Understanding British Immigration Rules for Partners

by | Jun 16, 2023 | Fiancé Visa, Partner & Family Visa, Spouse Visa, UK Immigration, Unmarried Partner Visa

In the United Kingdom, the immigration rules for partners of British citizens or settled individuals are designed to facilitate their entry or stay in the country. There are mainly three types of partnerships recognized under the British Immigration Rules: marriage/civil partnership, two years’ cohabitation (unmarried partners), and fiancé(e)/proposed civil partnership. This blog post provides essential information about these partnership categories and outlines the eligibility criteria and requirements for applicants.

Marriage/Civil Partnership

Partners who are married or in a civil partnership (recognised under UK law) with a British citizen or a settled individual can apply to come to or stay in the UK. There is no prior cohabitation requirement for this category.

Two Years’ Cohabitation (Unmarried Partners)

If you are not married or in a civil union, you can apply as an unmarried partner if you can demonstrate at least two years of prior cohabitation before the date of application. It is crucial to note that the requirement is not merely being in a relationship for two years; evidence of actual cohabitation is mandatory. Seek legal advice if you do not meet this requirement to explore your options.

Fiancé(e)/Proposed Civil Partnership

For those intending to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK and subsequently reside in the country, a fiancé(e)/proposed civil partnership visa is required. This visa allows the individual to enter the UK for the purpose of getting married or entering into a civil partnership within six months. After the marriage or civil partnership ceremony, they can apply for the right to stay as a spouse or civil partner.

Applying for Partners’ Visas

The Immigration Rules have separate requirements for entry clearance applications (visa applications from abroad) and applications for leave to remain (applications from within the UK). Although the rules are similar, they may not be identical.

To discuss your UK Partner Visa Application with an experienced immigration adviser, please contact our team at +442087575751 or use our contact form.

Who can apply?

The Immigration Rules specify that applicants must meet the criteria of being “suitable” and “eligible.”

Suitability pertains to issues related to criminal conduct, “bad character,” and certain aspects of previous immigration history. In the case of visa applications, applicants must also consider whether their previous attempts to secure a visa or leave to remain in the UK may result in refusal under paragraph 320(11) of the immigration rules, which deals with situations where the applicant has intentionally tried to undermine the intentions of these Rules. 

Eligibility encompasses various requirements, including relationship requirements, financial requirements, English language requirements, and immigration status requirements (applicable for leave to remain applications only). Additionally, applicants must verify whether they are applying from a country that requires a tuberculosis (TB) certificate.

Eligibility includes meeting the following criteria:

Relationship requirements

Under relationship requirements, the following conditions must be met:

  • The applicant’s partner must be British, settled, a refugee, have humanitarian protection, or have limited leave to remain based on being a refugee, a person with humanitarian protection, EUSS pre-settled status, or limited leave under the ECAA agreement.
  • Both the applicant and their partner must be aged 18 or above at the time of application.
  • The applicant and their partner must not be within the prohibited degree of relationship, such as siblings. Additionally, they must have met each other in person.
  • The relationship between the applicant and their partner must be genuine and subsisting.
  • If the applicant and partner are married or in a civil partnership, it must be a valid and recognized union.
  • Fiancé(e)s or proposed civil partners must be seeking entry to the UK specifically for the purpose of getting married or entering into a civil partnership.

Financial Requirements

Demonstrating that you satisfy the financial requirements is an essential aspect of the application process. The aim is to ensure that applicants and their partners can financially support themselves without relying on public funds. The specific financial thresholds vary depending on the circumstances, such as whether there are children involved.

Generally, the applicant’s partner must meet the minimum income requirement, which is currently set at £18,600 per year. This amount increases if there are children involved, with an additional £3,800 required for the first child and £2,400 for each subsequent child. 

Accommodation Requirements

The applicant and their partner must have adequate accommodation available for themselves and any dependents without recourse to public funds. Applicants are required to furnish proof of sufficient housing arrangements in the UK for the entire family, including additional household members not included in the application but residing in the same residence. The provided accommodation must either be owned by the family or be exclusively occupied by them, and should not rely on public financial assistance.

English language requirements

Applicants are generally required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language by passing an approved English language test at the appropriate level. The test must be taken at a recognized testing center. However, there are exemptions for individuals from specific countries or those who hold certain qualifications, such as a degree taught or researched in English.

Tuberculosis (TB) certificate requirement

Some countries are classified as having a high incidence of tuberculosis (TB), and applicants from these countries must provide a valid TB certificate as part of their application. The certificate must be from a recognized clinic and meet the specific requirements outlined by the Home Office. Failure to provide a valid TB certificate, where required, can result in the application being refused.

How can we help

We are dedicated to providing comprehensive assistance and guidance throughout the entire immigration process. Our experienced team of professionals will help you navigate complex immigration rules, prepare and submit accurate documentation, and ensure that your application meets all requirements. We strive to offer personalized solutions tailored to your specific needs, aiming to maximize your chances of a successful immigration outcome. Contact our experienced team to discuss your immigration application.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to provide evidence of cohabitation for the two years’ cohabitation category

Yes, as an unmarried partner, you must demonstrate at least two years of prior cohabitation before the date of application. Evidence of actual cohabitation, such as shared bills or rental agreements, is mandatory.

Can I switch from a student visa to a partner visa if I enter into a relationship with a British citizen or settled individual?

Yes, it is possible to switch from a student visa to a partner visa if you meet the eligibility criteria and requirements for the specific partnership category you are applying under.

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