Can my Unmarried Partner join me in the UK

Being married or in a civil partnership to your British or settled partner is not the only way, to join him or her in the UK. The UK Immigration Rules allow for the unmarried partners(of at least two years) of persons in various immigration categories in the UK, to join their partners in the UK.

Financial Requirements

If your partner is a British citizen, you will have to fulfil the financial requirement. A minimum income threshold of £18,600 is required to sponsor the settlement of the partner. If you are applying from within the UK, from a category that allows you to ‘’switch’’ the settlement route, £18,600 can be made up from the income of both parties, and it should thus be easier for you to fulfil the financial criteria.

If the partner present and settled in the UK is the holder of an Ancestry Visa or an EU national, you will not need to fulfil the minimum income criteria.

In cases where the partner is a Tier 1 or Tier 2 PBS holder, the maintenance requirement of those visas will have to be fulfilled.

A Relationship akin to Marriage

An important requirement to proof in this type of application is that you have to prove that you have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage for two years or more.

You will also need to prove that you intend to live together permanently in the future. Should you fail to provide this proof, your application will in all likelihood be declined.

To provide proof of your relationship and cohabitation, you would normally need utility bills covering two years, such as tenancy agreements, bank statements and other bills being posted to the same address. It should preferably be joint, but you can also be from separate accounts, as long as it shows the same address.

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Work Restrictions

One of the many advantages of the Unmarried Partner Visa is that it allows a person to work in the UK without restriction. You will thus be able to be employed, be self-employed or combine the two.

Permanent Residence

Probably the single most important advantage for most people is that the type of visa is that it leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

If your unmarried partner visa is based on your partner’s Ancestral visa, the unmarried partner visa will be granted for the duration of the ancestral visa, and you can apply for ILR with the ancestral holder. However once ILR has been obtained you will only be able to apply for British citizenship if you have completed five years residence in the UK.

Unmarried Partners under Tier1 & 2 must complete five years as a dependent if the application is processed after 9 July 2012.

Unmarried Partners based on British citizens are granted for 30 months, after which an application can be made for an extension of another 30 months, which should take the applicant to the qualifying period of 60 months for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

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Spouse Visa Requirements

UK Spouse Visa Requirements

What is the minimum income I need to sponsor my spouse/partner to join me in the UK?

The minimum income required in order to sponsor your spouse or partner to come to the UK was set in July 2012 by the Home Office at £18,600. However, this caused a stir throughout the country, resulting in the UK High Court ruling that the minimum income requirement was ‘unjustified and disproportionate’ if the sponsor was either a refugee or a British citizen. This judgement came in July 2013 and since then, all decisions in relation to sponsors that don’t meet the criteria have been placed on hold until further notice. The UK Home Office filed an appeal against the judgement that was heard in the Court of Appeal in March 2014, the outcome of which has not yet been decided but is imminent. It should be noted that the monetary amount is higher if the sponsor is also sponsoring dependent children, with the amount increasing for each dependent child. However, this does not apply to any children who are British.

Am I exempt from the Financial Requirement for the spouse/partner visa?

There are some occasions where you may be exempt from the Financial Requirements for a UK spouse or partner visa, for example, if you have a disability or you are a carer. As there are only certain instances where exemptions apply, we would advise you to consult a professional immigration lawyer for more information as whilst you may be exempt from meeting the current income threshold you will need to prove that you can adequately maintain your spouse/partner and/or any dependants.

Does my language certificate satisfy the English language requirement for my partner/spouse visa?

To be accepted for a spouse or partner visa, you must prove that you are able to speak and understand English as part of the application process. If you are from a country outside of the European Economic Area (or Switzerland) that is not predominantly English speaking then you will need to pass an English Language test that has been conducted by an approved test provider. If your certificate has been provided by one of these approved providers then it should satisfy the requirement. The need to take the English language test doesn’t apply if you have earned a degree in English, as your degree should be sufficient proof of your English language abilities. If you are unsure of where to find an approved test provider, consult an immigration specialist who will be best positioned to point you in the right direction.

Do I need to have a TB test certificate to apply for my spouse/partner visa?

Most countries now require an applicant to have a TB test before making an application to come to the UK for more than six months. You will need to have a test for tuberculosis (TB) in order to complete your application for a spouse/partner visa, as well as many other UK visa categories. The TB test for your UK visa will need to be completed by a Home Office approved clinic. A list of approved clinics around the world can be found here on the UK government website for applicants to find an approved location close to them. Please also be aware that for some countries the TB test will need to be carried out in a neighbouring country due to lack of approved testing centres.

Can my partner/spouse’s income be included in the Financial Requirement?

No, your spouse or partner’s income cannot be included as part of the Financial Requirement unless they are already residing in the UK (and with permission to work), in which case the Financial Requirement can be based on household income.