What is the Unmarried Partner Visa?
The Unmarried Partner Visa, also known as the UK De Facto Visa, is part of the UK Family Visa route.
The unmarried partner route allows individuals who are the long-term partner of either a British or Irish citizen, someone with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, refugee leave or humanitarian protection or limited leave to remain under Appendix EU, in the UK with permissions as a 'Stateless Person' or Appendix ECAA to join their unmarried partner in the UK.
Under the unmarried partner route, individuals are able to live and work in the UK for up to 33 months (2 years and 9 months). If the eligibility requirements are still met then there is the potential to extend the visa by an additional 30 months. By extending the Unmarried Partner Visa, individuals may be eligible to apply for permanent settlement in the UK.
Unmarried Partner Visa Requirements 2024
To be eligible for a Unmarried Partner Visa, you will need to meet the following requirements:
- You and your partner are at least 18 years old.
- You have been in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years.
- Your partner is either a British or Irish citizen, has settled or pre-settled status in the UK, has a Turkish Business Person or Turkish Worker visa, is currently in the UK with permissions as a 'Stateless Person' or has refugee status / humanitarian protection in the UK.
- You and your partner have physically met each other in person.
- You and your partner intend to live together permanently in the UK and there is adequate accommodation in place.
- Your relationship must be genuine and subsisting.
- Any previous relationships have broken down.
- You satisfy the English language requirement.
- You satisfy the financial requirement.
The Genuine and Subsisting Relationship Requirement
As part of the unmarried partner route, you will need to prove to the Home Office that you and your partner are in a ‘genuine and subsisting relationship’. The uniqueness of relationships means that decisions on the genuine and subsisting nature of relationships are made on a case-by-case basis using the evidence presented.
To prove that you and your partner are in a genuine and subsisting relationship:
- Time spent together, for example on a holiday or at family events, such as birthdays, weddings, etc… You can provide photographs of the two of you as a couple from various occasions (the date and place should be written on each photograph), supporting letters from family and friends, chat and video call history for the previous two years, flight and hotel tickets if you have been on holidays together.
- Documents to show that you live together (it is no longer a mandatory requirement to show that you have been living together previously). However, if you have, then you should provide the following documents: i.e. a tenancy or mortgage agreement, utility bills, or letters of support from family and friends.
Documents which show that you share financial responsibilities, i.e. bank statements, household bills, or insurance letters.
Please note that there is a wider range of evidence which can be used to prove that your relationship is genuine and subsisting, so please get in touch with an immigration lawyer if you are unsure as to what evidence to provide.
Unmarried Partner Visa UK Financial Requirement
When applying for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa, you will be required to prove that you and your partner will not need to rely on public funds to support your stay.
To satisfy immigration officials that you will not need to rely on public funds, your partner in the UK must have an annual income of at least £18,600. This income requirement will rise by £3,800 if one child dependent will be joining you and then it will rise by a further £2,400 for each additional child. However, if your children are British, Irish, an EEA national or from another exempt category then you will not be required to meet this financial requirement.
|Applying with no children or no children who are subject to the income requirement.
|Applying with one child.
|Applying with two children
|Applying with three children
The table above is correct at the time of writing (14th February 2024). However, from 11 April 2024 – there will be changes to the income threshold for those applying for family visas from £18,600 to £29,000 and the child element will be removed.
How to Meet the Financial Requirement
A variety of sources of income can be used to satisfy the UK Unmarried Partner Visa financial requirement, such as:
- Income from salaried or non-salaried employment.
- Income from self-employment, or income as a director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK.
- Non-employment income, for example, from property rentals, child maintenance, or dividends/income from investments, stocks and shares.
- Money from a state (UK or foreign), occupational or private pension in your name or that of your partner.
- Maternity allowances or bereavement benefits received in the UK. Income-related benefits will not be counted towards the financial requirement.
Please note that other income sources can be used to satisfy the financial requirement. Moreover, there are exemptions in relation to the financial requirement, therefore, it is important that you speak to an immigration lawyer for further assistance.
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UK Unmarried Partner Visa - English Language Requirement
Unless exempt, when applying for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa you will be required to show that you meet the English language requirement:
If you are applying for entry clearance or wishing to switch to the Partner Visa you must be able to show that your English language abilities are at least to level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
If you are applying for further leave to remain, you will need to show that your English language abilities are at least to level A2 on the CEFR scale.
There are a variety of ways in which you can meet the Partner Visa English language requirement including:
Being a national of a majority English-speaking country;
Passing an approved English language test to the required CEFR level;
Having an academic qualification which was taught in English. This academic qualification must be recognised (by Ecctis) as being the equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s degree, a UK Master’s degree, or a PhD if it was awarded outside of the UK.
UK Unmarried Partner Visa - Supporting Documents
As part of the unmarried partner route, you will be required to provide supporting documents to show that you meet the eligibility criteria for the partner visa.
The specific documents will be dependent on your circumstance, but generally you can expect to provide the following documents:
- A valid passport or another travel document.
- Evidence that shows you satisfy the English language requirements (i.e. a SELT certificate).
- Evidence that shows you satisfy the financial requirement (i.e. payslips).
- Evidence that shows you have suitable accommodation in the UK (i.e. a rental agreement).
- Evidence to show that your relationship is genuine and subsisting (please refer to our previous section).
- Evidence to show that you have met face-to-face.
Want to know more about the Partner Visa?
The Unmarried Partner Visa Application Process
How to apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa
To apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa, you must make an online application. There are two different online applications depending on whether you are making an application from inside or outside the UK.
If you have any questions about your application it is important that you speak to an immigration lawyer as they will be able to clear anything up.
How much does the Unmarried Partner Visa cost?
The current application fee for entry clearance as an unmarried partner stands at £3105 if the application is being made from outside the UK. The UK Unmarried Partner Visa application fee for applications made inside the UK is £2587.50 currently.
As part of the application process, applicants are required to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS) which gives them access to UK healthcare. Therefore, applicants for entry clearance as a partner outside of the UK can currently expect to pay £3105 for the immigration health surcharge.
- Correct at the time of writing - 9th February 2024
What is the processing time?
At present, the processing time for Unmarried Partner Visa applications submitted outside the UK is around 24 weeks. Please be aware that this decision waiting time frequently changes and could be significantly different when you submit your application.
If you apply inside the UK, but you fall short of meeting the income and English language requirements, then it can take considerably longer to get a decision on your application. The current application processing times for those who do not meet the income and the English language requirements are 12 months.
How long is the Unmarried Partner Visa valid?
If your application for an Unmarried Partner Visa is successful, your visa will initially be valid for 33 months. Before this initial grant of leave expires, you will need to apply to UK Visas and Immigration to extend your stay. If your application for further leave to remain as a partner is successful, you will be granted 30 months further leave to remain.
After spending 5 years in the UK as a partner, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Unmarried Partner Visa Extensions
The Unmarried Partner Visa can be extended providing that the eligibility requirements continue to be met. If you successfully apply to extend your visa, you will be granted further leave to remain for a period of two and a half years.
How can Paragon Law help?
Unmarried Partner Visa applications are carefully reviewed by the UK Home Office and all details of the application are inspected. The secret of success is in the preparation of the supporting evidence in Unmarried Partner Visa applications. This is where our immigration lawyers can ensure that the strongest possible application is made on your behalf.
Unmarried Partner Visa: FAQs
How long can I stay in the UK with a Unmarried Partner Visa?
If an entry clearance application is successful as an unmarried partner, the visa will be valid for 33 months initially. Before an initial grant of leave expires, an applicant will need to apply to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to extend their stay. If the application for further leave to remain as an unmarried partner is successful, then they will be granted further leave to remain for a period of 30 months. After spending 5 years in the UK as a partner, an applicant will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
How long does the Unmarried Partner Visa application take to process?
At present, applicants should expect to receive a decision within 24 weeks once they attend their appointment at the visa application centre. Please be aware this decision turnaround time frequently changes and could be significantly different at the time of submission.
What happens if the application for entry clearance is rejected?
If an entry clearance application is refused then the Home Office decision letter will explain whether there is a right of appeal against this refusal.
Appeals are typically only available where there are human rights grounds under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). As an application for entry clearance as a partner involves family life this gives it the right to appeal.
The process for appealing is explained in the decision letter received from the Home Office. The first step will be to complete an appeal form and lodge this within 28 days (if outside of the UK) of receiving your decision.
Can I extend my Unmarried Partner Visa?
Yes, individuals wishing to extend their stay in the UK may be eligible to do so. After 5 years of living in the UK, individuals may become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain which can lead to British Citizenship.
How much does entry clearance as an unmarried partner cost?
The cost to apply for entry clearance as an unmarried partner currently stands at £1,846. As part of the application process, applicants are additionally required to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS) which gives them access to UK healthcare if necessary (£1035 per year).
Applicants applying for entry clearance as a partner outside of the UK can currently expect to pay £3105 for the immigration health surcharge.
- Correct at the time of writing (9th February 2024)
The genuine and subsisting relationship
Bring your partner to the UK
Indefinite Leave to Remain