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UK Unmarried Partner Visa

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UK Defacto Visa Applications 

What is a UK Unmarried Partner Visa or De-Facto Visa?

A UK unmarried partner visa or de-facto visa is available for partners of a person who is British Citizen, person holding Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA National with limited Leave to Remain or a person holding limited leave as a ECAA person under Appendix ECAA of the immigration rules if they have been in a relationship for two years. The applicant can come to the UK or extend their stay within the UK as an unmarried partner. The de-facto visa allows couples and same-sex couples to stay in the UK on basis of their relationship. Same rights and benefits as are allowed to those who are married or living in a civil partnership.

The UK unmarried partner visa is granted for 33 months from outside the UK and 30 months from within the UK. Once the applicant has completed 60 months or 5 years in the UK, they can apply indefinite leave to remain or British Citizenship.

You cannot switch to this category if you are on a visa which does not allow you to stay for more than 6 months. You must leave the UK and obtain UK entry clearance.

Benefits of a De-Facto Visa or UK Unmarried Partner Visa

After the visa is granted, there are a variety of benefits. These include:

  • Ability to settle permanently in the UK

  • Entitlement for the applicant to work in the UK without any restrictions

  • Entitlement to the same benefits (except public funds) as other UK citizens

Defacto Visa or UK Unmarried Partner Visa Requirements & Eligibility

Applicants applying for the UK unmarried couple visa must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible:

  • The partners must be a minimum of 18 years of age;

  • The couple must establish - with documentary proof - that they have lived together for at least two years before applying. This requirement is flexible as the 2 years of living can be combined from different periods. However, if you have lived for a period just short of 2 years (e.g. 1 year 6 months) and have been in a relationship for more than 2 years, you may still be able to apply under this category depending on the quality of evidence available to you; 

  • After being granted a defacto visa or UK unmarried partner visa, the couple must intend to stay together on a permanent basis;

  • Previous relationships of the applicant or UK sponsor must have ended;

  • The couple should be able to financially support themselves and their dependents (if any) without relying on public funds;

  • The couple must meet the income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring a non-EU national. A higher threshold of £22,400 is required for sponsoring a child, with an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child;

  • The couple should have suitable accommodation for themselves and any dependents.

Financial Requirements and Exceptions for UK unmarried partner visa

To qualify, you can meet the financial requirements through a variety of sources of income and savings, including income from employment and self-employment, cash savings, rental income and so on.

All the categories have a separate set of documents for submission with the application:

  • Sources of income and savings, as applicable;

  • Time periods and permitted combinations of sources as applicable to each permitted source relied upon for the purpose of the application;

  • Documentary proof for each permitted source of income relied upon.

Your sponsors are not required to meet the financial requirement if they are in receipt of any of the following allowances or benefits:

  • Carer's Allowance

  • Disability Living Allowance

  • Severe Disablement Allowance

  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

  • Attendance Allowance

  • Personal Independence Payment

English Language Requirements

You need to meet certain English language requirements when applying for a UK unmarried partner visa. You can meet these requirements by proving that you are a national of a majority English-speaking country or hold a degree - equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or above - that was taught in English. Alternatively, you could also pass the English test at the appropriate level.

In order to prove your English language ability, you should use the Home Office’s list of approved English language tests. In the case of UK unmarried partner visa applications, you are required to pass at CEFR A1 level for the purpose of Entry Clearance. The requirement changed to level A2 for applicants submitting an application for a UK unmarried partner visa extension after May 2017. 

Required Documents for UK unmarried partner visa

De facto visas have a particular set of required documents which need to be completed and submitted with your application. The following documents provide evidence for fulfilling the UK unmarried partner visa requirements:

  • Your passport and 2 recent passport photographs;

  • Evidence to prove that your relationship has been genuine and subsisting for 2 years or more;

  • Evidence that you intend to live together permanently;

  • Documents to show that you meet the necessary financial requirements, including:

    • Relevant sources of income and necessary savings;

    • The time periods and permitted combinations of income sources applicable to each permitted source relied upon;

    • Reliable evidence for each permitted source of income.

  • Documents to prove the successful attainment of the necessary English language requirements

How Long Does it Take to Get a Defacto Visa or UK unmarried partner visa?

The application can be submitted from within or outside the UK. The in-country application can only be made if you are in a category which allows you to switch from within the UK (generally any visa except a visitor visa). Once the applicant has completed the application, they should provide evidence to meet the above requirements for the Home Office to consider the application. Once the application is approved from outside the UK the applicant will be given a one month visa and they will collect their Biometric residence permit from the relevant post office. if the application is made within the UK then the applicant will get 2.5 years to leave to remain. Once an applicant has completed 5 years, they can apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in the UK  

The application fee from outside the UK is £1,523 plus the Immigration Health Surcharge of £1,200. From inside the UK, you will pay a Government fee of £1,033 plus an Immigration Health Surcharge of £1,000. 

UK Unmarried Partner Visa Refusal Reasons

It may be the case that your initial application for a UK Unmarried Partner visa is refused. There are a variety of reasons why this can happen, including supplying incorrect documents, not disclosing previous visa or immigration issues, or assuming that the Home Office would be lenient or would find information themselves. 

You should avoid such mistakes so that the Home Office does not get a chance to refuse your UK unmarried partner visa application. In order to get expert legal advice on your UK unmarried partner visa application or appeal, get in touch with us. We guarantee you a successful outcome in appeal cases where you provide us with all the documents we request from you.

How We Work

Before you apply for a UK unmarried partner visa, we assess your circumstances and provide you with a quote for our services. If you choose to move ahead with your application, you pay an initial 50% deposit of our fees. We then provide you with a comprehensive checklist of documents you'll need, as well as templates approved by the Home Office.

We advise you on the evidence and process of submitting your defacto visa application, reviewing all this evidence and suggesting any amendments you may require. We do not leave any scope for refusal of your application - if there is anything which is of concern, we inform you of this and help you to remedy the issues. We prepare the application forms, and always send you these to review - this is to avoid any simple mistakes. We prepare and finalise your application for submission, and book you an appointment in the country where you will provide your biometric details. Should there be any delays to the processing times for your UK unmarried partner visa, we will chase the application for you.

Do you need to apply for a UK Unmarried Partner Visa?

Speak to our experts to find out about our fast, friendly and affordable service

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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.