A civil partnership is an act where two people of same-sex or opposite-sex enter a civil partnership instead of getting married to each other. Civil Partnership in the UK was originally introduced for same-sex couples but later, it was expanded for opposite-sex couples as well. Civil partnership act 2004 granted same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, which gives a couple the same benefits enjoyed, by a married couple.
Who can form a civil partnership?
Terms of Civil Partnership Act 2004 allowed same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership. After that, there was a review by the UK government and since 2 December 2019 opposite-sex couples also have been allowed to enter into a civil partnership if they wish to instead of getting married to each other. You can get into a civil partnership provided you and your partner meet the following conditions:
- Both are 16 or above. However, if you are under 18 then you must get consent from your parents to form a civil partnership.
- You are not married to each other or in a civil partnership already.
- You and your partner are not closely related.
How is civil partnership different from marriage?
Before 2004 there were no arrangements for people of same-sex to form a legal relationship that allowed them a status equivalent to a married couple of opposite sex. But in 2004 as a part of the Civil Partnership Act, couples of the same sexes were allowed to enter into a civil partnership and in 2014 same-sex marriage also became legal. Civil Partnership provides a couple with the same rights as married couples without having a religious connotation attached to it. So, those looking to enter into a legal relationship with a partner without aligning themselves with a particular religion can form a civil partnership.
Apart from this, a civil ceremony for a civil partnership does not involve the exchange of vows or the singing of hymns as is done in a wedding. A civil partnership can be ended through dissolution, which is like ending a marriage with the difference that adultery cannot be a reason to end a civil partnership.
Visa category you need to apply for
Brexit has brought some changes, as now all non-British nationals will be treated equally from 1 January 2021. But those EU nationals who are already living in the UK do not need to worry. They could apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they were living in the UK by 31 December 2020. Those who applied for it can continue living in the UK and enjoy the same residence rights as they were enjoying earlier otherwise you will have to leave the UK after 30 June 2021. Any EU national who wishes to come to the UK on or after 1 January 2021 needs to apply for a visa.
If you are a non-British and non-EU national and you do not have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) then you need to apply for a visa to form a civil partnership in the UK. The visa category you need to apply depends on two factors:
- The place your partner is from; and
- whether you want to live in the UK after your ceremony.
So, if you are going to live in the UK for 6 months or less then you can apply for a marriage visitor visa. If your partner is a British Citizen, has settled status, or has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK and you want to live in the UK permanently, you need to apply for a family visa. If your partner is not a British citizen but is an EU, EEA, or Swiss national, you need to apply for a family permit.
The process to form and register a Civil Partnership
Two people can form a civil partnership by way of registration as civil partners of each other. First, both parties involved must give notice to the appropriate authority and after that, a civil partnership can be registered by signing the civil partnership document by both individuals in the presence of a registrar and two witnesses. Once a civil partnership is formed it ends only on the death of one or both individuals, dissolution, and annulment.
Should you wish to seek professional assistance for your application process please contact Visa and Migration Ltd on +44(0)2034111261
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