Unmarried Partner or Same Sex Partner visa
- The Unmarried Partner or Same Sex Partner visa is for long term partners of British citizens or persons settled in the UK, who wish to join, or stay with their partner in the UK permanently.
- This visa leads to settlement after 5 years spent in the UK.
- If you do not meet all the requirements but there are exceptional circumstances (usually relating to Family and Private Life Article 8 ECHR when there is a child involved) your spouse visa may still be granted. However, you will need to wait 10 years instead of 5 before you can apply for settlement.
Points to note:
- It is crucial to ensure that your application is complete with ALL required information and supporting documents submitted to Home Office, as otherwise in best case scenario you will be put on the 10 year route to ILR but normally your application will be refused by the Home Office. If you are put on the 10 year route you can subsequently make a further spouse visa application to switch to the 5 year route but this way you would incur more costs for the application fee and NHS Health Surcharge.
In order to qualify for an Unmarried Partner or Same Sex Partner visa you will need to meet the following requirements:
- Your partner is:
- British, or
- holds Indefinite Leave to Remain, or
- has refugee status, or
- is an EU national with Settled or Pre-Settled Status, or
- is a non-EU national with Settled Status;
- You are both over the age of 18;
- You have met in person and have lived together in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years (focus on evidence of cohabitation and any joint financial responsibilities);
- Your relationship is genuine and you intend to live together permanently in the UK;
- Any previous relationships have broken down permanently (e.g. if you or your Partner were previously married you got divorced);
- You will be adequately maintained in the UK without recourse to public funds (please see financial requirement £18,600 further below; if you intend to rely on cash savings the minimum required is £62,500 for initial application and extension and for Settlement/ILR the minimum is £34,600). As usual with the Home Office, it is not enough to earn the specified amounts or have the required savings, but you must provide the specified evidence listed by the Home Office to prove that you meet the requirement. This is detailed in the Home Office guidance Immigration Rules Appendix FM-SE: family members specified evidence – Immigration Rules – Guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- There is adequate accommodation for you and any dependents (e.g. for a couple a room in a shared house can be sufficient);
- You speak and understand English to the required level (A1 for initial application, A2 for extension and B1 for Indefinite Leave to Remain);
- For entry clearance (i.e. applications submitted from outside the UK) you may need to obtain a Tuberculosis test from a Home Office approved clinic. You need to look at the Home Office list of countries to check if your country is on the list. Tuberculosis tests for visa applicants – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- You meet the ‘suitability’ requirements relating to good character. There are mandatory and discretionary grounds on which an application can be refused. The examples of relevant matters are any criminal record/charges, unpaid debt to NHS (public health service).
Evidence of relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for the visa
Unmarried Partners and Same Sex Partners need to provide evidence of cohabitation for at least 2 years prior to application. Examples of good evidence are utility bills, council tax bills, tenancy agreement(s), mortgage agreement(s), bank statements showing residence at the same address with your sponsor Partner. The evidence should be spread over the 2 year period and be from a few different sources. If you have any joint financial responsibilities (e.g. mortgage, rent, utility bills, joint business or similar) you should include evidence of those with your application.
To meet the financial requirement, you need to provide evidence of £18,600 gross yearly income. If your application is submitted from inside the UK you may use your own income when you work legally in the UK on another visa. You can also combine your income with your sponsor’s income to meet the minimum required. If you apply from outside the UK, you must rely on your sponsor’s income or rely on cash savings.
If your child(children) are not British or Settled in the UK and are applying for a visa or extending their visa, there is a need for an additional gross yearly income of £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 for each next child.
Applicants must provide specified evidence to prove that the financial requirement is met. The financial requirement is usually the most complex part of the application.
Breakdown of relationship
The Unmarried Partner or Same Sex Partner visa is based on your relationship and if your relationship breaks down your visa may be cancelled by the Home Office. There may be special circumstances when the situation is differrent, for example in cases of domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence are granted special priviledges in their visa application. Those reflect their vulnerable position.
Examples of recent UK visa cases
- Applicant relied on combined employment and self-employment income for initial spouse visa application
- Applicant relied on cash savings for Indefinite Leave to Remain application
- Applicant relied on combined employment income for leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on liquidated investment for Indefinite Leave to Remain application
- Applicant relied on income from self-employment (joint partnership with spouse) for leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on pension income for leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on insurance income for leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on cash savings held on multiple bank accounts for indefinite leave to remain application
- Applicant relied on employment income when sponsor was employed for less than 6 months for entry clearance application
- Applicant relied on income from a limited company of which her spouse was a director for Indefinite Leave to Remain application
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