UK Unmarried Partner visa.
Introduction to Unmarried partner visa UK application process:
To be eligible for a UK unmarried partner visa you need to be a Long-term Partner of British / Irish citizen, or an Overseas national who holds Indefinite leave to remain. If you require a Spousal visa please go to our Spouse Visa page.
Both applicant and their unmarried partner need to be over 18 years old at the application submission date and either living and settled in the UK or returning together to permanently settle in the UK. The criteria for an unmarried partner visa you will need to demonstrate you can adequately maintain yourselves in the UK without the need to access public funds. By demonstrating you met the eligibility criteria for unmarried partner visa under Appendix FM, and demonstrate you are in a legitimate, subsisting relationship together. A UK Unmarried Partner visa leads to receiving an indefinite leave to remain biometric resident permit (Permanent Residence) in the UK after a period of 5 years and further lead to British Citizenship. If you require fiance visa requirements UK check out our post.
Before submitting you need to check you fulfil the eligibility criteria so your Unmarried Partner visa application can be considered valid:
You and your partner are both over the age of 18;
You and your partner are not in a prohibited relationship;
You and your partner have met in person;
You have been living together for 2 years in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership
Your relationship is genuine and subsisting;
You and your partner intend to live permanently together in the UK;
Any previous relationships you both have been in are permanently dissolved;
You fulfil the income criteria under appendix FM;
You have adequate accommodation for you and any dependents without requiring access to public funds
You have passed an SELT English test if English isn't your native 1st language
You may also need a TB (tuberculosis) certificate when submitting from outside UK
This means that you and your long-term partner must not be directly related in anyway:
Required to have met in person
You must have met face-to-face in person which developed into a mutual acquaintance and from their developed into a formal relationship.
Long-term Partnerships in the UK
In order to qualify for an Unmarried Partner Visa, you and your long-term partner will need to demonstrate that you have been in a long-term relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for a minimum period of 24 months. This is normally demonstrated through evidence of co-habitation together.
Long-term Partnerships outside the UK:
An Overseas long-term partnership will be recognised in the UK if you and your long-term partner can demonstrate you have been in a long-term relationship together akin to marriage or civil partnership for a minimum period of 24 months. An Unmarried partnership outside the UK must be evidenced in the same way as within the UK through evidence of co-habitation together.
Genuine and Subsisting Relationship:
In order to qualify for a UK Unmarried Partners Visa you will need to provide the UKVI with evidence that your relationship is genuine and sustaining. UKVI (Home Office) make their decisions on whether a relationship is genuine and subsisting on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all evidence you provide and using balance of probability around your individual circumstances to make their decision. As you are not in a formal union such as a marriage or civil partnership, Home Office will likely apply a great level of scrutiny around your co-habitation together so it is important to document and accurately account your relationship together.
Factors UKVI (Home Office) may consider:
The length of your relationship;
Whether you are now living together or have done so in the past
Do you have children together (biological, adopted or step-children) and shared responsibility for them;
Whether you have shared responsibilities;
Whether you have visited one another’s home country
Whether you have meet each others families;
Whether you have made or discussed plans of living together in the UK;
Should UK Visa & Immigration (Home Office) have any concerns about the genuineness of your relationship they will more likely scrutinise your UK Unmarried Partnership Visa Application more rigorously and possibly look for grounds to justify an application refusal.
Intention to live permanently in the UK
To qualify for a Long-term partner visa, UK Visa & Immigration will want to be satisfied that you and your partner intend to live together permanently in the UK immediately following the successful issue of your unmarried partner visa or as soon as your circumstances allow
Unmarried Partner Visa Accommodation Requirement
Whether you apply for a UK Unmarried partner visa from outside or within the UK, you need to provide evidence of adequate accommodation either continuing to be maintained when submitting from within the UK, or available on arrival when applying from outside the UK, which you own or occupy exclusively without the need to access public funds.
SELT English Test
If English is not your native language you will need to sit an SELT English language test there are 3 different language levels required for a UK Spouse visa route.
SELT level A1 Test applies for Entry clearance
SELT level A2 Test applies for Further leave to remain
SELT level B1 Test applies for Indefinite Leave to remain
For an in-depth look at obtaining an appropriate SELT language certificate check out:
TB (tuberculosis) certificate if applying from outside UK
Depending on where you live when applying from outside the UK you may need a TB certificate as part of your UK long-term visa application needs for more information on when and from where you will need to obtain a certificate check out my post:
When applying through entry clearance for a UK Unmarried partner visa, your partner must meet the minimum income threshold under Appendix FM in their own rights or demonstrate they have an exemption.
If you are eligible to apply for further leave to remain (FLR-M) from within the UK, you can rely on joint household income if you are eligible to work under your current leave to enter / remain or demonstrate your partner has an exemption.
How to met the income requirements through ‘adequate maintenance’ when you have an exemption
If your UK Long-term partner has a long term illness or disability and receives any of the following benefits or allowances through the Department of Work & Pensions in the UK, then you may be eligible to apply under "adequate maintenance" criteria through appendix FM.
To meet the income threshold you will need to provide evidence of “adequate maintenance” rather than demonstrating you meet the minimum income threshold criteria confirmed in more detail below. Your application can be considered on “adequate maintenance” grounds by providing supporting evidence of any of these benefits.
• Carer’s Allowance
• Disability Living Allowance
• Severe Disablement Allowance
• Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
• Attendance Allowance
• Personal Independence Payment
• Armed Forces Independence Payment or
• Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
• Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme
• Police Injury Pension
“Adequate Maintenance” threshold criteria will continue to apply on your next visa application as long as your partner continues to receive any of those benefits or allowances indicated above at the time of your next application submission.
UK Civil Partner visa Financial Categories under Appendix FM
The income criteria for everyone else can be demonstrated through one or more of the following 5 categories:
Category A: In employment with current employer for 6 months or more
If you apply from outside the UK your partner (sponsor) will need to demonstrate they met Appendix FM income requirements in their own right. If you are already in the UK holding leave to remain with permission to work your application can be considered under joint household income.
Joint household income is a combination of both "Sponsors & Applicants" joint employment income from all income sources recognised under Appendix FM. You can combine Category C: non-employment income, Category D: cash savings and Category E: pension if necessary to meet the minimum income requirement of £18,600 per annum when applying under Category A.
Category B: Less than 6 months with employer or has variable income
This category is used when your partner and/or you are in the UK with permission to work. Either your partner and/or you are in salaried or non-salaried employment at the date of application submission, haven't been with the same employer and/or not earning the same income level relied upon in the application for at least 6 months prior to the submission date of your civil partnership application.
Category B can be used by anyone who has been with their current employer for less than 6 months, or who has been with their current employer for more than 6 months but their earnings our variable and need to be considered under category B rather than under Category A.
Category B, income requirements must be met and evidenced in 2 parts.
First, your partner and/or you (with permission to work in UK) must be in salaried employment at the date of application submission and have been in employment with a new employer for less than 6 months, you can count the gross annual salary at the date of application towards the income requirements if your income exceeds £18,600 under appendix FM for this new employment period.
To meet part (2) your partner and/or you must have received in the 12 months prior to the application submission date combined level of income required to meet part (2) of the calculation for Category B exceeding £18,600 per annum.
Category C: Non-employment income
Non-employment income, is from property rental or dividends from shares.
• property rental
• dividends or income from investments, stocks and shares, bonds or trust funds
• interest from savings
• maintenance payments from a former partner of the applicant.
• UK Maternity Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment
• Widowed Parent’s Allowance
• payments under the War Pensions Scheme,
• Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
• The Armed Forces Attributable Benefits Scheme
• Maintenance grant or stipend (not a loan) associated with undergraduate
study or postgraduate study or research
• ongoing insurance payments
• ongoing payments from a structured legal settlement
• ongoing royalty payments
Category D: Cash Savings
If you and or your partner have cash savings above £16,000, these can be used solely or in combination with salaried or non-salaried employment. UK Unmarried partners who rely on cash savings to satisfy income application requirements should bare in mind the level of cash savings required on a entry clearance & further leave to remain application is different from the level needed when applying for indefinite leave to remain.
Category E: Pension income
If your partner or both of you are retired you can use your State (UK or foreign), occupational or private pension to demonstrate you meet Appendix FM requirements. Pension income can be combined with categories A-D in order to meet Appendix FM requirements.
Category F & G: Self-employed
If you are self-employed you can use Income generated through your self-employed activities, including income as a company director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK, or yourself if you are in the UK with permission to work.
Category F: Last full financial year
Where your partner (and/or you if your in the UK with permission to work) is self-employed or either the director or employee (or both) of a specified limited company in the UK, at the date of application, they can use income from the last full financial years accounts to meet the financial requirement.
Category G: Average of last 2 full financial years
Where your partner (and/or you if you are in the UK with permission to work) is in self-employment, or is the director or employee (or both) of a specified limited company in the UK, at the date of application, they can choose instead to rely on Category G. This allows them to use an average of the income received in the last 2 full financial years to meet the financial requirement. A reference to the ‘average’ of the income received in the last 2 full financial years in Category G is a reference to the mean average.
Income under Category F or G can be combined with income from salaried and non-salaried employment, non-employment income and pension income in order to meet the financial requirement. However cash savings cannot be combined with income under Category F or Category G.
Marc Gibson our immigration adviser specialises in assisting foreign nationals and their long-term partners relocate and settle in the UK. Marc has supported hundreds of UK and other settled nationals sponsor their foreign Unmarried partners to prepare and submit successful UK Unmarried Partner Visa Applications. Whether you require a consultation to understand the Immigration Rules for your forthcoming application better, or have your Long-term partner visa application professionally checked by Marc before submitting or use his representation service to prepare and submit your Unmarried Partner Visa application for you, Marc can help.
If you require a marriage visit visa or travel visa for your unmarried partner check out our other posts. Using a Visit visa (travel visa) is a good way to help establish or fix your immigration history if you have previously had visit visa application issues. Reach out to establish how we can support you.
Appendix FM financial requirements are particularly complex and include mandatory requirements in terms of the documentary evidence needed to demonstrate you can meet the requirements of a UK Unmarried partners visa application. Our immigration adviser specialises in assisting both Married & Unmarried applicants with complex financial circumstances who require support completing and submitting a successful unmarried partner application.
Marc prides himself on being friendly, approachable and professional in meeting his clients’ needs, he is dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to his clients when providing his UK Civil Partner Visa service.