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What is an unmarried partner visa?

The UK unmarried partner visa falls under the “family visa category” and allows unmarried couples to enter and settle in the UK. All non-EEA citizens are entitled to apply for this route, provided that they can satisfy the eligibility conditions. It is also known as De Facto visa or domestic partner visa.

This visa is ideal for couples who have been living together in the UK but are not yet married or not ready to get married. However, to conciliate with the Home Office policy, the two unmarried couples must satisfy the requirements listed below.

General eligibility requirements

The most important thing that you need to satisfy and prove is that the relationship is genuine. Besides that, you will also need to meet other criteria as laid out below. These extended eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Your partner must be a British citizen or has a “settled” status / indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR)
  • Your sponsoring partner and yourself are over the age of eighteen at the time of the application
  • You meet the English language requirement
  • You and your partner must have met each other and have proof of cohabitation for at least 2 years. Furthermore, the intention is to live together permanently
  • The applicant must be able to support himself/herself or be supported by their unmarried partner, without access to public funds
  • There must be adequate accommodation for you, your partner and any dependants
  • All previous marriages or civil partnerships have ended

Financial requirement

The financial requirement is one of the most important criteria in order to get the visa. The source of income must be legal by all means and the documents must prove that the income and savings are in the name of the applicant or the partner.

If the couple has no children than the required gross annual income is £18,600. Whereas, in case of children, the income required will increase by £3,800 for a first child; and with each child afterward, the gross income needs to be increased by £2,400.

Sources for meeting the financial requirement

Following are the ways in which a sponsor can meet the financial requirement:

  • Income received from salaried or non-salaried employment of the partner
  • Income received from rental or dividends
  • Cash savings of above £16,000 held for at least 6 months
  • Occupational or private pension of the applicant’s partner or the applicant
  • Income from self-employment, income as a director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK

Documents required for an unmarried partner visa

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) officials can look for the following documents/information in your application submission:

  • Your current passport or other travel documents
  • Details of any criminal convictions, if applicable
  • Your parent’s date of birth and nationality
  • Your National Insurance number (if you have one)
  • Details of your accommodation in the UK
  • Bank statements and details of your salary showing your sponsor can meet the minimum income threshold
  • Your sponsor’s British passport or Indefinite Leave to remain documents
  • Details of any children who are also coming to the UK
  • Details of the countries outside the UK you’ve lived in and visited

UKVI officials may also want to see evidence of your relationship, which may include:

  • How you met and how often you see each other
  • How long you’ve lived together
  • Things you pay for together
  • Whether you are your partner’s carer

Duration of stay / validity

If you are a foreign national already living in the UK and have been granted an unmarried partner visa, you will be allowed to remain in the UK for 30 months.

For applicants submitting their unmarried partner visa application from outside the UK, the validity period is up to 33 months upon a successful grant.

Applying for settlement / leave to remain

You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as unmarried partner upon completion of 5 years residence.

Unmarried partner visa refusals

When faced with a refusal, you have access to the following options:

  • Submit a new application; or
  • Lodge an appeal with the First-Tier Tribunal

Need unmarried partner visa application help or advice?

Many unmarried partner visa applications are dismissed by the Home Office because applicants fail to include complete and reliable evidence.

We understand how significant it is for you to be with your loved ones. Our lawyers will help you in every possible way to enable you to join and settle in with your unmarried British partner.

Unmarried Partner Visa UK - FAQs

Can I work on an unmarried partner visa UK?

Regardless of where the applicants are applying from (outside or inside the UK), the holders of an unmarried partner visa are entitled to full benefits, including the right to work and study in the UK.

Since this immigration route is the first step, many unmarried couples pursue to apply for the ILR, later on, to settle in permanently with their British settled partners.

It doesn’t matter whether you are applying for an extension or switching to this visa category from other immigration routes, the same benefits of living working and earning apply.

When are financial requirements required to be met?

You must meet the financial requirements by the time of submitting the application for an unmarried partner visa.

What happens if I cannot meet the financial requirements?

If you cannot meet the financial requirements, unfortunately, your application will be declined.

Can I apply for unmarried partner visa with my dependants?

Yes, you can. If you intend to bring along your dependants, you must apply for your dependants at the same time you submit your application under the unmarried partner visa route.

They only qualify as dependants under the age of 18 and are not living an ‘independent life’. If the children are above 18 years of age, they can apply by themselves provided they are not settled in the UK under a different immigration route.

Which forms should I use for unmarried partner visa applications?

For unmarried partner visa applications, you should use the following forms:

– FLR (M) for switching into an unmarried partner visa under 5 years route from inside the UK.

FLR (M) for extension or renewal of your unmarried partner visa under 5 years route.

SET (M) to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as an unmarried partner under 5 years route. 

For how long is the entry clearance as an unmarried partner granted?

Entry clearance as an unmarried partner is granted for 33 months. You will be initially granted 30 days entry clearance endorsement on your passport to enable your entry in the UK and within 10 working days of your entry in the UK. You can collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from the designated post office which will be valid for 33 months.