Defining ‘Relationship Akin to Marriage’ For Unmarried Partner Visa 

by | Jul 18, 2023 | Partner & Family Visa, UK Immigration, Unmarried Partner Visa

The UK unmarried partner visa, also known as the partner visa or de facto visa, is a category of partner visa that allows unmarried partners of British citizens or settled persons to live and work in the UK. It is designed for couples who are in a genuine and subsisting relationship akin to marriage but are not legally married or in a civil partnership. This post aims to provide an overview of the UK unmarried partner visa application and prove a relationship akin to marriage.

Understanding the Unmarried Partner Visa

The unmarried partner visa grants the holder the right to live, work, and study in the UK for a specified period. The visa is initially granted for 30 or 33 months and can be extended for an additional 30 months. After a total of five years on this visa, the applicant may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), also known as settlement or permanent residence.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an unmarried partner visa, applicants must meet certain criteria. These include:

  • Both partners must be 18 years or older
  • The applicant must be in a genuine and subsisting relationship akin to marriage with a British citizen or settled person
  • The couple must have been living together in a relationship for at least two years before the date of application
  • The applicant must intend to live with their partner in the UK
  • The sponsoring partner must meet the minimum income requirement or have sufficient savings to support themselves and their partner without recourse to public funds.

Proving a Relationship Akin to Marriage

According to the Immigration Rules, a partner is defined as someone who has been in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership with the applicant for a minimum of two years prior to the application date. Evidence should be provided to show that the couple has lived together at the same address for the required two-year period. However, it is not necessary for cohabitation to be continuous up until the application date. If there was a period of living apart, as long as the relationship has remained intact, the requirement can still be met. 

When applying for an unmarried partner visa, it is crucial to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the relationship is genuine and akin to marriage. The following requirements must be met:

Living Together Requirement

Applicants must provide proof that they have been living together with their partner for at least two years. This can include joint tenancy agreements, utility bills, and official correspondence addressed to both partners at the same address.

Financial Requirement

The sponsoring partner must meet a minimum income threshold set by the UK government. If the income threshold is not met, alternative sources of income or savings can be considered. The purpose of the financial requirement is to ensure that the couple can support themselves without relying on public funds.

Genuine Relationship Requirement

Evidence must be provided to demonstrate that the relationship is genuine and subsisting. This can include photographs, travel itineraries, joint bank accounts, and communication records. The Home Office will assess the evidence to determine the authenticity of the relationship.

Supporting Documentation

To demonstrate your cohabitation for the unmarried partner visa, you are required to provide a minimum of six pieces of correspondence. These should be addressed jointly to both you and your partner, or in the names of both of you. It is important that the dates of these correspondence items are evenly spread over the entire two-year period. Additionally, they should come from at least three different sources.

If you lack sufficient items of correspondence in joint names, you have the option to submit items addressed individually to each partner, as long as they show the same address for both of you. For instance, you could provide four items of correspondence in joint names, all sent to the same address, and two items addressed to each partner at that address. In total, you would need to submit eight items in this case.

However, if you and your partner do not possess any bills or correspondence in joint names, you will need to submit a total of twelve items (six each) of correspondence that serve as evidence of your shared residence at the same address.

To support the unmarried partner visa application, various documents should be submitted as evidence. These may include:

Proof of Cohabitation

  • Joint tenancy agreements or mortgage documents
  • Utility bills addressed to both partners
  • Correspondence from official sources

Financial Documents

  • Pay slips, employment contracts, or self-employment records
  • Bank statements showing regular income and savings
  • P60 forms and tax returns

Evidence of a Genuine Relationship

  • Photographs of the couple together
  • Travel itineraries and boarding passes
  • Letters or cards addressed to both partners
  • Communication records (emails, text messages, etc.)

Collecting thorough evidence is important, and the type of documentation needed will depend on your and your partner’s situation. Make sure to include a variety of documents that clearly show the genuine and ongoing nature of your relationship.

How we can help

For expert advice on your partner visa application, contact our team on +442087575751 or use our contact form

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we apply for an unmarried partner visa if we have been living together for less than two years?

The UK unmarried partner visa requires a minimum of two years of cohabitation.

Can same-sex couples apply for an unmarried partner visa?

Yes, the unmarried partner visa is available to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Can I work in the UK on an unmarried partner visa? 

The unmarried partner visa allows you to work and study in the UK.

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