Unmarried Partner Visa
The unmarried partner visa Is for those that, under Appendix FM of the UK Immigration Rules, is a person who has been living with the applicant in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership for a minimum of two years prior to the date of application; and intend to continue living together. The relationship must be genuine and subsisting, which means it must be strong. The Rules allow for a person who is not married nor in a civil partnership to join a partner who is settled in the UK, provided certain conditions are met.
Conditions include that you are in a genuine and subsisting relationship, you are able to take care of yourself financially in the Uk, you and your partner have adequate accommodation in the UK and you must meet the English language requirements. For such an application you need to demonstrate all the requirements with strong evidence in order for a strong application to be submitted.
The UK Unmarried Partner Visa can potentially result in a permanent stay, or "indefinite leave to remain," in the UK following a duration of 5 years.
To qualify for the Unmarried Partner Visa under the family visa category, you must successfully demonstrate that you meet all the prerequisites established by the Home Office and UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration). Fulfilling these eligibility conditions encompasses adhering to the following specified criteria:
You are required to substantiate that any previous relationships have been concluded. This pertains to any prior romantic involvement of either the non-EEA applicant or the UK sponsor, including marriages or unmarried partnerships. The Home Office does not permit Unmarried Partner Visas to individuals still engaged in past marital or other romantic relationships.
Both the sponsor and the applicant must be at least 18 years old when applying for the Unmarried Partner Visa. The UK sponsor should exhibit their full British citizenship, Indefinite Leave to Remain, or humanitarian protection status in the UK. Partners of individuals subject to UK immigration limitations cannot be granted Unmarried Partner Visas.
It's crucial to prove that you've not only met in person and been in a relationship for the last two years, but that you've also cohabited for at least two years at the time of application. This requirement serves to affirm your genuine and ongoing relationship akin to marriage or a civil partnership. Documentary evidence of this cohabitation is essential for all Unmarried Partner Visa applicants.
You are required to provide substantial evidence that your relationship is authentic and that both the non-EEA applicant and the UK sponsor plan to reside in the UK indefinitely.
You must ensure that there is suitable accommodation available for the couple and any dependents. It is important to demonstrate to the Home Office and UKVI that the UK sponsor, the non-EEA applicant, and any dependents have appropriate living conditions to maintain a satisfactory quality of life.
The non-EEA applicant must establish their ability to speak and understand English to a specified level as part of the Unmarried Partner Visa application process. This could involve providing evidence of your English language skills or fulfilling requirements set by the Home Office, such as taking an English language test. If you are proficient in another British language, such as Welsh or Scottish Gaelic, you may be exempted from this.
Lastly, you and your partner must be financially independent in the UK, without needing to claim public funds. Therefore, the Unmarried Partner Visa imposes certain financial criteria for gross annual income, which the UK-based individual must prove to meet before visa eligibility. This financial obligation rests on the UK-based settled person and not the non-European nationals coming to the UK.
The Relationship Requirement:
The relationship requirement for the UK Unmarried Partner Visa encompasses several facets, each essential to fulfilling the criteria and demonstrating the authenticity of your partnership.
Firstly, it's required that you and your partner have met each other in person. This stipulation ensures that the relationship is not exclusively virtual or remote, but has had a substantive in-person component, indicating a certain degree of commitment and shared experience.
Secondly, you and your partner must have resided together in a relationship that mirrors a marriage or civil partnership for a minimum period of two years. This requirement serves as a testament to the longevity and continuity of your relationship. Cohabitation over an extended period indicates a significant commitment, as it suggests a shared lifestyle, responsibilities, and potentially finances, much like a married couple or civil partners.
Next, your relationship must be genuine and subsisting. This means that the relationship must not be a sham or a contrivance for the purpose of obtaining a visa. The relationship must be ongoing at the time of the application, indicating a level of emotional and personal investment between the partners.
Furthermore, both you and your partner must have the intention to reside together permanently in the UK. This requirement is aimed at ensuring that the Unmarried Partner Visa is not used for short-term or transient purposes. Both parties should have a shared vision of building a long-term future together on British soil.
Finally, any previous relationship that either you or your partner were involved in must have permanently ended. This requirement guarantees that there are no ongoing romantic commitments that could complicate or hinder your current relationship. It ensures that both partners are free to fully invest in their present relationship, without any residual obligations or emotional entanglements from past relationships.
In-Person Meeting Requirement:
For the UK Unmarried Partner Visa, you and your unmarried partner must establish that you have had an in-person meeting. The emphasis on 'meeting' requires that you demonstrate a tangible face-to-face encounter that led to the creation of a mutual relationship. It's crucial to understand that a mere chance encounter followed by telephonic or written communication does not fulfill the stipulations for the UK Unmarried Partner Visa. This requirement ensures that the partners have a meaningful personal connection, which can only be built upon direct, physical interaction, reinforcing the authenticity of the relationship.
Two-Year Cohabitation Requirement:
To be eligible for the Unmarried Partner Visa, you and your unmarried partner must demonstrate that you have cohabited, in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership, for at least two years before the visa application date.
The Home Office seeks credible documentation verifying that you and your partner have shared the same residential address for a minimum period of two years. These could include joint utility bills, shared rental agreements, bank statements, or any other official documents that carry both your names and the shared address.
It is, therefore, crucial to provide as much evidence as possible to support the authenticity and continuity of your relationship. This could include shared property leases, joint bank account statements, letters or emails to each other, photos together, travel documents that demonstrate shared vacations, or any other documents that demonstrate your shared life and ongoing commitment to each other.
It's important to note that this two-year cohabitation period does not necessarily have to be directly preceding your visa application date. If you are currently not living with your partner, you could still be eligible for the Unmarried Partner Visa, provided that there was a point in your past where you lived together for a minimum of two years. The essential factor is that the Home Office must be convinced that your relationship is genuine and ongoing at the time of your Unmarried Partner Visa application.
There are provisions for applicants who may not meet the two-year cohabitation requirement due to certain exceptional circumstances. If you have lived with your partner for less than two years, you might still qualify to join or accompany your partner, provided your situation is judged to be extraordinary. Speak to one of our lawyers today who can offer guidance on the likelihood of a successful application in such cases, assessing your unique circumstances and advising on the best course of action.
Requirement for a Genuine and Subsisting Relationship:
One of the fundamental prerequisites to qualify for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa is providing convincing evidence to the Home Office that your relationship with your partner is both genuine and subsisting.
To assess the genuineness and subsistence of the relationship, the Home Office considers a wide variety of evidence and personal circumstances. This includes but is not limited to cohabitation history, correspondence between the partners, shared financial responsibilities, shared plans for the future, and social recognition of the relationship.
Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Every relationship is unique and is evaluated on its own merits. Factors such as the length of the relationship, the amount of time spent living together, and the nature of your commitment to each other will be taken into account.
The more robust your evidence, the stronger your case. It is vital that you provide a thorough, well-documented portrayal of your relationship to convince the Home Office of its genuineness and subsistence.
Permanent Residency Intent in the UK:
As a prerequisite for the Unmarried Partner Visa, the UK Visas & Immigration authority needs to be convinced that you and your unmarried partner have a solid intention to establish permanent residency together in the UK.
In the preliminary stage of your Unmarried Partner Visa application, this stipulation necessitates a demonstrable commitment from both parties to start living together permanently in the UK as soon as the visa application is approved or as circumstances allow thereafter.
When you apply for further leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain as an unmarried partner, the Home Office anticipates that any periods spent outside the UK will be limited and justified, indicating an unwavering intent to establish a permanent residence in the UK. Justifiable reasons could encompass time spent abroad for professional commitments, vacations, training programs, or educational pursuits.
If you or your unmarried partner tend to spend a significant portion of your time abroad, it could raise doubts within the Home Office about your intention to establish a permanent residence together in the UK. They will meticulously assess the reasons for your travel, the duration of your absence from the UK, and whether you and your unmarried partner travelled and resided together during the time spent outside the UK. This scrutiny ensures that the intended long-term commitment to living together in the UK aligns with your actual lifestyle and circumstances.
Requirement of Permanent Termination of Prior Relationships:
The Home Office mandates confirmation that any past relationships, involving either you or your partner, have permanently ended. This stipulation aims to ensure the integrity of the new partnership for which the Unmarried Partner Visa is sought.
In situations where you or your partner have been previously married or have been a part of a civil partnership, typically, specified evidence of the termination of such relationships is required. This could include divorce papers, legal separation documents, or a death certificate in the case of a deceased spouse.
Even in circumstances where the previous marriage or civil partnership has not been legally dissolved, you may still qualify for the Unmarried Partner Visa. In such instances, it is necessary to provide evidence substantiating the genuineness and continuation of your new relationship, along with proof that the prior relationship has irreversibly broken down. It's important to note that the Home Office will consider these circumstances meticulously, so compelling evidence must be provided to ensure the credibility of your current relationship and the permanent termination of the previous one.
Financial Prerequisites for UK Unmarried Partner Visa:
To qualify for the Unmarried Partner Visa, you need to meet the financial requirement demonstrating your ability to sustain yourself adequately in the UK without relying on public funds.
The financial stipulation for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa application mandates that, unless you're exempt, you or your partner (or jointly, if you both have valid leave to remain in the UK) must show a gross annual income of at least:
Exceptions apply if your partner is in receipt of certain state benefits or entitlements. In these situations, the financial requirement for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa shifts to the sponsor's ability to 'adequately maintain and accommodate' the family member they're sponsoring to enter or remain in the UK.
It's crucial to meet the financial requirements at each stage of your visa journey - when you first apply to enter the UK as an unmarried partner, when you apply to extend your stay, and when you seek indefinite leave to remain.
The Immigration Rules pertaining to the financial prerequisites for the Unmarried Partner Visa are intricate and demand a mandatory set of documentary evidence. The responsibility lies with the applicants to substantiate their fulfilment of the financial requirement. It's noteworthy that a primary cause of refusal for an Unmarried Partner Visa application is the absence of mandatory financial documentation.
Meeting the Financial Requirement for the UK Unmarried Partner Visa:
The financial requirement for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa can be met through various means. These include:
In certain situations, a combination of the above income sources can be used to fulfill the financial requirement.
As previously stated, if your partner is receiving certain state benefits or entitlements, different conditions apply.
For applicants relying on cash savings to meet the financial requirement, it's important to understand that the amount required for entry clearance and extension applications differs from that required when applying for indefinite leave to remain as an unmarried partner.
English Language Requirement for the UK Unmarried Partner Visa:
As part of your application for the Unmarried Partner Visa, unless you are exempt, you will need to demonstrate your English language proficiency to the Home Office.
For entry clearance or when switching to the Unmarried Partner Visa route, your English language skills must meet at least the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level A1. As you apply for further leave to remain as an unmarried partner, your proficiency should reach at least the CEFR level A2.
There are several ways to satisfy the English language requirement for the Unmarried Partner Visa:
To be exempted from the English language requirement, you generally have to demonstrate one of the following:
If you fail to show that you meet the English language requirement (or are exempt), your Unmarried Partner Visa application will likely be denied.
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