Civil Partner Visa

Civil Partner Visa

Civil Partner Visa permits a sponsor whether they are British, or holding a temporary visa in the UK, to bring their same sex partner in the UK or permit them to remain in the UK with them. Registering a civil partnership is one of the ways in which a partner can join or stay with the EU or British partner in the UK, or a person with limited leave to remain in the UK.

The Civil Partnership Act allows people of the same sex to register as civil partners and then be able to apply for their Civil Partner Visa. Although a different legal concept to a marriage, it allows for people of the same sex to register a similar legal union. Registering a civil partnership is a serious commitment. Should the partners wish to end a civil partnership, they are required to go through a court based dissolution which addresses the same issues as a divorce settlement. A civil partnership can also end through annulment or upon the death of one of the parties.

How to qualify for a Civil Partner Visa

  1. Both the same sex partners must be 18 years or older and give notice to register a civil partnership at a registry office.
  2. You must have met each other and be legally married as same sex partners.
  3. You must intend to live together permanently.
  4. You must have enough money to support yourselves (and any dependents) without claiming public funds.
  5. Your sponsoring partner must earn more than £18,600 per year or have enough savings to be able to sponsor you. The minimum financial requirement is higher if they are also sponsoring dependent children.
  6. You must have suitable accommodation for you, your civil partner and any dependants.
  7. You must satisfy the English language requirements.

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Length of stay and right to work on the Civil Partner Visa

Under the Civil Partnership Act you will have similar immigration rights to married couples. For applications submitted before 9 July 2012:

  1. The civil partner of the British citizen or person settled in the UK will be able to apply for two & half year’s leave to remain in the UK.
  2. If you are outside the UK, then the UK visa application can be submitted and further details of that process can be found by clicking here.

If you are the civil partner of a person who is subject to immigration control in one of the permanent immigration categories such as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 category, you can apply to join him or her in the UK as a dependant for the same time as their leave to remain is granted. After you have obtained this dependant visa, you will be able to work in the UK without any restrictions, subject to your partner maintaining their status.

For civil partner visa applications submitted on or after 9 July 2012:

You will be able to apply for 30 months leave to remain in the UK. After the 30 months, an application can be lodged for another 30 months, which should take the applicant to the five-year qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

If you are the civil partner of a person who is subject to immigration control in one of the permanent immigration categories such as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 category, you can apply to join him or her in the UK as a dependant for the same time as their leave to remain is granted. After you have obtained this dependant visa, you will be able to work in the UK without any restrictions, subject to your partner maintaining their status.

It is also possible to apply for leave to enter the UK as the civil partner of a person with a student visa, if the student visa is granted for longer than six months. The leave to remain will be granted for the same period as the student’s. As this is a temporary immigration category it will not allow you to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain and both partners should leave the UK upon the expiry of the visa or look to switch to another immigration status.

Grounds of refusal on a Civil Partner Visa application

The UK Home Office Caseworker can refuse an application for a “Civil Partner Visa” based on the following:

  1. The applicant will be aged under 18 on the date of arrival in the UK; or
  2. The applicant’s civil partner will be aged under 18 on the date of arrival in the UK.
  3. In cases where the applicant is within a couple of months of their 18th birthday, and the other party is 18 or over, the UK Home Office Caseworker has discretion to issue entry clearance but valid only from when the person under 18 has reached their 18th birthday.

When an applicant has reached the age of 18 but was in a civil partnership before attaining that age, the UK Home Office Caseworker will need to consider the question of whether the civil partnership is valid. No child under 16 is able to contract a valid civil partnership in the UK.

There are two requirements which have to be met before an overseas civil partnership with one party who was under the age of 16 at the registration of the partnership can be recognised under the laws of the UK:

  1. the civil partnership is valid in the country in which it took place (that is, it is legal for parties under 16 to enter into a civil partnership and the civil partnership itself complied with the formal requirements of the country in which it took place);
  2. both parties to the civil partnership had the legal capacity under the law of their domicile to enter into a civil partnership with each other (that is, the law of their domicile allowed civil partnership with a person under 16, and they were free to enter into a civil partnership in other respects).

Indefinite leave to remain as a civil partner

  1. For applications submitted before 9 July 2012: if you are the civil partner of a person who is either a British citizen or who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK and the civil partnership is still maintained at the end of the two years, you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
  2. For applications submitted on or after 9 July 2012: if you are the civil partner of a person who is either a British citizen or who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK and the civil partnership is still maintained at the end of the five years, you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

If you are the civil partner of a person who is subject to immigration control in one of the permanent immigration categories, you will be able to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain at the end of the five year period, provided you are still civil partners and your partner has maintained his legal status or acquired ILR or British citizenship in the intervening period.

If you are the civil partner of a person with a student visa, it will not be possible to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain and both partners should leave the UK upon the expiry of the visa or look to switch to another immigration status.

Getting the right legal advice is important and at ICS Legal, we conduct a number of these applications. You can email our team on info@icslegal.com, complete our contact form by clicking here or call us on 0207 237 3388 between the hours of Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. Our “independent reviews” on Freeindex provides you with the reassurance that we can assist on all immigration based applications and you can click here to read our independent reviews.