of cases you will apply online and you must pay the fees when submitting the form to the Home Office.

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    For up-to-date guidance in applying for your unmarried partner visa, speak with us today. Contact us

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      Processing Times for A Unmarried Partner or Spouse Visa

      The processing times for the Unmarried Partner and Spouse Visas can vary based on several factors, including your location, the time of year, and the complexity of your application.

      On average, it typically took about 8 to 12 weeks for a decision to be made on Unmarried Partner Visa and Spouse Visa applications.

      If you need a quicker decision, you may be able to opt for priority or premium processing services, which come at an additional cost. The options available depend on whether you have applied from within the UK or overseas.

      The Priority Visa Service is now available for applications submitted outside the UK and applicants can expect to receive a decision within 30 working days.

      If you wish to receive a decision on an application made from within the UK within one business day then there is the option of the Premium Service costing £800 per application.

      Can An Unmarried Partner Visa or Spouse Visa Be Refused?

      It is possible for the Home Office to reject applications for Unmarried Partner or Spouse Visas and there are a number of reasons why this may happen.

      The most common reason for the rejection of an Unmarried Partner Visa application is the lack of compelling evidence to prove the authenticity and long-term nature of the relationship, whereas Spouse Visa applications may be rejected if the Home Office doubts the authenticity of the marriage.

      Another common reason for visa refusal is not meeting the financial requirements or not proving that the applicant will not be forced to rely on public funds during their time in the UK.

      If a visa application is rejected, the applicant may have the right to appeal the decision through the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) within a specified time frame. During the appeal process, additional evidence can be presented to address the reasons for refusal.

      In some cases, where there is no right of appeal, applicants may seek a judicial review of the decision in the Upper Tribunal.

      Applicants need to understand the specific grounds for rejection and the appeal procedures for each visa type in the UK. Seeking professional guidance from our legal experts can be invaluable during the appeals process, as it increases the likelihood of presenting a compelling case and addressing the reasons for refusal effectively.

      How to Renew An Unmarried Partner Visa

      You can extend your Unmarried Partner Visa to continue living in the UK with your partner. In order to do so, you must apply before the current visa expiry date and you must still be in a genuine and subsisting relationship, meet the financial requirement, and prove you have been living together in the UK.

      To extend, you will need to complete the online application form and pay the processing fee. If approved, an extension will be granted for 2 years and 6 months.

      Another option is to apply for a Spouse Visa, which is an option if you and your partner fulfill visa criteria.

      Indefinite Leave to Remain As An Unmarried Partner

      If you have been in the UK on an Unmarried Partner Visa for a continuous period of five years, you may become eligible to apply for settled status and Indefinite Leave to Remain Status.

      You must submit an application to change your status and you will need to ensure you meet the requirements for permanent residence in the UK, as well as pay the associated application fees.

      Reach out to London Immigration Lawyers to find out more about switching from an Unmarried Partner Visa to Permanent Residency.

      Call us for further assistance with your Spouse Visa application. Contact us

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        Spouse Visa And Indefinite Leave to Remain Status

        If you’ve been living in the UK on a Spouse Visa and wish to settle permanently, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status.

        To apply for ILR, you must have settled in the UK on a valid Spouse Visa for a specific continuous period, usually five years.

        You will need to apply for ILR and demonstrate that you meet all the criteria for settled status in the UK. There are also additional conditions for ILR applications such as a higher level of English Language competency and evidence of passing the Life in the UK test.

        The main advantage of gaining ILR status is that it is a pathway to British citizenship and eventually a British passport.

        How Can London Immigration Lawyers Help?

        London Immigration Lawyers are experts in UK immigration law. We have in depth knowledge of the visa application process and can guide you throughout the process
        We offer personalised assistance, taking into account your unique circumstances. We will analyse your case, identify any potential challenges, and provide tailored solutions.

        Our expert immigration lawyers will provide professional legal advice, help you gather, and organise all the supporting documents, ensuring your application is complete and well-presented, reducing the risk of possible delay or refusal.

        If an interview or appeal becomes necessary, London Immigration Lawyers will represent you professionally, presenting your case persuasively to immigration authorities.

        Our legal team stays up-to-date with any changes in the UK immigration rules and regulations, ensuring your application adheres to the latest requirements.

        For more information about how London Immigration Lawyers can help you in increasing your chances of a successful outcome, contact us at our London office on 020 4502 8582. We are also available online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Yes, marrying your partner while on a Partner Visa makes you eligible to switch to a Spouse Visa within the UK.

                  Yes, if you marry your partner while on a Partner Visa, you can switch to a Spouse Visa without leaving the UK. However, your Unmarried Partner Visa is not automatically changed to a Spouse Visa when you get married and you must apply for a change in your immigration status.

                  No, you need to complete 5 years of continuous residence in the UK before you can apply for ILR based on a Spouse Visa.