If a person fulfils the criteria of an ‘unmarried partner’ one can apply in the same way as a spouse or dependant of the main UK visa applicant. There is thus not a separate category to apply as an unmarried partner.
It would thus be possible to apply as the unmarried partner of a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicant, Tier 2 skilled worker, Ancestral visa applicant and so forth, in the same way as a spouse or civil partner can do.
The requirements and conditions to apply as the unmarried partner are determined by the immigration status or type of visa the main visa applicant is applying for.
If one fulfils the criteria as ‘unmarried partner’ of the main visa applicant, one will then have the same immigration status as the spouse of the main visa applicant.
How to qualify as an unmarried partner
The unmarried partner 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.
One will also need to prove that you intend to live together permanently in a relationship akin to marriage in the future.
Although marriage is thus not required, the relationship must be a real one, similar to marriage.
Both the partners in the relationship have to be 18 years or older. The partners can be of the same sex, or it can be a heterosexual relationship.
How to prove the unmarried partner relationship
We normally recommend that clients provide utility bills covering two years. The documents would include bank statements, tenancy agreements, 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.
Financial and Maintenance 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. Please also see this link for more on the financial requirement.
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 in the specific immigration category will have to be fulfilled.
Length of Stay and Right to Work for the Unmarried Partner
The conditions and length of stay are determined by the type of visa the main visa applicant is applying for or the current immigration status of the main visa holder.
Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for more information.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
If your leave to remain is based on the main applicant’s Ancestral visa, the dependency visa will be granted for the duration of the ancestral visa. One can then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) with the ancestral visa 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 & 2 are granted for the duration of the main permit holders’ visa. Unmarried partners under Tier1 & 2 must complete five years as a dependent if the application is processed after 9 July 2012. Those based on British citizens are granted for 30 months, after which one make an application for an extension of another 30 months. This extension should take the applicant to the qualifying period of 60 months for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.