If one fulfils the criteria to be an ‘unmarried partner,’ one would apply in the same way as the spouse or dependent of the main UK visa applicant.
One can thus be the unmarried partner of an Ancestral visa applicant, a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicant, the unmarried partner of a British citizen, Tier 4 Student visa applicant, etc.
The conditions and requirements of the visa of the unmarried partner would thus basically be determined by the immigration status or type of visa the main applicant is applying for.
The unmarried partner thus has the same status as the spouse or civil partner of the main visa applicant.
How to qualify as an unmarried partner
To qualify as an unmarried partner, an applicant will need to prove that he/she has been living together with the partner, 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 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.
How to prove the relationship
Breytenbachs normally recommends that clients provide utility bills covering two years. This would include documents such as tenancy agreements, bank statements and other bills being posted to the same address.
It will be best if the bills are joint. However, one can also have separate accounts as long as it shows the same address.
Age and sex of the unmarried partner applicant
Both the partners in the relationship have to be 18 years or older. The partners can be in a same-sex or heterosexual relationship.
Financial and other requirements
If you are the unmarried partner of a British citizen or person settled in the UK, you will have to fulfil the financial requirement of the Family Migration rules.
A minimum income threshold of £18,600 is required to sponsor the settlement of the unmarried partner. There is also a higher threshold for any children also sponsored: £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.
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 same applies to other immigration categories. The requirements for the dependants of main applicants will have to be fulfilled.
Unmarried Partner and Indefinite Leave to Remain
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 not be able to apply for British citizenship until you have completed five years residence in the UK.
Unmarried partners based on Tier 1 and 2 are granted for the duration of the permit holders’ visa. Unmarried partners under Tier 1 and 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.
For more information about UK visas, visit the Breytenbachs website