UK Unmarried Partner Visa Rules Relax

A Welcome Change To The UK Unmarried Partner Visa Rules

A well-used visa route to settling in the UK is the ‘partner’ route. Someone may wish to join their partner and live permanently with them in the UK. It’s commonly known as a ‘spouse’ visa or a sort of ‘family’ visa. A partner can be a wife or husband, a civil partner or an ‘unmarried partner’. The definition of an ‘unmarried partner’ has recently changed and, unlike other developments in immigration law, appears to relax the rules and make this route slightly easier for applicants.

UK Unmarried Partner Visa | Immigration Legal Services

Old Definition Of Unmarried Partners

Before the rules were recently changed, an unmarried partner had to live together with their partner for two years in order to be eligible to apply to enter the UK on this basis. The actual definition was that the couple had been ‘living together in a relationship similar to marriage or a civil partnership for at least two years’.

The result was that, even if a couple had been in a long distance relationship for several years and had visited each other many times, they would not qualify on the unmarried partner route. This caused problems, especially for those who were unable to marry for religious or logistical reasons. Even those who had lived together for over two years often found it difficult to find evidence of this. Many countries do not operate like the UK and people do not receive letters and bills regularly at their postal address. There is no tenancy agreement in many cases. In some cases the evidence was non-existent, even if the couple had lived together for many years.

A New, Improved Definition Of Unmarried Partners

On 31 January 2024, the definition changed. The rules now say that an unmarried partner is ‘where the couple have been in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years'. There is no mention of living together. The two years simply relates to the relationship itself. Therefore, a couple who had been in a relationship for two years and had never lived together, should qualify.

Similar To Marriage Or Civil Partnership

It is important to note the details of this change. These are set out in guidance. However, there is no detail on what the phrase ‘similar to marriage or civil partnership’ actually means.

The guidance says this:

The 2-year period for a relationship between a couple who are not married or in a civil partnership must have been completed prior to the date of application. The 2- year period does not require evidence of cohabitation for the period and will take account  of instances where, for example, the couple are currently living apart for work reasons in order to meet the financial requirements of the rules. The essential point is that the relationship has been genuine and subsisting for the duration of the 2-year period and continues to be at the date of application.

We have to assume that proving a ‘genuine and subsisting relationship’ will require the same evidence as that used for spouse or civil partnership applications. For these routes, it is not enough to produce a marriage or civil partnership certificate – there must be evidence that the couple have met, that they communicate regularly and visit each other.

In addition, the relationship must be ongoing at the date of the relationship and the couple must have an intention to live permanently together in the UK.

There is a lack of detail about the new definition. It seems that the couple would simply have to prove they have been in a relationship for two years but this new route has yet to be tested. Other evidence of a genuine relationship will always be useful. For example, if the couple has lived together at any time and there is evidence, this will be very useful. If the couple has a child, this is also useful.

Additional Requirements To Qualify For The UK Unmarried Partner Visa

Let’s not forget also that an applicant under the unmarried partner route must also meet the general requirements of the partner route – they must meet the financial requirements, for example the person in the UK must have income of over £29,000 gross per year or have savings or be on certain benefits. The English language requirement must be met and there must be adequate accommodation for the couple in the UK.  

A Welcome Step

This change is a welcome step. Many couples are simply unable to live together because of the distance between them and economic or logistical problems. This does not mean they are not in a genuine relationship. This new rule recognises this and, if applied fairly and with common sense, should make things easier for unmarried couples.

If you have any further questions or need assistance with an unmarried partner visa, please contact our team.

  • We couldn't praise Sallie and her team high enough. Extremely professional and acted very fast to meet our deadline. 100% recommended!
    Mr E
  • Always thorough and highly professional throughout the application process for both my children, and I would definitely recommend! They also had a welcome sense of humour when it came to dealing with the bureaucracy involved in the process.
    Mr B
  • Great experience working with Sallie. Professional and understanding! Will work with her again, with no doubt.
    Ms L
  • We have been very impressed with the service we have received over the years of dealing with Angela. She went above and beyond to solve our specialised problem with very pleasing results. We would strongly recommend her work and knowledge in the field. A true professional.
    Mr Aldalis
  • I highly recommend Sallie for her professionalism and lovable, kind approach. I am very happy to get her as my immigration lawyer for processing my kids Visa.
    Shiva K
  • I highly recommend both Angela and Karen. They both have been amazingly helpful throughout the visa application process of my wife. They do truly care for their clients. They look at the case in reasonable time periods and return with any missing information rapidly. Consulting them during this exciting yet stressful process was the best decision that I made. Today my wife got granted the visa just after 5 weeks of her biometric scans.
    Mr Yazici
  • They are so honest and professional . Clear answers and guidance to all my questions 👍👍. Thanks a lot .
    Mr Khalil
  • Just received a decision from the Home office that I would’ve NEVER thought was possible. So happy and over the moon! I would definitely recommend your services to friends & family if required in the future. Huge thanks to Sallie and the team, best immigration solicitor in the business!!
    Mr Bamba
  • Angela Cole is a wonderful, hardworking, honest, kind and reliable Solicitor. Her work is very high standard, very professional and her team is friendly. Me and my husband have no hesitation in recommending Angela Cole's excellent services.
    Ms Small
  • "Simply a team of experienced people who gave us excellent and honest advice. Having now taken an appeal through to a successful conclusion for the (very reasonable) price promised, I have no hesitation in recommending this firm."
    Jon Chrimes - Google Review
  • "The team went an extra mile and fought my case much more and much better than I would have expected. In the end, my case was successful and I cannot thank them enough for all they have done. If I ever need legal help in the future I will definitely use their services again and recommend them for their reasonable prices, supportive advice and first rate legal services."
    ANONYMOUS - Google Review
  • "Excellent people, excellent service. They made the process of bringing my husband to the UK painless. Couldn’t have done it without them, highly recommend!"
    Lindy Pine - Google Review
  • "I am ecstatic, thanks to you all. My life is complete now and anything else is a bonus. Even if it seemed impossible I knew we were going to win this and that is why I never gave up. Thank you for your work, support and encouragement."
    MRS. Last
  • A BIG THANK YOU , for your help in helping me acquire my British settlement and British citizenship application successfully done. Your professionalism and kind warm attitude and nature made this process very easy and stress free. You took all my concerns away. 

    My Lawyer, Sallie Davies, is very knowledgeable and competent and I have implicit trust in her. The fees are also reasonable compared to other law firms. I highly recommend Sallie and her team.
    MRS. H
  • Thanks to Sallie, my wife is finally in the UK after a horrible year and long delays with Home Office. Highly recommended Immigration Legal Services! 
    MR. B
  • Angela Cole and everyone at Immigration Legal Services will work to produce the best outcome for you and, from our experience, they only concern themselves with your goal and not your wallet. Immigration Legal Services' charge was a very good price for all the help and security they provided
    MR. C
  • Despite the high professionalism practiced within the firm, there is always a strong sense of compassion , and care, from both Angela, and lovely Karen, which has really helped to set our minds at ease. Absolutely recommended & Eternally grateful
    Ms. f
  • I would like to thank both of you, Sallie and Karen for your assistance in the way you handled my wife's Spouse Visa Extension to remain here with me in the United Kingdom. We will recommend The Immigration Legal Services here in Ipswich to anybody who wants to apply for a visa to come or remain here in the United Kingdom because the service they provided proved to be most reliable, simple and quick process. Much appreciated Sallie and Karen. Thanking you once again. We will be back again.
  • Excellent service, Sallie is very professional and lovely. Thanks to you what we thought it will be a long and exhausting experience, was so smooth and fast we couldn't believe it. Thank you very much.
    Mrs T
  • We engaged this firm based on a recommendation made by a friend who had used their services before. We required their assistance for my wife's first renewal of her spousal visa. The process was quite painless, they got in touch to collect documents and go over details but most communication was done by email. We received the renewal without any issues.
  • Sallie was the best solicitor I've met for immigration matters. She was straight to the job, focused on the matter and had an excellent transparent work process, a reasonable fee and no hidden charges. She is very helpful, confident and had the best communication. We got our parents' visa in one go! Thank you very much for the excellent job.
Let us help you
Take a look at our services and get in touch with us today for more information.
Contact us today
© 2020 Immigration Legal Services. All rights reserved.

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram