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While there are a variety of partner or spouse visas in the UK, as a partner of an Ancestry visa holder, you are entitled to certain benefits that other partners are not. In the article below, I’ll look at the situation as it pertains to partners of Ancestry visa holders, then I’ll explain how the situation differs for partners of EU nationals, non-EU nationals and British citizens.

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If you’re a partner of an Ancestry visa holder

What makes the Ancestry visa so popular is that it is relatively easy for individuals from Commonwealth countries who have a family link to the UK to obtain one. So, if your partner is from a country such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand or India (to name but a few), it is possible that he/she could be eligible for this visa.

The great thing about an Ancestry visa is that your partner can include their partner (you) or dependants on their application. Therefore, once your partner has their Ancestry visa approved, you’ll be able to move to the UK too if your partner included you on their application.

The requirements of the Ancestry visa are fairly easy to fulfil. With assistance from an experienced immigration expert, most people successfully obtain their visas. As a partner of an Ancestry visa holder applying from outside the UK, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be 18 years or older
  • You must be able to provide proof of a long-term relationship with the main visa holder

See also: Why you want to get your hands on a UK Ancestry visa

Once you are placed on your partner’s visa, you will enjoy the same rights as they do. This means that you will be able to live and work in the UK for five years (or the remaining years on their visa - depending on when you join your partner) and be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) when he/she becomes eligible.

The fast track to ILR

Let’s take a closer look at that last statement. If your partner is two-years away from qualifying for ILR when they add you to their Ancestry visa, you too will be eligible for ILR at the same time as them. Usually you’d have to wait a full five years for this! This is one of the greatest advantages of being the partner of an Ancestry visa holder.

It’s important to note that you will still need to meet all the requirements of ILR to qualify. If you want to naturalise as a British citizen in the long term, the benefit of taking this visa route for you and your partner is profound.

If you’re a partner of an EU national living in the UK

If your partner is an EU citizen, the process is not as straight forward as it is for partners of Ancestry visa holders. There are much stricter requirements that you will need to satisfy in order to be allowed to live and work in the UK with your partner.

To join your partner in the UK, you will first need to apply for a six-month EEA family permit. You will need to apply outside of the UK in your home country and you must satisfy certain relationship conditions.  

These are:

  • You must have met (not just online)
  • You must intend to live together permanently
  • You must intend on moving to the UK within six months
  • You must have satisfactory accommodation and financial resources in the UK

The permit works similarly to a visa in that it allows you to enter and leave the UK multiple times and work without restriction. Should you wish to stay with your partner in the UK, you will then need to apply for an EEA permanent residence card within six months of arriving in the UK. The residence card is valid for five years and will allow you to work in the UK.

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If you’re a partner of a non-EU national living in the UK

It is possible for partners of non-EU nationals to move to the UK. However, your partner will need to have one of the following visas:

  • UK student visa
  • UK work permit
  • UK Tier 1 visa

The good news is that that you will be able to stay in the UK for the same duration as your partner’s visa, or remainder thereof, and live and work freely in the UK. Where this route becomes a little complex is that in order to qualify, you will need to fulfil all of the following requirements:

  • Be married to or in a long-term relationship of more than two years with an eligible visa holder
  • Intend on moving to the UK within six months
  • Intend to live together permanently

If your partner is a British citizen

It’s relatively easy for British citizens to bring their spouse or partner to the UK on a spouse or partner visa. This visa class is divided into three different partner statuses: married partners, unmarried partners and fiancé/fiancées.

As a married partner you can apply for a visa if you are lawfully married to a British citizen. This is the most common type of partner. Unmarried partners of British citizens will need to have been living together for at least two years. If you’re the fiancé/fiancée of a British citizen, you can apply for a visa if you intend to get married or become civil partners within six months.

The visa is valid for two-and-a-half years and allows you to work without restriction in the UK. You may also exit and re-enter the country multiple times. Should you want to remain in the UK once your initial visa has expired, you will need to apply for an extension for a further two-and-a-half years.

Brexit and moving to the UK as an EU citizen

There has been loads of confusion and worry regarding Brexit and the new laws that will come into effect after 29 March 2019. At the moment, the EU and Britain have come to an agreement regarding the rights of EU citizens and their families.

The UK is set to implement its new EU Settlement Scheme later this year for EU citizens and their families who wish to continue living in the UK. To secure your rights to live and work in the UK, we would urge you to regularise your residency status in the UK and obtain your permanent residence card as soon as you qualify for it.


If you have any questions about applying for a UK partner visa, send our immigration team  an email and we’ll help you out.

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