Not ready for marriage, but want to join your partner in the UK?
People are often surprised to hear that they do not necessarily have to marry in order to join their partner in the UK.
People are often, and rightly so, reluctant to marry just in order to obtain a UK visa to join their partner. Fortunately, the unmarried partner visa offers the advantages to those persons who are not quite ready to make the relationship official.
A relationship akin to marriage
In order to qualify for this visa, the applicant will need to show that he/she is the unmarried partner of a person present and settled or being admitted for settlement in the UK. You will need to prove that you have been living together in a relationship akin to marriage for 2 years or more. You will also need to prove that you intend to live together permanently in a relationship akin to marriage in the future.
It is thus important to note that although marriage is not required, the relationship must be a real one, and akin to marriage.
Proving the relationship
Normally, you would need utility bills covering two years, such as tenancy agreements, bank statements and other bills being posted to the same address. It will be best if the bills are joint, but you can also have separate accounts as long as it shows the same address.
You and your partner have to be 18 years or older in order to apply.
There is a financial requirement, and a minimum income threshold is required in order to sponsor the settlement of the partner. There is also a higher threshold for any children, also sponsored.
If your partner is a British citizen, you will have to fulfil the financial requirement. A minimum income threshold of £18,600 is required in order to sponsor the settlement of the partner. If you are from within the UK, the £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, you will not need to fulfil the minimum income criteria.
In cases where the partner is a Tier 1 or Tier 2 holder, the maintenance requirement of those visas will have to be fulfilled.
The Unmarried Partner Visa is available to persons in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
The right to work
If you are successful in obtaining your visa, there will be no work restrictions on your stay. This is one of the main advantages of this visa, and you will be able to be employed, self-employed or combine the two.
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 Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) with the ancestral holder. However, once ILR has been obtained, you will not be able to apply for British citizenship until you have completed 5 years residence in the UK.
Unmarried partners based on Tier 1 & 2 are granted for the duration of the permit holders’ visa. Unmarried partners under Tier1 & 2 must complete 5 years as a dependent if the application is processed after 9 July 2012.
Unmarried partners based on British citizens are granted for a period of 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.
If you are interested in applying for a UK Visa or Permit and need more information regarding the visa application process, please feel free to contact the Breytenbachs team of dedicated consultants.
We guide our clients through the entire process, thereby ensuring peace of mind and a successful outcome. Please feel free to fill out the form below to get in touch with Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants.