UK Visa Options for Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend 

by | Jan 25, 2024 | Partner & Family Visa, UK Immigration

In this post, we discuss the various immigration options available for your partner, including a girlfriend or boyfriend, to join you in the UK. Understanding the different immigration options is important so that you apply for the correct category. The options vary based on your relationship, circumstances, and whether you intend to settle together for the foreseeable future or simply visit the UK for a short while. 

The general requirements for settlement as a fiancè, spouse or unmarried partner visa encompasses the following: 

  • Your partner is British or Irish, is settled in the UK or holds pre-settled status
  • Both you and your partner are above the age of 18
  • You and your partner are not within a prohibited degree of relationship
  • You and your partner have met in person
  • Your relationship is genuine and ongoing
  • Both you and your partner have the intention to permanently live together in the UK
  • Any previous relationships have permanently broken down
  • You meet the current minimum income requirement, which is £18,600 per annum, but it may increase in April 2024 to £29,000 per annum
  • Adequate accommodation is available for you and any dependents
  • You possess the required level of proficiency in English.

The specific requirements will depend on your circumstances. Now we discuss the different settlement routes available. 

Fiance Visa or Proposed Civil Partner Visa 

The Fiance or Proposed Civil Partner Visa is designed for individuals planning to marry or enter a civil partnership within six months of arriving in the UK. It is crucial to demonstrate the intention to marry or enter into a civil partnership within the stipulated six-month period. Providing concrete evidence of the upcoming plans, such as arrangements for the marriage or civil partnership, is advisable. It’s important to note that this visa category cannot be applied for from within the UK.

Working or studying is not permitted during your engagement under the Fiance route. Upon marriage or entering into a civil partnership, applicants must apply for permission to extend their stay in the UK. Upon approval of the application, you will then be granted the right to work or study in the UK for 2 years and 6 months. After that permission to remain in the UK can be extended for another period of 30 months, and after 60 months of residence in the UK, applicants will qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. It’s essential to be aware that the time spent under the fiancé category does not contribute towards the settlement process in the UK. 

Spouse or Civil Partner Visa 

For partners who are already married or in a civil partnership, they can apply for a Spouse Visa. 

For marriages, validity is determined by a legal marriage certificate recognized under the laws of England and Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland. A comparable document is required for marriages conducted outside the UK, with the stipulation that the ceremony must be legally valid in the country where it took place. 

In the UK, a civil partnership is a legally recognized union between two people. A civil partnership certificate is necessary to prove its occurrence. If an overseas legal relationship is listed in the Civil Partnership Act 2004, it will be treated as a civil partnership in the UK. 

Initially granted for 2 years and 9 months, it can be extended for an additional 2 years and 6 months, leading to indefinite leave to remain after five years.

Unmarried Partner Visa

Individuals who are not married or in a civil partnership but have been in a relationship similar to marriage, cohabiting for at least two years before applying, may be eligible to apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa. Importantly, the two-year period doesn’t need to be continuous immediately before the application.

To meet the two-year cohabitation requirement, evidence demonstrating shared residence, such as joint tenancy agreements and official correspondence, should be provided. Alternative forms of evidence illustrating the shared living arrangement are also acceptable. Understanding these criteria is crucial for a successful Unmarried Partner Visa application.

Initially, the visa is issued for 2 years and 9 months. It is eligible for an extension for an additional 2 years and 6 months, ultimately paving the way for the possibility of obtaining indefinite leave to remain after a cumulative five-year period.

Dependant Visa

If you have a limited-to-remain visa, such as a Skilled Worker Visa, you can bring your partner to live with you in the UK on a dependant visa. To qualify, you must be married, in a civil partnership or if unmarried, have lived together for at least 2 years. Your dependent must have enough money to support themselves whilst you plan to live together.  

The dependant visa is usually granted at the same time as your visa and can be extended. After living in the UK continuously for five years, your partner can apply for indefinite leave to remain, allowing them to settle permanently in the country. 

Short Visit 

If your girlfriend or boyfriend plans to visit you in the UK for a short stay of up to 6 months, they can apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. It’s essential to verify if they require a visitor visa, as there are certain exemptions to this requirement. To qualify for a Standard Visitor Visa, your partner should be able to demonstrate that: they intend to visit you in the UK (it is advisable to provide a UK visa invitation letter for them), they will depart the UK after their visit, they possess ample funds to sustain themselves without relying on public funds, and they have the financial means to cover their return or onward journey from the UK.

Marriage Visitor Visa 

For those specifically seeking to marry in the UK without planning to settle here, a Marriage Visitor Visa is necessary. To qualify for a Marriage Visitor Visa, you must be 18 or older, intend to marry or enter a civil partnership in the UK within six months of arrival, and prove your genuine relationship. Your visit must be under six months, and you must plan to leave the UK afterwards. You should not aim to reside in the UK long-term, must financially support yourself, demonstrate funding for expenses, and provide evidence of planned activities as per Visitor Rules.

How we can help?

To discuss your partner’s immigration application with an experienced adviser, please contact our friendly and professional team on +44208 757 5751 or use our contact form

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